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Joseph Murphy, SJ

50 Years a Priest
Pastoral Minister at St. Ignatius Hall in St. Louis

Father Joseph Murphy, SJ, is a pastoral minister in the St. Ignatius Hall Jesuit community in Florissant, Missouri, where he dedicates most of his time to theological research and writing. He celebrates his Golden Jubilee as a priest this year.

Father Murphy was born in Denver and attended Regis Jesuit High School where he received the call to become a priest, vocationally dedicated to the academic/intellectual life, inspired as he was by seeing Jesuits working as teachers in college and high school both.

Father Murphy began his Jesuit ministry in 1967-70, when he taught Latin, Greek and literature at St. Louis University High School. Moving on to theology studies he was the managing editor for Saint Louis University’s Theology Digest from 1971-74.

He was ordained in Denver in 1973 at Christ the King Church along with six other Jesuit colleagues, after which he began doctoral studies at the Gregorian University in Rome.

Following graduate studies and priestly ordination, Fr. Murphy began teaching moral and systematic theology at the university level, including at Marquette University (1980-89), Saint Louis University and Kenrick Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Louis (1990-1993).

In 1994, Fr. Murphy began a five-year ministry in South Africa as a professor at St. John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria, enjoying a wonderful opportunity of combining a missionary assignment with his academic pursuits.

Upon returning to the United States in 1998, he became a theology professor at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, later serving temporarily as academic dean and dean of men along with adding several philosophy courses to his service. He remained at the Josephinum until 2019, when he returned to St. Louis to reside at Jesuit Hall and then eventually moved with the community to St. Ignatius Hall in January 2023.

Father Murphy studied primarily at Saint Louis University, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, a Master of Divinity and a Licentiate in philosophy. He also received a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Father Murphy’s Reflection on 50 Years as a Priest

I felt especially blessed to have wonderful colleagues to work with in doing seminary formation and teaching in training priests for the Church. Earlier university teaching became excellent preparation for eventual work overseas and the exposure it provided for experience of the Church abroad. The work with and for diocesan priests was especially rewarding. With the various assignments besides teaching I had little or no time for doing very many publishing expectations, which was often a drawback I lamented. However, I am now blessed to have time for those very accomplishments, thanks to the goodness and support of Jesuit superiors and of dear Jesuit friends who have given me constant encouragement and care over these years.