News Detail
“They don’t want me to talk about politics, they want me to be that humanizing thing there.” —Jesuit Father Pat Conroy
Jesuit Chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives Gives Loyola Club Keynote Speech

By Doris Yu

October 11, 2013 — Amid the current gridlock in Congress and the federal government shutdown, Jesuit Father Pat Conroy, chaplain to the United States House of Representatives since 2011, asked others to recall the humanity in their peers at a Loyola Club luncheon in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

The Loyola Club gathers Jesuit-educated alumni and friends for food, fellowship and inspiration, bringing D.C.-area leaders with Jesuit connections to speak at regularly-scheduled luncheons. Each meeting explores ways to apply Jesuit spirituality in everyday life and to use it as a means to strengthen communities. 

Fr. Conroy, in his keynote speech, described the significance of Ignatian discernment and obedience throughout his career. Beginning with his calling to the Society of Jesus, to ministering on two American Indian reservations, to switching to university ministry and leading student retreats at Seattle University and Georgetown University and ending with his current assignment as the chaplain of the House, Fr. Conroy spoke about his journey the way he would while leading a retreat. “I think it says a lot about Jesuit spirituality and Jesuit charism and how that plays out in somebody’s life,” he said about the retreat talk format.

He recounted his experiences leading the ESCAPE retreat at Georgetown University, a program he founded in the early 1990s, which has recently been given a new home at the university’s newly-opened Calcagnini Contemplative Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Bluemont, Va. For Fr. Conroy, retreats were what helped him “come fully alive.” 

“That’s what brought me to life: working with young people like this. Because I had my story, I could talk to them and help them to start the discernment process,” said Fr. Conroy, who discovered his love of retreats while studying law at Jesuit universities. “If it’s not giving you life, pay attention to that. Find something that brings you alive, not something that you can brag about and everybody says ‘Great’ and in the meantime you’re dying.” 

He discussed his exclusive perspective of Congress, calling attention to the reality that members of Congress do not interact enough on a personal level. “This is a systemic problem in Congress. … Without that human relationship, the only relationship they have is as opponents,” he said.  

When asked what spiritual guidance could be given to members of Congress during the shutdown, Fr. Conroy said that the presence of a stronger humanizing element would be most helpful at this point. “The only thing I can do — and this is what I always try to do in all my work — is try to evoke my own humanity and the humanity of the person I’m encountering,” said Fr. Conroy. “They don’t want me to talk about politics, they want me to be that humanizing thing there.” 

Fr. Conroy also mentioned his idea to offer a retreat to members of Congress to encourage closer, more genial relationships. “I would like the opportunity to get people together, like on the Jesuit retreats,” he said. “It’s on my horizon, it’s on my radar.”

To learn more about the Loyola Club, visit loyolaclubdc.org


Recent News


April 24, 2017 — Members of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network traveled from the Amazon region to Washington, D.C., last month to advocate for their rights to land and clean water.

April 18, 2017 — Fr. Kesicki's homily from the Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope on April 18.

April 18, 2017 — On April 17, the Jesuits celebrated a private Mass for the descendants of slaves sold by the Society in 1838; Fr. Robert Hussey, SJ, delivered the homily.

April 14, 2017 — The new laundromat in Rome represents the latest gift from the pope to the city’s poor and homeless people.

April 13, 2017 — Since its founding in 2009, the Kino Border Initiative has been serving and advocating for immigrants and providing "a humanizing presence on the border."

April 12, 2017 — For Father Timothy Kesicki, SJ, his mother’s Friday evening meals during Lent are among his greatest childhood memories.

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 5/1/17

America 4/17/17

America 4/3/17



Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House
Located on the shores of Lake Lewisville in Lake Dallas, Texas, Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House is situated on an inviting 37-acre campus less than an hour north of Dallas.