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Raymond Gawronski’s life and work
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Raymond Gawronski
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Biography of Raymond Gawronski

Father Raymond Gawronski (1950 - 2016), S.J., was a Jesuit priest for 30 years, but he was also a theologian, an educator, an author, and the spiritual director of seminarians. Father Gawronski contributed a foreword to For God’s Greater Glory: Gems of Jesuit Spirituality, edited by Jean-Pierre LaFouge.

As a theologian, Father Gawronski specialized in dogmatic theology with a focus on eschatology, and on the mystical, particularly as articulated in the work of Hans Urs von Balthasa. He was the author of over thirty articles on various themes, largely touching culture and spirituality, which have appeared in publications such as Communio, New Oxford Review and America, along with the chapter “Redemptor Hominis” in The Thought of John Paul II. Father Gawronski was also the author of the book An Ignatian Retreat (Our Sunday Visitor Press, 2003).

Below is an excerpt from an obituary published in The San Francisco Chronicle on Apr. 20, 2016, honoring Father Gawronski's life following his death at age 65:

“Born on September 9, 1950, in Brooklyn, he grew up in New York and New Jersey, attending St. Joseph's High School in West New York. He graduated from Holy Cross College in 1971 as class valedictorian. After some years of various experiences including accounting on Wall Street, farming in Virginia and driving a taxi in Honolulu, he pursued a MA in world religions at Syracuse University under Professor Huston Smith who, with his wife Kendra, were to become lifelong friends.

“In 1977 he entered the Maryland province of Jesuits. After two years of novitiate at Wernersville, PA, he worked for two years with street people and the poor in Washington, D.C. Then followed: a MA in Philosophy at St. Michael's Institute in Spokane, a M.Div. at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, ordination to the priesthood in 1986, a STL at the Oriental Institute in Rome and a STD at the Gregorian Institute in Rome. His principal assignments were: professor of theology at Marquette University, professor and spiritual director at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver and professor and spiritual director at St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, CA.

“In his study of theology Fr. Ray began a lifelong commitment to the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. His book, Word and Silence: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter between East and West is in its third edition. His TV series on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, A Closer Walk with Christ is very popular for retreat use.

“Fr. Ray was a uniquely gifted Jesuit, with deep faith in God and a great love for the Church. He was blessed with special gifts of intellect, contemplative depth, capacities for writing, teaching, spiritual direction and giving retreats. Gifted in languages, a world traveler and a student of various cultures, he was particularly articulate in the critique of cultures and their impact on religion.”

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