Nick Weber grew up in Yuba City in the 1940s. As a boy, he taught himself circus tricks in a
corner of his grandfather’s wholesale beer and wine distributorship yard. As a student at
Notre Dame Elementary School in Marysville and at San Jose’s Bellarmine Prep School, he became
attracted to the priesthood. After a traditional 13-year training course, he was ordained a
Jesuit priest in 1970.
His years of study led to a degree in philosophy and two master’s degrees, one in theology and
another in drama. He began to wonder if his fascinations with circus, magic, theater and the
sanctuary could merge. With his superiors’ approval, his ministry became a full blown, miniature
authentic circus, as he became the founder, director, ringmaster and head clown. In the rich
California atmosphere of the Sixties street theater, he explored a reinvention of the medieval
morality play for the marketplace audience. The “Royal Lichenstein Circus, the World’s Smallest
Complete Circus” toured the country for two decades performing at school assemblies, shopping malls,
college campuses, prisons, and farm workers’ camps. Time Magazine described it as “an amiable
blend of circus tricks and low-key parables”.
Nick Weber, now a retired layman living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will return to Yuba City to present
a program about his astounding life and ministry and a book signing at the Community Memorial Museum
of Sutter County on Thursday, September 20th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The book The Circus That Ran
Away with a Jesuit Priest is available for purchase that evening and will be available in the Museum
Store. Admission to the event is free.
The Community Memorial Museum is located at 1333 Butte House Road in Yuba City. Open hours are
Wednesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. Admission
is free. For more information, call the Museum at (530) 822-7141.