Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J.

John A. S. A. Hardon, S.J., Servant of God was an American Jesuit priest, writer, and theologian. John Anthony Hardon was born in 1914 to a devout Catholic family in Midland, Pennsylvania. When he was a year old, his 27 year-old father died in an industrial accident when the scaffolding collapsed under him as he moved to secure a steel beam dangling dangerously over his co-workers. After the accident Hardon was raised by his 26-year old mother Anna Hardon, who never remarried "out of concern for the influence a possible stepfather might have on her son's vocation." They moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where they lived "in the shadows of the iron and steel mills". John Janaro, a biographer of Hardon, described Anna as "a woman of deep faith, a Franciscan tertiary who embraced her poverty and her difficult circumstances with courage and grace." Anna "attended daily Mass and received Holy Communion" and her home "had sacred pictures, a family holy water font, and a good deal of spiritual conversation." The Hardons could not afford a telephone and "in fact they seldom bought a newspaper."

Born: Jun 18, 1914 • Midland, Pennsylvania
Died: Dec 30, 2000
Education: Loyola University Chicago • John Carroll University • Pontifical Gregorian University


1936: Having entered the Society of Jesus as a novice on September 1, 1936 Hardon took a special interest in theology and teaching while studying at West Baden College in West Baden Springs, Indiana.

1947: On June 18, 1947 (his 33rd birthday) he was ordained to the priesthood with his mother in attendance.

1951: Due to lifelong health problems, including asthma, Hardon was forced to return to America in 1951, where he joined the faculty of West Baden College teaching theology to Jesuit students.

1963: He released his book Religions of the World in 1963.

1967: By 1967 he returned to teaching Jesuit scholastics at two Jesuit theological schools in Illinois while working as a visiting professor at St. Paul University in Ottawa, where he taught furloughed missionaries classes in missiology.

1972: In 1972, Hardon furthered his media apostolate by founding Mark Communications in Canada.

1985: In 1985 Hardon founded the Marian Catechist Apostolate, an organization that uses these home study courses to provide catechetical formation to lay people in order to prepare them for catechetical ministry.

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives

Father Hardon has been a priest for over 52 years, a member of the Society of Jesus for over 62 years.

  1. He holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from The Gregorian University, Vatican City and several graduate degrees from various other universities.
  2. He has taught:
    • Over 600 of his fellow Jesuits.
    • In six different Protestant seminaries.
    • Several large Catholic Universities.
    • In a large secular university for one year.
  3. He is the author of over forty books, many booklets and innumerable published articles.
  4. He has been a consultant to the Holy See for thirty-one years.
  5. In 1995, when 81 and for the first time in history, he inaugurated full semester courses by teleconference and simultaneously began publishing them in beautiful albums of twelve audiocassettes each. They have proved to be eminently popular by filling a hunger for the truth through a media innovation that had not previously been explored.
  6. A catechetical study program originally written by Fr. Hardon for the Holy See after the Holy Father requested Mother Teresa to educate her Missionaries of Charity to become catechists. The program has been expanded and adapted nationwide. There are currently two home study courses called The Basic Course (16 lessons) and the Advanced Course (36 lessons). The program has grown and spread into every part of the country. The laity are now encouraged to participate.
  7. Another study program on Eucharistic Education is being written for home study complete with test sheets and lesson plans. It is designed to develop a small army of thoroughly educated honest to goodness, Catholics who will be intellectually equipped to teach the truth about the faith throughout the western world but especially in the United States and Canada. It has tremendous potential!
  8. Father has over 2,000 unpublished manuscripts which several of his skilled volunteers are at present cataloging and editing. Projections estimate that this as yet unnamed massive project will contain from 5 to 7 volumes.
  9. Soon to be in print is "Father Hardon's CATHOLIC PRAYER BOOK with meditations " a 488-page jewel that bids fair to bring America back on its collective knees. Also Father is reprinting his reference masterpiece, "THE MODERN CATHOLIC DICTIONARY." Both should be available in the fall of 1999.
  10. In 1990 voices in the intellectual world were writing Father off. He had serious sight and hearing difficulties together with other ailments that would reduce his productivity to zero, they predicted. They failed to reckon with the fact that one major faculty does not age – THE INTELLECT !
  11. Father gradually surrounded himself with many volunteers with a variety of talents and skills that has enabled him to magnify his amazing talents at a time when any normal human being would be consigned to a full care nursing home. Instead, supported by these volunteer arms and legs, minds, hearts, skills and abilities, he has proven to be even more the master teacher and the world class theologian with an encyclopedic mind. So he continues to use his amazing God-given talents to move hearts, build zeal, convert sinners and expose heretics. The final curtain is far from "going down."
  12. He has other projects on the drawing board but that's an interesting footnote, which awaits the third millennium!

Prayer for the Beatification and Canonization of Father John Hardon

Almighty God, You gave Your servant,
Father John Anthony Hardon of the Society of Jesus,
the grace of religious and priestly consecration after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Through Father Hardon,
You provided for your Flock an extraordinary teacher of the faith.

You entrusted Father Hardon into the loving
care of the Blessed Virgin Mary
whose counsel, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5)
he faithfully followed and whose intercession he unceasingly invoked.

If it be Your holy will, please grant the request I now make,
calling upon the help of Father Hardon,
so that his heroic sanctity may be recognized in the whole Church.

I ask this through Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
with You and the Holy Spirit, is one God forever and ever.