Though the Rev. John Naus will retire from Marquette this year after working at the university for nearly 50 years, his presence on campus will be well remembered by students.
There will be a campus-wide celebration tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union ballrooms to honor Naus’s retirement, according to a university press release.
Naus was an ethics professor, as well as both the director and dean of students of Campus Ministry. He also served as the hall minister of Schroeder Hall for 28 years.
After attending Marquette University High School, Naus was ordained a priest in 1955. He graduated from the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, in 1955, where he received a doctorate in philosophy.
He was diagnosed with polio in 1944 after coming into contact with polluted water. In 2004, he had a stroke, which confined him to a wheelchair.
Students like Elizabeth Thalanany, a junior in the College of Nursing, said they see Naus as a friendly and honest man.
“Everyone seems to love him here,” Thalanany said. “Anytime I’m at the AMU, he pulls up his chair to some students and everyone is just laughing and all smiles. I think students will really miss that.”
Trevor Gundlach, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, knows Naus well, as he has participated in campus ministry since his freshman year.
“Without Fr. Naus, Marquette will miss one of its greatest icons of true Ignatian spirituality,” Gundlach said. “Whether it be Tuesday night Masses or sporadic encounters with Fr. Naus around campus, he will be greatly missed.”
Naus celebrated the 10 p.m. Tuesday night Mass at the Joan of Arc Chapel for more than 25 years, making it perhaps the most recognized and attended Mass on campus.
Meghan Mountin, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, loves frequenting the Tuesday night Mass and appreciates Naus’ devotion to Marquette and love for its students.
Gundlach agreed, and said Naus’ Mass was simply the “most joyous occasion.”
“Being able to witness Fr. Naus celebrating the Mass every week and hearing his simple yet love-provoking homilies will remain in the minds and hearts of students,” Gundlach said.
Mountin added that Naus’s Mass and persona are uplifting and have helped her escape the hectic nature of the school week by providing time for reflection, good music and valuable conversations with friends.
While Naus is no longer on campus, Gundlach said the facility in which Naus now resides, the St. Camillus nursing home in Wauwatosa, promotes a “caring community.”
Thalanany, who never shared a connection with Naus as intimate as Gundlach’s, said she wishes the best for the retiree.
“Whether you knew him or not, Naus was a familiar face at Marquette, and that will never change,” Thalanany said.
Gundlach expects Naus’s spirit to continue to thrive at Marquette this fall.
“His ideas of love and genuine joy will remain present on campus,” Gundlach said. “Students will always be able to see him in these simple yet beautiful actions.”