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Father Jim Webb SJ, past Provincial Superior of the English Canada Province of the Jesuits, passed away 9 August 2012, at the Jesuit Rene Goupil House in Pickering, Ontario. He was 68 years of age and in his 48th year of religious life.
Fr Webb was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 29July 1944, and was the son of Mr J Hilus Webb and Ms Mary Somers. He entered the Society of Jesus after completing his BSc from St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He made his novitiate in Guelph, philosophy studies in Spokane, Washington, student teaching at Brebeuf College, Toronto and Theology studies at Regis College in Toronto. He was ordained a priest on 9 June 1973.
From 1973 to 1986 he lived at West Avenue in Toronto, a house dedicated to work with the poor and the search for justice. He co-founded and was involved in a number of social justice initiatives including the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice (1979), the Taskforce on Churches and Corporate Responsibility (1975); The Catholic New Times newspaper (1976); South Riverdale Community Health Centre (1976); Canadian Alternative Investment Cooperative (1984) among others.
From 1986 to 2008 Fr Webb lived in Jamaica serving as Pastor of St. Peter Claver Church (1986), Chairman, St Mary’s Rural Development project, (1990); Founding director for Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (1997), Regional Superior of the Society for Jamaica, (1997) among others. He received the National Union of Cooperative Society Award in 2009 for helping in the founding of the St Peter Claver Women’s Housing Cooperative.
In 2008 Fr Webb returned to Canada and assumed the role of Provincial Superior of the English Canada Province. He served in this capacity until his returning cancer required that he resign in May of 2012.
Fr Webb was appreciated by his family and Jesuit companions for his deep insights, his commitment to justice and his fine sense of humour. He will be missed by all who knew him.