Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

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

Jesuit Historian to Speak at Fairfield University about Composer Olivier Messiaen

Jesuit Father Stephen Schloesser will discuss the early years of Olivier Messiaen, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, when he delivers Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Lecture on Wednesday, February 1. This “concert lecture,” free and open to the public, will feature a gripping story of love and love lost, interspersed with songs for soprano and piano. Works to be performed include Messiaen’s “The Smile,” and “La Fiancee perdue,” from his “Three Melodies,” “Action de Grace,” and “Priere exaucee,” as well as two songs by his wife at the time, Claire Delbos.

The event, presented by the University’s Center for Catholic Studies, will take place in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola at 8 p.m.

In a talk entitled, “Olivier Messiaen: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” Fr. Schloesser, associate professor of history at Loyola University Chicago, will chronicle the young life of this artist who was greatly inspired by his Catholic beliefs. He will start by exploring Messiaen’s parents, especially his mother Cecile Sauvage and her poetry, punctuating the talk with Messiaen’s compositions while emphasizing the evolution in his writing. The lecture will provide attendees with an intricate look at Messiaen, his mother, and his wife Claire, and how their relationships so deeply affected the composer’s early works.

Educated at Stanford, Fr. Schloesser has explored such intriguing subjects as Jazz Age Catholicism and Mystic Surrealism as Contemplative Voluptuousness. He was a faculty member of Boston College, a Bannan Fellow at Santa Clara University, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Church History at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology.

The Bellarmine Lecture series was set up to bring distinguished Jesuit Scholars in a variety of disciplines to Fairfield. For information on other Center for Catholic Studies events, visit

[Fairfield University]

Jesuit Experiences God through Dance

Originally from Calcutta, Jesuit Father Saju George Moolamthuruthil is a dynamic and unique artist with a rare vision and passion for the art and culture of India and a dancer of the bharatanatyam style.  For over 15 years, he has shown a constant concern to conjugate his dancing with his Catholic faith and considers art as an effective means of spiritual integration and social transformation.

In recent years, Fr. Saju has given over 200 performances in India and worldwide and adopting both Hindu and Christian themes in his incorporation of images whether of Radha-Krishna and Shiva-Parvati or of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

“I love dance, I love to dance, I love to teach, and I love to experience God and the sacred in and through dance,” says Fr. Saju.

According to the Saju, this art involves prayer and adoration, self-awareness and divine realization, social service, the promotion of interreligious peace and harmony and ecumenism.

The bharatanatyam is an elegant form of dance with a strong visual impact. Originating in the temples in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, literally thousands of years ago, this dance style is the oldest of the main forms of classical Indian dance. The dancers, through their choreographies, display gestures and movements representative of mythology, philosophy, epics, ancient stories, contemporary themes and other experiences of life.

Jesuit Named by Pope Benedict to Pontifical Council for Culture

Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro,  the editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, U.S. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, a Portuguese poet, a Spanish architect, two astrophysicists, a Belgian journalist and a curator at the Vatican Museums were named by Pope Benedict XVI to help advise the Pontifical Council for Culture.

For the first time since 1993, religious and laymen — not just cardinals and bishops — were named full members of the council.

The new lay members are French philosopher and writer Jean-Luc Marion and Estonian classical composer Arvo Part. Eleven new consultors or advisers were named to the council, including Bruno Coppi, a professor of plasma physics and astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Others include: Father Jose Tolentino De Mendonca, a Portuguese theologian and poet; Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect; Piero Benvenuti, an Italian astrophysicist; Wolf Joachim Singer, a professor of neurology and head of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Germany; Marguerite Peeters, a Belgian journalist; and Micol Forti, the curator of the Vatican Museums’ collection of contemporary art.

Blessed John Paul II created the Pontifical Council for Culture in 1982 with the aim of helping the world’s cultures encounter the message of the Gospel. In 1993, the late pope united the council with the council for dialogue with nonbelievers thus paving the way for using culture as a bridge for dialogue between people of faith and those who profess no religious beliefs.

Seattle University’s Chapel Receives Prestigious Architecture Award

Seattle University’s highly acclaimed chapel, has garnered the American Institute of Architects’ 2012 Gold Medal for architect Steven Holl. The medal is one of the most prestigious awards given to architects, with its previous recipients including Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Ieoh Ming Pei and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Built in 1997, the Chapel of St. Ignatius was immediately welcomed as Seattle University’s spiritual heart and has come to be a popular destination for visitors interested in joining the campus community in worship or simply marveling at its beauty.

Jesuit Father Jerry Cobb, currently provincial assistant for formation and the provincial assistant for higher education for the Oregon Province, chaired the planning committee that hired Holl and supervised the design and construction of the chapel. As the chapel celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2007, Father Cobb shared his thoughts with Broadway & Madison, the printed faculty and staff newsletter that preceded the University’s current publication, The Commons. Excerpts from the interview follow.

Broadway & Madison:  What’s something the average faculty or staff member might not know about the chapel?

Father Cobb:  Non-Catholics might be consoled to know that in 1995 we asked Steven Holl to design a chapel that would be “engaging for people of all faiths or no faith or faith-under-crisis.” The poet Rilke once advised that when people disappoint you, you should turn to nature because nature will not disappoint you, and I feel something similar about the Catholic Church. When it disappoints you, which is likely to be every day, you can turn to places such as the chapel where God’s saving presence seems tangible and life-giving.

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