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“The Grace of God”
By Amy Korpi
Over the course of two decades of teaching chemistry and math and serving as assistant principal and principal at Campion Jesuit and Creighton Prep, Fr. Eugene (“Dutch”) Dutkiewicz, SJ, influenced many hundreds of students for the better.
But his reach extended even further. During 30 years in province administration, he also influenced countless apostolic works—schools, ministries, and more—as well as individual Jesuits who would go on to fulfill the Society’s mission of “helping souls.”
Father Dutkiewicz’s Jesuit journey began when he determined that he should study at Marquette University High School. “I put pressure on my parents to send me there, rather than the other way around,” he recalls. “Because of where we lived on Milwaukee’s south side, I had to take a bus quite a long way to get there. But once I had an interview, I knew the academics would make the sacrifice worthwhile.”
His classes proved he made the right choice, Fr. Dutkiewicz says—and there was a bonus. The Jesuit scholastics who taught those classes inspired him to join the Society of Jesus, and he entered the novitiate shortly after high school graduation.
Seven decades later, Fr. Dutkiewicz says, “I’ve always been happy to be a Jesuit, to work with the Jesuits, to be of help in any way possible. This is something that I wanted to do and that the Lord has given me the grace to do.”
The aspect of his vocation that has brought Fr. Dutkiewicz the most joy came early on in his career as a teacher. “Working with students has been the best,” he says simply. “My fondest memories were when a student’s vision opened up to new knowledge or a different way of thinking about something. That was especially important to me.”
“It’s gratifying to see that, from the time I was a student, through the years I taught, and on to the present time, the dedication of the Jesuits as teachers has not changed,” he adds. “It’s always been very strong, and our teachers remain focused on giving students the help they need and encouraging them to do better and better.”
Father Dutkiewicz also speaks with satisfaction of the later years of his vocation, when he served in several positions in the province office: socius (sometimes referred to as a provincial’s “number two man” or executive assistant); treasurer (for 27 years); and provincial assistant for finance, for pastoral ministry, for secondary education, and for retreat ministries. He also served as revisor (an internal auditor regarding planning, organization, coordination, and financial reporting) of province houses and works.
Today Fr. Dutkiewicz is missioned to pray for the Church and the Society at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin—where, he says, “We are fortunate to have wonderful care from expert clinical professionals and kind, supportive people who help us in whatever we need to do. We are also fortunate that we live within a true community. The camaraderie we Jesuits experience has always been very important to me.”
His Camillus assignment has also given Fr. Dutkiewicz the opportunity to reflect on his ministries over the years. “When you’re actively working,” he explains, “you’re so busy that you don’t have much opportunity to think about it. You just do what has to be done. Missioned here, I’ve been able to consider my past labors as a whole. It enhances my faith to engage in that kind of reflection.”
And here, he once again references the grace of God: “I’ve always felt the hand of God was with me to do what I had to do and what I wanted to do, and I heard the voice of God encouraging me to go forth and do the work I was assigned to do.”