Archive for May, 2012

Australian Jesuit Reflects on Taking Final Vows

A few short weeks ago Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke, an Australian Jesuit and an Assistant Professor of History at Boston College, professed final vows in the Society of Jesus at St. Mary’s Chapel on Boston College’s campus. Final vows occur when the Society of Jesus invites a Jesuit to full incorporation within the Society.  As one Jesuit said, at first vows, you accept the Society; at final vows, the Society accepts you. Fr. Clarke recently offered this reflection in the Australian province’s newsletter upon the completion of his final vows:

On Friday as I concluded taking my final vows in the Society of Jesus, I read the phrase, “At the altar of St Mary in St Mary’s Chapel, Boston College, Massachusetts, April 20, 2012.”  When I joined the Jesuits in 1993 at Canisius College, Pymble in Sydney, little did I know that I’d be halfway around the world almost two decades later.

On the occasion of my first vows, which were pronounced at the end of the novitiate in February 1995, along with three other men (including Jesuit Brother Kevin Huddy and Father Minh Van Tran), I spoke the words “I vow to your divine majesty, before the most holy Virgin Mary and the entire heavenly court, perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Society of Jesus. I promise that I will enter this same Society to spend my life in it forever.” At the end of the formula there is another prayer, which entreats God with the words “as you have freely given me the desire to make this offering, so also may you give me the abundant grace to fulfill it.”

They are wise words as the promise made then is that when one is called to final vows many years later one will then be ready to enter the Society completely, to be incorporated as a fully professed member of the Jesuits. Thus, our training and our testing, as envisaged by Ignatius and then experienced by countless generations of Jesuits, can indeed be long and arduous. Little did I know that as I gazed out over the deserts of the Kimberley region during a novitiate placement in 1994 (pictured, right) that I’d then end up being an academic in a Jesuit, Catholic university on the east coast of the United States.

And yet, in a way, this makes perfect sense in a Jesuit world. As we desire to enter the Society, so the Society desires to enable us to be all that we can be, for the good of our mission, which is to serve Christ’s poor and in so doing help build a better and more just world. Our congregations have articulated this desire in ever-more sophisticated (and lengthy!) ways over the past decades and one articulation of this that resonates with me is that we seek to be men on a mission, who seek a faith that does justice. Read the rest of this entry »

Jesuits on the Frontiers: Ministry to the People of Peru

Since arriving to Peru in the 16th century, the Jesuits have established a remarkable array of ministries in the South American country including 10 parishes, distribution centers for food and clothing and 72 Fe y Alegria (Faith and Joy) schools, which provide a free education to more than 86,000 Peruvian children.

Since 1968, the Jesuits of the Chicago – Detroit Province have had commitment of service with Peru that continues to evolve and flourish today. These relationships between Jesuit provinces, called “twinning,” promote reciprocal sharing between the two and help strengthen and grow the Church’s presence and reach.

The first destinados, Jesuit Fathers Robert Beckman and Benjamin Morin, were missioned to Peru and arrived in Lima on October 28, 1960. Since then, more than 50 Jesuits have been sent out across the county, not only to serve the poor, but also fully embrace the culture and live among the Peruvian people in their communities.

Find out more about the work of the Chicago – Detroit Province Jesuits in Peru by visiting their website, which includes more information, photos, a podcast and a video with the Jesuits who are serving God’s people in Peru.

The Rain People: Jesuit Ministers to Mixteco Community in Virginia

San Miguel sparkles.

His golden wings gleam. His ruby robe glitters. He looks more like a doll than a dragon slayer.

But the saint is tougher than he seems.

He defeats evil. He grants prayers. With the raised sword fastened to his hand by a rubber band, San Miguel will protect a small remnant of an ancient tribe: a people who have lived here, unseen, for 12 years.

The long-lashed, fiberglass saint is a perfect copy of the one standing in a small church 2,400 miles away. San Miguel is the patron saint of Metlatónoc, a remote mountain town in southwestern Mexico where Richmond’s Mixteco people were born. They may never go home again, so they have brought their saint here, to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manchester.

In preparation for the saint’s arrival on this Saturday morning in late July, musicians strike up a song. Women arrive bearing bouquets of roses. A father makes the sign of the cross on his young daughter’s face with a white devotional candle, a veladora. He carries it to the front of the church, sets it in a metal stand and lights it. Other men join him, carrying candles, until the corner glows bright as a bonfire.

Around 10:30, nearly 200 people stand in the shade of a lop-limbed oak. The temperature’s already climbing toward 90 degrees. The Mixtecos sweat in their jeans and their suits and their skirts. The smell of incense mingles with perfume.

And then, it is time.

Vamos aqui,” Jesuit Father Shay Auerbach says. Come here. Everyone crosses the street to stand outside the Sacred Heart Center, a former school that’s a nonprofit community center. Four men hoist a green canopy on poles to shade the saint. San Miguel appears in the doorway, wobbling on a white litter. Cell phone cameras are held aloft.

Read the rest of this entry »

We can All do More, says Canadian Jesuit

The Jesuits want more — more faith, more work, more justice, more truth, more hope, more for the love of Christ. As Canadian Jesuit Father Bert Foliot celebrated 50 years in the Society of Jesus, he also laid out what he felt can be asked of Jesuits.

“We want you to demand that we help you to meet Jesus of Nazareth. That’s what we want you to demand of us,” Fr. Foliot said. “We want you to demand that we be faithful to the tradition and interpret it in ways that can be understood in our secular time. We want you to demand that we be people who can open up a respect for creation so that we can be in right relation with creation.”

The Jesuits are celebrating 400 of years in Canada, a milestone commemorated during a recent dinner and awards ceremony in early April dedicated to the core Jesuit value of more — which, in the traditional language of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Jesuits call “the magis.”

If Jesuits are to lead the lives they are called to, they need lay people to constantly demand every dimension of Jesuit ministry, said Fr. Foliot. Over the last 50 years, Fr. Foliot has been a pastor at big-city parishes, a missionary in Northern Ontario and now serves as rector at Regis College, the Jesuit graduate faculty of theology at the University of Toronto.

“I don’t know if you know the power of lay people to call forth the priesthood in us,” Fr. Foliot said.

During the dinner on April 11, the Jesuits presented an award to Peter Warrian and Margaret Hovanec, a Toronto couple behind the Lupina Foundation. The foundation funds the Lupina Centre for Spirituality, Healthcare and Ethics at Regis College,

“What we receive from the Jesuits wildly exceeds anything we can contribute to the Society of Jesus,” said Warrian, an entrepreneur and former chief economist for the Province of Ontario.

Fr. Foliot was one of four Jesuits celebrating 50 years of Jesuit life at the 2012 Provincial’s Dinner. Jesuit Brother Bob Finlay, Fathers Doug McCarthy and Michael Stogre all entered the novitiate in 1962.

Find out more about the Jesuits of English Canada and the festivities honoring their Jesuit jubilarians at The Catholic Register.

Holy Cross Welcomes Jesuit Fr. Boroughs to its Campus as New President

One of Fr. Boroughs, S.J.’s first official events at the College of the Holy Cross was its academic convocation in late January, where he welcomed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, ‘71 Holy Cross graduate, as he received an honorary degree.

With a tradition of academic excellence that dates to its founding in 1843, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. is the oldest Catholic college in New England. This year, students and faculty welcomed Jesuit Father Philip Boroughs to the hillside campus as the college’s 32nd president.

This piece below about Fr. Borough’s arrival to Holy Cross originally appeared in the Spring issue of their magazine. You can find out more about Holy Cross and its academics grounded in the Jesuit tradition via this link.

Jesuit Father Philip L. Boroughs moved into the president’s office at the College of the Holy Cross at the start of 2012 and began meeting as many members of the community as possible in his first few weeks. Making visits to various faculty meetings, introducing himself to staff through town hall-style gatherings, participating in student events and simply greeting people on campus have helped the former Georgetown vice president become acquainted with his new extended family.

“Holy Cross has the reputation of being a warm and engaged educational community, and I have discovered how true that is,” Fr. Boroughs commented after his first week. “I have been very moved by the kindness, generosity and genuine care that I have received from many individuals and groups on campus who have helped me to move in and get established. People are extremely friendly and welcoming and have gone out of their way to introduce themselves and offer assistance.”

The college’s new leader, who lists Dr. Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University; Dr. Jack DeGioia, president of Georgetown University; and Jesuit Father Stephen Privett, president of the University of San Francisco; among the academic leaders he most admires, says that, though the learning curve for his new role is intense, the work is “exciting and energizing.”

Fr. Boroughs was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and raised in Seattle. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., in 1973, and received a master of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology (Chicago) in 1978. He later received a licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1987 and his Ph.D. in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. in 1989.

Fr. Boroughs entered the Society of Jesus in 1967, was ordained a priest in 1978 and made his final vows as a Jesuit in 1986.

Students have had the chance to talk with their new president at several events. During the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership luncheon in January, Fr. Boroughs told students, “It is important to know that leadership is not simply the consequence of your education, your talents or your desire. True leadership most typically happens when others call you to leadership in light of the gifts you have that match the needs of a particular time, place and circumstance.”

Asked how he prepared himself to take on the weighty mantle of becoming the 32nd president of the Holy Cross, Fr. Boroughs mentioned his sabbatical, during which he visited family in Seattle, British Columbia, London and Scotland; and friends in Portland, Ore., Ireland, Louisville, Palm Beach and St. Croix. “Having time to enjoy the beauty of the Northwest, time for a retreat and time to read and think was wonderfully rejuvenating,” he says. “Now, I look forward to living in a smaller city where one can really feel part of the life of the civic community, and I look forward to becoming part of this remarkable college.”

In September 2012, the college will celebrate the inauguration of Fr. Boroughs with several events, including a Mass and installation ceremony on Sept. 14.