I love working with fellow Jesuits. It’s easy to relate on a deeper level with them.
Rev. John Higgins, S.J.
Hometown: Boston, MA
Education: M.S. Psychology, Tufts University; M.A. Philosophy & S.T.L. Theology, Boston College; S.T.D. Spiritual and Moral Theology, Catholic University of America
Current position: Administrator and Treasurer for the Jesuit Community on campus; Spiritual Director
A calling at Fairfield
There are few individuals—Jesuits or otherwise—who can claim five different positions at Fairfield!
Rev. John Higgins, S.J., was a Jesuit scholastic at Fairfield Prep from 1960-62, teaching English, Latin, and religion to sophomores. Since then, he has been called back to Fairfield to serve in various positions four additional times: in 1971, for one year of teaching theology and assisting in Campus Ministry; from 1979 to 1994 as executive assistant to the president (with Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J.); and from 1998 to 2004 as rector for the Jesuit Community. This past spring, Fr. Higgins he was called back to campus to serve as administrator and treasurer for the Jesuit Community. In between these Fairfield assignments, he was rector of the Jesuits in Maine, an assistant provincial twice for the New England Province (1976-79 and 2004-10), and the rector at The College of the Holy Cross.
About life in the residence halls
Fr. Higgins has also lived in many places on campus. He lived for a year in a room in McAuliffe Hall, another in Berchman’s Hall, several summers on the top floor of Bellarmine Hall, the former Jesuit residence at St. Ignatius Hall, and now in the new Jesuit Community Center on campus. In 1971, just one year after Fairfield admitted women, Fr. Higgins lived in a room on the women’s corridor at Gonzaga. From 1974 to 1994, he lived in Joques Hall. “There were 92 Jesuits then—we lived everywhere,” he said. It was quite a different campus than the one he’d experienced in 1960, but he enjoyed living in the dorms. “It was good for me, and important to get to know the students. I still keep in touch with some of those students—who now have families of their own.”
Although most of his assignments have been in the Northeast, Fr. Higgins has traveled to Jamaica for service, studied in Ireland and Berkeley, Calif., and has visited England, France, the Holy Land, and enjoyed an Ignatian pilgrimage in Spain during his recent sabbatical.
About becoming a Jesuit
Fr. Higgins joined the Society of Jesus at age 18, after graduating from Boston College High School in 1953. Two things attracted him about the Jesuits: living in community, which he finds very gratifying, and his desire to teach. “I love working with fellow Jesuits. It’s easy to relate on a deeper level with them.”
Back at Fairfield
In this latest appointment at Fairfield, Fr. Higgins is also sharing his gift for spiritual direction, meeting each month with individuals from both on and off campus. “I am happy to get back to something a bit more pastoral,” he says. “I love spiritual direction.” Fr. Higgins also helps out as presider at Mass in Egan Chapel and in other local parishes, such as St. Anthony’s in Fairfield.
Generally, Fr. Higgins says, it’s a fulfilling life. He enjoys a daily two-mile walk around campus. “My daily prayer is ‘Lord, keep me a happy and holy Jesuit.’”
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