James Conway SJ
Fr James Conway SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 1994 at the age of 31. “The sense of a journey has been very real as God has accompanied me all along the way: through thick and thin, He has been faithful to me, though I have not always been faithful to Him” he reflects.
Fr James was born in Gateshead and entered the novitiate in Birmingham IN 1994. After his studies in London, he went to Paris, to teach theology at Centre Sèvres, Jesuit faculty of philosophy and theology.
Back from France, Fr James was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, in July 2006 at St Ignatius in Stamford Hill. He gained a MA degree in Pastoral Theology from Heythrop and then the Parish of St Ignatius welcomed him back, as assistant chaplain and vocations promoter at St Ignatius College, Enfield. For the following years, Fr James didn’t really leave North East London, as he moved to the Hurtado Jesuit Centre, to work with Jesuit Refugee Service UK.
After his tertianship in the United States, Fr James spent five years in the remotest parts of Guyana, where he had previously lived and worked during his experiment in 1996. “This time I have spent in Guyana working with indigenous tribes in the Amazon have been very challenging”, he says, “but they have confirmed for me that St Ignatius offers something universal to the Church. Our gift of Ignatian spirituality is relevant to everyone around the world from the rainforest to western Europe.”
Fr James Conway professed his Final Vows at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, on the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in June 2018. “The final vows are a full incorporation to the Society. The Society is saying to me that I do truly belong as part of its incorporated body, and this sits very comfortably and tenderly with me. It is the equivalent in St Ignatius’ own personal journey of his vision at La Storta, where he saw himself placed alongside the Son.”
“In a way, you need to renew those vows nearly every day. I feel very nourished and blessed by the incredible opportunities I have been given over my years with the Society of Jesus, to get to know myself, God, and the people of God.”
His next ministry will be based in London, developing a new project to inspire young people to embrace the values of integral ecology, as expressed by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’. “My work will definitely be flavoured by what I learned from the people of the Amazon – that human and environmental ecology go hand in hand.”
Listen to his vocation story: