International Outreach of John Veltri, SJ

John Veltri, S J (1933 - 2008)

The international influence of John Veltri at Guelph and Pickering is of interest to many. Father Veltri along with John English SJ had the insight in the 1970s that Ignatian retreats should be directed rather than preached. It was important for retreatants to discover in prayer their own interior life which would inspire their lives. Catholics and Protestants responded in numbers to make directed retreats at the Loyola in Guelph or in their own parishes.

Physically limited Father Veltri met retreatants at a retreat house but his influence was international in that he moved people who had come to Canada from the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Retreatants from around the world travelled to Guelph to make retreats which were adjusted to their needs, make an internship or workshop, and return home with Veltri’s 3-volume Orientations for future parish retreats. Veltri also put his writings online to make them available to the public.

Directed retreats at Loyola in Guelph and later Manresa in Pickering generated thousands of seekers who looked for spiritual direction. The extent of John Veltri’s spiritual outreach around the world was very real, is difficult to document, and needs further exploration by researchers.


Terence J. Fay, SJ is a lecturer in religious history at St. Augustine's Seminary and St. Michael's College.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 02:11h, 20 February Reply

    Thank you Terry!

  • John McManus
    Posted at 05:06h, 20 February Reply

    He was also a simple man, direct and open-hearted, willing to be vulnerable, and he had the natural capacity to meet and be with people on their own terms. Maybe that is the secret to his success. I still remember with great fondness the occasions I had to sit and talk with him. A true Companion

  • Vicky Chen
    Posted at 06:47h, 20 February Reply

    He was creative in mind and spirit, loving and well loved.

  • John Montague
    Posted at 07:53h, 20 February Reply

    Father Veltri was a very good friend of mine and I still miss him.

  • Susan Tomenson
    Posted at 08:44h, 20 February Reply

    Thank you, Terry, for your words about the influence of John Veltri. What great insights he had into Ignatius Spirituality which he shared with so many people.
    I liked your article on John so much.
    Thank you.

  • Frances Everett
    Posted at 11:39h, 25 February Reply

    I was very privileged to partake in a Retreat given by him at Sacred Heart College in Regina when I was a novice of the sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. His humility, knowledge and serenity affected all of us very deeply as he led us closer to God.
    Thank you, Terry!

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