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Joseph Tetlow, SJ

75 Years a Jesuit


Father Joseph Tetlow, SJ, is has published numerous books on Ignatian Spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, and the Jesuit practice of discernment. He recognized as an authority on these topics.  

This year, he is celebrating 75 years as a Jesuit. 

Currently residing at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas, he continues to write. He occasionally leads workshops and brief retreats there and does webinars with the Ignatian Spirituality Institute in Dallas. 

Born in 1930 in New Orleans, he attended Jesuit High School and entered the Society of Jesus immediately after graduation. 

Over the years, he has served in a broad variety of ministries, including as president of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif., executive secretary of the Jesuit Conference, associate editor and literary editor at America Magazine, Secretary for Ignatian Spirituality at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, and retreat director at both Montserrat Retreat House and Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, La. 

Father Tetlow’s Reflection on 75 Years as a Jesuit:

Seventy-five years as a Jesuit saw me in many ministries and houses.

In early years I taught younger Jesuits in Grand Coteau La.,  did a doctorate at Brown University in Providence R.I., and was dean of the college at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Then, I was founding executive secretary of the U.S. Jesuit Conference in D.C., president of Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley CA, and literary editor of America magazine in New York.

For a decade, I helped younger Jesuit priests finish their spiritual training and then happily became a professor at Saint Louis University.

After all of that, I became the Society of Jesus’ Assistant for Ignatian Spirituality in Rome, doing workshops in Spain, Taiwan, India, Ireland, Lithuania, Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

Back home, I directed Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, TX—where I find myself now, writing books like Finding Christ in the World and Always Discerning, which I had never thought to do.  

There’s more—seventy-five years is a long time—but maybe that’s enough to tell how God has mercifully used my strengths and my sinfulness for His own purposes and to make it clear that what really went on all those years, weaving through ministries and peoples, places and times, was much quieter and hidden.

The Spirit of the Living God saw to it that I learned better from the People of God than ever from books, that we cling to the Lord Jesus and need never fear His loving embrace.