News

"[My mission] is to help those I work for and with to realize God loves them ... to see that they should live in the joy of that realization"
~Fr. Thomas
Caldwell, SJ
A Jesuit's Journey:
Fr. Thomas Caldwell, SJ

Jesuit Fr. Thomas Caldwell’s mission is to be helpful.

“It is to help those I work for and with to realize God loves them,” he says. “To see that they should live in the joy of that realization.”


He knew he wanted to be a priest by the time he was in seventh grade. In his junior year of high school, he realized his calling was to the Society of Jesus.

“Our teachers at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee were something else,” he recalls. “I thought they had something special, and I wanted it. It turns out I was right.”

His vocation led to a master’s in Latin and Greek. He went on to study Scripture, with five years of Jewish studies in Vienna, before finishing in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. These years have stayed with him; a Greek translation of Philippians 3:12 now hangs on his wall. In English, the verse reads, “I pursue, if perchance I may lay hold of (the prize), since I have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

“I like to translate ‘been laid hold of’ differently,” he says. “I interpret it as ‘God gave me a hug.’ The initiative has always been his.”

Eventually, Fr. Caldwell returned to Milwaukee as a theology professor at Marquette University.

“Sending young people into the world better equipped to live fully is highly rewarding. I think I helped.”

Father Caldwell also served twice as minister of Marquette’s Jesuit community.

“That’s a job where the chief responsibility is to be helpful. Mostly, it worked out pretty well. There weren’t too many protests against me!”

This desire to serve continues to influence Fr. Caldwell at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wis.

“I continue to look for ways to be helpful — whether it’s providing information, moving furniture, doing secretarial work, proofreading, or any old thing,” he says. “After meeting me, I hope people might think I could help them in some way."
 
“There is no competition here,” he explains. “We are all truly equal. My favorite answer when people ask me about life here is ‘The natives are friendly, and the food is good.’ Yet, thinking back, these phrases also describe the other communities I have lived in; my Jesuit brothers share a sincere desire to serve God by carrying out Jesus’ work. I know I can really trust them, because they love God and will prove it every time.”
 
Father Caldwell also places trust in the Society’s lay supporters.

“Their help is something very real to us. It is mentioned every single day in our prayers, and we could not function without it. I have been grateful for our lay collaborators throughout my life as a Jesuit; they are among our numerous gifts from God, who is a tremendously good boss.”


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

Fr. Caldwell's story was also featured in the Summer 2016 issue of Jesuits magazine; click here for the Summer 2016 Jesuits magazine index.





Recent News

Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, and the Ignatian family has a wide array of resources to help guide you through the next 40 days.

February 13, 2018 — Brendan Conroy has been named the new Associate Provincial Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education.

February 5, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Eugene J. Nevins, SJ (UMI), who died 11:30 a.m. on February 2, 2018, at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 85 years old. May he rest in peace.

January 30, 2018 — Eric Immel, SJ, works at Arrupe College at Loyola University Chicago, which seeks to dramatically reimagine how a school can offer a Jesuit, liberal arts education.

January 25, 2018 — Fr. Reim, a new Jesuit on campus, serves as Vice Superior of the Jesuit Community, minister of the Spiritual Program for Adults and in campus ministry.

January 22, 2018 — On Jan. 19, more than 800 students from Jesuit schools from across the United States gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Jesuit Mass for Life.

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.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2017

Jesuits Summer 2017

Jesuits Spring 2017



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.