Louis J. Twomey, S.J.


From Our Friends, by T. H. Clancy, S.J.

Lou Twomey was surely one of the greatest social apostles the province ever produced. He was born of pious parents in Tampa and attended the Jesuit high school there and Georgetown University before entering the Jesuit novitiate at Grand Coteau in Sept., 1926, a month short of his 21st birthday.

He made the regular course of studies in the Society at St. Louis, St. Mary's and Cleveland. He was in theology when the 28th General Congregation (1937) called for Jesuits to put a special emphasis on the struggle for social justice and he volunteered for that work. But the wartime needs of the Province were pressing and his first assignment (1941-45) was to be principal of Tampa Jesuit.

In 1945 he was sent to the Institute of Social Studies to prepare himself for his real life's work. In 1947 he arrived at Loyola University with an M.A. in economics and an iron determination (but little else) to set up an Institute of Industrial Relations. He never had another status in the 22 years he had left.

At Loyola he lectured on ethics and jurisprudence in the Law School and won many converts to his unpopular doctrines on racial equality, the rights of the working man, and international justice. He also lectured in the Sodality Summer Schools of Catholic Action and was increasingly invited to talk to national groups and write for national publications. He soon became a trusted advisor of labor groups and his offices in the attic of Cummings Hall became a meeting place for Southerners struggling against segregation and economic injustice.

In the 50's he began to publish a mimeo monthly, " Christ's Blueprint for the South," and this increased his influence with Jesuits all over the world and among priests and seminarians. He was a trusted collaborator of Archbishop Joseph Rummel in the latter's effort to desegregate the schools and institutions of the archdiocese.

In his last years he started an international institute to train Central American social activists. He was called to Rome in the 60's to aid Fr. Arrupe in drawing up his letter on Racism (1967). At the end of his life the recognition that he had not received came to him in waves.

Give Now