The provincial is the visionary leader responsible for the formation and well-being of the priests and brothers in a Jesuit province. Over the course of each year, he meets with every Jesuit to receive an “account of conscience” to discern prayerfully the spiritual, physical, and ministerial development of each man. During his annual visitations to Jesuit communities, he presides at community liturgies, directs community meetings, meets with the local superior and consults with the local Bishop. The provincial also helps guide the apostolic works of the province – the educational institutions, parishes and retreat ministries – and meets regularly with the directors of works.
The provincial is supported by a team of Provincial Assistants.
Fr. Joseph M. O’Keefe, SJ, is the first provincial of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus. He entered the Jesuits through the New England Province in 1976. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and went on to receive advanced degrees from Fordham University and the Weston School of Theology in Weston, Mass. He was ordained a priest in 1986. After completing a doctorate in education from Harvard University, Fr. O’Keefe became a member of the faculty at Boston College Lynch School of Education, where he taught for 25 years and also served as its dean. He was a visiting professor at Georgetown University as well. Most recently, he served as the rector at Ciszek Hall and superior of Spellman Hall, both at Fordham University, overseeing and mentoring the Jesuit scholastics who live and study on campus. During that time, he also taught at Fordham’s Graduate School of Education. Fr. O’Keefe was a delegate to the Jesuits’ 36th General Congregation in Rome in 2016.