News Detail
Jesuit Father Niel Jarreau (Photo by Michael Alexander)
“Most of my time as a priest was — and still is — spent in my office listening to hurting people who are searching for the will of God in their lives and striving to become the person they truly want to be." — Jesuit Father Niel Jarreau
After 70 Years, Jesuit Still Ministers to Those Searching for God

October 9, 2013 — Jesuit Father Niel Jarreau has been a Jesuit 70 of his 86 years, and today he is still active in ministry as a retreat director at Ignatius House Retreat Center in Atlanta.

After celebrating his 70th anniversary as a Jesuit this past summer, Fr. Jarreau said that it has always been an exciting, greatly fulfilling and peaceful way of life.

Fr. Jarreau joined the Society of Jesus at the age of 16. A graduate of Jesuit High School in New Orleans, he went on to complete studies at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., and St. Mary’s College. He was ordained a priest in 1956.

“I knew I wanted to be a priest from the very beginning,” Fr. Jarreau said. “It never left me.”

Following his ordination, Fr. Jarreau served in high school ministry at Jesuit College Prep School of Dallas and Jesuit High School of Tampa.

Fr. Jarreau then did retreat ministry as assistant director of Ignatius Retreat Center in Atlanta for seven years before returning to Dallas to serve as associate director of St. Rita Church. He was also a retreat director at Montserrat Retreat House in Lake Dallas before coming back to Atlanta in 2002.

Today, Fr. Jarreau is a counselor and conducts private retreats at Ignatius House. Of all his various roles in service to the church, Fr. Jarreau said that what he’s doing right now is the most fulfilling.

“So many people are looking for something worthwhile to put their life’s energy into,” he explained.

Fr. Jarreau noted that what he cherished most about the Jesuit training was the study of modern psychology.

“Most of my time as a priest was — and still is — spent in my office listening to hurting people who are searching for the will of God in their lives and striving to become the person they truly want to be. Unfortunately, there is too much unnecessary suffering of this kind in the world,” he said. “Here, after the grace of God and the Jesuit training, psychology has been my greatest companion.

“Christianity is a tremendous challenge,” said Fr. Jarreau about the need to be rid of ambitions for power or money. “Only God himself can fill our emptiness.” [Georgia Bulletin]


Recent News

April 18, 2014 — Pope Francis invites each of us to ask some personal questions of our own roles in the Gospel story during Holy Week: "Which of these people do I resemble most?"

April 18, 2014 — As a Jesuit with a Ph.D. in physics, Br. Jonathan Stott is used to being asked if his work in science and his religious vocation ever conflict. His answer: “In all honesty no."

April 16, 2014 — The Jesuits of the United States invite you to join in on their digital, communal Lenten/Easter prayer experience, Moved to Greater Love.

April 16, 2014 — The city council of Dublin, Ireland, honored Irish Jesuit Father Peter McVerry with its Freedom of Dublin award for his work with the homeless over the past 40 years.

April 14, 2014 — Marquette University has elected Michael R. Lovell, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as its 24th president and the university’s first lay president.

April 11, 2014 — Saint Louis University has named Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., its 33rd president, making him the first permanent lay president in SLU's 196-year history.

April 9, 2014 — The Society of Jesus in the United States has named Fr. William J. Kelley, S.J., as the new Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the Jesuit Conference.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 4/21/14

America - 4/14/14

America - 4/7/14



Jesuit Retreat House
Nestled in the urban landscape of Parma, Ohio, the Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland is “a place of peace in the forest.”