Bernard Joseph Bush
1934 - 2020
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Rev. Bernard J. Bush, S.J.
September 13, 1934 - December 7, 2020
Resident of Los Gatos
Father Bernard Joseph Bush, S.J., noted spiritual director and counselor, died December 7, 2020 at the age of 86, in a San Jose hospital. He had been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Bernie was born in Garberville, CA on September 13, 1934. From their rural home, Bernie and his brothers attended Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose, as boarding students. Upon graduation, Bernie entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos on August 14, 1951 to study for the priesthood.
His studies took him to Gonzaga University and Regis College, Toronto. He was ordained a priest June 4, 1965 in San Francisco and later earned a doctorate from the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco.
During his studies, he taught at St. Ignatius College Prep, San Francisco, 1958-1960, and on occasion would accompany Fr. James Tupy, S.J., on his rounds as chaplain at Alcatraz Federal Prison. As an unofficial chaplain's assistant, Bernie would stroll through the yard, chatting with some of the more notorious prisoners and maintained in contact with some of them. In later years, Bernie would be one of the speakers at the Alcatraz reunions; as one of the last survivors of that era, he would give a talk on his experiences and offer Mass in the prison chapel.
Bernie's ministry was one of spiritual direction and counseling. He worked in campus ministry at the University of San Francisco, as teacher of spirituality and spiritual director at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and as an out-patient counselor at the House of Affirmation in Boston and Montara, CA, where he also served as director.
He served as Director of Clergy Development in the diocese of Norwich, CT, and retreat director at the Jesuit Retreat Center, Los Altos, CA, beginning in 1993. For many years, he directed a program to train others as retreat and spiritual directors. He resided at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos for the last ten years, continuing his spiritual direction until the Covid-19 crisis prevented it.
Bernie is survived by his sisters-in-law, Jean Bush, of Mill Valley, and Joan Bush of Rancho Cordova. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the funeral Mass will be privately held at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Donations to the Jesuit West Province P. O. Box 68 Los Gatos, Ca. 95031 appreciated.

View the online memorial for Rev. Bernard J. Bush, S.J.

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Dec. 27, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by San Jose Mercury News
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5 entries
December 28, 2020
I owe my life to Father Bernie. His presence on Earth served as a golden gift for many. I’ll never forget Fr. Bernie who helped keep alive God’s love, something he endlessly modeled.
I am more than grateful for all he did to help shape my life for 27 solid years. In my heart, I will carry all that I learned from this extraordinary and very special man.
Donna Lewis
December 27, 2020
Donna Lewis
December 27, 2020
Father Bernie answered my plea for help in 1993 through an extremely difficult period. He contacted me daily by phone and his wisdom, humor, and continual support lifted me. He then guided me through university work to become gainfully employed. He continued his support of my life until his passing.
He returned my call on Wednesday, December 2 to let me know he had COVID19. Grief overcame me to hear he passed Monday, the 7th.
Father Bernie Bush dedicated his life, selfishly, to others. I owe my life to him. While I trust in God he is cared for, I feel so much sorrow there is no funeral, or celebration to honor his life. His presence on Earth served as a golden gift to many people. Of all, Father Bernie deserves to be honored and remembered. The memory of his works will help our world keep in mind God’s love, which he endlessly modeled.
I am more than grateful for all he did to help me traverse life for 27 solid years. In my heart, I will carry all that I learned from this extraordinary and very special man.
Donna Lewis
December 27, 2020
We both were from Garberville and have kept in touch throughout the years. He was the Priest at my daughter's wedding and was there for our family again my my husband died in 2013.
I did not know of his passing until I read it in today's news.
He will be missed by all who knew him.
Barbara Mardesich
December 27, 2020
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Darling & Fischer Chapel of the Hills
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