Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Painting is a Passion for Jesuit Brother Jim Small

In 1969, Jesuit Brother Jim Small came to Loyola Academy in Chicago’s northern suburb of Wilmette, Ill. to work as its resident carpenter, but it’s been a different kind of work and use of his talents that has benefited the Jesuit college preparatory high school the most.

After serving in the Navy during World War II followed by a stint as a Chicago police officer, Br. Small entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1952 at Milford, Ohio. When he came to Loyola Academy, Br. Small picked up a paintbrush and returned to a hobby he’d enjoyed since his childhood – painting. During the school’s first fundraiser in 1970, Br. Small included 36 of his original pieces, all of which were quickly purchased. Since then, he contributes between 60 to 100 paintings each year to Loyola Academy’s fundraiser and raises upwards of $45,000 annually for the school. The funds from the sale of his artwork are used to endow a scholarship fund for students in need.

While Br. Small’s work as a carpenter and an artist has done much for Loyola Academy, few would say those are his most important contributions. He’s known by students, alumni, staff, parents and coaches as a true man for others – someone with a generous spirit who humbly attributes his abilities to God’s grace.  It is his generosity that most would say is his great contribution to Loyola Academy.

Find out more about Br. Jim Small and his artistic talents in the Ignatian News Network video below:

Get to Know the Chicago-Detroit Jesuits Who Took First Vows This Year

(L-R) Gregory Ostdiek, Kevin Embach, Kyle Shinseki, Matthew Lieser, Trevor Beach, and Joshua Peters

A Jesuit professes first vows after two years in the novitiate and before entering first studies. Kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament, the man promises to become poor, chaste, and obedient with God’s help. Each novice then receives a crucifix—a symbol of his dedication to following Christ on the way of the cross—which will remain with him throughout his life.

On August 13, 2011, six Jesuits from the Chicago-Detroit Province professed first vows at St. Thomas More Catholic Community, the Jesuit parish of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  Read on to learn more about them and why they love being Jesuits.

“During my time in the Navy, I realized that my vocation really was to be a priest. So I started looking around and discovered that the Jesuits were the best fit for me. . . . There are a lot of good guys in the Society. . . . There’s a lot of study, but it’s fun learning and training yourself to help other people.” — Gregory Ostdiek, Beavercreek, OH

Greg has a BA in English and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton, and an MA in English and an MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State. He served in the navy for 14 years, including several tours in the Middle East. Greg taught physics at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy before joining the Society.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jesuit Taps into His Entrepreneurial Spirit while Overseeing Chicago Prep School


Jesuit Father Chris Devron says he has always been interested in start-ups and has an entrepreneurial personality. So it’s fitting that he’s president of Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, the first all-new Catholic high school on Chicago’s West Side in more than 80 years.

Fr. Devron has come full circle in many ways. In 1995 he was a Jesuit novice in Chicago when he witnessed the beginning of the country’s first Cristo Rey school, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, while attending the press conference announcing that the Jesuits were starting the school.

He remembers being thrilled that the Society of Jesus would be open to something new. “My exposure to that point had been that we had schools that were long-established, and that we were struggling with diversification and becoming less and less affordable to lower-income families. To see there was this new model that would help kids and families [afford Jesuit education], that was really exciting to me,” he says.

Christ the King, which follows the Cristo Rey work-study model, opened at a temporary site with 120 students in 2008, and its brand new building opened in January 2010. An architecture critic at the Chicago Tribune said the new building’s “business-like image and its unrepentant sense of newness — a shock amid the tattered brick buildings around it — are both there by design, sending a message that the building marks a fresh start.”

Despite being in a low-income neighborhood, families can afford the private education Christ the King offers because of its work-study model in which students work five days a month at a corporation, helping them pay for their tuition. A few students share a full-time job at businesses such as U.S. Bank, Loyola Medical Center and even the Chicago Blackhawks.

Education had been Fr. Devron’s passion even before joining the Society, and it led him to his vocation. After attending Notre Dame as an undergrad, he taught in the Bronx. He thought he would teach for a year and then go to law school, but teaching put him in touch with his deeper desires.

“I began to wonder and pray and ask myself what it would be like if I were to continue teaching, but to do so as a priest ultimately,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »