St. Louis Jesuits

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St. Louis Jesuits
OriginSt. Louis, Missouri
GenresContemporary Catholic liturgical music
Years active1970–1985, 2005

The St. Louis Jesuits were a group of Catholic composers who composed music for worship most often in a folk music style of church music in their compositions and recordings, mainly from their heyday in the 1970s through the mid-1980s. Made up of Jesuit scholastics at St. Louis University, the group originally used acoustic guitars and contemporary-style melodies and rhythms to set biblical and other religious texts to music sung in English in response to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

John Kavanaugh, also a Jesuit and composer, never worked with the group, however, a few of his compositions were included in the first collection, "Neither Silver Nor Gold," that was produced before the members decided to collaborate and record together. [1]


St. Louis University College Church, home of St. Louis Jesuits

Some of the music was recorded in the basement of Fusz Memorial Chapel, the rest at a local studio. This first collection of 58 songs, some dating back as early as 1964, was called Neither Silver nor Gold. The original purpose of the recording was only to leave behind their music for others to use as the composers were leaving for other assignments. Later, this recording was issued as a four-cassette/LP set in 1974 by North American Liturgy Resources. It has since been remastered into a two-CD set by OCP Publications with about a half a dozen songs left off the LP/cassette version due to space limitations.[2]

Over time, Bob Dufford, S.J., John Foley, S.J., Tim Manion, Roc O'Connor, S.J., Dan Schutte, and their music became known as the St. Louis Jesuits. At the time, all were members of the Society of Jesus, however, Manion would neither complete his studies there nor be ordained. He continued to collaborate with the group until 1984.

Pursuing different vocations and graduate studies afterward, the group reunited several times between 1975 and 1985 to write and record their various collections of music, published at the time by North American Liturgy Resources and available through Oregon Catholic Press. As they continued their studies and time permitted, they presented numerous workshops and presentations about liturgy and liturgical music at conferences throughout the United States and Canada. [3] Over time, new arrangements for organ and full orchestration were created for more traditional settings. [4]

Their second recording Earthen Vessels sold over one million albums, [5] and resulted in hymnals such as Glory and Praise ISBN 9781579922184.

In 1980, all five members moved to Seattle, where they continued to study and compose new music under the direction of the Jesuit Kevin Waters at Seattle University. Tim Manion left the group in 1984 to pursue other interests, but later released a solo collection, There is a River. After their fifth album, The Steadfast Love, was recorded in 1985, the members began to release solo collections, as their vocations took them to different parts of the world. Dan Schutte left the Jesuit order in 1986, but like the others, continued to compose and publish solo collections of music.

In 2000, Dufford, Foley, O'Connor, and Schutte made an appearance at the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. They wrote and recorded a collection of new music to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of their collaboration. This recording entitled Morning Light was released in 2005 along with an anniversary coffee table book titled The St. Louis Jesuits: Thirty Years (Oregon Catholic Press, 2006). Tim Manion sang on the anniversary collection.

In November 2018, Dufford, Foley, Manion, and O’Connor appeared at St. Louis University’s “Happy 200th Birthday to SLU” Concert. They shared the stage with SLU’s St. Francis Xavier College Church Choir, the St. Louis University Master Singers, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. [6]

Later life[edit]

They make appearances at events where they have some connection, but they have no further plans to record together.[7] John Foley was founding director of the Stroble Center for Liturgy at Saint Louis University.[8] Dan Schutte remains a prolific composer with eleven solo collections through Oregon Catholic Press.[9] [10] He is composer-in-residence at the University of San Francisco.[11] [12]


  • Grammy Nominations for The St. Louis Jesuits: 1976, 1977, 1987, 1980 and 2002.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, University of Scranton, 1980.
  • Alumni Merit Award, St. Louis University, 1981.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Seattle University, 1983.
  • Doctor of Music, Honoris Causa, Creighton University, 2006.
  • The Jubilate Deo Award, the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, 2011.[13]

This list includes honors received as a group. Individual members of the group have also received numerous honors and awards independently.[14]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Neither Silver Nor Gold (1974)
  • Earthen Vessels (1975)
  • A Dwelling Place (1976)
  • Gentle Night: Music for Advent and Christmas (1977)
  • Lord of Light (1981)
  • The Steadfast Love (1985)
  • Morning Light (2005)


  • Lift Up Your Hearts (1996)
  • May We Praise You (1997)
  • Let Heaven Rejoice (1997)



  1. ^ "From Mountains High" Pastoral Press 2018 ISBN 1569290938
  2. ^ "From Mountains High" Pastoral Press 2018 ISBN 1569290938
  3. ^ "From Mountains High" Pastoral Press 2018 ISBN 1569290938
  4. ^ "From Mountains High" Pastoral Press 2018 ISBN 1569290938
  5. ^ Gale, Mike. "The St. Louis Jesuit: Thirty Years" Oregon Catholic Press 2006 archives ]
  6. ^
  7. ^ Interview: "The St. Louis Jesuits", The Catholic Voice, 2008 ]
  8. ^ The Center for Liturgy, [1]
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Dan Schutte OCP, [2]
  12. ^
  13. ^ "NPM Awards". Archived from the original on 2015-12-07. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  14. ^ "From Mountains High" Pastoral Press 2018 ISBN 1569290938

Works cited[edit]

  • Canedo, Ken. "From Mountains High: Contemporary Catholic Music 1970 - 1985. Pastoral Press (May 1, 2018)
  • Gale, Mike. "The St. Louis Jesuit: Thirty Years" Oregon Catholic Press 2006
  • McDermott, Jim. "Sing a New Song: Part 2, The St. Louis Jesuits: Earthen Vessels." America, May 30, 2005. Online at [3].
  • St. Louis Jesuits music available from Oregon Catholic Press

External links[edit]