By Lauren Hayward, News Editor
Rev. Thomas Worcester, S.J. will become president of Regis College in Toronto, Ontario, beginning in August. Father Worcester has been a faculty member of the history department since 1994. He achieved tenure in 2000 and was promoted to professor in 2010.
Father Worcester’s favorite part of teaching at Holy Cross has been “the small classes and seminars in which we deal directly or at least indirectly with life’s biggest questions, such as what is the meaning of life.” His most memorable experiences include his ordination as a Jesuit priest in 1991 and his profession of final vows as a Jesuit in the College chapel in 2003.
Father Worcester will also miss the “clever comments and jokes about having the same last name as the city in which I live.”
“I will miss our early morning conversations about history, politics, food, our families and research, and, of course, Paris. Those daily chats have been a wonderful way to start my work day at Holy Cross.” said Professor Stephanie Yuhl. “As a teacher of both early modern European and religious history, [his] courses have of course played an important part of the History Department’s evolving curriculum. For me personally, his book and art exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum, Piety and Plague, had the most impact.”
Fr. Worcester expertise includes the Reformation, religion and society in 17th-century France, the history of the Jesuits, and the history of the papacy.
“Being able to work with one of the foremost experts on the papacy in an academic setting was a great privilege and amazing educational opportunity, said Max Lies ‘17. “Fr. Worcester is incredibly knowledgeable, well-spoken, and a treat to be in class with.”
Fr. Worcester is the author of “Seventeenth Century Cultural Discourse: France and the Preaching of Bishop Camus”, and he has published articles in journals including “Seventeenth Century French Studies,” “Catholic Historical Review,” and “Sixteenth Century Journal.” Fr. Worcester is also the editor of “The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits,” the co-editor of “The Papacy since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor,” and is the general editor for “The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits. He has also written for or provided expert commentary to America Magazine, WBZ TV, Washington Times and Catholic Free Press.
“As an author and editor of several influential volumes on The Society of Jesus, Fr. Worcester is a leader in advancing the study of Jesuit history throughout the world,” said Professor Justin Poche. “He brought that deep understanding and commitment to the Jesuit intellectual and spiritual tradition to Holy Cross. His classes on the Papacy, the Jesuits, and Catholic history were important resources for students and faculty alike. As a spiritual director, he guided students, faculty, and members of the larger community in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and always provided Holy Cross members with opportunities to practice Jesuit spirituality in retreats and in our daily lives.”
Senior Dan Apadula ‘17 commented on Fr. Worcester’s impact on the students at Holy Cross: “In the classroom, Fr. Worcester encourages my fellow students and me to stronger, more thoughtful scholarship, and he leads by example through his own work and career as a historian. His commitment continues outside the classroom; his direction through my Spiritual Exercises retreat was an invaluable part of the experience.”
John Milligan ‘17 added how Fr. Worcester will be missed: “Fr. Worcester sets the bar high for scholarship and helps students learn the craft of being a historian. In addition to his role as teacher, he serves Holy Cross students in a pastoral context, a service from which I have benefitted greatly. Fr. Worcester unites the two foundational elements of a Holy Cross experience: scholarship and Ignatian spirituality. For his brilliant scholarship and devotion to student intellectual and spiritual formation, I, along with countless others, am so very grateful.”
Fr. Worcester will be missed by Holy Cross. We wish him all the best in his upcoming position at Regis College.