Father Kenneth A. Buddendorff, SJ, died Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Grand Coteau, La. He was 88 years old, a Jesuit for 70 years and a priest for 57 years.
Remembered by his Jesuit brothers as joyful and enthusiastic, his life will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, in the St. Charles College Chapel in Grand Coteau. The visitation will be immediately beforehand, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the same location. Burial will be in the Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College.
Born in New Orleans on Sept. 9, 1929, he was the son of Kenneth Buddendorff, Sr. and Marguerite Mumme Buddendorff. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, James, and his sister, Doris Buddendorff White. He is survived by a sister-in-law, Shirley Buddendorff Sanders and other family, as well as his brothers in the Society of Jesus.
After graduating from Jesuit High School in New Orleans in 1947, he attended Loyola University in New Orleans for one year (1947-48) before entering the Society of Jesus on July 1, 1948 at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 14, 1961, in the St. Joseph Chapel on the Spring Hill College campus in Mobile, Ala.
Fr. Buddendorff’s ministry included work in secondary and higher education, as well as provincial administration for the former New Orleans Province. He had a special interest in promoting the Christian Life Community, an international association of lay Christians who use the teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola as the basis of their spiritual lives. His interest in and success with vocation promotion led him to be appointed the first full-time vocation director of the New Orleans Province, a post in which he served off-and-on from 1966 to 1991.
“Father Bud,” as he was known, was popular with students as a campus minister at both Jesuit high schools in New Orleans and Dallas and at Loyola University, where he served on the campus ministry team for many years. He served for briefer periods as campus minister at Spring Hill College and at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
He served for two years (1970-72) as executive assistant for the first vice-provincial for formation in the New Orleans Province. He served as rector of the Jesuit community at Jesuit College Prep in Dallas (1991-97); director and superior at Our Lady of the Oaks, a retreat house in Grand Coteau (1997-2008); and assistant director of a community for senior Jesuits in New Orleans. At Our Lady of the Oaks he helped develop a program to train directors of the Spiritual Exercises, reflecting his keen interest in making them available as widely as possible.
In his work with men entering the Society of Jesus, his buoyant and reassuring manner eased the concerns of both Jesuits and parents alike. He was a strong believer in the Gospel’s message of justice and compassion, and these were often in his preaching. Above all, he was available for many works of the Society, embracing every mission given him to the best of his ability. In the reflection that he wrote for the observance of his 70 years as a Jesuit this year, he notes the various ministries in which he served and he concludes: “Joy and love filled my life in each of these ministries.”
Following First Vows Fr. Buddendorff studied humanities in Grand Coteau. He continued his studies at Spring Hill College earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and completing his philosophy requirements. His studied theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, KS (1958-62) where he earned the S.T.L. (1962). During a sabbatical at the Institute of Spirituality and Worship at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA (1976-77), he earned a Certificate in Theology Studies.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through his life of service to God and God's people. Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.
Read Fr. Buddendorff's reflection on his 70 years in the Society of Jesus, written just a few weeks ago.