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Fr. James R. Shea, SJ
There are not words to express my gratitude to everyone who took me as I was and with patience and care showed me the way forward.
Fr. James R. Shea, SJ

Father James R. Shea, SJ, 42, was born near Chicago and raised with his brother by their parents, Ruth (Wooster) and Richard Shea, in Skokie, Ill. His faith was strongly influenced by his mother, a cradle Catholic, and father, a Catholic convert. After graduating from Skokie’s Niles North High School, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola University Chicago. There, he sought out courses taught by Jesuits, despite warnings about their tough grading and the heavy workload they assigned. These Jesuits he met in college sowed the seed of his vocation. After graduating, Fr. Shea spent a year living in community and volunteering with the Passionists at a social service agency for people with HIV/AIDS in Detroit. Later he worked in Chicago with Misericordia, a home for people with developmental and physical disabilities. Discernment of the priesthood led him back to the Jesuits, and he entered the Society in 2004.

Father Shea received a master’s degree in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago and a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. His time as a Jesuit has also involved teaching English and helping with Kairos retreats at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago and serving as a deacon and confirmation class teacher at Blessed Mother Teresa Parish in Dorchester, Mass. He will continue theology studies at Boston College.

I have experienced God’s love and care through so many people who have touched my life. That love began with my family, who have loved me and sustained me from the first day of my life. It has continued with my friends, who accepted me as I was and loved me anyway. God’s guidance was also given to me through so many good teachers, especially Jesuit teachers at Loyola University Chicago, who nurtured my vocation.

I am especially grateful for the love and care that has accompanied me throughout my formation as a Jesuit. There are not words to express my gratitude to everyone who took me as I was and with patience and care showed me the way forward. I have been thanking God for all of you in my prayers, and I hope those prayers for you will only continue as I enter into the priesthood!






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January 17, 2018 — “If I saw You on the street / and You said come and follow me…” These words from the song “You Can Have Me” by Sidewalk Prophets came on the radio one summer day. I had just graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and the words spoke to me in a life-changing way.

January 11, 2018 — Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, the Jesuit secondary school in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has appointed Fr. Timothy A. Howe, SJ, to serve as the school’s next president.

January 10, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of our brother, Fr. Thomas F. Ankenbrandt, SJ, who died on January 8, 2018, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.

January 9, 2018 — Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has selected Fr. William Verbryke, SJ, as its 12th president.

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. James E. O'Reilly, SJ, who died on January 5, 2018, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 91 years old. May he rest in peace.

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Located 45 miles east of Omaha, Neb., in rural Iowa, the Creighton University Retreat Center is situated on 154 wooded acres on the Nishnabotna River.