Friday, 7 November 2014

Gerard W Hughes R.I.P.

Scottish Jesuit Gerard Hughes, who has died aged 90.

Gerry, as he was known, was that rare thing in the modern secular age: a genuinely popular spiritual writer. His book God of Surprises (1985) sold nearly 250,000 copies and was translated into more than 20 languages. For many readers, the book became a spiritual lifeline that kept them within the church at a time when they were thinking of leaving.
Key to his appeal was that he neither preached perfection nor held himself up as anything special. He was, in his own words, one of the many “bewildered, confused or disillusioned Christians who have a love-hate relationship with the church to which they belong, or once belonged”. His winning ability to see God in everyday life was complemented by his refusal to be bound by dogma or denomination.
His honesty about his own struggle to believe and his brushes with depression – his father was a depressive, two of his sisters took their own lives and he feared that he might follow them – attracted large numbers to his retreats. His record, while Catholic chaplain at Glasgow University from 1967 until 1975, of being twice dismissed by the local archbishop and twice reinstated made him something of a hero figure for those battling to promote discussion and debate within an authoritarian church.
Source here
I met Fr Gerry several times, he came to our house & prayed the rosary with us & found him gentle, humble & kind to our family. May he rest in peace.


  1. May he indeed rest in peace. I’m re-reading a book at the moment in which Father Hughes is mentioned a number of times, 'Cá bhfuil Walsingham?' (Where is Walsingham?) by Irish Jesuit Fr Frainc Mac Brádaigh who describes walking from Holyhead to Walsingham more than 30 years ago. He met Fr Huges while he took a short break at St Beuno’s, the Jesuit retreat house in north Wales. I read 'God of Surprises' a long time ago and found it helpful. I have found God to be such on many occasions in my life.

  2. Thanks Fr Sean - think I will re-read it. I'm thinking of learning Irish - so could read the book you mention!


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