Archive for October, 2011

Jesuit Finds Unique Calling to Preserve a Jesuit Saint’s Manuscripts

Jesuit Father Alberto Hurtado

A robust New Yorker of Irish ancestery, Jesuit Father Eugene Rooney has traveled the World. Missioned to places like Africa and Uruguay, it was in Chile where he discovered his real mission. In 1969 he left his position as librarian at Georgetown University to move to Chile to maintain the files and personal manuscripts of Saint Alberto Hurtado, Jesuit and founder of Hogar de Cristo, an outreach organization serving the poorest of the poor.

Since moving to Chile, Fr. Rooney has indexed the original manuscript collection of Alberto Hurtado, which were located at behind Saint Ignatius High School on Alonso Ovalle St.

There are eight kardex placed in four storage bins in which the original manuscripts of the creator of the Hogar de Cristo are stored. One document has phrase written in a passionate and elegant calligraphy and preached by Hurtado; “Love your neighbor is the most important thing of all.”

Some of these manuscripts are yellowish papers with faded edges and most of them have footer notes and ink stains. Rooney points out a phrase and some drawings that show the lighter side of a young man who wanted to be a priest. Finally, the librarian with strong and tender hands closes the manuscripts and carefully puts them back in the metal box as though they were fragile relics.

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Keeping the Classics Alive: Jesuit Father James Schall

The Georgetown Voice, a student-run newsmagazine of Georgetown University, recently featured  Jesuit Father James Schall, the noted author, philosopher and professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University. Fr. Schall, who entered the Society in 1948, started at Georgetown as a member of the faculty in 1977. A prolific writer, Schall has authored more than 30 books, including Idylls and Rambles, which was recently added to the Ignatius Press E-Book Collection. The full feature about Fr. Schall is below:

In the moments before his Elements of Political Theory class, Jesuit Father James Schall stood in the hall, chatting with early-comers about the weather, the readings, and other courses. Fr. Schall not only knew all of his current students by name, but also recalled almost all of his recent students. He made introductions among the students standing in front of him, and a large, comfortable conversation started.

This conversation seemed to carry over into class. The period involved little group discussion, but was rather a series of conversations between Schall and individual students.

To Schall, this conversational teaching style fosters students’ intellectual engagement.

“College students learn most from talking to each other. You have to have ways for students to converse,” he said. “That’s why education is fostered by a good campus.”

When class began, Schall asked if he had failed to call on anyone during the course so far. “I don’t want anyone to feel left out,” he said. With 100 students crowded into a large White-Gravenor classroom, it would seem easy to be left out during a 50 minute class period.

However, Schall’s custom of pacing the aisles—addressing questions and comments to students at random—makes it difficult to shirk participation. Despite his sniper-like questioning style, his students appeared calm, seemingly unfazed by the possibility of being called on at his whim. Although his quiet voice could easily be drowned out by coughing, his students remained attentive and prepared to be called on. The conversations ranged from Plato, to the etymology of names of the months, to Shakespeare.

Schall teaches exclusively from the Western canon, classic texts that have been a cornerstone of Jesuit education from its beginnings. Some see these texts as providing a critical perspective on the legacy of human thought.

Professor Patrick Deneen, a government professor who also teaches Elements of Political Theory, speculated that Schall’s traditional perspective attracts students to his popular class.

“A paramount reason why students flock to Father Schall is because he reveals to them the profound depth of their ignorance,” he said. “But more than that, he allows them to experience that magnificent feeling that is the beginning of philosophy—the hunger for knowledge.”

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Jesuit Encounters “Warm Heart of Africa” Through New Educational Efforts in Malawi

Fifth grade students from Our St. Joseph Jesuit Parish Primary School in Kasungu, Malawi visit the site of the future Loyola Jesuit Secondary School with their headmaster (back left), Fr. Peter Henriot, SJ, development director of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (back center) and Fr. Alojz Podgrajsek, SJ, project director of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (back right).

Serving in Zambia on sabbatical in 1989 had a life-changing affect on Jesuit Father Peter Henriot. “Working in a village development project with local people and doing simple tasks did almost more for my education than all the other learning I gathered while studying and working in the United States. And at the end of that year, the people there gave me the best gift – the desire to stay.”

And for the next 21 years that’s exactly what Fr. Henriot was able to do, having joined the Zambia-Malawi Province (transferring from the Oregon Province) while working with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Zambia after having spent the previous 16 years with Center of Concern in Washington, D.C.  And, then in 2010, he was assigned to another purpose – to help establish Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Malawi.

Although it is a country rich in natural resources, Malawi, whose nickname is “The Warm Heart of Africa,” continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of human development. It ranks a somber 153 out of 169 on the United Nations Human Development Index, which is largely caused by lack of educational opportunities for its youth.

“There simply is no future for Malawi without better education for the young people,” Henriot states.

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Jesuit Inaugurated as 25th President of The University of Scranton

In a formal ceremony that included more than 1,800 guests, Jesuit Father Kevin Quinn was recently inaugurated as the new president of the University of Scranton.

“The University of Scranton, a Jesuit university, can and should excel in providing its students an education that is engaged, integrated and global,” Fr. Quinn said during his address. “We can do something special here. Of that I am very certain.”

Quinn, who was most recently executive director of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and a professor of law at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., assumed the post in July.

Among attendees were college presidents and other delegates from 75 universities, and three former University of Scranton presidents: Jesuit William Byron, who served from 1975 to 1982 and is now a business professor at St. Joseph’s University; Jesuit Father Joseph McShane, who served from 1998 to 2003 and is now president of Fordham University; Jesuit Father Scott Pilarz, who served from 2003 until this summer and is now president of Marquette University.

Jesuit Father James Shea, provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, charged Quinn to shepherd the mission of Jesuit education. Fr. Quinn was then presented with the charter, presidential medallion and university mace.

In his address, he said providing greater opportunity for international study, increasing diversity on campus and expanding multicultural experiences would help students think globally.

“To deliver a transformative education in the Jesuit tradition … requires the integration of academic, moral and spiritual learning – the union of mind, heart and soul,” he said.


Jesuit Father Don Doll Recalls Invitation to Appear in an Apple Ad

The ad shown above was selected last week as one of the best Apple ads by an editor at Huffington Post. A longtime photojournalism professor at Creighton University, Jesuit Father Don Doll, appeared in the it (along with rocker Todd Rundgren) — dropped an e-mail about the experience to Catholic News Service. In an email titled “A bit of Creighton in Apple history,” Father Doll told the story:

“Here’s how I was invited to be in the Apple campaign ‘What’s on your PowerBook?’ Creighton graduate, Christian Wolfe, who had excelled in my publication design course, was an Los Angeles BBDO account executive with the Apple account who called asking if I had a black clerical suit, and if I would consider being in an Apple ad campaign. I called my Jesuit superiors in Milwaukee to see if there were any issues with my appearance in an ad. They didn’t have any.

“Apple flew me out first class, put me in in a San Francisco boutique hotel. We went out to the little, formerly Catholic church now a nondenominational wedding chapel, in Tiburon, across the bay from San Francisco, where I met Todd Rundgren (whom I had never heard of before!), and Michael O’Brien, the photographer, whom I did meet years earlier as an award winning National Press Photographer.

“Michael O’Brien exposed 76 rolls of 120 film over 2-3 hours. The ad was run in black and white and color in numerous national magazines. I received numerous calls from former students who saw the ad.”

And, Father Doll, an award-winning photographer himself, noted that he was ”pleased with the ad as it showed a priest in a good light.”

For those who are curious, some of the things listed on Fr. Doll’s PowerBook included: wedding homilies, grant proposal for a book, scans of pictures taken in Ireland, and “design for my Christmas card.”

[H/t: The Deacon's Bench]