Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Clifford Joseph English (1924-2004)

Cleric, educator.

Born at Dubuc, Saskatchewan on 7 February 1924, son of Len and Dessa English, he entered the Jesuits on 30 July 1949, was ordained a priest on 18 June 1961, and took his final vows on 31 January 1969. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius were his abiding passion along with his commitment to furthering Christian Life Communities in Canada. Until the time of his death he conducted spirituality workshops and training sessions throughout Canada, United States, Britain, Ireland, Spain, India, and Japan. He served as director of Loyola House (Guelph, Ontario) for eight years. In 1973, he published a book that became a classic in his broader community, Spiritual Freedom: From an Experience of the Ignatian Exercises to the Art of Spiritual Guidance. He was sought after as a spiritual director throughout most of his life. He was also a member of the Society of Jesus for the Upper Canadian Province for more than half a century.

After many years of work in the Toronto-Guelph region in these areas, in 1996 he moved to Winnipeg where he served as Superior of the Jesuits; as a member of the Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba; as National Ecclesial Assistant for the Christian Life Communities; and as animator of the Spiritual Exercises at St. Ignatius. He was known for his easy manner and sense of humour, as well as his ability to discover the goodness of God in everyone he met.

He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 9 June 2004 and was buried in the St. Mary’s Cemetery.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 June 2004.

Some Personal Reflections On The Development Of The Personally Directed Retreat Movement And The Work Of J. J. English, S.J. Through The Guelph Centre Of Spirituality by J. Veltri, Orientations for Spiritual Growth.

This page was prepared by Lois Braun.

Page revised: 18 June 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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