Archive for August, 2011
Jesuit Father Don Doll’s photographic works have been celebrated and awarded numerous times for their ability to capture and highlight the experiences of people across the globe. From remote villages in Sub-Saharan Africa to the dances of Native Americans in their traditional garb, Fr. Doll has spent decades capturing his subjects in their element since he was first introduced to photography when assigned to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota as a young Jesuit in the late 1960s.
He’s photographed Jesuits assisting Tsunami victims in India and Sri Lanka in 2005; refugees in Burundi, Rwanda and the Congo in 2007; and Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad along the Darfur border in 2008. Most recently, one of Doll’s photos was selected by 1001 Stories of Common Ground‘s Positive Change in Action competition showcasing pieces which highlight the positive changes in the Arab world.
Currently, Doll is a professor of photojournalism at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. where he holds the Charles and Mary Heider Endowed Jesuit Chair. Recently, he took time out from his busy schedule to speak with National Jesuit News by phone for our monthly podcast series. You can listen to the interview with Doll below:
A scientist who has an idea that he wants to test runs to his laboratory. There he applies various tests to see whether his initial idea was a sound one. Some people use the laboratory analogy to try to explain the novitiate experience, and in many ways a “lab” is an accurate analogy for this first stage in Jesuit formation.
When a man enters the novitiate, he has a good idea that God is calling him to become a Jesuit – he has discerned and spent many hours in the application process being interviewed by Jesuits, doctors and even a psychologist – but he has never lived as a Jesuit; he has not yet tested his vocation. Likewise, the Society of Jesus has a good idea that the man they have admitted is a good fit, but it needs some real life experiences with this man to know for sure. The novitiate is this time of testing and discernment.
One of the reasons a laboratory is a good analogy for the novitiate is because St. Ignatius designed the novitiate to have specific tests which are called “experiments.” No, novices are not asked to deliver electric shocks to one another, nor does the novice master ring a bell before meals and measure salivation. Instead, the various experiments, many conceived by Ignatius himself, test whether a novice can do what Jesuits do and live as Jesuits live.
The first experiment is arguably the most important – the undertaking of the full 30 day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In this powerful and moving experience, a novice moves through the retreat, seeking to know and follow Christ more closely and to more clearly hear His voice in his life. He will draw on this experiment for the rest of his Jesuit life.
It is more important than ever for students exploring a religion, especially Islam, to examine its sociopolitical, historical and theological roots, according to Jesuit Father Daniel Madigan, an associate professor of theology at Georgetown University.
Fr. Madigan, a native of Australia with a doctorate in Islamic religion from Columbia University, said theological study of Islam is also important in helping Christians and non-Christians better understand their own faith.
“When we talk about theology among ourselves we adopt a kind of a language and we’re so used to doing it, we don’t challenge each other on it,” Madigan said. “We don’t realize how weird it sounds to people who grew up in a different faith.”
Establishing an interreligious dialogue between Christianity and Islam, and among all world religions, is an important step towards greater accountability and acceptance, according to Madigan.
Read more about Madigan at the Georgetown University website.
Fr. Paredes said that he was comfortable with his pastoral ministry at two Jesuit parishes, but that “my vocation within the Jesuit vocation, has been teaching high school kids.”
However, coming to Loyola did present some challenges, such as replacing a Jesuit teacher who devoted 23 years of ministry to Loyola and teaching in a coed school for the first time.
Despite the challenges, he writes, “I can say that coming back to teach has been a blessing.”
“To be the only Hispanic male on the faculty, as well as a Jesuit priest, has some advantages when I teach any subject,” Paredes writes. “I encourage my students to open their eyes and see that a different world is possible. I am impressed to see that very often my students relate their experiences to the social teaching of our Catholic faith.”
Paredes writes, “A Jesuit has to be able to engage in any ministry, moving from serving old folks to young ones, from the poor to the upper class, and in so doing fulfill the will of God.”
For more reflections from Paredes, visit the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces Jesuit Vocations website.
Jesuit Father Martin Connell, a member of the Chicago-Detroit Province, currently serves in Dodoma, Tanzania, where he is provincial assistant for education of the Eastern Africa Province and headmaster of the new Our Lady Queen of Peace Educational Centre and its St. Peter Claver High School.
While teaching at Loyola Marymount University, Fr. Connell was asked if he’d be willing to leave his post to open a new high school in Tanzania.
“Absolutely” was his answer. “My educational and work background, coupled with my desire to follow St. Ignatius’s principles of a universal Society and the virtue of availability to go where the needs are greatest, have led me to this place and time,” he explained.
The high school, which opened in January 2011, serves 140 boys and girls and includes a four-story dormitory with two wings that can house 640 students each. As a boarding school, it puts girls on equal footing with boys; otherwise, the girls would be expected to perform domestic duties upon returning home each day.
“It is no surprise to those who know the Jesuits that the Society believes in the transformative power of education—as a link between learning and a better future for students,” said Connell. “But education also empowers individuals to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. Here in Tanzania, we believe it will not only help improve our students’ and their community’s quality of life, but that it will support a more informed democracy and help Tanzanians diminish the poverty that many face every day.”