Rev. James Voiss, S.J.
Rev. James (Jim) Voiss, S.J., is Marquette University’s vice president for mission and ministry.
Father Voiss entered the Jesuits in 1978 in Portland, Oregon, his hometown. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Gonzaga University in 1982. In 1988, after completing his master of divinity studies at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he was ordained a priest in Seattle. From there he returned to Weston to finish off a licentiate (S.T.L.) in systematic theology before returning to his alma mater for two years of teaching and campus ministry work.
In 1991, Father Voiss began a lengthy sojourn in the Midwest, with doctoral studies in systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame and then a teaching post at Saint Louis University from 1998 to 2012. There, he taught courses for undergraduates and master’s and doctoral students. This work was interrupted from 2001 to 2002 as Father Voiss entered into the final formal phase of Jesuit formation, tertianship, an intensive return to the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius, a deep dive into the documents of the Society of Jesus, and an opportunity to serve in a context different from one’s regular apostolic assignment. Father Voiss enrolled in the tertianship program in Berlin and was sent to work for three and a half months at a cancer hospice in Munich as a chaplain. He considers this one of the most powerfully formative experiences of his life.
Father Voiss left St. Louis in January 2012 in order to work on a book project and to return to serve in his home province. The book, Rethinking Christian Forgiveness: Theological, Philosophical, and Psychological Explorations, was published in 2015. On his return to the Northwest, Father Voiss found his next venture back at Gonzaga University, where he took on the role of assistant vice president for mission, working with faculty and staff on Ignatian formation. While serving in that role, the Society of Jesus assigned him to take on the responsibility of rector of the Gonzaga University Jesuit Community in 2014. A couple of years later, with the consolidation of three distinct communities into one, this role expanded into rector of the Jesuits of the Spokane Region. During his time in Spokane, Father Voiss served on the Gonzaga University board of trustees and the Gonzaga Prep board of directors.
Toward the end of 2018, having helped facilitate the consolidation of the communities, as well as the building of and transition into a new Jesuit residence, Father Voiss felt ready for a new challenge. With permission from his provincial, he began searching for openings in mission and ministry. He found a deep convergence between Marquette’s desires for a vice president of mission and ministry and his own hopes for service. Father Voiss has expressed tremendous gratitude for the welcome he has received here and great excitement about the opportunities he sees to support Marquette’s mission.