Archive for March, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Jesuits

Jesuit Ryan Duns picked up the Irish tin whistle when he was eight years old and never put it down. Duns, a teacher at Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, instructs his students in Latin and Theology during the day, and in his free time provides tin whistle lessons to more 3 million viewers on YouTube. Using a webcam in his residence, Duns recorded this special video for National Jesuit News to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

If you want to hear more of Ryan Duns, SJ, please visit

Jesuits and Collaborators Meet to Develop Educational Opportunities for Refugees


A hundred Jesuit experts and educators from around the world met last week at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, to discuss the future of the “Jesuit Commons – Higher Education at the Margins” program. Higher Education in the Margins is a greater distance education initiative aimed at refugees that was launched two years ago by the Jesuit Refugee Service in collaboration with 13 Jesuit universities.

“The goals are really around the learning, the development of a new knowledge base, development of leaders who can think differently, solve problems on behalf of their community, wherever that community is,” said Dr. Mary McFarland, the International Director of the program.

The conference, she said, is an opportunity to plot the future for the initiative: “We’re learning together how the model needs to evolve, to insure that there is access to those at the margins for Jesuit higher education.” While she acknowledged that, as a new program, “Higher Education at the Margins” faces some challenges, she is optimistic about the outcome: “We’re in a pilot, so it’s not a utopia. We have a lot of challenges that we’re trying to understand collectively from a world-wide point of view… but the outcome is well worth it, it highlights there’s this phenomenal, growing group of people around the world committed.”

To listen to the full podcast about the event from Vatican Radio,


[Vatican Radio]

Jesuits Provide Housing for Indian Flood Victims

House in India builty by JesuitsJesuits have recently provided 127 flood-affected families with new homes in Raichur, India. Residents there lost their homes in late 2009 when flooding swept through the southwestern region of the country.

The Jesuits in the region have been working for the last two years to help rebuild the homes, especially for the poorest in the community.

“We are handing over 127 houses in Manvi and Sindanoor subdistrict,” said Jesuit Father Eric Mathias, director of the Centre for Non Formal and Continuing Education, a Jesuit-run non-governmental organization (NGO).

“We have been given a lovely house with a bedroom, hall and kitchen. This is a great gift to all of us who had no shelter, said Arogyappa, one of the beneficiaries.

Each home cost 150,000 rupees (US $3,000). Ninety percent of the funds to build the homes were provided by the Jesuit-run center, the rest came from donations.

Hampayya Nayak, a local legislator, praised the Jesuits for their efforts during the handing over ceremony in late February.

“I appreciate the Jesuits’ commitment to the cause of the poor. They have shown people through their work where God is really found.”


Jesuit Honored with Award for His Contributions to Technology History

Leonardo da Vinci has long been considered a true Renaissance man. Jesuit Father John Staudenmaier is following in his footsteps. Fr. Staudenmaier  is currently the Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), he was recently honored with the Leonardo da Vinci Medal by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). The highest recognition from the Society, the medal is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the history of technology, through research, teaching, publications and other activities.

Founded in 1958, the Society for the History of Technology numbers approximately 1,500 members. An international organization dedicated to the historical study of technology and its relations with politics, economics, the environment, science and the arts, for many years, Fr. Staudenmaier edited SHOT’s quarterly journal, Technology and Culture, while also teaching courses in history at UDM.

At the awards ceremony held at UDM, Fr. Staudenmaier talked about “several deep loves in my life,” in particular, what he calls his prayer life and his commitment to the secular academy. When receiving the award, Staudenmaier described “how my prayer life and the academy are present in my self-awareness as two commitments that do not, however, live in schizoid compartments, nor does either trump the other.”

Staudenmaier’s talk was featured in a UDM podcast which is available on their website here. His remarks are preceded by excerpts of the introduction by Arne Kaijser, former president of the Society for the History of Technology and 2011 chair of the Leonardo da Vinci Medal Committee.

Jesuit Offers Podcast Reflections for Lent through the Lens of Ignatian Spirituality

During the liturgical season of Lent, many Catholics give things up – from avoiding Facebook to abstaining from the office candy jar – for 40 days. The list is endless. But Lent isn’t just about giving up; it can also be used as an opportunity for growth in your spiritual life.

Jesuit Father Gregory Konz, Secretary for Higher Education, Finance and Advancement at the Jesuit Conference, recently offered reflections on the four themes found throughout St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, and how they can enrich our experiences as we move through the 40 days of Lent. Fr. Konz first made the Spiritual Exercises during two of the stages of his Jesuit formation: novitiate when a man first enters the Jesuits, and then years later after his ordination to the priesthood, during tertianship, the final stage of formation for a Jesuit.

Check back here next week for another reflection from Fr. Konz!