Father Jim Davis was born in Grand Falls, NF, on October 14th, 1926, the 11th child of John Davis and Gertrude Hatch. His early schooling was with the Presentation Sisters in Grande Falls and at St. Michael’s High in Toronto. He lived at St. Clements Juvenate on St. George Street in Toronto. In 1956 he received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor and eventually earned an MA in French from Laval University in Quebec City in 1963.
First appointed assistant in 1953 to the Novice Master Neil Corbett at Marianella, L’Abord a Plouffe, Montreal, he next became a curate at St. Ann’s in Griffintown, 1953-55. From 1956 through to 1968 he taught French at St. Mary’s College in Brockville, ON and for a period of that time was Director of Vocations. He studied the Co-operative Movement and Adult Education at the Coady Institute in Antigonish, NS, for one year before, in 1969, going to the Redemptorist Mission of the Edmonton Province in Casa Nova, Manaos, Brazil. In 1972 he returned home to St. Teresa’s parish in St. John’s NL and from 1972 through to 2002 he moved back and forth between our parishes in St. John’s and Saint John, NB.
Jim was a devoted man of faith and through his years of parish life, on the missions in Brazil, in the many retreats and Cursillos that he gave, he inspired and touched many people with his gifts of peaceful spirituality and deep faith. His best years, he says, were those few he spent in Brazil – the simplicity of the people, their appreciations of whatever was done for them, their strong community life, living faith and their joy in daily life even when things were difficult or impossible. Jim is trilingual – English, French and Portugese and he used all three languages in his retreat and Cursillo work. In parish life he gave much time to home visits living out the old dictum: “A parish visiting priest is a church going people”.
Father Jim lives presently in the Agnes Pratt Home in St. John’s, NL. His general health and spirits are good but he does have advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Father Mark Miller and provincial council will honour Father Davis at a celebratory mass at 7pm in St Teresa’s church on June 17th.
Ad Multos Annos Amigo.