Archive for July, 2012

Jesuit Reflects on his Time Spent in Micronesia for Long Experiment

During the twelve years that Jesuits are in formation, they participate in a series of what are called “experiments.” These experiences were designed by the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola, to test if these men who are in formation, also known as “novices,” can do what Jesuits do and live as Jesuits live. One of these experiences is called the “long experiment,” and is a time when each Jesuit novice does five months of full-time apostolic work while living in a Jesuit community.

For his long experiment, Jesuit novice Tim Casey taught at Yap Catholic High School in Micronesia. In this shortened piece below, you can read about Casey’s experience. The full piece can be found on this page of the New York,  New England and Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus’ vocations website.

Before I entered the Jesuits, I had been a high school teacher. I worked in two affluent school districts in the metro-Boston area and I felt confident that I had become a good teacher. I knew that there were better teachers than I, but I was confident that I was good. And so when the novice director asked what I wanted to do for long experiment, teaching was not at the top of my list. In the novitiate, I had enjoyed branching out into other ministries. I had worked in the jails and prisons of New York State, I had helped administer an annotated version of the Spiritual Exercises and I had worked as a hospital orderly in the Bronx. I remember feeling lukewarm about returning to my former profession, and made my preferences known to the novice director about what would be best for long experiment.

The Jesuits have an old Latin expression, agere contra, which roughly translated means to go against the grain. By this, St. Ignatius of Loyola meant that if you feel a certain resistance to something in your life, then it might be beneficial for you to engage those feelings, trying to see what you are resisting and why you are resisting it. And so when my novice director asked me to teach during my long experiment, I said that I would be willing, but I was not particularly excited about the prospect. However, I did make one request of him: Could this teaching position be in some way unconventional and different from my former career? He honored my request. I was sent to a remote island in the North Western Pacific Ocean to teach in a newly established high school in Yap, Micronesia.

Yap is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a place that has been called “The edge of the world,” by a Jesuit who spent most of his life here. It is one of four states that make up the FSM. I didn’t know much about Micronesia, except that the Jesuits ran a prestigious school on the island of Chuuk called Xavier High School. But that was not where I was headed. Where was this place?

The local church on Yap had been trying for a number of years to open a Catholic high school. In the summer of 2011, two New York Province Jesuits were sent to Yap to make good on the promise of Catholic education and opened Yap Catholic High School in August of that year. They had four teachers (including themselves), two borrowed classrooms, and 34 students. I would become the fifth teacher, teaching Science, Social Studies, moderating the robotics club, acting as an assistant basketball coach, and doing a variety of other odds and ends to aid them in getting this school off the ground and running.

It is an intriguing place, a place that seems to be unencumbered by the events that have transpired in the other parts of the globe. The expression, “An island onto itself” seems to be fitting in more ways than one.

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British Jesuit Begins Scholar-in-Residence at University of San Francisco

A British Jesuit with broad experience in European and international justice issues as well as grassroots work with the poor will be the University of San Francisco’s Lane Center Summer Scholar-in-Residence this month.

During his time on campus, Jesuit Father Frank Turner will deliver three free public addresses: “Catholic Social Thought and Magisterial Claim to Authority in Ethics” ; “Catholic Social Thought’s Claim to Universal Relevance” on July 18; and “Modes of Christian Ethical Participation in the Global Discourse” on July 25.

As its general director, Fr. Turner led the Jesuit European Office (OCIPE) from 2005 until last year and is currently affiliated with its successor, the Jesuit European Social Center in Brussels, Belgium.

His work has taken him to Iraq, Colombia, Syria, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine, where he has conferred with a range of people, including community leaders, voluntary workers, cardinals, patriarchs and the leaders of several governments.

From 1997 to 2004, Fr. Turner was the assistant general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

“The core of that job was to brief and represent the bishops of the 22 dioceses of England and Wales on matters of international justice: regional issues, such as relations between Israel and the Palestinian territories, or the Church’s advocacy to government about the Western allies’ path to war against Iraq,” Fr. Turner wrote on the website Jesuit Vocations: Britain.

From 1981 to 1986 and 1990 to 1994, the priest did “community-based work in the poorer parts of Liverpool and Manchester” while also teaching part-time at Manchester University, he told National Catholic Reporter.

Past scholars-in-residence have included Mary Jo Bane of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Jesuit Father A. E. Orobator, provincial of the Jesuits’ East African Province; Margaret O’Brien Steinfels of Fordham University Center for Religion and Culture; Jesuit Father James Keenan, professor of theological ethics at Boston College; and Jesuit Father Tom Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

[National Catholic Reporter]

Loyola Press Celebrates 100 Years, Forges into the Future

This year, Loyola Press is celebrating its 100thanniversary, a milestone few companies ever reach. The fact that Loyola Press is a Catholic publishing company makes the achievement all the more remarkable.

In 1912—the same year in which the Titanic sank and Woodrow Wilson was elected president—Jesuit Father William P. Lyons founded Loyola Press as a publishing ministry of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Lyons was simply following in the footsteps of the Jesuits’ founder, Ignatius of Loyola, who was one of the first people to purchase a printing press in the 16th century. Originally located in the basement of St. Ignatius College (now St. Ignatius College Preparatory School) and employing only a handful of people; today, the company employs nearly 90 people.

Throughout the last 100 years, Loyola Press has maintained rigorous standards for its high-quality textbooks and spirituality resources. Through religious education programs like Finding God, Christ Our Life, and the bilingual God’s Gifts, children not only learn the foundations of the Catholic faith but also discover practical ways to live out their faith.  With Voyages in English, which has been in continuous use and publication since 1943, students develop critical skills in grammar, usage and mechanics that help them become successful writers, readers and speakers..

Loyola Press publisher Jesuit Father Paul Campbell, says, “While our various language arts and religion textbooks are generally geared to children, our substantial list of spirituality books is aimed more at adults. Over the course of Loyola Press’s history, we have published literally hundreds of books that draw women and men into a deeper relationship with God and inspire them to serve others.” Some of those books have generated sales in the range one might expect from the big New York publishing houses: The Gift of Peace by Joseph Cardinal Bernadin remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks; Fr. Jim Martin’s My Life with the Saints has sold more than 110,000 copies.

With a century of success behind it, nonprofit Loyola Press is already thinking about and planning for its next 100 years. “Our resources are selling globally, and our rapidly expanding digital content, including eBooks for adults and children, makes it possible for people to interact with Loyola Press whenever they want, wherever they want,” says Teresa Locke, president of Loyola Press. “The Jesuits have always been about serving people’s real needs, about meeting people wherever they are. Today, they are in the digital world, and that is where Loyola Press will interact with them.”

Popular digital offerings include the 3-Minute Retreat, where music, images and Scripture verses allow busy people to spend a few quality moments reflecting on their faith; and, where visitors can gain helpful insight into St. Ignatius Loyola and the spirituality he embraced. For additional information about Loyola Press, its print and digital resources, and its 100th anniversary, visit

Jesuit Father John Brooks Remembered as an Educational Leader of Holy Cross

Nearly 1,000 mourners said goodbye on Monday to Jesuit Father John E. Brooks, the former president of the College of the Holy Cross who boldly broke gender and race barriers at the once all-white male school and who is credited by many with pulling the liberal arts institution from the brink of financial collapse.

St. Joseph Memorial Chapel was packed with mourners, who attended the 90 minute funeral Mass.

The 88 year-old Fr. Brooks, who served as president from 1970 to 1994, died July 2 at the UMass Memorial Medical Center — University Campus, where he had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

Fr. Brooks is credited with a number of achievements at the school but he is particularly well-remembered for traveling up and down the East Coast in the late 1960s in search of black high school students who might be interested in attending Holy Cross and in making the school co-educational.

In his homily, Jesuit Father Earle L. Markey, associate director of admissions for Holy Cross, recounted the many initiatives Fr. Brooks undertook in making Holy Cross a nationally-renowned liberal arts college: recruiting an excellent faculty and bright students, adding new buildings, introducing new academic programs and building the endowment — all while staying true to the College’s Catholic roots.

“In the midst of great change, John always confirmed that the college remains a Catholic college,” he said. “He never wavered from his view that the College of the Holy Cross served the Church as an instrument of intellectual competence, where the Church met the world and world met the church. It was a place where faith and reason could meet and be reconciled each to the other.”

Related Information:

Fairfield University’s Jesuit Community Building receives Architect Honor

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) included the Jesuit community’s building at Fairfield University as among its 2012 Ten Best Houses as one of 10 recepients of its 2012 Housing Awards. The AIA’s Housing Awards Program, now in its 12th year, was established to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.

From The Huffington Post:

Jesuit Community Center/Gray Organschi Architecture : Aware of their special role as teachers and spiritual guides, the Jesuits sought a building that would not only provide for their own immediate needs, but might serve as an exemplar of ecological architecture. The apostolic center houses resident Jesuit priests and their guests, administrative offices, a chapel, community dining room, great room, and library. Throughout the project, design decisions aimed to optimize the building’s environmental performance. Ultimately, both traditional site and building design “best practices” and innovative environmental technologies serve to reduce both short and long term impact on the environment, helping the Jesuits to achieve their goal of acting as “good stewards of the Earth.”