Posts Tagged ‘Santa Clara University’

New Rector of Santa Clara University Jesuit Community Named

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Jesuit Father Michael Zampelli, a faculty member since 1998 and currently the Paul Locatelli University Professor in the department of theatre and dance, has been named rector to the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University.

As rector of the second-largest Jesuit community in the California province of Jesuits, Zampelli will serve as the religious superior for his 40 fellow Jesuits on campus. His role is to support and serve them in living their personal, communal, and apostolic lives as Jesuits. Jesuits are members of the Catholic order of priests, the Society of Jesus.

Appointed to his role by Jesuit Fr. General Adolfo Nicolás, the superior general of the Society of Jesus in Rome, Zampelli will work closely with University President Jesuit Father Michael Engh, in cultivating the Jesuit and Catholic mission of SCU.

Read more about Zampelli’s appointment here.

Team California Wins Third Place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon with Help of Jesuit Mentor

reites2Team California, comprised of students from Santa Clara University, got its day in the sun after winning second place in engineering and third place overall at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The students beat top universities such as Tufts University, Rice University and Cornell University, making their home one of the most energy-efficient, beautiful and comfortable solar-powered homes in the world. The judges described Team California’s 800-square-foot house, called Refract House, as masterfully executed, exquisite and well designed.

Read more about Team California’s win here.

Helping lead the team to its win was Jesuit Father Jim Reites, faculty member at SCU. With his endless supply of energy, infectious laugh and no-nonsense, do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done attitude, Reites is an essential and beloved member of the team who has been inspiring students at SCU since he joined the community in 1975.

Allison Kopf, ’11, student project leader for the ’09 team, calls Reites “one of the most enthusiastic, hard-working people I’ve ever met. His pride in the project and excitement about the process encourage students to work to their fullest.” James Bickford, BSME ’08, who led the student team to their third place victory in 2007, agrees: “Father Reites is the Energizer Bunny of the Solar Decathlon program. He is an all-around great guy with a big heart, can-do spirit, and energy becoming that of a 20-year-old.”

Read more about Fr. Reites’ work with the SCU Solar Decathlon team here.

You can also view a video of Fr. Reites speaking about Team California at SCU’s website:
http://www.scu.edu/news/videos/Reites-Talks-About-Team-California.cfm

Middle Jesuits Share Challenges, Create Connections at Keepers of the Fire Conference in California

For four days in June, Santa Clara University experienced a rather unique kind of Jesuit presence. About 200 “middle generation” Jesuits braved the near perfect weather for an experience of fraternity and looking toward the future. These “keepers of the fire,” invoking the words of the recent General Congregation, gathered from all the U.S. provinces, and a few others, to reflect on the call of Christ as experienced individually, and as brothers in the Society of Jesus.
The attendees represented various apostolates and generations within the Society. The youngest in religious life, although not always the youngest in age, were the most recently formed brothers, and those who had been ordained only a year. Others brought the wisdom of having been Jesuits for more than thirty years. All brought their experience of having spent a significant portion of their adult life as Jesuits, no matter their ages.
Jesuit Conference President Fr. Tom Smolich (CFN) kicked things off with a keynote address on Wednesday night, sharing the unexpected turns, and resulting consolations, of his Jesuit life up to now. He surprised some by stating his belief that, based on his experience, being Provincial is “the best job in the Society.” He emphasized the privilege of getting to know so many Jesuits, knowing them from the inside out. And he expressed his hope that these days at Santa Clara might provide a similar experience for us all.
To that end, the next day provided a mixture of talks by Jesuits reflecting on their life in the Society, and faith-sharing in small groups of diverse ages and apostolic experiences. The candor of hardened veterans mixed with the enthusiasm of those recently ordained, and parish priests compared their experiences with high school teachers. In a short time, observed Fr. Provincial Mark Lewis (NOR), “We moved from not knowing each other to sharing at a very deep level.”
Conversation was spurred by excellent presentations. The first was by Fr. Jim Gartland (CHG), who shared the many unanticipated turns of his Jesuit career, as well as his realization, at 41, that “I was never going to get it all together.” Fr. Jerry Cobb (ORE) led a multimedia guided meditation, inviting the group to meditate on the various graced moments in Ignatius’ life depicted by Dora Bittau’s panels in the chapel at Seattle University. The Jesuits were asked to reflect on the question, “Which grace most speaks to you at this moment in your Jesuit life?” Fr. Dan Lahart (MAR) shared with the group his experience of skydiving, describing his leap from a plane just before being challenged to take the greater leap at Strake Jesuit of accommodating and educating an additional 400 students from New Orleans just after hurricane Katrina.
The days also provided an opportunity for proposed future province groupings to share about their respective province “cultures.” Some groups divided into subgroups representing common apostolates. Others focused more on the opportunities for mission, which their combined resources might afford. Each reported back to the larger group some of the priorities which emerged from their discussions, attending especially to which of the General Congregation 35′s “frontiers” they seemed most called.
As illuminating as such lists were, attendees touted the meeting’s less quantifiable aspects. U.S. Assistant to the Curia Fr. Jim Grummer (WIS) explained that he found the meeting to be very much in concert with Father General’s recent emphasis on the universal vocation of the Jesuit. Fr. Kevin Ballard (CFN) expressed his thanks for the gift of a gathering in which the participants were not divided into pre and post-Vatican II groups. Smolich observed, “It has been very moving to me just to see us hanging out with each other, and what that speaks of.” Similarly, Fr. Provincial Tom Krettek (WIS) shared that compared with other meetings, “What I’ve been noticing here is the laughter.”
Still, some were concerned what would come of it. “What does it mean that we continually elicit these desires, yet somehow feel stuck?” asked Fr. Roc O’Connor (WIS). Others had questions about current challenges, like province bankruptcy and vocation promotion.
Yet, as notable as the laughter and fraternity was the fact that such questions did not unleash a wave of negativity. “What I experienced was moving beyond the critical,” commented Lewis. Krettek added, “These questions have been around as long as the Society has been around,” and stressed the importance of these desires being nurtured by the two kinds of laughter he noticed—”knowing laughter,” and “the laughter of sheer enjoyment.”
None sought to downplay the challenges the Society faces. Fr. Provincial Pat Lee (ORE) pointed out that in a time of so much change, when we also face the consequences of past failures; we have to ask, “What are we supposed to be doing with all this?” “The Spirit is leading us into a new wilderness,” said Lewis, striking a similar note, a wilderness “with a single criterion—what is God’s will in this?” These are the questions the men were charged with bringing back to their apostolates and provinces, along with Lee’s reminder that “Hope is what we are about, and we can’t keep that being an elusive word.”
Fr. Mark Mossa (NOR) is a student of theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He also writes a blog entitled “Diary of a Rookie Priest” at frmarkmossasj.blogspot.com.

by Mark Mossa, SJ

For four days in June, Santa Clara University experienced a rather unique kind of Jesuit presence. About 200 “middle generation” Jesuits braved the near perfect weather for an experience of fraternity and looking toward the future. These “keepers of the fire,” invoking the words of the recent General Congregation, gathered from all the U.S. provinces, and a few others, to reflect on the call of Christ as experienced individually, and as brothers in the Society of Jesus.

The attendees represented various apostolates and generations within the Society. The youngest in religious life, although not always the youngest in age, were the most recently formed brothers, and those who had been ordained only a year. Others brought the wisdom of having been Jesuits for more than thirty years. All brought their experience of having spent a significant portion of their adult life as Jesuits, no matter their ages.

Read the rest of this entry »

The History of Jesuits Coming to North America Institute Convenes in Santa Clara

The author Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”
While this may not have been the official theme of the “History of Jesuits Coming to North America Institute”, it could have aptly served as one. Organized by the National Jesuit Brothers Committee, the Institute, held over four days at Santa Clara University, illustrated a contrast; both the commonalities and the differences within the Society’s North American history.
Common themes such as missionary spirit, the frontiers and adaptation to local cultures were threaded throughout the talks, but the specific applications were varied and unique. The historical tales and themes ‘rhymed’ with the challenges Jesuits face today, but the frontiers in which they work now are very different.
The presentations were geographically segmented, and often illustrated by focusing either on specific Jesuits and their works or particular missions within the region.
Fr. Raymond Schroth (NYK), in his overview of Jesuits Coming to North America, shared with attendees the missionary outreach techniques of Fr. Eusebio Francisco Kino, and how Kino both earned the trust of the indigenous peoples and improved their lives.
“Kino developed the stock raising industry we know today, not just for Jesuit profit,” commented Schroth, “but to help the local people to eat and learn a trade. He was a tough, but humble man. He would weep while reading the breviary, he would angrily reprimand sinners, but absorb all criticism of himself. Sometimes he would spend the night in the chapel and have himself whipped. He would take his food without salt or seasoning so that it would taste bad, he took no tobacco, no snuff, and no wine. He slept not in a bed, but on a horse blanket with his saddle for a pillow. Sick with a fever for days, he would get up only to say Mass, then go back to bed.”
Not to be outdone by their western counterparts, the Jesuits in the southern parts of the United States faced the similar struggle of earning the trust of the native peoples. The Jesuits were working against rumors and stereotype. The Indians worried that the Jesuits would treat them much the same way the Spanish Conquistadors did. Plus, there was the added complication of a reputation the Huguenots had credited the Jesuits with; the French warned the Indians of devils in black robes who had come to steal their souls.
The frontiers faced by the Jesuits in New Spain, or present day Mexico, involved ministering to the indigenous people, but also, quelling internal conflict within their own ranks.
According to Fr. Allan Deck (CFN), “Rome would alternate the provincial in Mexico between Spaniards; a Spaniard born in Spain and then a Spaniard born in Mexico to keep the peace between those two sets of Jesuits. There was a delicate balance between those two groups.”
Despite this unsteady balance, the Jesuits of New Spain were very successful in their work and ministry.
“Jesuits became the second largest owner of land in New Spain. They primarily owned sugar plantations, mostly run by the brothers, and operated with thousands of slaves. They developed the cattle industry and agriculture in Mexico, and many of the standards in today’s industry were pioneered by these missionaries,” said Deck. “The Jesuits of New Spain were very successful with the native people because of their baroque style of ministry; they were required to learn at least one native language in addition to Latin and Greek. They met the local people where they were at, much as we do today.”
Conference presenters also invited attendees to reflect on those moments in history where the Society has fallen short of its ideals. Jesuits are men of God but that has never meant the Society was immune to temporal divisions of the day. While many things can influence a Jesuit’s work, whether secular or spiritual, personal affiliation and loyalty have potential to cloud decision and opinion, as seen in the Civil War.
“Now, during the Civil War, it would be pleasant to report that the American Jesuits were more enlightened than their contemporaries, and were opposed to slavery and thus supported the Union cause — far from it. The Maryland Jesuits, as you know, owned slaves, [which] split up families,” commented Schroth. “At Boston College, which was then a Scholasticate for 46 Scholastics and 8 Brothers from all over the World, including France, Germany, England and Ireland, the Rector, Fr. John Bapst, wrote ‘when Lincoln was inaugurated in March 1861, we are at this moment sitting on a volcano.’ The community was made up of men from everywhere, which meant their opinions matched where they came from … community members were forbidden to talk about slavery, or the war,” as fights were prone to break out.
Many of the presentations discussed the physical, tangible connections between Jesuits of the past, and those of today; the missions founded by Italian Jesuits on the West Coast, the influence on cattle and agriculture industries throughout the continent, the foundation of numerous schools and universities, all of which have lasted through time, and continue to affect countless lives. Yet, the special connection between the history and present day became particularly evident in Fr. David Suwalsky’s (MIS) presentation about the Jesuits in Missouri and the Midwest.
“To symbolize the connection between Jesuits of today and those of the past, the chalice of the last French Jesuits working in the Missouri Province before the suppression, which was used by the Pope in 1999, is used and presented by the bishop to the Jesuit ordinandi at their ordination,” said Suwalsky.
But perhaps the most poignant juxtaposition of Jesuit mission history meeting present day was found in Br. Jim Boynton’s (DET) presentation on New France.
“The reason that I was originally directed toward the Society of Jesus was the men I am going to talk about today, and the reason I am going to stay is people like yourself,” commented Boynton. “However, I would like to point out that right here I am holding my tribal membership card to the Sioux-Saint Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians. I am a member of the Indian tribe by blood through my mother.”
Despite the Society’s immense historical breadth, vast like the North American continent itself, the commonality of the missionary spirit became manifest throughout the Institute. While the differences between Jesuits and the regions profiled were evident; be it culturally, geographically or generationally; they were connected through their Jesuit identity, and their desire to better the world they knew, for the greater glory of God.
Kaitlyn McCarthy is a communications specialist for the Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C.

njn_institute_brosby Kaitlyn McCarthy

The author Mark Twain once said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

While this may not have been the official theme of the “History of Jesuits Coming to North America Institute”, it could have aptly served as one. Organized by the National Jesuit Brothers Committee, the Institute, held over four days at Santa Clara University, illustrated a contrast; both the commonalities and the differences within the Society’s North American history.

Common themes such as missionary spirit, the frontiers and adaptation to local cultures were threaded throughout the talks, but the specific applications were varied and unique. The historical tales and themes ‘rhymed’ with the challenges Jesuits face today, but the frontiers in which they work now are very different.

Read the rest of this entry »