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Leonard Kraus, SJ

50 Years a Priest
Retreat director, Manresa House of Retreats


Father Leonard Kraus, SJ, has been a Jesuit priest for half a century.  

He currently serves as a retreat director at Manresa House of Retreats in Convent, La., after serving in the same way at White House Retreat in St. Louis from 2008 to 2015. 

His first assignment following his ordination and the completion of his theology studies was as superior and pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Denver from 1973-74. He then taught religion and directed pastoral programs at St. Louis University High School before moving on to Saint Louis University’s Fusz Memorial.  

He served as associate pastor at St. Matthew the Apostle Parish in St. Louis from 1978 to 1981. Then served as pastor – first at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City and then at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis, where he served for 20 years (1988-2007). 

Father Kraus’ Reflection on 50 Years as a Priest:

As I celebrate this anniversary of my ordination, my deepest feeling is one of gratitude. I am so grateful for the gift of being a Jesuit, of having the privilege of serving with such wonderful, holy, human, dedicated companions. The words of John Foley’s song, For You Are My God, have been a constant reminder of this gift I celebrate with such gratitude: “You give marvelous comrades to me…the faithful who dwell in your land…glad are my heart and my soul…You are my portion and cup, it is You that I claim for my prize” 

I am so deeply grateful, too, for having been blessed to be a part of the lives of so many good and holy people who have enriched my life in so many ways. I am especially grateful for the loving mercy of God that has been bestowed on me as I have lived my life as a Jesuit.  

As I give thanks, this quote from Meister Eckhart expresses my thoughts and feelings so well 

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”