Brother John Masterson died peacefully in the Lord on 5 April at Rene Goupil House, Pickering. He was in his 93rd year and in the 69th year of his Jesuit life.
John, the son of William Masterson and Eva O’Neil was born in Chesterville, Eastern Ontario. John entered the Society at Guelph on 14 February, 1955. After pronouncing first vows on 15 February, 1957, he was assigned to Garnier Residential School in Spanish, Ontario, as infirmarian, but moved back to Guelph a year later when that school closed. In 1959 he journeyed to Milford, Ohio for a two–year juniorate program. Being an accomplished mechanic and carpenter, he plied his trades in various locales over the years: two years at Guelph, eight years at Brébeuf College School, Toronto, and six years at Regis College, Willowdale.
John was appointed in 1978 as assistant director of Loyola Retreat House, Guelph. This was a challenging period in his life as a brother. There was much to supervise in the kitchen, and he regularly assisted retreatants and directors with their myriad requests and health issues. Ten years later, he moved to Toronto, principally to the Provincial Residence on Marmaduke Street. During those seven years, beginning in 1988, he was director of a refugee centre nearby; he also assisted in the Province’s Property Office.
After the Upper Canada Province novitiate joined another one at St. Paul/Minneapolis, John was appointed minister there in 1995, serving admirably until 2004. This was a contented time for John, and he was much appreciated by the novices of several Provinces. He was truly a role model of being Jesuit for the novices, and even for the several novice masters with whom he served. After he left the United States, he went to Dale Avenue, Toronto, as assistant to the superior, doing the same work he had done for decades. In 2008 he went on to La Storta Residence in Pickering, again as assistant to the superior. John occupied his time in house works and entertaining multiple guests. He possessed a genuine hospitality ethos toward visitors and Jesuit guests and was always present daily to the community. After a bout of weakness in 2013, he was transferred to the Province infirmary next door.
A great raconteur, John had an endless supply of stories and anecdotes from his early years as a mechanical and on his Jesuit life. He was a good listener and possessed a sound judgement, which proved useful when he was a Province Consultant for some years. Of a peaceful and agreeable disposition, John regularly turned up at Province events and was faithful in attending funerals of Jesuits, staff and benefactors. Whenever he went to any event, he was impeccably dressed in suit and tie. Right to the end of his life, he walked everywhere, in and out of Goupil House. A very prayerful man, the chapel in any residence he lived in was his preferred place of recollection and refuge from the demands and travails of community life.