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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Fr Jack Gillick SJ RIP
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¬†The British Jesuits' first official photographer and Beaumont College's last headmaster has died at the age of 89. Cheshire-born John (Jack) Gillick was born in 1916, and went to school at St Francis Xavier's College in Liverpool. After entering the Jesuit Noviciate at Manresa House in Roehampton, Surrey, he studied at Heythrop College, Oxon, and Campion Hall, Oxford, where he achieved a B.A. 1st Class Honours in History. Following his ordination in 1948, Fr Gillick was asked by the Provincial, Fr Martin D'Arcy, to become the Province's photographer as the Jesuits sought ways to embrace new means of communication. His first publication was an illustrated guide to celebrating the Mass ≠ The Breaking of Bread - with words by fellow Jesuit, John Coventry. In 1951, he began teaching at Beaumont College in Old Windsor, where he also served as Assistant Prefect of Studies and Spiritual Father. In 1960, he took up a full-time position as province photographer and founded Manresa Press Photographics. Besides documenting province activities, he prepared catechetical and teaching aides. He also spent six months in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) working on a project to create images that could be used to teach the sacraments. Fr Gillick was appointed headmaster of Beaumont College in 1964, a position he held for three years, until it was decided to close the school in 1967. On leaving Beaumont, he studied for two years at Loyola University in Chicago where he was awarded an M.A. in Counselling. It was at this point that the Jesuit Father General, Pedro Arrupe, invited the British priest to spearhead the Society's work in the South Africa. In the dark years of apartheid, there were many dangers for priests and suspicion of 'missionaries'; Fr Gillick used the need to bring the renewal that Vatican II called for as the apparent reason for his presence in South Africa, and worked with many religious orders in spirituality and psychology. At the same time, he was trying to develop the Society of Jesus' presence for whichever way the social and political situation would go. He helped to found and was the first Director of the Fons Vitae Institute in South Africa (part of the British Province). In addition to leading the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, he also started counselling for South African affected by HIV/AIDS. Based at the Rosebank Community in Cape Town since 1990, Jack worked closely with the Sisters of Nazareth in their care for people with AIDS and HIV at Nazareth House. He collapsed and died at the Jesuit Residence in Cape Town yesterday morning. Source: Jesuit Communications Office
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