Fr. Bill Watson, S.J.

Founder & President, Sacred Story Institute

Fr. Bill Watson, S.J. specializes in building enduring Ignatian-based programs that stand the test of time. The Encounter program at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon turned 44 in 2023 and has transformed the school. The Five-Day Ignatian Retreat at Georgetown University turned 36 and the Georgetown Freshman ESCAPE turned 32 in 2023.

Fr. Watson is a frequent guest on EWTN Live, EWTN Bookmark, and many Catholic radio shows. Fr. Watson has collaborated extensively with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. on many programs and initiatives over the last 35 years.

Backed by his 40-plus years of successful Ignatian retreat program designs, Fr. Watson creates Christian formation programs that can stand the test of time. Aware of a dilution of doctrine that has crept into Catholic and Ignatian practices, Fr. Watson has built all SSI programming based on orthodox Catholic and Ignatian theology and spirituality. SSI’s research methodology for all new programs ensures that the ancient truths of the Faith detailed in its courses and program materials are accessible for today’s Catholics.


Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, 1978

Master of Divinity, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, MA, 1986

Master of Pastoral Studies, (Th. M.), Weston Jesuit, 1986

Academic Sabbatical; Fordham University Bronx, NY, 1998-1999

Doctor of Ministry, The Catholic University of America Washington, D.C., 2009


1973 Entrance to Oregon Province of The Society of Jesus, Sheridan, OR

1975 First Vows, Portland, OR

1984 Diaconate Ordination, Cambridge, MA

1985 Priestly Ordination, Spokane, WA

1993-1994 Tertianship, Belfast, Northern Ireland

1994 Final Vows, Georgetown University


2011-Present President Sacred Story Institute

2009-2011 Family Ministry & Research for Sacred Story Institute

2007-2009 Pius X Parish, Portland, OR, Pastoral Assistant

2004-2009 Oregon Province, Portland, OR, Assistant for Colombia and International Ministries

2002-2007 Magis Institute: Co-Founder; Board Member; Program Director, Orange Co, CA

1999-2004 Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, Vice President for Mission

1986-1998 Georgetown University Washington, D.C., Retreat Programs Office: Founder/Director,

1985-1986 Tufts University Catholic Center, Cambridge, MA, Chaplain/Retreat Director

1985-1986 L’Arche of New England, Spiritual Director for Corporate Board

1984-1985 Boston University Newman Center, Boston, MA, Chaplain

1983-1984 Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, MA, Liturgical Committee

1979-1982 Jesuit High School Portland, OR, Director, Campus Ministry/Theology Instructor

1978-1979 Seattle University, Seattle, WA, Director of Liturgy and Music


2020 Mercy ~ A Sacred Story

2019 TRUE HEART ~ A Way to Selflessness

2019 TRUE HEART Practices

2019 Forty Weeks for Priests

2018 Forty Weeks ~ Letters from Prison

- 2018 Spanish Version

2016 The Whole-Life Confession

- 2016 Spanish Version

2016 Understanding the Spiritual World

2015 Sacred Story Affirmations-Reflections on Spiritual Discernment

2015 My Sacred Story Missal

- 2015 Spanish Version

2015 Sacred Story Rosary: An Ignatian Way to Pray the Mysteries

2014 Inviting God Into Your Life—Second Edition

2014 Inviting God Into Your Life—Second Edition

2013 Forty Weeks—An Ignatian Path to Christ

- 2023 Mandarin and Slovenian Versions

- 2019 Italian Version

- 2017 Spanish Version

2012 Sacred Story—An Ignatian Examen for the Third Millennium

2005 Reflections and Homilies—The Gonzaga Connection, Wipf and Stock Publishers

2003 Inviting God Into Your Life—Practical Prayer for Daily Life, Paulist Press

2002 (May) A New Jesuit Reductions, In All Things

2000 (Nov) Ex Corde Ecclesiae, La Civiltta Catholica

2000 (May) Campus Culture, American Magazine

1992-98 Georgetown University Retreat Perspectives Newsletter – Editor