Rev. John J. Mawhinney, SJ, was born in Hartford, CT, on November 30, 1932. He attended Georgetown Prep and entered the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa., in 1950. He received his B.A. in the Classics from Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, NY, as well as a master’s and Licentiate in Philosophy. He earned both a Bachelor and Licentiate of Sacred Theology from Woodstock College in Woodstock, MD and later went on to receive a doctorate in Religion Societal Ethics from Temple University and an M.B.A. from Loyola College in Maryland. He was ordained a priest on June 12, 1965.
Following ordination and after two years as a visiting professor in the graduate school of religious education at Lasalle University, Fr. Mawhinney spent a year teaching Theology at Gonzaga University and then two years at Georgetown University as director of foundation relations. He stayed in Washington, D.C. another two years as a research professor at the Jesuit Center for Social Studies before heading to Baltimore and serving Loyola College for two years as associate dean for special programs and a lecturer on ethics and society.
In 1979, Fr. Mawhinney began an 11-year term at Loyola University, New Orleans as a teacher in the Jesuit scholastic philosophy program and as prefect of the university’s socially responsible investments. For six of those years, he was also a professor of societal justice analysis and served as the associate director of the Institute of Human Relations for four years.
In 1991, Fr. Mawhinney moved to El Salvador to the Jesuit parish Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen—Spanish for Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He spent eight years writing and promoting societal structural justice—the importance of political, economic, and social structures in working for the common good.
Fr. Mawhinney returned to the States in 1999 where he would serve for 17 years at the Loyola Jesuit Community at Saint Joseph’s University as a structural justice apostolate and writer. In 2016, he moved to the Colombière Jesuit Community in Baltimore and continued consulting on societal justice while also counseling federal prisoners by mail. His latest book, Compassion and Respect, is a guide for how to thoughtfully discuss, through respectful dialogue, the issues that divide our nation.
Fr. Mawhinney died on November 8, 2021, at the age of 88.