The Janssen Spiritualty Centre staff, friends and volunteers, are pleased to welcome Fr Nick de Groot SVD as the new JSC Director.
Fr Nick brings to the Centre several overseas interreligious and cross-cultural living experiences, including Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
He was born in The Hague in The Netherlands in 1943. His family migrated to Australia in 1953. After attending high school at Marist Brother's College in Ashgrove Queensland, Fr Nick joined the Society of the Divine Word in 1961. He studied philosophy and theology in Chicago and returned to Australia in 1969 for his ordination in Brisbane. He then returned to Europe and graduated with a Licentiate degree in Moral Theology from the Alfonsianum University in Rome in 1972.
His first assignment was to teach theology at the Major Seminary in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. After 6 years he was asked to become Novice Master in Marburg NSW. Before taking up this appointment, Fr Nick returned to Chicago for one year to undertake studies in Spirituality. In January 1980, he commenced as Novice Master and remained in this position for the next six years.
In 1987 he went to Tagaytay in the Philippines to teach Moral Theology in the major seminary. It was another experience of a new culture and language studies. By this time he had already lived in five different cultures and had studied 9 languages.
In 1990, Fr Nick was asked if he would be willing to return to Papua New Guinea to join the Melanesian Institute. (The Melanesian Institute (MI) was established in 1970 to do research and promotion of the traditional cultures of PNG. The MI is an ecumenical Institution with the staff coming from the Anglican, Lutheran, United and Catholic churches. The Institute undertakes research on family life, youth, women’s issues, land, politics and the affects of AIDS in PNG society.) He was Assistant Director for four years and Director of the Institute for 12 years.
As for many other priests everywhere, one hardly ever wears only one hat. During his time at the MI, he was chosen to be Chairman of the Board for the Divine Word University in Madang for 6 years; a member of the SVD Provincial Council for 8 years, with one year as Provincial when he became incapacitated; Director of the PNG Pontifical Mission Societies for 6 years and Chairman of the Board of Word Publishing Company for 10 years. Fortunately for him, not all these appointments were simultaneous.
In 2006, after 16 years at the Melanesian Institute, Fr Nick became the General Secretary for the Catholic Bishops Conference. From 2006 to 2009 he was at the Bishops Conference Centre in Port Moresby. He returned to Australia in September 2009 and has been in Yapoon, Queensland until becoming the new JSC Director.
The JSC team welcomes Fr Nick and looks forward to his leadership and guidance in developing new spirituality and cross-cultural programs.