Long serving Seminary Lecturer, Fr. George Croft SJ dies at 98

By CCN Reporter

The late Fr. George Sebastian Croft

The long serving Chishawasha Seminary lecturer, Fr. George Sebastian Croft SJ has died. He was 98. Fr. Croft died on 05 November 2023.

An announcement circulated by Fr. Lawrence Daka SJ detailed that Fr. Croft died at 10:30am at Richartz House.

“Dear companions, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing into glory of George Croft. He died this morning at 10:30. He was a wonderful man & a great Jesuit. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” read the message.

Fr. Croft was the longest serving member at Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More National Major Seminary where he taught psychology and assisted in the administration of the seminary since 1978.

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 study PPP, which included psychology, in 1949. 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 Clerical Psychology.

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 Zimbabwe 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.

Brothers who became Jesuit priests George and Gregory Croft SJ photographed at Chishawasha Seminary.

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 Sunday, 05 November 2023 when, in Zimbabwe, we keep the feast of All Saints.

George Croft was in his 98th year of life, 81st year in the Society of Jesus, 67th year of priesthood and 63rd year in Final Vows.

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