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

July 1, 2015 — Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone premiered his first-ever Mass honoring the Jesuits.

June 29, 2015 — Jesuit Brad Held is gearing up for MAGIS 2016, the Jesuit-run program that precedes World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland.

June 29, 2015 — Fr. Brent Otto, SJ, who came to know the Jesuits at the College of the Holy Cross, was ordained to the priesthood on June 13.

June 26, 2015 — Jesuit Fathers Frank Reese and Don Ward together have served the church as priests for 100 years.

June 24, 2015 — Jesuit Father Jeff Johnson has been named the sixth president of Strake Jesuit in Houston.

June 22, 2015 — After 19 years, 61-year-old Heriberto de la Cruz earns his degree from Le Moyne College.

June 18, 2015 — Today Pope Francis released his highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Si': On the Care for Our Common Home."

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 - 7/6/15

America - 6/22/15

America - 6/08-15/15



Ignatian Spirituality Center
The Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City offers programs in Ignatian prayer and retreats and trains lay people as spiritual directors and retreat guides.