In Memoriam
Whether he was working on boilers, landscaping, fishing, or visiting friends for dinner, John allowed his love and faith in Jesus to permeate his being, thoughts, and actions.
In Memoriam: Br. John J. Sebian, SJ

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Br. John J. Sebian, SJ, who died on the Feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, another Jesuit brother, on Monday, October 31, 2016, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. He was 90 years old and a Jesuit for 70 years. May he rest in peace.

John was born on September 27, 1926, in Painesville, Ohio. In 1945, he graduated from Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland. After six months of postulancy, he formally entered the Society on February 1, 1946, at the Milford Novitiate in Ohio. He professed final vows on February 2, 1957, at the Milford Novitiate.

Before John entered the Society, his left ear drum was punctured, causing him to have difficulty hearing throughout his life. But John did not have difficulty hearing Christ.  Through daily prayer, Eucharist, and regular chapel visits, John kept his ears and heart open to the words of Jesus. This spiritual attentiveness was recognized by his many lay friends. Whether he was working on boilers, landscaping, fishing, or visiting friends for dinner, John allowed his love and faith in Jesus to permeate his being, thoughts, and actions. Second only to Jesus, John's true love was horticulture and landscaping. He was able to look at flat, empty land and envision what the grounds could look like in 20 or 30 years. He had the knowledge, insight, and "green thumb" for nurturing and cultivating beautiful serene landscapes.

After the novitiate and first vows, John was a gardener and worked in the retreat house at Milford Novitiate (1948–1949). For one year he was the mailman at West Baden College in West Baden Springs, Ind., before moving to St. Stanislaus Tertianship (now Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland) in Parma, Ohio. There, he spent 10 years he as chauffeur, gardener, and head of the wine room (1950–1959). In 1959, John returned to West Baden College, where he was an assistant gardener and helped to maintain the grounds — even the golf course (1959–1963). He then spent one year (1963–1964) as the assistant gardener at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

In the mid-1960s, the Detroit Province answered the call for more secondary schools, and St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, and Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, were built.

John was asked to go to Toledo and transform the marshy farmland into athletic fields and landscaped grounds. He spent 44 years at St. John's as the gardener and horticulturist. St. John's needed more than just wonderful looking grounds, so John was also the head mechanic (1965–1969), the moderator of the student radio club (1966–1969), and the head boilerman and electrician (1969–2008).

In 2008 John moved to Colombiere Center where he helped in the maintenance department and performed community service until his health declined.  

VISITATION
Friday, November 4, 2016
4–7 p.m.

WAKE SERVICE
7 p.m.
Colombiere Center
9075 Big Lake Road
Clarkston, MI 48346-1015

FUNERAL
Saturday, November 5, 2016
10:45 a.m.
Colombiere Center
9075 Big Lake Road
Clarkston, MI 48346-1015


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