Father James W. Reites, S.J., Requiescat in Pace
We are very sad to report that a beloved member of our faculty, Father Jim Reites, S.J., passed away peacefully in his sleep on the night of Friday April 15th, 2016. Jim had been a member of the Religious Studies Department faculty for forty-one years, since 1975. Over this period, he made an indelible mark on the department, as he helped shape it by selflessly assuming leadership roles in the department whenever needed. He served for a total of seventeen years as department chair, and he also served for three years as director of our Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries.
Jim studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, alongside his fellow Religious Studies colleague, Fr. Fran Smith, SJ. His specialization was sixteenth century Ignatian spirituality, with a dissertation on the approach of St. Ignatius toward the Jews of his time. Jim also pioneered the use of computers in classrooms at Santa Clara, and was among the first to teach feminist theology, back in the 1980s.
Jim was an active member of the department, and remained engaged in departmental activities right up to the end of his life. He also made many contributions to the larger Santa Clara University community. He helped found the Xavier Residential Learning Community, where he served as faculty director, and he led many student immersions to Mexico, El Salvador and Africa, where students helped construct houses and infrastructure. He also taught for in the School of Engineering, and was well known for his tremendous support for the University's three teams of competitors in the national Solar Decathlon. He was currently assisting students currently working on the Tiny House competition, a project named Resolve House. He was also engaged in the larger community; he served on the board of trustees for Bellarmine College Preparatory, and also led students from Bellarmine in immersion trips to Mexico to construct houses.
Jim will be remembered as a devoted teacher, a friend to many across the University, and a dedicated Jesuit. While mourning his loss, we celebrate the many ways he contributed to our lives.