Jesuit Father James J. Hosie died on May 31, 2016, at Campion Center, Weston, Massachusetts. Fr. Hosie was born on Nov., 26, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts, to James and Katherine Sullivan. The oldest of four, Fr. Hosie moved a number of times, growing up in Scranton, Flushing, Bayside, and then in Belmont, a western suburb of Boston.
Fr. Hosie commuted to Boston College for a year and then won a Navy ROTC scholarship, which enabled him to go to Holy Cross. At the end of his sophomore year a physical exam disclosed a congenital back problem, resulting in his leaving the Navy program and losing his scholarship. Financial aid from the college, and part-time jobs, enabled him to get his degree in 1955. He entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 2, 1955 at the Novitiate of St. Stanislaus (Shadowbrook), Lenox, Massachusetts.
After his first vows, he was sent directly to Weston to do the philosophy program in two years.
After earning his philosophy degree, Fr. Hosie volunteered for Jamaica and was assigned to St. George’s College, where he was to spend 24 years of his life. He taught Latin, religion, and math, and learned to play tennis, which became a big part of his life—coaching at George’s and later at B.C. High, organizing tournaments, and even winning the All-Jamaica veterans’ singles title several times. Fr. Hosie returned to Weston in 1962 and experienced the ferment of changing approaches to theology during the years of the Council. He was ordained on June 12, 1965 at Weston College, Weston, Massachusetts.
After tertianship he returned to Jamaica in 1967 and pronounced Final Vows on Nov. 6, 1971, at St. George’s College in Kingston. He worked with an ecumenical group under the education ministry to revise the national high-school religion curriculum and did a program in spiritual direction offered by the Jamaican Center for Religious Development, a province ministry. After a sabbatical in 1979-1980, he returned to Jamaica and became assistant headmaster and, subsequently, in 1982, headmaster at St. George’s.
Fr. Hosie returned to Boston in 1987 where he taught at B. C. High for the next 26 years, teaching scripture to upper-level students, including a senior Greek New Testament course, co-taught with a classics teacher. He also coached tennis, of course. In 1991, he initiated a 19th Annotation Retreat program for the faculty that continues today.
A heart attack in 2001 slowed Fr. Hosie down a bit but he went back to all his former activities after a few weeks of recuperation. He began the academic year 2015-2016 in the classroom as usual, but a diagnosis of prostate cancer and difficulties with his back and legs led to his moving to Campion Center in November. Faculty, staff, and students at B. C. High honored him at an all-school assembly in January, followed by a visit by a group of former students from Jamaica.
He passed away in his sleep at the Weston Campion Center on May 31, 2016.