A Jesuit's Journey:
Fr. Robert Leiweke, SJ
Approachable. Attentive. Authentic. Available.
April 18, 2013 – These words come up time and again when his fellow Jesuits describe Fr. Bob Leiweke, SJ. It is such qualities that have made him a valuable – and valued – spiritual director. Yet these words also characterize Fr. Leiweke’s willingness to live out a hallmark of the Jesuit tradition: a man who readily takes on whatever ministry comes his way.
For example, when the bishops of Des Moines and Omaha sought someone to provide spiritual guidance, direction, companionship and retreats for the clergy in their dioceses, Fr. Leiweke was there. He would often say he didn’t have all the answers, but those who looked to him for a compassionate ear found a genuine source of strength.
Certainly, over the course of more than 65 years as a Jesuit, Fr. Leiweke served in many a parish and classroom role. They included math teacher at Regis High School (Denver), associate pastor at Gesu Parish (Milwaukee), religion teacher at Campion High School (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin), rector and chairman of student spiritual formation at Creighton Prep (Omaha), and pastoral care provider at Creighton and Marquette Universities.
Yet his gift (and that which has made Fr. Leiweke happiest) has been in being present for whomever asks, in any circumstance – but especially when serving as a director for the Spiritual Exercises. Without fanfare. In his own quiet and humble way.
S P I R I T U A L I T Y
Fr. Leiweke moved to the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in 2010 and can no longer provide spiritual direction. Yet he continues to serve as a companion to his Jesuit brethren. Perhaps his outlook is best captured in this reflection of former Superior General Pedro Arrupe, SJ:
“More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.”