Fr. William M. Watson, S.J., D.Min.

Fr. Bill felt his desire to be a missionary at the age of 18 while watching a TV commercial on people volunteering with the poor in Africa. He joined the Jesuits months later. After taking his first vows, he went back to his native Spokane, WA for studies in philosophy. For some fun during busy study years, he joined a Jesuit rock group that entertained students on campus as lead singer. His house of studies was named Cardinal Bea House, and so the Jesuits chose the name “Bea Pigs” (Bay of Pigs) for the group title–and were a huge hit with GU students. He continued his interest in music by taking opera singing lessons for one year.

Being too young to go to Africa after his first studies in Philosophy, he was instead missioned to Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon where his work in developing Ignatian Programs began. His first program, the Junior Encounter, is now in its forty-first year of operation. More studies in theology and would follow, with Masters in Divinity from Weston School of Theology and a Doctorate in Ministry from The Catholic University of America.

Fr. Bill is in his fourth major career with Sacred Story Institute. Preceding were director positions at Georgetown University in Retreat Programs & VP for Mission at Gonzaga University (many more Ignatian programs created and still operational in both universities). He served as Provincial Assistant for International Ministries for the Oregon Province where his interest in ecology and sustainability was nurtured by his work with the Colombian Jesuits. And he has found time to serve with Fr. Spitzer in founding the original Magis Institute as well as serving in leadership positions with the Gregorian University Foundation and the Pontifical Oriental University.

In his free time, he enjoys photography, movies (horror and Sci-Fi are genre favorites–the author Dean Koontz is a personal friend), and has used his interest in architecture to redesign chapels at Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, Seattle University, and the chapel of Our Lady of the Grapes at the Meritage Resort in Napa Valley. He enjoys humor and his closest friends are those who are working assiduously on efforts to implement the New Evangelization. He constantly uses the phrases: “Be Not Afraid” & “God Has A Plan” to keep his hopes high. He expects to do his most important work in the next twenty years!

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