News
Fr. Gene Carmichael, SJ, entered the Society of Jesus in September 1963 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in June 1973.

Support the Midwest Jesuits

Send a message of gratitude

Submit a prayer request

Not a subscriber?
Stay connected with
our e-newsletters


We meet Jesus in the prisoners as we experience his gentle personal presence in them.

A Jesuit's Journey:
Fr. Gene Carmichael, SJ

An Opportunity to Live Out Jesus’ Words

By Amy Korpi, Staff Writer

What do Xavier University and two state correctional institutions have in common? They have been graced by Jesuit Fr. Gene Carmichael’s ministry.

A Chicago native, Fr. Carmichael studied at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., then College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. A music lover, he paid for part of his education as a member of a Dixieland band. He entered the Society of Jesus in September 1963 and was ordained a Jesuit priest in June 1973.

Father Carmichael is most associated with Xavier University in Cincinnati, where he worked for 36 years in many roles, including associate vice president for mission and ministry, director and mentor for the Service Fellows Program, campus minister, associate dean of students, assistant director and staff counselor in the McGrath Health and Wellness Center, and acting vice president for the Division of Student Development.

Interspersed with his work at Xavier was time walking the halls of two very different institutions: Lebanon Correctional Institution and Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio. At both prisons, Fr. Carmichael presided at Mass, offered the sacrament of reconciliation, provided pastoral counseling, and celebrated the initiation of dozens of incarcerated men into the Catholic Church.

Fr. Gene Carmichael, SJ
Fr. Gene Carmichael, SJ, with students at Xavier University in Cincinnati 
Father Carmichael has called his ministry at the prisons “an opportunity to live out Jesus’ words: ‘When I was in prison, you visited me.’ We meet Jesus in the prisoners as we experience his gentle personal presence in them. To minister in prison is to encourage the inmates to recognize God’s love for them as well as his invitation to and challenge for them to share their God-given gifts with fellow inmates who are in need.

“It is Jesus who gifts the men with what they need in ways that only he is able to do,” he adds. “Prison ministers just show up, let go of our expectations, accompany the men, and give thanks to God for God’s eternal love for all.”

That sounds like a good formula for most of life.

Today, Fr. Carmichael is missioned to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich.


SPIRITUALITY

Gracious God, every day you continue to bless us with your marvelous gifts. There seems to be no end to your desire to give us even more. Out of your deep and faithful love you have lavished upon each of us life, wisdom, beauty, and hope for the future. You have given us the ability to love, to forgive, and to share the blessings given to us with others.

The words “thank you” seem so small compared with the grandeur of your love. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to take our blessings for granted, so we pause to reflect on our gifts and to express our gratitude — and we pray that the knowledge of your never-ending choice to love each of us would continue to sustain us in peace and thank-filled joy today and all the days of our lives.

—Edited excerpts from Fr. Carmichael’s 1987 Honors Day invocation at Xavier University


C
lick here for more A Jesuit's Journey stories.
 

This story also appeared in the Spring, 2017 issue of Jesuits Magazine





Recent News

June 4, 2019 — All 85 graduates will be continuing on with higher education—and all are the first generation in their family to do so.

May 29, 2019 — Cristo Rey alum Cesar Muñoz ('07) has been named the founding principal for Cristo Rey Miami High School.

May 22, 2019 — If Jacob Zelinski's learned anything in his experiences with heartbreak, it’s that you can’t have it all, but you can have songs at sunset that remind you of your brother.

May 14, 2019 — Arrupe College celebrates the success of its first graduating class completing their bachelor’s degrees.

May 6, 2019 - When I was in the third grade at a Catholic primary school in suburban Maryland, I happened upon a book about St. Isaac Jogues, the 17th century Jesuit missionary, getting flogged, flayed, and having his fingers chewed off on a mission to “New France.” At the time I couldn’t for the life of me understand why someone would choose to go through such an ordeal! Fast forward twenty-some years later, and I am a Jesuit brother living with Jesuits from India, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Wisconsin.

May 6, 2019 — The author found an unexpected encounter with grace when he attended Mass celebrated by Fr. Larry Gillick, SJ.

May 1, 2019 — Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, recently gave a speech about the collaboration between Jesuits with the laity.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2019

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2018

Jesuits Summer 2018



Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland
Nestled in the urban landscape of Parma, Ohio, the Jesuit Retreat House of Cleveland is “a place of peace in the forest.”