Fr. Edward P. Buvens, SJ, died on March 27, 2018, at the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. He was 83 years old, a Jesuit for 60 years and a priest for 48 years.
Fr. Buvens was born to Paul G. and Ruby Ann Jones Buvens in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Aug. 19, 1934. His parents preceded him in death; he is survived by his brothers in the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) as well as cousins and many friends.
After graduating from Rice Institute (now Rice University) in Houston, with a B.A. in chemical engineering, he entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 7, 1957 at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. After taking vows, he studied humanities at St. Charles College before earning a B.S. in education and an M.A. in philosophy at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He received a Master of Divinity degree at Saint Louis University and later earned graduate degrees in social work (MSW) and public health (MPH) from Tulane University in New Orleans.
He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1969 at St. John’s Church in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Fr. Buvens used his training in social work and public health as part of the Conflict Resolution Team for the Orleans Parish School Board in New Orleans and at two mental health centers, the Pontchartrain Mental Health Center in New Orleans and the Mental Health Clinic in Natchitoches, Louisiana; he was administrator in Natchitoches from 1978-82. He then worked on the staff of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps South in Houston, serving as director from 1983-85.
Beginning in 1985, much of Fr. Buvens’ service was in administrative positions within the former New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus. As pastoral assistant (1985-88), he acted as the provincial’s delegate, providing support for a large number of Jesuits working in far-flung areas. These men served individually in parishes or as hospital chaplains and had no access to a local Jesuit community or superior. He spent time with each man and wrote up detailed reports of each visit. These reports are historically important, often the only record of what was sometimes a man’s many years of fruitful ministry. For many Jesuits, he was the most regular contact they had with the province for many years.
From 1993-97 he served as rector of the Jesuit Community at Jesuit High School in New Orleans; following that, he worked with various social ministries and projects in the New Orleans area, including Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He served as superior and director at Ignatius Residence (for senior Jesuits) in New Orleans (2005-2009) and as superior of the Jesuit Community at Ignatius Retreat Center in Atlanta, 2009-2013. He moved to Xavier Jesuit Center in Denver in 2013 and worked in pastoral ministry until ill health dictated that he move to the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau in June 2017.