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

November 26, 2015 — On this Thanksgiving Day, we share with you an Examen prayer of gratitude, adapted by Marquette University Campus Ministry.

November 24, 2015 — A record-breaking 1,600 students and young adults gathered for the 18th annual Ignatian Family Teach for Justice Nov. 7-9 in Washington, D.C.

November 24, 2015 — Wheeling Jesuit University students gave up their fall break to take part in three separate immersion trips to make a difference in the lives of others.

November 19, 2015 — The Jesuit Conference is urging Congress to oppose efforts to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program or restrict funding for refugees.

November 18, 2015 — As director of the Office of Vocation Promotion, Br. Michael Breault, SJ, is working on vocation outreach that's adapting to meet contemporary realities.

November 16, 2015 — Fr. Schlegel died Nov. 15 in Omaha at age 72 after a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

November 16, 2015 — Pope Francis held a private audience to commemorate the organization’s 35th anniversary.

view all news

Search news

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 - 11/30/15

America - 11/23/15

America - 11/16/15

Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.