Anthony P. Sauer, S.J.
In the 158-year history of SI, there have been great Jesuits and lay people whose legacy has benefited the school in the most profound and long-lasting ways. Certainly Fr. Sauer is among them.
When he announced in May, 2013, that his new assignment would take him to St. Francis Xavier Church in Phoenix, where he would serve as associate pastor, the SI community felt saddened.
Fr. Sauer served as president for 27 of his 40 years at SI (from 1979 to 2006), the longest anyone has held that job in the 158 years SI has been in San Francisco. He was a prime mover in the transition to coeducation, in building the endowment funds to a point where SI can now distribute $2.8 million in tuition assistance to a quarter of the student body, and in expanding and renovating the school’s campus in the various capital campaigns. He also served the school as rector (superior) of the Jesuit community, head counselor, admissions director, campus minister, history teacher, retreat director and moderator of the Ignatian Guild, the Alumni Association, CLCs and many clubs.
As an English teacher, Fr. Sauer taught students how to express themselves with power and grace and to read with precision. Nearly every one of his AP English students passed the AP Literature exam over his many years teaching that course.
“It was a simpler time in the 1960s and 1970s,” he recalls. “I was head of the counseling office because there was only one counselor – me. While I served as campus minister, I also taught full time.”
More importantly, he has served as an unofficial pastor to the SI family, celebrating the sacramental moments of baptism, marriage, anointing of the sick and funerals for thousands of Ignatians.
Fr. Sauer also served as rector and president of Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix between 1974 and 1979, and he returns to a community in Arizona he knows well.
“At heart, Jesuits are missionaries,” said SI Principal Patrick Ruff. “Fr. Sauer is being faithful to his calling by going where he is most needed. Now he will have the opportunity to serve as the associate pastor to a new community, one that will grow to love him just as we love him. We celebrate in him a model Jesuit, one who goes when he is called and embarks on a new chapter of what has already been a storied and exemplary life.”
Fr. Sauer noted that he will be leaving SI “with a heavy heart, as I love teaching and love the school. Though I’ll be away from many friends, I’m just a United Airlines flight away. I welcome anyone to visit me in Arizona. We can check out the Grand Canyon and talk about the old Red and Blue!”
He added that “it’s been a long, great ride, I have SI and its students, faculty and staff, fellow Jesuits, parents and families written in my heart. I will never forget them. My thanks to all in the Ignatian community. God bless and peace!”