Father Bill on his Influences and Draw to Brebeuf


Caroline Donahue '23, News and Features Editor

Father Bill Verbryke has been a fixture in the Brebeuf community since the fall of 2016. Whether he is leading all school mass, greeting students with a smile, or granting helpful tidbits to new Braves, his presence at the school is undeniable. He is a symbol of faith and comfort in the hallway, but how he ended up at Brebeuf, and why he chose the path of ministry remains unknown to many. 


“My parents heavily influenced my faith, I think”, says Verbryke. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio with a strong Catholic influence, Father Bill was always drawn to faith and ministry. With a mother and father both in the medical field, the idea of being a giver was not unfamiliar to him, “My dad gave his life through his patients,” Explains Verbryke, “I remember going on a house call with him, sitting out in the car reading. It’s that memory of him serving other people that was a big influence”.


Father Bill also grew up in Catholic education, which played a heavy part in his decision to become involved in ministry, “This made all the difference”, says Verbryke. He explains how having a strong community from church in his education helped in his journey and how being a part of a cohesive group helped him in his faith. It was during his senior year of high school when he decided he wanted to become involved with the Jesuits.

Verbryke attended the University of Cincinnati for two years before ultimately deciding to join the Jesuit cause full time. He was ordained to the Jesuit Priesthood in 1983. Following this was three years of teaching at Loyola Academy, a third choice missioned by his Provincial. Although Verbryke was missioned to Loyola, he had favored Brebeuf to work at since his early years in the Jesuits. “I’ve always felt an attraction towards Brebeuf”, explains Verbryke, “We are assigned by our provincials, but still often asked what our desires or wishes would be, and I wanted to come here”. This wish would eventually come true, but in the meantime Verbryke does not at all regret the time spent at the Chicago based Jesuit school, “In terms of an oversight of God putting me where it was meant to be, it was probably a good thing that I started at Loyola”, he states “By sending me to Loyola Academy, I had some experiences that were really life-altering I would not have had if I were here”.


Now that Father Bill serves as the 12th President of Brebeuf as of July of 2018, he greatly values the school and all it has to offer. “I love just all the aspects of the community” says Verbryke, “I think faculty members like to be here, they like and love their students in a way that I haven’t experienced before, and it continues to inspire me”.

Father Bill performing mass
Photo Credit: Mike Higginbotham