Fr. G. Paul Peterson, S.J. has modeled his life after his favorite Scripture verse, Matthew 11:29; “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.”
All that have been blessed to know Fr. Paul during his tenure at Brebeuf Jesuit know he is indeed humble in heart and gentle in his actions. He has led a long and impactful career, celebrating 70 years in the Society of Jesus and gracing the Brebeuf Jesuit campus for a cumulative 24 years.
Fr. Paul grew up in New Albany, IN, attending St. Mary’s Catholic grade school and New Albany’s public high school. He went on to study at Purdue University, leaving after a year to serve in the U.S. Army in Japan following World War II. He completed his novitiate at the Jesuit Center at Milford, where he entered the order. Following his ordainment on June 11, 1961, Fr. Paul was accepted into the Chicago Province. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in literature and an MBA at Xavier, followed by a PhD in economics from Colorado State University. Fr. Paul has served secondary schools, colleges and parishes in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, California, Connecticut, Utah, Nevada and Montana.
Fr. Paul first came to Brebeuf Jesuit in 1966, just four years after the school’s founding. He stayed until 1971, leaving to teach elsewhere and continue his own educational pursuits. Fr. Paul returned to Brebeuf in 1999 to teach math, continuing until 2001, before departing for two years to serve parishes in Kentucky. He once again returned in 2003 to continue serving our school community.
Fr. Paul is beloved by students, parents and alumni alike from every Brebeuf generation. Not surprisingly, he was the first recipient of the “Heart of Brebeuf” award, recognizing his perfect embodiment of the mission and core values of Brebeuf. While no longer an active teacher, he remains a fixture of the Brebeuf community offering opening prayer at athletic events, attending school concerts and performances, conducting Mass and serving as the school’s alumni chaplain.
Reflecting on the past 90 years, Fr. Paul said, without the slightest hesitation, that his greatest reward is his relationship with God in Jesus Christ.
“Looking back over my life—or anyone’s life—you can see God’s actions in so many things; how he has graced you and worked through you; the opportunities, and even humiliations, that come and how everything brings us into deeper relationship with God and therefore better able to bring His love to others.”