Father Tennant C. “Tenny” Wright, SJ, longtime professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University, died June 17, 2015 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 87. Fr. Wright graduated from Loyola High School, Los Angeles, and after earning his BA in English at Loyola University, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos in 1950. He earned further degrees in English at Gonzaga University, theology at Santa Clara, and pursued graduate studies in religious studies at the University of Chicago. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1962.
His 58-year association with Santa Clara University began as an instructor in English, 1956-1959. After ordination, he returned to Santa Clara as teacher of theology, 1964-1967, and senior lecturer of religious studies, 1969-2008. Following his formal retirement he continued to teach and keep active in ministry until failing health brought him to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in 2014. For many years he spent one semester a year teaching religious studies at St. John’s College, Belize, and doing pastoral ministry there.
Tenny was a man of many interests. His zealous concern with social justice issues resulted in correspondence with presidents, prime ministers, members of Congress, and activists. His interest in literature resulted in ongoing correspondence with Graham Greene. He also taught for a brief time in Xiamen, China, studied Zen Buddhism in Japan, ministered at a psychiatric hospital in Belize, and worked with incarcerated youth and their families. His published articles and op-ed pieces in numerous newspapers and periodicals showed a wide interest in a variety of religious and social topics.
Services will be held on June 25 with visitation from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., prayer service 5 p.m., and Mass of Christian Burial at 7:30 p.m. at Santa Clara Mission Church, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara. Committal will take place on Friday, June 26, 10:30 a.m. in the Jesuit plot at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln Street, Santa Clara.
Donations in memory of Fr. Wright may be made to the California Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031 or through www.jesuitscalifornia.org/donation.