Fr. Bill Verbryke, SJ

GRATITUDE…for my thirty years as a Jesuit.

In my senior year at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, I began my search for “something” but without the vocabulary to articulate what it was that I was searching. I found it in the Society of Jesus and each day I rediscover …and come to a fuller appreciation…of “Finding God in All Things” as a “Companion of Jesus.”

I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. From my parents I received my Catholic faith, examples of caring for others, and educational opportunities. From the Sisters of Charity of Mt. St. Joseph at Annunciation Grade School I received an image of Jesus who reached out to everyone and a desire to follow in this example. Observing the Jesuits in high school, I was attracted to their companionship.

After two years at the University of Cincinnati, I entered Loyola House, our novitiate in Berkley, Michigan, on September 2, 1973. My life as a special companion of Jesus began. (During my first year, I turned 21…significance mentioned later.)

With great delight and appreciation, I list the many places and work experiences during my years in formation and following ordination. I mention them for it is through the many people I have met and served, the men and women who have provided me support and encouragement where I experience God daily.

• During the two years novitiate: CCD at La Salette Parish, orderly work at Mt. Carmel Hospital, Bible school in Harlan, Kentucky, church renovation work in Kotzebue, Alaska, CPE at Loyola University Medical Center, and especially the essential experience of the Spiritual Exercises

• During my two years of studies at the University of Detroit (now University of Detroit Mercy): campus ministry and teaching eighth graders at University of Detroit High School and Academy.

• Three years of regency at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois: teaching religious studies to freshmen, sophomores, and seniors; coaching diving and soccer, moderating the Frisbee club, two summer mission trips to Peru, CLC moderator.

• Four years of theological studies at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California: spiritual direction internships at Milford Spiritual Center and Long Island, Catholic Worker soup kitchen in San Francisco, teaching at St. Paschal Baylon School and priestly ministry in the parish.

• After ordination, I served as director of vocations for the Chicago Province for five years. This gave me the opportunity to hear the many wonderful ways God worked in the lives of the men discerning religious life. I had access to the province through my travels and gained true appreciation for individual Jesuits, the work of our apostolates, and the brotherhood in our communities. Through my involvement with religious vocation directors, I experienced an authentic collaborative model of Church.

• At St. Xavier High School, I served two years as rector and director of campus ministry and ten years as president. I experienced myself as “pastor” of God’s people with many graced moments of entering into the lives (those special moments of life and death, joys and sorrows, dreams and hopes, growth and formation) of members of the community. Then with a year sabbatical, I enjoyed the beauty of an autumn in New England and the harsh reality of an AIDS orphanage in Kenya.

• In the year I turned 50,  I  returned to Loyola House as director of novices, assisting the generous men who have joined us in their formation and desire to become special companions of Jesus as members of the Society of Jesus.

Browse the Jesuits archive. This entry was posted in Jesuits in Ministry. Bookmark the permalink.