About Us
Fr. Brian G. Paulson, SJ, (left) is provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province. Fr. Thomas A. Lawler, SJ, is provincial of the Wisconsin Province.


We both run apostolates with excellence and are beginning new ministries in the midst of our structural changes. We share a Midwestern friendliness and an innovative mindset; we are hardworking and apostolically focused.
Our Leadership

The Midwest Jesuits represent the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces of the Society of Jesus; the provinces will join to form the USA Midwest Province in 2017.

Father Brian G. Paulson, SJ, is the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province; Fr. Thomas A. Lawler, SJ, is the provincial of the Wisconsin Province. Until 2017, Frs. Paulson and Lawler will lead their respective provinces. In 2017, Fr. Paulson will become the provincial of the new USA Midwest Province when the existing Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces come together as part of an ongoing national realignment of Jesuit provinces.

Fr. Brian Paulson, SJFather Brian G. Paulson, SJ, was appointed provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province by Jesuit Superior Father Adolfo Nicolás, effective June 19, 2014. Father Paulson succeeded Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, who became the president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States in Washington, DC.

Father Paulson entered the Society of Jesus at Loyola House Jesuit Novitiate in Berkley, Mich., on September 12, 1981. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1992, and pronounced final vows on March 25, 2001. A native of Waukegan, Ill., he attended Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wis. When the school closed in 1975, he finished his high school education at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in international economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Since joining the Jesuits Fr. Paulson has earned a master’s in political philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, a bachelor’s degree of Sacred Theology from Centre Sevres in Paris, a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Massachusetts.

Father Paulson served as vocations director for the Chicago Province from 1993-1998. He was then president of Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago for 11 years before he became the rector of the Loyola University Chicago Jesuit Community in 2010.

Fr. Thomas A. Lawler, SJ

Father Thomas A. Lawler, SJ, was appointed provincial of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus by Jesuit Superior General Father Adolfo Nicolás, effective June 10, 2011. Father Lawler succeeded Fr. Thomas Krettek, SJ, who became director of the Jesuit First Studies Program at Fordham University in New York.

Father Lawler entered the Society of Jesus at the Jesuit Novitiate in St. Paul, Minn., on August 8, 1987. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1999, and pronounced final vows on January 6, 2007. A native of Wauwatosa, Wis., he attended Marquette University High School in Milwaukee and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas.

Since joining the Jesuits Fr. Lawler has studied at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Michael's Institute in Spokane, Wash., a Master’s of Divinity degree from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., and a master’s in social work from Loyola University Chicago.

Father Lawler served as assistant director at the Sioux Spirituality Center, a Jesuit retreat center and ministry training program for Native American Catholics in South Dakota, from 2000-2005. He then worked in the Wisconsin Province Office as the provincial assistant for pastoral and retreat ministries and lay formation for a year before serving as the vocations director for the Wisconsin Province beginning in 2006 and until he became provincial in 2011.

The Structure of the Society of Jesus

The Society of Jesus
, which founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in Rome in 1540, is the largest order of Catholic priests and brothers in the world. There are roughly 18,000 Jesuits currently serving on six continents and in 112 nations. Jesuits around the world are organized into geographical territories called provinces. Each province is headed by a provincial superior, typically called "the provincial."  

As noted above, the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province is Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ; Fr. Thomas Lawler is provincial of the Wisconsin Province. As provincials, they were appointed by and report directly to the Society’s Superior General or Father General. Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, currently serves as the Society’s Superior General. He is responsible for the governance of the Society of Jesus. Authority for governance is transferred locally to provincials, who are responsible for the care and maintenance of the apostolates and Jesuits in their province.


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Manresa Jesuit Retreat House
Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., offers retreatants a respite from the city on its 37–acre campus with almost 50,000 trees.