Fr. Hugh Twaites, SJ – R.I.P.

I saw this on the site of His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Finigan, whom I hope to see fairly soon:

A correspondent just sent me news of the death of Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ earlier today. I had the privilege of meeting Fr Thwaites when I was a young student and from time to time since then. He converted to the Catholic faith as a result of his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. He never bore resentment for his treatment, reasoning that the Japanese guards did not have the benefit of the Christian faith. His approach to evangelisation was direct and simple because he understood the truth and beauty of the Christian faith and wished others to benefit from it.

Fr Thwaites always spoke in a kindly and gentle manner while firing off spiritual advice that could blow you off your feet; he was a priest who made many converts almost instantly by his sincerity and holiness, and converted countless lukewarm Catholics to a deeper following of Christ. He was passionately devoted to the Rosary, loved the older form of the Mass, and remained faithful to the traditional Jesuit daily spiritual exercises.

May the Lord have mercy on his soul, forgive any sins he committed through human frailty, and bring him speedily into the presence of Our Lord, in the company of Our Lady whom he loved so faithfully and St Ignatius whose way of life he followed with fidelity. Requiescat in pace.

Euge serve bone, et fidelis, … intra in gaudium domini tui.

Update 25 Aug:

A reader sent me this:

Oddly enough the funeral rite for Father Hugh Thwaites SJ will be in the New Rite. This wasn’t his wish. Ironically, a few days after his death, it has been announced that the Institute of Christ the King have purchased the former, wonderful, Jesuit church in Limerick (Ireland) as an exclusive Old Rite parish. The Jesuits are disappearing in Ireland, as they are in this country and around the world.

What a shame that those “in charge” would not honor Fr. Thwaites’ wishes for his funeral.

What a shame.

Granted, we should not follow requests for things that liturgical abuses.  But there is nothing wrong with requesting the Extraordinary Form.  And given the fact that this was Fr. Thwaites, … it’s just a shame.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in PRAYER REQUEST and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Supertradmum says:

    I met him years ago and knew some young people who went to him for counselling and Confession. God bless his soul. May he intercede for more excellent priests like himself.

  2. pberginjr says:

    I know that last bit isn’t by Bl. Card. Newman, but I can’t help but think of the Dream of Gerontius when I read it.

  3. Random Friar says:

    Rest good servant, indeed. God send us more like him!

  4. Indulgentiam says:

    REQUIEM aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

  5. UncleBlobb says:

    I downloaded some audio-only files of his from the internet a few years ago, including some recordings he made of parts of the Knox translation of the New Testament, The Imitation of Christ, and a talk about his experiences in Japan. I’m sorry I could not have met him. May his soul rest in peace.

  6. cjcanniff says:

    I have a great love of the Jesuits since I attend one of their schools. It is sad to here of Father’s passing. May he rest in peace.

  7. Father K says:

    I knew Fr Thwaites, he was very kind to me as a newly ordained priest, twenty years ago: he celebrated the EF very beautifully and reverently. He gave me great support and encouragement in a very gentle way. A little known fact, probably, to your bloggers – he instructed Bishop Williamson in his process of becoming a Catholic. He remarked to me in a rather self-deprecating way -that perhaps he over-egged the pudding! Well said Fr. Thwaites. RIP. A grand old Jesuit – his prayers in heaven will no doubt restore Bishop Williamson as well as those Jesuits who need it, to full unity with the See of Peter.

  8. Laura98 says:

    Oh how I wish we had more priests like this! Thank you so much Father for posting this, as his story has touched me. It has given me another outlook on my own grandfather who died during WWII in the Philippines during the final Japanese attack on that island nation. It has always been hard for me understand and accept so many of the things that the Japanese did during that war. However, Fr. Thwaites is right and it something, I regretfully, had not even thought of. I need to pray now.

  9. Tom Ryan says:

    He made an appearance in Visions on Demand which was run by Network 5 back in 1997.
    He was very thoughtful and even handed

    Awaiting moderation…..

  10. My father always said that he wanted his funeral to be a Traditional Requiem. He did not get his wish upon his passing, so we did what we could with what we had.

    Then, when I returned to Virginia, I requested a “month’s mind” at the parish where I work. And so, in a manner of speaking, he got his wish.

    Sometimes you have to improvise. Heaven understands.

  11. Angie Mcs says:

    Such moving and beautidul words thoughts you expressed here, Father. Reading about Father Thwaites’ feelings towards his Japanese captors, his forgiveness towards them and how this set him upon the path towards conversion brought some much needed peace to me, Father, as I hope it has for others here. How important for us to remember the beauty and power of our Church and keep that foremost in our thoughts and hearts. May he rest in peace.

    A bit off topic, but on the subject of priests who touch and guide us, you have been requesting prayers for some difficulties you are going through, Father. I know we have all been praying for you and I hope you have found some comfort and strength.

  12. Norah says:

    You can listen to Fr Thwaites’ conversion story on Ewtn’s The Journey Home
    Programme 424 The Journey Home
    Journey Home From England
    Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ

  13. Traductora says:

    I didn’t know Fr. Thwaites or anything about him, but it is very sad that they wouldn’t honor his last, very modest wish. He’s not the first person I’ve heard of who specifically left instructions for his funeral rite in the EF (I hate that term) and was then denied it, not even with the pretext that a suitable priest couldn’t be found. The pastor simply didn’t want it in “his” church.

    I know a number of people who are trying to ensure that they receive the last rites and funeral rites in the EF. But it seems almost impossible to get these wishes honored

  14. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I am sure that God adds comfort in Heaven for comforts denied on Earth.

    But yeah, we can do better for our dead, and should.

  15. Sixupman says:

    On another matter, a priest referred the Jesuits as “mean minded” [they had been thwarted in their attempt to sell a major church as a conference centre – said church now thriving]. It appears such mean mindedness even extends to the wishes of one of their brothers.

    I have met Fr. Thwaites – a superlative priest.

Comments are closed.