Monday, July 12, 2010

Father John Wickham, S.J. (R.I.P.)

FATHER JOHN F. WICKHAM, a fellow Jesuit, died at René Goupil House, Pickering, Ontario (The Jesuit Infirmary) after a long illness, on Wednesday July 7.

His funeral will be celebrated this morning in St. Ignatius Chapel, Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre at 10:30 a.m., with burial this afternoon at the Jesuit Cemetery in Guelph.

John was in his 84th year and 67th of religious life (he entered at the age of 16!)

I knew him as a professor of English literature at Ignatius College where he taught in the Juniorate. His classes were among the most informative, challenging and inspirational in my college curriculum. He had just completed doctoral studies on Jonathan Swift and was a master of literary criticism, which was useful to me later in my studies of Sacred Scripture. An approachable and affable person, he was much appreciated by his Jesuit confreres.

Later, when the Jesuit scholastics studied at the University of Guelph, he taught on the faculty there.

After his teaching career, he became a much-appreciated retreat director and served as director of The Ignatian Centre in Montreal. He was the author of books on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola (one of his books may be accessed on line).

He will be missed by his Jesuit colleagues, friends and family; he is survived by his brother Arthur, sister Vickie LaPrairie and sister-in-law Enid Wickham.

In his memory donations may be made to the Jesuit Development Office, 43 Queen's Park Crescent East Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C3 for Jesuits in formation and for the care of elderly Jesuits.