Rev. John W. Beretta, O.S.A. (1919 - 2003)

Rev. John W. Beretta, O.S.A., entered eternal life on July 20, 2003, following a short illness.

Father Beretta was a pioneer in family ministry, a high school and college teacher, and the founding director of a Catholic center offering retreats and resources for personal growth and faith development.

John William Beretta was born on November 17, 1919 in Den Haag, Holland, to Leo and Adriana (Van Hagen) Beretta. He was baptized on November 18, 1919 at Holy Family Catholic Church, Den Haag, Holland. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1928.

John’s primary education took place at Holy Family, Den Haag, Christian Brothers, Nymegen, and St. Lidwina, Den Haag. His secondary education was in the Minor Seminaries of St. Joseph’s Missionary Society of Mill Hill, including St. Boniface, Hoorn (1932-34), Tilburg (1934-36) and St. Joseph, Haelen (1936-38), from which he received his diploma.

He then undertook collegiate studies at St. Joseph, Roosendaal, and Marienhage, Eindhoven, which granted him a B.A. in Philosophy in 1942. He completed the course of Theological studies in 1946 at St. John, Nymegen. Additional studies were done at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (1953, Education), Loyola University, Chicago (1967-69, Political Science) and Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana (1969-71, Political Philosophy).

John entered the Augustinian Novitiate in Holland on September 1, 1940. He professed simple (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 10, 1941, and solemn (permanent) vows on September 10, 1944. He was ordained a priest on May 26, 1945 in Hertogenbosch.

Following completion of Theological studies in 1946, Father Beretta was assigned as a teacher in Venlo, Holland. In 1952, he was sent to Saint Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, as a teacher.

During the 1950's, Father Beretta was instrumental in starting the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, an organization devoted to promoting free democratic society and opposing tyranny throughout the world. He became a citizen of the United States on March 10, 1959.

In 1971, he was assigned to Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, Illinois, as an instructor and Public Relations Director. On November 22, 1971, he was formally affiliated to the Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel (Midwest United States).

After Tolentine College closed, Father Beretta was named the first Director of Tolentine Center, Olympia Fields, Illinois, in 1973. His visionary ideas were incorporated into the Center’s offerings of religious retreats, spiritual formation, counseling and faith education. He liked to call the Center a “spiritual spa”.

He was assigned in 1978 to St. Gregory Parish, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, where he served as Associate Pastor.

Beginning in 1980, he worked for the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario, primarily in the Office for Family Ministry. He promoted programs of enrichment for couples in solid marriages and was instrumental in establishing the first English-language Retrouvaille, a program of rediscovery for those in troubled marriages.

In 1986, while continuing his work with the Office for Family Ministry, he became Associate Pastor of Holy Family Parish, Hamilton, Ontario. In 1990, he moved to Holy Rosary Parish, Burlington, Ontario.

In recognition of all he had done for the Church, the Diocese of Hamilton awarded Father Beretta a Medal of Honor in 2002.

He was assigned to Our Lady of Grace Community at Marian Village, Homer Glen, Illinois, in 2003, where he was residing at the time of this death.

Father Beretta is remembered for his inquiring and analytical mind. He was always open to learn new things. He examined world events with insight and enjoyed discussing political developments occurring in all countries of the world. At the time of his death, he had begun writing a semi-autobiographical book in which he analyzed current world events in the light of his life experiences.

He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.

Memorial gifts may be made to Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, 5401 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago, IL 60615-5664, or via our Online Giving Page.