In Memoriam
Fr. Louis J. Lipps, SJ
For decades many children of all ages would think they just saw Santa Claus when Louie passed by. He didn't dissuade them.
In Memoriam: Fr. Louis J. Lipps, SJ; 1921-2013

Father Louis J. Lipps, SJ, who served as a Jesuit spiritual and retreat director and minister for 74 years, died on Friday, January 11, 2013, in Pontiac, Michigan. Father Lipps was born to Conrad and Rose (Homan) Lipps on July 5, 1921. “The best thing about Louie is that he would always greet you with this incredibly welcoming smile that seemed to come straight from his joyful soul,” says Fr. Timothy Hipskind. “He had a genuine joy that came out especially when welcoming people. He also had an incredibly patient way with the most down and out in the world.”

After earning his diploma from St. Xavier High School in 1939, Fr. Lipps joined the Society of Jesus at the Milford Novitiate. He earned a BA in Latin and a MA in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago. He also earned an STL from West Baden College.

During his years in formation, he taught math at St. Ignatius High School in Chicago (1946-1949) and philosophy at Xavier University (1954-1957). After these years of teaching, Fr. Lipps spent most of the rest of his Jesuit life caring for the spiritual life of those he encountered. “Lou was no stranger to suffering. He had ways of connecting that to the Passion of Jesus, and to the cross as it was part of people’s life experience,” says Fr. Joseph Folzenlogen, SJ. He served as the Novice Master for Brothers at Milford (1957-1959) and Colombiere College (1959-1962). Father Lipps was also the minister at St. Xavier High School (1962-1963) and Milford (1963-1965).

For six years, Fr. Lipps was the director of the Loyola Youth Retreat House in Milford (1965-1971) where he influenced many high school students as he led them in their first experiences of an Ignatian retreat. After his ministry at Milford, where he also oversaw the building of a new youth retreat house, he went to Rome where he was a chaplain and taught Philosophy at Loyola University Rome Center (1971-1972). He worked in Campus Ministry and taught Theology at Xavier University (1972-1974). He then returned to Milford (1974-1976) to his love of giving retreats and offering spiritual direction to youth, adults, as well as many religious and diocesan priests. He was asked to move to Chicago and help priests and religious with spiritual renewal at Ignatius House in Chicago (1978-1979).

Always available to go where he was sent, Fr. Lipps packed up after a year and served as minister and the assistant to the Novice Master for experiments at Loyola House Novitiate in Berkley, Michigan (1979-1981). An assignment for which he was most noted and appreciated was the nearly 20 years of itinerant spiritual direction and retreats he happily provided for religious women in Appalachia (1981-2000). Then, when the Claver Community and Ministry was started in Cincinnati, he spent ten years as a significant spiritual father and presence for an impoverished African American neighborhood in Cincinnati (2000-2010). “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me.’ Lou certainly did that during his years at the Claver Community,” explains Fr. Folzenlogen. “He became the neighborhood grandfather. He gave out pop, candy, and cookies.

But more than that, he distributed encouragement, pep talks about doing schoolwork, prayer, and other forms of wisdom and advice.” At the same time, Fr. Lipps became a spiritual reflector for the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) in Cincinnati. “My friendship with Lou began in 2006,” explains Sam Schloemer, former IVC Cincinnati director. “I found Lou to be a kind and holy man. What a wonderful six year of companionship and guidance!”

Father Lipps moved to Colombiere Center in 2011. For decades many children of all ages would think they just saw Santa Claus when Louie passed by.  He didn't dissuade them. They found in him a gentle, caring and effective Jesuit who desired to bring Jesus to others by any means, even his beard. 

Memorial gifts  
Memorial gifts may be made to The Jesuits, 2050 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614. 
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