Jim Croegaert grew up in Peoria and began playing
in bands when he was a freshman in high school. He took his Wyld
Heard band on the road in 1965 and has been a professional musician
ever since. A high point in his musical career was Sandi Patti's
Grammy-winning performance of his song "Was It a Morning Like This?"
As a boy, Croegaert was a polio victim. He says that both his life
and his body have been marked by the experience. Polio treatments
caused Jim to be separated from his family for long periods of time.
He says that during those lonely times the liturgy of his Catholic
church resonated in him and served as an important connection, not
only to God, but to others from whom he was often separated.
After Wyld Heard disbanded, Croegaert joined a group of musicians
in Wisconsin who wanted to do original music. The band eventually
became known as Hope. They settled in the La Crosse, Wis., area and
gradually became one of the first "Christian contemporary" or "Jesus
After singing with Hope, Croegaert enrolled at what is now
Lincoln Christian University. He graduated in 1976 and moved to
Evanston's Reba Place Fellowship, where he became involved in music
ministry in a Mennonite and Church of the Brethren setting.
As the sacraments became increasingly important for him, Jim was
drawn back to the Catholic church, where he was influenced by Thomas
Merton and Henri Nouwen.
In addition to performing, Croegaert now serves as a chaplain in
a large Chicago hospital. To prepare for the chaplaincy, he went
through the arduous clinical pastoral education program. Jim says
that he sometimes uses his music in health care settings. His song
"Workplace Blessing" originated from the hospital staff's desire to
bless re-worked space as a department moved from one area of the
hospital building to another.