September 23, 2013 — Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás has set the feast of St. Ignatius, July 31, 2014, as the starting date for the new U.S. Central and Southern Province — a unification of the New Orleans and Missouri Provinces — and has chosen Jesuit Father Ronald A. Mercier as the first provincial. Fr. Mercier will succeed Jesuit Fathers Douglas W. Marcouiller (Missouri) and Mark A. Lewis (New Orleans).
Fr. Mercier currently serves as rector of Bellarmine House of Studies in St. Louis. He is a theology professor at Saint Louis University specializing in theological ethics, bioethics and social ethics. He also does sacramental ministry at the College Church and at St. Mary’s Assumption Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church.
Born in Holyoke, Mass., in 1953, Fr. Mercier is currently a member of the New England Province. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1975 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1987.
From 2006 to 2009 Fr. Mercier was executive director of the Jesuit Collaborative, a network linking ministries in Ignatian spirituality from North Carolina to Maine. Earlier he had served as dean and professor of ethics at Regis College, the Jesuit school of theology at the University of Toronto. He holds degrees in theology from Regis College and the University of Toronto as well as degrees in Slavic Studies and Russian history from Yale, Columbia and Harvard.
The Missouri and New Orleans Provinces conducted a lengthy and thorough discernment process that led to Fr. Mercier's appointment, which included input from individual Jesuits, Jesuit communities and province staffs. [Missouri Province]