News

The Society has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and to be of service to others at the same time – to work, fish, pray, and write poetry.
A Jesuit's Journey:
Fr. Bill Burke, SJ

September 17, 2016


What Could Be Better?

By Amy Korpi
 
Often, we think of Jesuits working in the heart of cities, not enjoying nature’s wonders in the middle of a wilderness. Yet we know Saint Ignatius designed Jesuit formation – and the spirituality that takes his name – with an emphasis on all creation being a gift from God, worthy of our reverence and stewardship.

Similarly, we tend to think of Jesuits as givers, not receivers. But as they live out the Ignatian ideal of finding God in all things, it is clear that Jesuits derive great joy from their vocations.

Father Bill Burke, SJ, has embodied these Jesuit characteristics for more than 50 years – perhaps most markedly during his ministry in Alaska and Montana.

This particular aspect of Fr. Burke’s journey began when he was working as the development director for what was then the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus. A fellow Jesuit told him about the great fishing in Alaska.

“I’ve loved fishing since childhood,” Fr. Burke recalls. “So from that point on, I knew I wanted to go there.”

Father Burke did far more than go there; he spent 20 years in ministry in Alaska, followed by nine in a location with comparable natural beauty: Montana. He worked mostly as a hospital chaplain.

“I loved my work,” he says, “and I loved Alaska and Montana, especially the opportunities they afforded me to fish. I caught a 52-pound king salmon in Alaska’s Kenai River, and I did lots of fly fishing for trout in Missoula and Billings, Montana.”

Father Burke’s message to all is that anyone can do what they love while also following God’s will. Ignatian spirituality teaches that the two are intertwined.

As Fr. Burke puts it, “The Society has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and to be of service to others at the same time – to work, fish, pray, and write poetry.”

I BREATHE WHITE


I breathe white.  
So do spruce  
And Moose  
And the Alaskan Highway.
We’re all a prayer,  
A white prayer,  
Cool communion with
each other,  
And white mountains,  
And white lynx cat-dancing
Silent and swift  
On a white evening,  
Chasing Halley’s Comet’s tail.

                — Fr. Bill Burke, SJ

Today, living at the Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich., Fr. Burke continues to feel gratitude for his Jesuit life.

“An essential part of my vocation is friendship with my fellow Jesuits in community,” he explains. “Living at Colombiere is fun. I came here five years ago, and I enjoy it. My fellow Jesuits are wonderful. They are a real source of inspiration and strength. I say Mass here and at Lourdes Senior Community, so I am still serving others. I also continue to write a little poetry, and I fish as often as I can. What could be better?”

When asked to give advice to someone considering a vocation with the Jesuits, Fr. Burke’s answer is simple:

“Run, don’t walk. This is the best adventure you will ever have.”


Click here for more "A Jesuit's Journey" stories.












Recent News

August 21, 2018 — Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such "atrocities".

October 19, 2018 — On Oct. 20, the Catholic Church will beatify Jesuit Father Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz in Málaga, Spain, where he is recognized as “apostle of the city.”

October 17, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Thomas "Tom" S. McShane, SJ, who was called to eternal life on October 16, 2018. He was eighty-nine years old, a Jesuit for seventy-one years, and a priest for fifty-eight years.

What can all happen while sharing a meal together? For Christ, it was when he gave of himself at the Last Supper; for me, it is where I realized I needed to give of myself and enter the Jesuits as well as experienced unity among diversity.

October 15, 2018 — After six months of construction work, the relocation and restoration of Our Lady of Peace Chapel on Xavier’s campus is complete.

October 14, 2018 — Today, Pope Francis canonized a pope and a martyr: Pope John Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, El Salvador.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Summer 2018

Jesuits Spring 2018

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2017



Jesuit Spiritual Center
The Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford spreads over 37 park-like acres overlooking the Little Miami River, 30 minutes east of Cincinnati.