Skip To Main Content

Father Pat Conroy, 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives, Speaks at Canterbury

Meredith Berry-Toon

Father Pat Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives, addressed members of the Canterbury community on the evening of January 17 as the esteemed speaker at the Fifth Form Retreat. Through the Retreat setting—centered on the theme of servant leadership—Father Conroy encouraged students to think about how they can incorporate service into all aspects of their lives, both as they grow over the next two years and then once they extend beyond their education on the hilltop.

As House Chaplain, Father Conroy is uniquely positioned to impart his perspective on servant leadership. He shared his insight and wisdom from his role in Washington with the gathered students—cushioned with humorous tales of his prior career as a high school-level instructor and softball coach—before prompting small group discussions between classmates and faculty facilitators.

Amy Omaña ‘86, faculty in the Theology Department, studied with Father Conroy while at Georgetown University, DC and helped make his visit to campus possible. “While Father Pat is many things…,” she introduced, “I know him to be a spiritual mentor and dear friend.”

Father Conroy attended Claremont McKenna College, CA, and Gonzaga University Law School, WA, entering the Jesuit Order in 1973. He earned his master’s degree in philosophy from Gonzaga University, WA, a master’s in divinity from UC Berkeley, CA, his JD from St. Louis University, MO, followed by a third master’s degree in systematic theology in missiology from University of Toronto, Canada. “He is uber educated, you could say!” continued Amy.

Ordained a priest in 1983, Father Conroy decided to practice law following his ordination for the Colville Confederated Tribes in Omak, WA. He was instrumental in developing the Tribes’ case for the treaty fishing rights in the mid 1980s. He has also represented Salvadoran refugees for the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Immigration Office in San Francisco.

Father Conroy was nominated as the 60th Chaplain to the United States House of Representatives by then Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), in consultation with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He was elected by the House and sworn in on May 25, 2011.  While he briefly stepped down from his role in spring 2018, he returned as Chaplain following demands for his reinstatement from members of the House across party lines.

Canterbury extends our deepest gratitude to Father Conroy for joining our community to speak on servant leadership and offer spiritual guidance to our School. For more information on Spirituality, Service, and Justice at Canterbury, please visit our Spirituality page or contact the Director of the Center of Spirituality, Service, and Justice, Tracy Garcia-LaVigne.