Fr George Croft SJ
24 June 1925 – 5 November 2023
George Sebastian Croft was born in Hornsey London, the second of two sons who both became Jesuits. He was educated at Jesuit St Ignatius College and entered the Society in 1942 at St Beuno’s, North Wales, where the novitiate was located for much of the Second World War.
After his Juniorate there he went to Heythrop College near Oxford in 1946 where he studied philosophy before proceeding to Oxford to read for a ‘PPP’, (Philosophy, Physiology and Psychology), in 1949. (That course is now discontinued).
He had a year’s regency at Stonyhurst before returning to Heythrop to do theology in 1953 and was ordained there in 1956. In 1957, he returned to St Beuno’s to do his tertianship before going to Fordham, New York, to study Psychology until 1960, when he took his final vows. On completing a PhD in the subject he returned to Heythrop to teach psychology from 1961-1970 and when the college moved to London in 1970, he went with it.
After seventeen years, it was deemed a change would be good and he came to Africa to teach his subject at the Regional Seminary at Chishawasha in 1978. Again he had a change of venue when the seminary was divided in 2000 and George went with the theologians to Bulawayo where he remained until 2014. George was well known for going, often by public transport, to every ordination where ever it took place in the length and breadth of Zimbabwe
George always had several ‘wings’ to his work. For years he offered his skills to the demanding task of assessing candidates to the Society and his written judgements were always wise and courteous. He also worked in the library wherever he found himself. What is not so well known is his musical talent. He played the organ at the old Heythrop and collected scores and may have composed some works. Finally, where ever he went he nurtured a garden and even in his last days at Richartz House to which he retired in 2014, he was still caring for plants in his little quad.
He died peacefully on this day when, in Zimbabwe, we keep the feast of All Saints, and what is traditionally the Feast of All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus.