Remembering Jesuit Father James J. Hosie

June 2, 2016 - Fr. James J. Hosie, SJ, was called to eternal life on May 31, 2016, at Campion Center, Weston, Mass. Fr. Hosie was born on Nov., 26, 1932 in Boston, Mass., and entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 2, 1955 at the Novitiate of St. Stanislaus (Shadowbrook), Lenox, Mass., He was ordained on June 12, 1965 at Weston College, Weston, Mass., and pronounced Final Vows on Nov. 6, 1971, at St. George’s College, Kingston, Jamaica.

Jim Hosie was born in Boston on Nov. 26, 1932. His parents— James Hosie, a lawyer from Scranton and a graduate of the university there, and Katherine Sullivan, a Radcliffe and Sorbonne graduate from South Boston—had met while both were in graduate school. Jim was the oldest of three girls and two boys. The family moved a number of times. Jim grew up in Scranton, Flushing, Bayside, and then in Belmont, a western suburb of Boston. He graduated from Belmont High School in 1950.

Jim commuted to Boston College for a year and then won a Navy ROTC scholarship, which enabled him to go to Holy Cross, where he chose to begin as a freshman. After his first year there, he enjoyed an eight-week training program that took him on a cruise to Europe on the destroyer U.S.S. Waldron. Coincidentally, on the same ship was an enlisted man, Herb Cleary, who would enter the Society, and eventually live in the same B. C. High and Campion communities as Jim. At the end of his sophomore year a physical exam disclosed a congenital back problem, resulting in his leaving the Navy program and losing his scholarship. Financial aid from the college, and part-time jobs, enabled him to get his degree in 1955.

The idea of priesthood had always been at the back of his mind since his days as an altar boy and choir member and one of the stops on his educational journey, at Cathedral College, a prep seminary for commuters in Brooklyn. But it was the example of his Holy Cross mentors that proved decisive and he entered the Shadowbrook novitiate in September, 1955. Six months later Shadowbrook was destroyed by fire and Jim was among those sent to Saint Andrew on Hudson. When he took first vows, in 1957, he was sent directly to Weston to do the philosophy program in two years.

When regency loomed Jim volunteered for Jamaica and was assigned to St. George’s College, where he was to spend 24 years of his life. He taught Latin, religion, and math, and learned to play tennis, which became a big part of his life—coaching at George’s and later at B.C. High, organizing tournaments, and even winning the All-Jamaica veterans’ singles title several times. Jim returned to Weston in 1962 and experienced the ferment of changing approaches to theology during the years of the Council. He was ordained there in June, 1965. He contemplated studying for a doctorate in theology but decided his licentiate and a master’s in education, which he earned at Harvard, would be enough preparation for high-school teaching, which he knew was his first love.

After tertianship he returned to Jamaica in 1967. There were more than 100 Jesuits in Jamaica in those years and it was a lively place for a young Jesuit to be. At the same time the Jesuits were experiencing the changes that were in the air after the Council. Those who wanted to work directly in social action projects were sometimes at odds with those who were committed to the schools, the parishes, and the seminary. Jim resumed teaching at George’s and coaching. He worked with an ecumenical group under the education ministry to revise the national high-school religion curriculum and did a program in spiritual direction offered by the Jamaican Center for Religious Development, a province ministry. After a sabbatical in 1979-1980, he returned to Jamaica and became assistant headmaster and, subsequently, in 1982, headmaster at St. George’s. The number of Jesuits in Jamaica was shrinking by this time and the region was re-assessing its ministries and trying to envision the future. A plan was proposed to change the structure of the schools’ administration, with a president installed over the headmaster. 

Jim returned to Boston in 1987 and lived at the Jesuit Center, in Charlestown, which offered retreat and educational programs to working men and women. At Gloucester, he made a crucial retreat that helped him see that it was Christ he was obeying. The following year he did a sabbatical program at Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Urged by Jesuit administrators at B. C. High to apply for a position there, he joined the faculty at the school in 1989.

He had a whole second career at B. C. High. For the next 26 years, he taught scripture to upper-level students, including a senior Greek New Testament course, co-taught with a classics teacher. He also coached tennis, of course. In 1991, he initiated a 19th Annotation Retreat program for the faculty that continues to the present. Summers he regularly directed retreats at Campion and at Gloucester and occasionally in the Caribbean. He also kept in touch with former students from St. George’s and attended their Old Boys’ meetings in Jamaica, Toronto, and Florida.

A heart attack in 2001 slowed Jim down a bit but he went back to all his former activities after a few weeks of recuperation. He began the academic year 2015-2016 in the classroom as usual, but a diagnosis of prostate cancer and difficulties with his back and legs led to his moving to Campion Center in November. At Campion he used a walker and, increasingly, a wheelchair to get around but otherwise took part in Community activities. Faculty, staff, and students at B. C. High honored him at an all-school assembly in January. A group of former students from Jamaica organized a visit, which he greatly enjoyed. In recent weeks he visibly weakened. Early in the morning of May 30, the nursing staff discovered that he had died in his sleep.



Sun., June 5, 2016  
3:00-6:00 p.m.
Boston College High School – Loyola Chapel
Dorchester, MA 02125
150 Morrissey Blvd.


Mon., June 6, 2016  
10:00 p.m.                 
McNiece Pavilion
Boston College High School


Mon., June 6, 2016
2:00 p.m.
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Campion Center
319 Concord Road
Weston, MA 02493
followed by burial in the Campion Center Cemetery.

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