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Retreat Masters

Meet the Retreat Masters

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Sr. Pat Bergen, CSJ

Pat Bergen, CSJ is a member of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph. She is an educator, spiritual directress, retreat and workshop facilitator. She co-founded the Well Spirituality Center in La Grange, IL. She has just completed serving on the Leadership Team of the Congregation. She has a Doctorate in Ministry. She has a passion for awakening people to the oneness of all creation and its implications for our understanding of Scripture, Justice, Leadership and Prayer.

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Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ

Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Calif., the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. A Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 Father Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church, then the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration of gang activity in the city.

Father Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in Los Angeles in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992.  In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, Father Boyle and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings. 

In 1988 they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, which employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to thousands of men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.

Father Boyle is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.  His 2017 book is the Los Angeles Times-bestseller Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.

He has received the California Peace Prize and been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.  In 2014, the White House named Father Boyle a Champion of Change.  He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics.

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    Fr. John Braverman, SJ

    Rev. John M. Braverman, SJ is a Jesuit of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. John’s research is in evolutionary biology.  He’s spending Fall 2019 as the Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Fellow in Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago.

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    Pat Cassidy

    Pat Cassidy lives in Baltimore, Maryland and works as Assistant Director in the Center for Community Service & Justice at Loyola University Maryland. He began a regular yoga practice in 2011 and completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2016 with Kim Manfredi at Charm City Yoga. Pat holds a Masters degree from Loyola University Maryland in Spiritual and Pastoral Care with a focus in spiritual direction and centers his work and studies on the integration of spirituality and queer identities. Following his undergraduate studies in social work at Providence College, Pat served as a Jesuit Volunteer in Punta Gorda, Belize from 2008-2010. He enjoys biking through Baltimore with his husband, exploring new restaurants with friends, and spending time with family in Connecticut and Minnesota.

    Upcoming Retreats
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    Dr. Avis Clendenen

    Avis Clendenen is professor emerita of religious studies from Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Among other publications, she is the coauthor with Troy Martin of Forgiveness: Finding Freedom through Reconciliation and author of Experiencing Hildegard: Jungian Perspectives. Currently, she offers retreats and days of reflection that integrate insights from depth psychology with spiritual life and growth.

    Upcoming Retreats
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    Sr. Wendy Cotter, CSJ, PhD

    Sr.  Wendy Cotter, CSJ, PhD  is a Sister of St. Joseph from London, Ontario, Canada and has been a full professor of New Testament in the Theology Department of Loyola University, and is now Emerita since her retirement last summer. After her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, she was invited to serve on her Community’s Peruvian mission for two terms (four years). Upon her return, she began her graduate studies and received her PhD in New Testament from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, with a specialty in Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), particularly the Gospel of Mark and pre-gospel material with a focus on miracle stories. Besides her articles and papers, she has published two books, The Miracles in  Greco Roman Antiquity (1999), and The Christ of the Miracle Stories: Portrait Through Encounter (2010). Throughout these years, Sister has been invited to offer Scripture workshops and parish missions as well as weekend and longer retreats. She considers these the greatest source of joy and grace.

    Upcoming Retreats
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    Sr. Linda Fischer

    Sr. Linda Fischer is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ from Columbia, PA.  A teacher by profession, Sr. Linda left the classroom in 2005.  Since then she has been involved in full-time 12 Step retreat ministry. Sr. Linda has been a grateful recovering alcoholic for the past 29 years and says she loves facilitating recovery retreats because “she receives every bit as much as she gives.”  She calls her own journey in recovery one of the greatest blessings in her life.


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    Fr. Al Johnson

    Fr. Al Johnson is a native Chicagoan (South Side) and an Episcopal Priest.  Locally he most recently served as Rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Barrington.  Now he serves in the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania on a part-time basis.  Al also serves as the volunteer chaplain for Barrington Countryside Fire District as well as participates regularly in the AA community in Barrington and in Erie, PA.  Fr. Al is also married to Vickie and together they have three children, two alive, Hannah and Zachary, and one that died in 1989, Nicholas.  They have been residents of the Barrington Community since 1990.

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    Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ

    Fr. Jim Kubicki was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1971 and was ordained in 1983. From 1984-88 he served as the Vocation Director and from 1995-99 as the Director of Formation for the Jesuits of the Wisconsin Province.From 1989-95 he worked at the Sioux Spiritual Center, a retreat house for Native Americans in western South Dakota. During that time he was also the Assistant Director of the Diocese of Rapid City’s deacon and lay ministry formation program. He has given preached retreats around the country since 1986 and was on the staff of Demontreville, the Jesuit retreat house in Lake Elmo, MN from 2000-03. In 2003 he became the national director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), a position he held for fourteen years. In 2017 he moved to the Rosebud Reservation in western South Dakota, where he currently serves as the director of St. Francis Mission, which was founded in 1886.  

    Fr. Kubicki appears regularly on Catholic radio shows around the country. His book A Heart on Fire: Rediscovering Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was selected by the Catholic Book Publishers Association as among the three best spirituality books in 2012.  His latest book is A Year of Daily Offerings

    Upcoming Retreats
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    Fr. Timothy Lannon, SJ

    Fr. Lannon is the Assistant for Formation to the Provincial of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus. He works with more than 60 men who are in Jesuit formation/training. Previously, he served as the President of Creighton University and President of Saint Joseph’s University, after having served at Marquette University as the Vice President for University Advancement and before that as the Associate Executive Vice President. Fr. Lannon has studied and written on Catholic Identity at Jesuit universities. He is a native of Mason City, Iowa, attended Creighton University as an undergraduate, and later returned to Omaha as President of Creighton Preparatory School. Fr. Lannon entered the Society of Jesus in 1977; he was ordained a priest in 1986 at St. John’s Church in Omaha.  

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      Fr. Doug Leonhardt, SJ

      A native of Milwaukee, Fr. Leonhardt entered the Society of Jesus in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1969.  Since his ordination, he has served as the Principal and the President of Marquette University High School, as the Director of Novices and the Formation Director of the Wisconsin Province, and as the Pastor of Gesu Parish in Milwaukee.  For a period of time during his 2003 sabbatical, Fr. Leonhardt directed retreats in Kenya and Uganda.  He has extensive experience in directing the Spiritual Exercises and is presently working as Jesuit Superior for the St. Camillus assisted living community.

      Upcoming Retreats
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      Fr. Paul Macke, SJ

      Fr. Macke is the Jesuit Mission Coordinator at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio and Jesuit Liaison for Ignatius House in downtown Cincinnati (a young adult intentional community). The previous six years he was Executive Director of the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat in Barrington, IL.

      Previously, Fr. Macke had served as the Secretary for Pastoral Ministries and Jesuit Life for the Jesuit Conference of the United States in Washington, DC for six years. Prior to joining the Conference, Macke worked in Alaska for 17 years, devoting eight years to the Holy Spirit Center in Anchorage, Alaska, where he served as its executive director for six years.

      Father Macke entered the Society of Jesus in 1963, earning a BA in classics and a Masters of Divinity, both from Loyola University of Chicago. After his ordination in 1973, Macke went on to receive a MA in counseling psychology from Loyola, and a D. Min. in pastoral psychotherapy from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

      As the Secretary for Pastoral Ministries and Jesuit Life, Father Macke worked to promote the ministries involved with the over 100 Jesuit parishes and missions in the USA, plus 28 Jesuit retreat and spirituality centers throughout the United States, Christian Life Communities, and the Apostleship of Prayer. Likewise, he was involved with all areas concerning Jesuit community life, such as training for new Jesuit Superiors and the Health Care Coordinators for the Jesuit Provinces in the United States. He helped develop the Educational Component for Ethics in Ministry—a series of four video cases concerning boundaries with adults in ministry and the use and abuse of the Internet. This program is now being used for religious men in the USA and in other countries as well as a number of Catholic Dioceses in the USA. Fr. Macke has served in Jesuit formation as the vocation director for the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus from 1989 until 1993.

      Upcoming Retreats
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      Fr. Richard Malloy, SJ

      Fr. Richard G. Malloy, SJ, aka “Mugs,” was born at Temple University hospital in Philadelphia, the friendly city of brotherly shove. He earned a doctorate at Temple. So, he didn’t go very far in life! He graduated from St. Joe’s Prep, the Jesuit high school in Philadelphia. He attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, where he played football, lacrosse, and rugby. He was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, PA. While in Jesuit formation, he spent two years teaching high school in Osorno, Chile and one year in pastoral work in Santiago.

      His book, A Faith That Frees: Catholic Matters for the 21st Century (Orbis Books, 2008), examines the relationships between the practices of faith and the cultural currents and changes so rapidly occurring in our global world. His second book is entitled Being On Fire: The Top Ten Essentials of Catholic Faith (Orbis Books 2014).  Both books were recognized with awards by the Catholic Press Association in the category “Best Presentation of the Catholic Faith.” His new book, Spiritual Direction: A Beginner’s Guide was published in the fall of 2017. 

      He lived and worked as a member of the Jesuit Urban Service team at Holy Name Parish in Camden, NJ, from 1988 to 2003. While in Camden, he also served in various positions at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. At the University of Scranton, he is the University Chaplain and teaches courses in Anthropology, Sociology, and Theology. He lives in a first year dorm (anthropological fieldwork!). Fr. Malloy’s blog is found at www.jesuitjottings.blogspot.com.  You can follow him on Twitter: @FrMalloy.  

      Fishing is his passion in life, and he prays for the day when he will catch a 10-lb trout or a 47-inch Muskie. He is convinced that such a catch, the Eagles winning the Super Bowl, or the Phillies beating the Yankees in the World Series, are all sure signs that the second coming of Jesus is imminent.

      Upcoming Retreats
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      Fr. Richard McGurn, SJ

      Fr. Richard McGurn, SJ, M.A. Psych., M.Div, was ordained in 1975.  He directed the internship for spiritual directors at the Jesuit retreat house in Cincinnati.  He has served the major superior of the Chicago Jesuits as his executive assistant and as director of formation for young Jesuits preparing for ordination and ministry.  Just prior to coming to Bellarmine, he was superior of the Jesuit community at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

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      Mrs. Mary McKeon

      Mary McKeon is a member of Bellarmine's ministry staff, a spiritual director, and coordinator of women's ministry.  Mary is a graduate of Marquette University.  She taught school in Milwaukee's inner city before moving to Washington, DC to work for the United States Senate.  She and her late husband have a daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, and three grandsons who are the joy of her life.  Mary received her training as a spiritual/retreat director at the Jesuits' Manresa Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, MI, where she served on the ministry team and became their first Director of Women's Ministry.  In 2014, Mary was the second person to be honored with Manresa's Lifetime Achievement Award.

      Upcoming Retreats
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      Fr. David Meconi, SJ

      Fr. David Vincent Meconi, SJ is an Associate Professor of Historical Theology as well as the Director of the new Catholic Studies Centre at Saint Louis University; he is also the editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He holds the pontifical license in Early Church History from the University of Innsbruck in Austria, as well as a doctorate in Patristics from the University of Oxford. He has published numerous books and articles on the early Church, most recently is his 101 Surprising Facts About Church History (St. Benedict’s Press).  Fr. Meconi is a Fellow of the Augustinian Institute at Villanova University; he serves on the boards of the St. Benedict Forum at Hope College in Holland, MI, as well as on the ecclesiastical board of Boston College.

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      Fr. Keith Muccino, SJ

      Dr. Muccino served as Associate Provost for Educational Resources at Loyola University Chicago’s Health Sciences Campus until May of 2019. In July 2019 he begins his new dual assignment as consultant to the Office of Medical Education at UMASS Medical School, and assistant to the Office of Health Professions Advising at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

      In addition to his administrative and educational responsibilities, Fr. Muccino has spent the past twenty five years pursuing his passion for giving preached weekend retreats, individually directed retreats, parish retreats, and days of recollection centered on adult faith-formation.

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      Fr. Paul Mueller, SJ

      Fr. Mueller is from Cincinnati, one of 5 children. After attending St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati and earning a BA in Physics at Boston University, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1982. In the course of his Jesuit training he earned MA degrees in Philosophy, Divinity and Theology. After being ordained a priest in 1993, he earned an MS in Physics and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Chicago. Fr. Mueller served as professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago 2004 - 2009; he also served as Academic Dean for two seminary programs based at Loyola University, the Jesuit First Studies Program and St. Joseph College Seminary. Since 2010 Fr. Mueller has been assigned to the Vatican Observatory, which has its headquarters at Castel Gandolfo in Italy. In addition to being a member of the Observatory research staff, he is the Observatory’s vice director and also religious superior of its attached Jesuit community. He divides his time between the Observatory headquarters and its dependent research facility at Tucson AZ.

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        Nicki Steinmetz Nelson

        Nicki Steinmetz Nelson is an active spiritual director, retreat leader, and 200-hour yoga instructor. She holds a Masters degree in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA with concentrations in Social Theory and Ethics and a certificate in Women’s Studies in Religion. Nicki has additional certifications as a parenting coach, Enneagram coach, and holistic health coach. She is passionate about bringing together the best of all she has learned and supporting women as they engage with the inner work of the spiritual journey and then integrate it with the outward expression of their lives. With an undergraduate degree from Marquette University in Information Technology, Nicki is the Communication and Administrative Assistant for the Ignatian Yoga community. She currently lives in Port Washington, WI with her spouse and two young boys.

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        Elizabeth Neubauer

        With more than 30 years of daily spiritual practice, Elizabeth understands the gifts of a contemplative journey. She has given presentations on personal growth and the desire for a deeper understanding of God to a wide range of groups. Elizabeth has served as retreat leader and provided spiritual direction at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh. In addition, she has lead groups at First Fruits – Women Growing in Faith on topics including prayer and meditation and the spirituality of the 12 Steps. Her goal as a retreat leader is to provide food for thought that encourages individuals to go deeper into self-knowledge and to explore their experience of a Higher Power, God or Deep Self however they define this journey for themselves. 

        Elizabeth has degrees in Art and Business and is a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Training Program at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin. She believes spiritual direction provides a dedicated time and place to explore the movement of Spirit in an environment of openness and respect. Her practice is inclusive of all faith traditions as well as individuals who do not ascribe to any organized religion.

        Past careers have included Development Director, Photographer, Employee Assistance Program Coordinator and Funeral Director. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International.

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        Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ

        Father Pacwa received his B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Detroit, summa cum laude. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 with the Society of Jesus, as a Master of Divinity and S.T.B. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Loyola University, magna cum laude. At Vanderbilt University, he received his Master of Arts as well as his Ph.D. in Old Testament. He is best known for his appearances on EWTN for over the last thirty years. Fr. Pacwa is a best-selling Catholic author and has written numerous books on a variety of topics about the Scripture and our Catholic Faith to continue to teach us and generations to come. To leave a Legacy means to: bequest, give an inheritance or endowment. That is the singular driving motivation for Father Pacwa‘s fervent desire to reach out and speak to groups of young Catholic adults. Father Pacwa’s vision is to create a “Legacy of Faith” for the next generation of Catholics who strive to grow and mature in their faith and become the future leaders of our Church. Father Pacwa ardently believes that personally reaching out to young adults in an intimate setting where he can connect and answer questions is the most effective way to reach across generational gaps. He reminds us all that through our Baptism we are called to be sharers of the Church’s mission which is to continue the works of Jesus Christ and to make His name known and loved. For more information visit: http://kingsservants.org/legacy-of-faithinitiative.

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        Fr. Jeff Putthoff, SJ

        Fr. Jeff Putthoff, SJ is a Jesuit priest.  He is deeply interested in creating communities of healing, empowering young people, brain health, and finding God in all things.  He has worked as a high school teacher, associate pastor, executive director and high school president, using his unique experience in organizational dynamics, leadership, brain health and Ignatian spirituality, applying it to youth education and organizational life. He is a retreat leader and a director of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola deeply desiring to help others connect to God.   He is a gifted national speaker on trauma-informed care, organizational dynamics, youth formation, Ignatian spirituality and leadership.

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          Fr. Michael Rossmann, SJ

          Fr. Michael Rossmann, SJ is a vocation promoter for the Jesuits. He works with young adults in discernment across the Midwest. Fr. Rossmann joined the Jesuits in 2007, just after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. He taught in Tanzania for two years and has graduate degrees from Loyola University Chicago and Boston College. He has been active in the use of new media, starting the "One-Minute Homily" and previously serving as the editor-in-chief of The Jesuit Post.

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          Fr. Kevin Schneider, SJ

          Fr. Schneider was born and raised just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin and is the second eldest of six boys. He is a 1982 grad of Creighton University and was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest in 1994. He is a member of the Jesuit Community at Creighton Preparatory High School and is the director of spiritual programs for the adult community at Creighton Preparatory School. He has taught theology and is chaplain for many athletic teams. Fr. Schneider also offers retreats and days of recollection for schools and parish missions and has offered retreats at Jesuit Retreat Houses in the upper Midwest. He has found that offering retreats over the past few years has filled him with joy and hope. He is a life-long Packer fan and an avid fan of the Creighton Bluejays. Please know he is praying for you.

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          Fr. David Shields, SJ

          Fr. David Shields, SJ is a Jesuit priest of the USA Midwest Province who has been involved in retreat ministry for over 40 years in many formats. In addition to this ministry, Fr. Shields has send some 20 years with the Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and, more recently, nearly 22 years in Hispanic ministry in Milwaukee, WI. Currently he is the Director of Spiritual Programs at Casa Romero Renewal Center in Milwaukee. Casa Romero is an urban bilingual spirituality center offering bilingual retreats and formation to 1st and 2nd generation Latinx in southeast Wisconsin.

          Upcoming Retreats
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          Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ

          Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ is a retreat director and spiritual director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington.  He holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a Doctor of Ministry from St Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, IL. He is the founder of Charis, a national Jesuit retreat ministry for young adults in their 20s and 30s, and has trained spiritual directors at Loyola University-Chicago.  

          A prolific writer and speaker, Fr. Michael has published books, CDs, and DVDs on prayer, discernment, and the sacraments with Franciscan Media, Paulist Press, Liturgical Training Publications, Loyola Press, and Heart to Heart. He is seen regularly on Shalom World Catholic Television and is heard regularly on Sacred Heart radio in Cincinnati and WSFI Catholic Radio in greater Chicagoland. 

          His latest co-authored book is What’s Your Decision?  An Ignatian Approach to Decision Making and is published by Loyola Press.  

          Fr. Michael’s weekly video homilies can be seen online at www.HtoH.US.

          Upcoming Retreats
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          Carolyn Swabek

          Carolyn Swabek is the Director of the Trinity Fellows Program at Marquette University, a graduate fellowship program that develops emerging leaders for social and economic justice. Carolyn received her BS in Organizational Communication and Global Leadership from Ohio University, and her MA in Public Service – Nonprofit Administration from Marquette University. Carolyn has been a practitioner of yoga for many years, studying a variety of lineages and styles, and as her practice deepened, so did her desire for deeper spiritual connection and meaning.  This led her to complete her 200-hour RYT, with additional training in yin yoga, yoga nidra, restorative yoga, and Ayurveda. Carolyn calls Milwaukee, WI her home where she lives with her husband, Cody and daughter.

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          Team of Veterans

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          Fr. Tom Weston, SJ

          Fr. Tom Weston, SJ, entered the California Province of the Jesuit Order in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1978.  Currently based in Oakland, CA, he has devoted most of his priestly life to counseling and retreat work with alcoholics and other addicts.  In addition to his Twelve Step work, he was part of a team that taught English to ministry students in Thailand and Vietnam each summer.  “Wherever he is, Fr. Weston sees the power of God working in people’s lives, but perhaps most acutely in his recovery work:  ‘People get well.  People come back to life.  Families come back together,” he says.  ‘It’s the Resurrection—and you see it all the time.’ ” (Tyson, Gail.  “Helping Others Find Sobriety.”  Mission 2008 Summer:  pg. 7.  Print.)

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