Joseph Bona, SJ, was born September 28, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. He went to high school in Houston, Texas, and attended the University of Houston, the University of California at Berkeley and St. Mary’s College of Texas in San Antonio, earning an associate’s degree in anthropology and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. A late vocation for those times, he entered the Jesuits at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., on Sept. 1, 1967, at the age of 41. He made his first vows two years later and was ordained May 11, 1972 at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis.
All of Fr. Bona’s assignments were in pastoral and retreat ministry. He served first as associate pastor at the College Church (1973-76), then at St. Francis Xavier in Kansas City, Mo. (1976-79). After one year as retreat director at Immacolata Retreat House in Liberty, Mo., he went to Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo. There he served until 1983 as director of business and finance, house librarian and retreat director.
He directed retreats through the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau, La., (1983-91) and the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, Penn., (1991-94).
From 1994 until this year, he lived at the Xavier Jesuit Center in Denver, serving in pastoral ministry. Declining health necessitated his move to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau in April of this year.
Fr. Bona died July 17, 2017, less than two months short of his 50th anniversary. His obituary can be found in the In Memoriam section.
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White House Jesuit Retreat Center
The White House Jesuit Retreat Center is located on a beautiful 80-acre campus on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis.