Advent Reflections


Dig deeper in your daily prayer! JRH Associate Director Sr. Susan Kusz, SND offers a reflection on Monday’s Gospel on She will be writing for each Monday during Advent and Christmas. You can search by date (November 28, December 5, 12, 19, 26, 2016 and January 2, 2017), sign up for a daily email or download the free app on

You can view Sr. Susan’s first reflection here:

November 28, 2016


Pray With Us – Laudato Si Week


Laudato Si Week is an international celebration of the one year anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, released on June 18, 2015. This week (June 12-19) is a time to reflect on the encyclical’s message and relevance, as well as an opportunity to take action to bring it to life. Sr. Susan Kusz from the JRH staff is one of 500 Laudato Si Animators who are working to raise consciousness globally. She has written night prayers for the June 15-24 retreatants during Laudato Si Week. We would like to share those prayers with you (see below) for June 16, 17, and 19. Please join us and the global Catholic community as we praise God for the gift of creation and pledge to care for our common home so that all might have life and have it in abundance!


Prayer for Thursday night, June 16, 2016

Prayer for Friday night, June 17, 2016

Prayer for Sunday night, June 19, 2016

Important Update to 2016 Retreat Schedule

We have had Retreat Director changes on (4) retreats that will be taking place later this year.  Please read below for more information on the UPDATED Retreat Director, dates and number of openings available for each retreat.

To register, call Trish (JRH Registrar) at 920-231-9060 or register online here.  A credit card is required for deposit.

#122 Women 12-Step
August 18-21, 2016
Director: Sr. Lorna Hays, IBVM Lorna Hays IBVM
Openings Available: 30
Sr. Lorna Hays, IBVM, is a religious of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary and currently serves as the Director of Loretto House, a transitional home for women who are survivors of domestic violence and/or substance use disorders.  Her previous 30 years of ministry has been with an Agency as a social worker, with addictions and domestic violence as her primary focus.  Her sobriety date is October 20, 1973.  Sr. Lorna has been directing 12 Step Spirituality/ Serenity retreats for recovering persons over the last 32 years.
#039 Men
September 15-18, 2016
Original Director Roc O’Connor will be replaced by:
Director: Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ
Openings Available: Wait ListFr Chris Manahan_PHOTO_jpeg
Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ became director of the Jesuit Retreat House on January 1, 2015.  He entered the Society of Jesus in 1993 at the age of 37, after a 15-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Fr. Chris was inspired to consider religious life because of his older brother Tom’s experience as a Jesuit. He was at JRH from January to May 1995, learning from Fr. Dick McCaslin, S.J., and Sr. Marie Schwan, CSJ, early in his Jesuit formation.  Prior to coming to Oshkosh, Fr. Chris spent 8 years at the Jesuit Novitiate in Saint Paul, MN, working with young men preparing to make vows in the Society of Jesus.
#040 Women
September 22-25, 2016
Original Director Patti Clement will be replaced by:
Director: Fr. Jack Treloar, SJ
Openings Available: 22Treloar, Jack SJ
Father Jack Treloar, S.J. entered the Society of Jesus in 1957 at the novitiate in Florissant, Missouri. He taught high school in St. Louis and was ordained in 1970 by Most Reverend James V. Casey in Denver Co. Fr. Jack has earned advanced degrees in Philosophy and Dogmatic/Systemic Theology from St. Louis University and a doctorate from Michigan State University. Over the next fifty-five years, as a professor, scholar, lecturer, author and academic administrator, Fr. Jack’s ministry has taken him back to St. Louis University and Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI), to the Jesuit School of Theology (Berkeley, CA) and to the offices of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. His special fields of interest are the history of medieval philosophy and the philosophy of Kant.  Fr. Jack is currently on staff at the Jesuit Retreat House.
#041 Women
October 6-9, 2016
Original Director Carol Ackels will be replaced by:
Director: Fr. Anthony Borrow, SJ
Openings Available: 27Anthony Borrow
Fr. Anthony Borrow, SJ joined the Jesuits in 1998 and has enjoyed many opportunities to learn about the Society of Jesus, the Church, and the world. He has a special interest in sharing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola.  Fr. Anthony has written a series of reflections based on the Spiritual Exercises called Toward Greater Freedom which aims to help people foster a personal relationship with Jesus.  For more information on Fr. Anthony, please visit

When Ed Met Bill: A Jesuit/AA Connection

Fall 2015-3

Fr. James Harbaugh, SJ writes: “Dowling told Wilson the 12 Steps had a lot in common with the Spiritual Exercises. Each employs spiritual principles that help practitioners gain freedom from what Ignatius of Loyola called “inordinate attachments,” and which AA calls “alcoholism.”  To read the entire article, click below:

 When Ed Met Bill A Jesuit/AA Connection

Jesuits Central and Southern   Fall 2015    Reprinted with permission.

Grand Opening / Dedication / Farewell Celebration

Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh unveils new additions

Fr. Manahan says life as a Jesuit, in time of Pope Francis, is gratifying

Fr. Manahan says life as a Jesuit, in time of Pope Francis, is gratifying

By Jaye Alderson | For The Compass
March 5, 2015

1510FrChrisManahan_05_JM.jpgweb2OSHKOSH — For Fr. Chris Manahan now, life as a Jesuit priest is the most satisfying one he can imagine. But he didn’t take his vows until the age of 37 because there were other avenues in life he wanted to try, he said.

“God is very patient,” he said. “He knows that’s something I wanted. Doing it the way I did was necessary for me to be happy. I didn’t want to have the ‘what ifs.’”

Fr. Manahan is the new director of the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh. He grew up in Rochester, Minn., number eight in a family of nine children. He attended Catholic schools through high school and was taught by Franciscans. A sister, Kate, entered a Franciscan order, and an older brother, Tom, entered the Jesuit order.

“Religious life was familiar to me,” he said. Yet he studied political science and journalism at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1978. His goal was to head up a newspaper newsroom. He worked for three years at a small daily newspaper in Albert Lea, Minn., then achieved his goal at a newspaper in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1982-1991.

“I wanted to head up a newsroom, have nice place to live, travel a lot,” he said. And that all came to pass. But then he started to think, “‘Do I want to keep doing this for next 35 years?’ I was focused so much on my work, and personal relationships and faith were put to the side. I liked the work, but I didn’t like that imbalance.”

His brother, Tom, entered the Jesuits in 1985 after working in marketing for General Mills, and he now teaches theology and does campus ministry at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. “I liked the change I saw in Tom during his formation,” Fr. Manahan said. “He was more calm, peaceful, balanced. That impressed me. I started to think about what might be better for me.”

He thought about a career in education or the religious life. He took a leave of absence from the newspaper to earn a teaching degree and met with his parish priest “to learn ways of discerning the choice I was trying to make,” he said.

A pension from the newspaper allowed him to take that time without financial concern. “God knows me,” Fr. Manahan said. “‘He’s going to worry about this otherwise.’”

A relationship “sparked thoughts of marriage, but I realized that that kind of relationship wasn’t what would complete me,” he said. “I don’t think I would have been satisfied without that experience, but I was looking for something else. I’m satisfied that the consecrated life feels for me like it does in a relationship between a husband and wife. I felt more complete and satisfied taking the vows. I had a clearer sense that I knew where God was calling me.”

Because of his brother’s example, Fr. Manahan decided that becoming a Jesuit was the best match for him. “The Jesuits focus on whatever an individual has for talents, skills and potential, and develop that to the fullest and use it for the greater glory of God.”

As a novice he spent some time at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh. He then spent eight years working with novices at St. Paul Jesuit Novitiate of the Upper Midwest in Minnesota, where he was able to combine his interests in both teaching and the religious life.

Because Fr. Manahan comes from a large family, a community life provides the support he needs and relies on for his life. “That sense of community is one of the gifts that religious life offers,” he said. “Even though it’s not the same as family, it’s as valued and needed.”

Another advantage is the balance that he had sought for his life. “The personal, professional and spiritual are meant to be well-balanced,” he said. “The consecrated life encourages and fosters that in a way that I needed. For me, the formation received during the religious life has helped make me a more balanced person than I would be on my own.”

He hopes to bring that same sense of balance to retreatants to the Jesuit Retreat House. “They are coming here to pray and develop their relationship with God, listen to God and find God,” he said. The retreat house is in its final stages of a renovation and expansion that has about doubled the available space with new bedrooms, a small chapel and two conference rooms. A soft opening was held on Jan. 4, and a grand opening will be held July 11.

The fact that Pope Francis is a fellow Jesuit comes as a “tremendous shock,” Fr. Manahan said. “Our order is built on a premise we don’t seek higher office within the church. To be a bishop is unusual, and then to be elected pope…

“He seems so familiar because his formation as a Jesuit is similar — how he sees the world, talks about God, prays. Ignatius (of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order) wanted us to be out with people and to engage the world. It isn’t something to be separated from,” said Fr. Manahan. “You can find God in all things. God created all things to make himself present. When Pope Francis speaks, that comes through in the way that’s recognizable to other Jesuits.

“I feel gratitude. We’re grateful for Ignatius letting himself be guided by God’s spirit to let other people get the sense of God that Ignatius was given,” the Jesuit added. “It makes God very close and real to each of us. The way God worked through Ignatius, through the church and now through Francis, that’s what I’m grateful for, and it can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Jesuit ministries reach from state across globe

Fr Chris Manahan_PHOTO_jpeg

By Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ

Jesuit [jezh-oo-it], noun

  1. a member of a Roman Catholic religious order (Society of Jesus), founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534.
  2. (often lowercase) a crafty, intriguing, or equivocating person: so called in allusion to the methods ascribed to the order by its opponents.

The 2014 Random House Dictionary entry for “Jesuit” hints at how diverse the answers can be to the question: “What does it mean to be a Jesuit?” Yet, the election of Pope Francis, a Jesuit, makes the question worthwhile.

Jesuits are involved in Wisconsin in education, spiritual retreats and direction, pastoral work, and social issues. Marquette University, Marquette University High School, Nativity Middle School, and soon-to-be Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, all in Milwaukee, are Jesuit works. On the outskirts of Oshkosh the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago hosts more than 2,000 men and women annually for silent retreats of prayer and spiritual direction. Jesuits serve at Gesu and St. Patrick’s in Milwaukee, help meet the sacramental needs of parishes and religious communities throughout southeast Wisconsin, and are involved in timely social issues.

Worldwide more than 18,000 Jesuits are carrying on these same ministries and more in nearly every country in the world, fulfilling the words of Pope Paul VI, some 40 years ago, and reiterated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008: “Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme fields, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the front line of social conflict, where there has been and there is confrontation between the deepest desires of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, there also have been, and there are, Jesuits.”

Jesuits in 1974 defined themselves in their 32nd general congregation thus: “What is it to be a Jesuit? It is to know that one is a sinner, yet called to be a companion of Jesus as Ignatius was . . . . What is it to be a companion of Jesus today? It is to engage, under the standard of the Cross, in the crucial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and that struggle for justice which it includes.” Among the Jesuits elected to that congregation to govern the Society was Father Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, now Pope Francis.

The struggle for faith and justice springs from Jesus’ own words when asked, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” He replies: “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

When the 33rd general congregation of the Society of Jesus met in 1985, again with Father Bergoglio present, it cited as concerns:

  • the spiritual hunger of so many, particularly the young, who search for meaning and values in a technological culture;
  • attacks by governments on human rights through assassination, imprisonment, torture, the denial of religious freedom and political expression . . . ;
  • the sad plight of millions of refugees searching for a permanent home . . .;
  • discrimination against whole categories of human beings, such as migrants and racial and religious minorities;
  • the unjust treatment and exploitation of women;
  • public policies and social attitudes which threaten human life for the unborn, the handicapped, and the aged;
  • economic oppression and spiritual needs of the unemployed, of poor and landless peasants, and of workers.

These concerns have intensified in the subsequent 30 years. Yet, in the eyes of those who vow themselves as “companions of Jesus,” hope remains that with each person’s God-given gifts – developed to the fullest – and the help of God’s grace we can continue “to strive for God’s reign here on earth with works of justice, love, and peace.” Striving to do God’s will is what it means to be a Jesuit.

Fr. Chris Manahan, S.J., is on the staff of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago,, and will become its director in January 2015.