Chris Chatteris, S.J.

chris-chatterisFr Chris Chatteris, S.J. is the handyman in the Seminary in Cape Town, combining the tradition of the ‘worker priest’ with teaching and spiritual direction of seminarians. On the handyman side his current project is to ‘green’ the seminary and he has installed such things as heat pumps, rain tanks and recycling systems.

Progress in teaching and spiritual direction of seminarians is not so easy to quantify but from time to time a well-motivated previous student finally makes it to ordination.

He does some writing, last year authoring a book entitled Vocations and what to do with them, a handbook for vocations directors. Then there is a monthly column for the Southern Cross reflecting on the Pope’s intentions, plus occasional other articles elsewhere.

Chris was born in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia – he is 66) and was brought up there, in Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) and the UK. He went to Jesuit schools in both Zimbabwe and Britain and, having been unable to beat them, joined them in 1968.

He studied philosophy, theology, French and education, and spent a very formative time in France, part of which was at the L’Arche Community of Jean Vanier fame.

Chris has taught in French and British schools and worked in British and South African parishes, including a mission in KZN at the time of the transition from apartheid to normality. He has also worked as the novice director of Jesuits, in the theological formation of young religious at St Joseph’s Theological Institute, Cedara and, briefly, at the Jesuit Institute.