Celebrating our shared mission
By Pat O'Leary, S.J.
Seattle University faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the Feast of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, with two events on Thursday, July 31: a continental breakfast from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Arrupe Jesuit Residence and a mass at 12:30 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Ignatius, with Rector Tom Lucas, S.J., as the presider. The Commons asked Pat O'Leary, S.J., (left) chaplain for faculty and staff-who has been known to play the role of St. Ignatius from time to time-to reflect on the Feast of St. Ignatius and what it means for our university and shared educational mission. Here's what he shared.
It has been a tradition at Seattle University that we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius on July 31
with an "open house" at the Jesuit residence named after the former Superior General, Pedro Arrupe.
Fr. Arrupe is considered by post Vatican II Jesuits as a kind of second founder. Arrupe in his personal witness, his ways of proceeding, his humble and courageous leadership embodied the spirit of
This year’s Feast of St. Ignatius is additionally significant for SU as that’s the day Scott Santarosa, S.J., takes over as provincial for the Oregon Province. There’s a nice profile of Father Santarosa at Jesuits.org. SU’s Pat Howell, S.J., tells us that Pat Lee, S.J., who has served as provincial since 2008, has been appointed Jesuit superior of the Biblicum Institute in Jerusalem, a role he will take on in January after a brief sabbatical.
Ignatius. His articulation of that spirit in his letters to the Society prior to his debilitating stroke in 1980 focused on the interior freedom of Ignatius, his capacity to find and be found by God in all things, and his radical grounding in the Love that is God. Freedom in Ignatius, Arrupe observed, manifested itself in a discerning mind and heart profoundly open and available to the invitations of Word and empowering Spirit. His capacity to find and be found sustained an abiding intimacy with God in being and acting. Intimacy itself resulted in assimilation to the self-giving, vulnerable Love of God made manifest in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
In addition to Arrupe, this year's celebration offers another prism through which we glimpse Ignatius' spirit and vision in service-the surprising, unexpected phenomenon of Pope Francis. Like Ignatius before him Jorge Mario Bergoglio was deeply inspired by the little poor man from Assisi. When asked what it means to have a Jesuit pope his reply was whole hearted and immediate: "Discernment!" In Arrupe's reflection we encounter what it is to "be" discerning; Pope Francis gives us a sense of the "definition" in action. Coming together to celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius we rejoice in the ways Ignatius' spirit and vision animate our own shared mission.
All is transformed
Mike Bayard, S.J., former director of Campus Ministry, delivered the following homily on June 8. It was his last mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius before taking on his new role assistant for parish ministries for the Oregon and California Provinces.
A traumatic week in Seattle: three shootings-two men in Central District last Saturday; one student died and three injured at SPU; Early Saturday morning murder in the ID; All the result of gun violence.
Fitting on this Feast of Pentecost to take a moment of silence to pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit remembering those who died and were injured as well as praying that the Holy Spirit enlighten the minds of our leaders to find ways of curbing gun violence. Let us take a moment of silence and pray.
A classroom clock emitted a "loud, obnoxious beep" and flashed the word, "lockdown" in bold, red letters. Doors immediately locked, shades drawn, lights off; students hunkered down under desks and pressed themselves against the walls. Quiet, except for muffled sounds down the hall. Some texted family, "I love you," "I am ok." And other students prayed. Anxious and great fear gripped so many in Otto Miller Hall on Thursday afternoon.
Lockdowns have become the new normal. (SPU, UCSB, Newtown, Virginia Tech) We can so easily live in a state of fear, guardedness of our surroundings, and trepidation of stepping outside our front doors on a daily basis. Our lives put on hold. Locked Down!
Days after his death, the disciples disillusioned, blinds drawn in an upper room, locked down for fear of the Jews. Would they be next, as friends of Jesus, who days earlier-at Golgotha-had witnessed the authorities crucify their leader, mentor…friend?
And what would Jesus say if he showed up? Having abandoned him; shame and guilt dogged them. Locked down in their hearts.
What is it when we find ourselves disillusioned, fearful, locked down in our hearts?
What is it about the terror? The fright? The anxiety we can experience at different times in our lives that can paralyze our hearts; questioning and renegotiating what we hold dear?
The unknown, what lies ahead…
B. New positions
C. Less than desirable diagnosis
D. Loss of a loved one or a relationship.
And yet for weeks-in his Farewell Discourse-Jesus assures us we will not be left orphan. He promised the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, would make HER home in us. The Holy Spirit, the Paschal Mystery living in our hearts.
Death … the unknown…has no hold on us. Only life, possibility, freedom, healing, opportunity.
Can we hear his heartfelt words, "Peace be with you?" Do we have firm faith to allow Jesus to unlatch our locked down hearts, so that he can breathe his crucified and yet, resurrected life into us, so we might live??
The Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, wakes us up; enlivens us, fans the flame so that our hearts glow with God's passion in the deep down unfamiliar and often familiar landscapes where we may find a new life we never dreamed we were worthy of…
The Holy Spirit whooooshes in inspires us to take up those great risks; new opportunities; helps us to decipher the often chaotic complexities of life; engages us with new possibilities…new frontiers…even if we move tentatively at first.
I am reminded of Pablo Neruda's poem,
Father Bayard is pictured here with Dan Doyle of Matteo Ricci and Doyle’s family, after mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius on June 8.
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
and open …
And in that opening? The Holy Spirit is at work and all is transformed, even things we can hardly even imagine.
All is transformed…from the chaos of our very beginnings, the earth, a formless wasteland, the Spirit of God swept over the waters granting us with light … life … goodness!
The Holy Spirit is at work when, in a backwater town, the Spirit of God came upon a Virgin, and conceived an impossibility within her…and with her, YES, she brings to term the One who saves us!
All is transformed…when, in a darkened upper room, in the tragic days after Jesus' crucifixion, the Holy Spirit ignites his friends with great courage to speak truth…to build a CHURCH founded on love, justice, faithfulness!
The Holy Spirit is at work when in the midst of the terrible tragedy at SPU, this SU community reaches out with cards and prayers with assurances of courage, kindness and love.
All is transformed when after four years of this Jesuit education, none of us no longer looks to ourselves first. No, we look outwards to bring the Spirit's counsel, gentleness, and love to those most in need.
All is transformed…when, in this Chapel of Saint Ignatius community, the Spirit of God comes upon these gifts (you and me, this community, and this bread and wine) to make them Holy so that we might become the Body of Christ for one another.
With surprise and often wild abandon the Spirit unfastens and opens our locked down hearts. She, the source of life; She, the force that energizes; She, the one that anoints us with courage, determination and strength so that we might freely, truthfully, courageously live our vocation in this world.
Jesus comes, stands in our midst and says, "Peace!"
Come, Holy Spirit, lover of the poor, the light of human hearts, the kind guide and giver of gifts, the gracious visitor who eases our toils, the consoler with cool grace and light in darkness, the warmer of our hearts and healer of our wounds, the gift of our joy.
(Photo provided by Patrick Howell, S.J.)
A new book featuring writings by a current SU Jesuit and other Jesuits with ties to the university is now available.
Published through Orbis Books,
The Jesuit Post is comprised of 29 essays, 20 of which have never been published. The book features "The Tyranny of Possibility and the One Thing Wanted: Freedom, Commitment, and the Duty of Love," written by SU's own Brendan Busse, S.J., instructor in Matteo Ricci.
The book grew out of a blog of the same title that was launched in 2012 by a group of Jesuits, including Busse.
"I must say that I think it's a bit funny that we'd publish a book based on something (The Jesuit Post) that is really more of a social media experiment," says Busse (left), "but I suppose Jesuits will try to engage folks by any means necessary! You don't tweet? Here's a Facebook post. You're not on Facebook? Here's a blog entry. You don't subscribe to blogs? Register here and we'll send it to your e-mail. No e-mail? Alright then, we'll publish a book. Oh...by the way, it's available on Kindle too!
"The book came together in much the same way the blog does; our editors took a few of the more popular pieces from the website and then asked some of the regular writers to submit new pieces. The only real unifying factor in the book (as with the site) is that we're all young Jesuits in formation; beyond that, it's pretty much a free-for-all. I think the one thing the book communicates about the Jesuit perspective is that there is nothing 'out of bounds' for the Ignatian imagination. Our sincere desire to find and to celebrate God in all things frees us to do one thing in many different ways. I think it demonstrates our desire to be free to love in any context, no matter what."
James Martin, S.J., the "Colbert Chaplain," wrote a foreword for the book. Quentin Dupont, S.J., and Jason Welle, S.J., who both spent time at the university in recent years, also contributed essays, "At the Corner of St. Peter's Square and Wall Street," and "Mental Health in America," respectively.
To learn more about the book and to order a copy, visit
The Jesuit Post.
- From Seattle Prep news release
After six straight years of coming tantalizingly close to the championship round, Seattle Preparatory School broke through and won the 2014 National High School Mock Trial Championship in Madison, Wisc., on May 10.
SU's sister Jesuit school won trials against teams from Iowa, Florida, Connecticut and Illinois before defeating a team from South Carolina in the championship. The final trial took place in the majestic Wisconsin Supreme Court room in the State Capitol, with U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker presiding and a distinguished panel of attorneys and judges from around the country serving as the "jury" of scorers.
Prep sophomore Elizabeth Shields was one of 10 students recognized as an Outstanding Attorney for the overall tournament. The case was a civil suit for wrongful death at a rave party on a hot summer night in the Wisconsin woods. The victim's estate, represented by the team from Prep, claimed that his partner in their energy drink business had poisoned him with a caffeine overdose because he was about to leave their company and take their secret drink formulas to a competitor. The defense argued that the victim's history of medical problems and drug use led to his death.
From the moment the case came out on April 1, students on 46 state championship teams from around the country honed their rhetorical and acting skills as they studied up on cardiology, toxicology, and intellectual property rights to prepare themselves for the competition.
a rich history and continuing partnership
with Seattle Prep.
click here for more information, including the
article on Prep's victory.
Jesuit tradition and the theater
Ki Gottberg, professor in Fine Arts, gave a talk on the Jesuit tradition and the theatrical arts at a recent
gathering. The following is an edited version.
At a conference in Mexico City in 2010, Superior General of the Society of Jesus Father Adolfo Nicolas spoke of the challenges to Jesuit higher education, specifically regarding the negative effects of the globalization of superficiality. He points out the ease with which so-called "information" can be found, how the most banal thoughts and slack ideas are dispersed with such immediacy throughout the blog-o-sphere, and how "relationship" has been reduced to a marketing concept such as "liking" something or "friending" someone on Facebook.
Thus the laborious, painstaking work of serious, critical thinking often gets short-circuited, and the difficult, sometimes painful aspects of deep transforming relationship are seen as "hassles." Of course we have all experienced the effects of such superficiality: in the area of theatre we see audiences dwindling, unless perhaps a celebrity is slumming from their TV show on a live stage, or unless the spectacle presented includes titillation or stagecraft that might, say, crush a performer mid-song, such as in "Spiderman" on Broadway. Our increasingly bounded, pressurized modern existence keeps us on a short leash, on a demanding clock. We don't have time, right now, for all of "that": "that" being whatever takes us so deep we start to get off our "track"; we start to dream, we confront something difficult, we pause.
But in terms of what we do in the classroom-and onstage-in this institution of higher learning, I am pleased to report old-school methods that promote the depth of thought and imagination that Father Nicolas bemoans remain in full use. Because there are no short cuts in the theatre: the very nature of the work is time intensive, and the discipline and rigor needed to understand and perform, direct or design for the theatre remains the same.
For example, the student who just played Argan, the Imaginary Invalid-this was his first role at Seattle U. He is a computer science and theatre double major. He has a sharp analytical mind. And he loves performing. But for theatre, Ishan has had to work hard to get out of his head and into his body: all the analysis in the world can't create the clown walks and the expressive gestures that Ishan needed to free himself to do for this role. When we were considering our season last year, we think of all our students: who has had what roles, who needs a role.
Our auditions are open to entire campus, but of course we think of our own, since we want to push them, and hope they will rise to the occasions we offer them. Because we were doing this particular play, we offered a clown class taught in the same quarter. I thought specifically of Ishan when choosing "The Imaginary Invalid." After all, here is a character that needs to be very controlling, but also at the mercy of all he can't control. How perfect for this young man who is pulled two ways by his interests? And he won the role fair and square through auditions. Performing this role, finally, has allowed Ishan to put to use all that he has been struggling with and climbing through in his theatre classes. He has crossed the Rubicon, as it were, and now knows he can do it. Well, congratulations. And so what?
I teach acting-that is my training-I have an MFA in performance. Let me tell you what an actor has to do to really embody a role, and what I am attempting to teach. In those remarks of Father Nicolas, he talks about the fragmentation and examination we must do to truly understand, the need to REBUILD oneself from these examined fragments, to find and love the universal-"the face of Christ," he calls it-at the center of our existence. This is the exact process of going deep into a role for an actor-you have to dismember before you can remember. It's like acting is
practice for what this Father tells us we need to do to live our Jesuit mission.
So an actor, to go there, needs to desire to
know from the get-go, but rather to float her awareness: allow herself to weigh, to play, to wander in the possibilities of another human being. She has to ask many questions, construct a biography of the character's past, attempt to tie her own experience to that of the character. Granted, that character has been created on the page and is a construct of a playwright (maybe even a female playwright!), and this constructed human being has been refined from raw material through the process of contemplation and rewriting that a playwright must do.
But this refined being, like finer wine, gives the actor
pause, a moment of confrontational contemplation. "How can I honestly connect with the character I am asked here to embody?" And thus must an actor pause, and surrender, and allow a slower, starker, more specific reality to infuse her bounded, pressurized modern existence. She must examine the many fragments of the character, compare them to her own experience, and create out of these fragments the whole cloth of a character an audience can believe really exists before them. And the actor must create an inner life (often called motivation or the inner monologue) that gives rise to the outward behaviors and language attributed to the character in the script.
And this ties directly to what Father Nicolas says when he speaks about the difference between FANTASY, a flight from reality, and calls us to let our imagination GRASP reality. He says, "in other words, depth of thought and imagination in the Ignatian tradition involves a profound engagement with the real, a refusal to let go until one goes beneath the surface. It is a careful analysis (dismembering) for the sake of integration (remembering) around what is deepest."
"Real creativity," he goes on to say, "is an active dynamic process of finding responses to real questions, finding alternatives to an unhappy world that seems to go in directions that nobody can control." And this is where he speaks about this "floating awareness" that allows one to make a choice even when someone is unsure, using one's best judgment. This is what we ask our students to do on a daily basis. And this develops that creative muscle that will give them strength as they venture into the world, regardless of what career they pursue.
Father Nicolas ends his talk asking Jesuits to think not about just maintaining the status quo, but "where are we needed most? Where and how can we serve best?" He speaks about the ambiguity and "unfinished endings" that are found in the Gospels, and how unsettling this can be for us. But it is this very unsettled quality that sparks us to create, to approach again and again that dynamic process that connects us to power of possibility that lives in us, and that can unite us with "the other" and thus with our deepest selves.
In my case, and with my students, this unification comes through our deeply considered choices, through the craft and art of creating theatre.
The Pope's first year
By Annie Beckmann
A leader with a heart that's open to the world is how Pat Howell, S.J., describes Pope Francis.
There's much about Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first Jesuit pope, that rings true for those who are familiar with the Jesuit Catholic character. Choosing to live in a simple residence, eschewing those infamous red slippers and all the brocade and lace are the obvious indicators.
Yet, as he reflected on the pope's first year, Father Howell credited Pope Francis with suggesting the Catholic Church become less narcissistic. In his April 17 talk, Fr. Howell
said an energy about the new pope is inimitably Jesuit-namely discernment, an affirming spirituality that engages the world, and bridging disparate traditions.
"Francis says we need to listen to the people, to the
and that takes discernment," he says.
During a year-long sabbatical, Fr. Howell went to work last fall for
magazine, a national Jesuit publication, and was commissioned along with four other experts to translate into English in-person interviews with Pope Francis conducted by Antonio Spadoro, S.J., editor in chief of
La Civiltà Cattolica
, the Italian Jesuit journal.
"When the pope was asked 'who are you?' he took a long pause, then said 'first and foremost, I am a sinner, a sinner who is called upon by Christ to act on behalf of the Gospel,'" Fr. Howell says. "The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and the lives of all who encounter Jesus. Francis says what blocks us from the joy of the Gospel are clericalism, capitalism and all forms of greed and aggrandizement."
The fact that Pope Francis says, "Who am I to judge?" shows his acceptance of all people as children of God, according to Fr. Howell. That includes homosexuals and prostitutes and anyone who's marginalized, he notes.
"Every previous pope has most often assumed the role of judge," Fr. Howell says as he describes the neo-Augustinian nature of Pope Benedict XVI in particular, whose world was cast in shadows and suspicions where a positive openness to the world was viewed as naïve optimism.
It's discernment versus legalism. Pope Francis and the Jesuits are primarily neo-Thomistic, says Fr. Howell, which means they're open to the world, world affirming and engage the world in dialogue.
Fr. Howell shares many of the magazine covers that have depicted Pope Francis as accessible and down to earth over the past year. A
cartoon cover of the pope making a snow angel lends a little whimsy and shows how the pope doesn't take himself all that seriously.
When asked, Fr. Howell predicts that Pope Francis and the Catholic Church will accept married clergy rather soon and ordained priests who are married. He wasn't as optimistic about the possibility of women priests, however, but laid out an avenue within the tradition how it could happen
Fr. Howell suggests the need to reform the Roman Curia, to address the sexual abuse crisis, and a desire for someone outside Europe were the primary reasons Pope Francis was elected. Starting with the Vatican Bank in the very first month he was pope, Francis made key appointments and invited eight cardinals to be part of a "kitchen cabinet" not only for the reform of the bank, but for the reform of the Curia itself.
"Every pope is conditioned by his own culture. You can see the South American emphasis in how Pope Francis reaches out to the poor. A year ago, there was much talk when he went to a prison and washed the feet of inmates, including two women. He uses the papacy as a redemption for humanity," says Fr. Howell.
"It's hard to find another pope who has been viewed so positively," he adds.
Fr. Howell's talk was sponsored by the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture (ICTC) and co-sponsored by Mission and Ministry. He served as dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, vice president for Mission and Ministry, most recently as rector of the Jesuit community. On September 1 , he will join ICTC as professor in residence.
Seattle University has signed an agreement with the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), which formalizes a longstanding and growing partnership between the two Jesuit institutions.
SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and his UCA counterpart José Alberto Idiáquez, S.J., signed the agreement in Managua, Nicaragua, on March 20. Before the signing, Father Sundborg delivered a lecture, "Two Universities; One Jesuit Mission," which you can read here.
Joining Sundborg on the visit to UCA were Victoria Jones, associate provost for Global Engagement (pictured far left); and (from far right to left) Serena Cosgrove, assistant professor of Matteo Ricci College; David Powers, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Joe Orlando, assistant vice president for Mission and Ministry.
"I was proud to be part of the delegation from Seattle U to the UCA in Managua and to deliver (the lecture)," said Sundborg. "After many years of developing our relationship with that Jesuit university, which is considered the best university in Nicaragua, I was proud to sign, together with Fr. Idiáquez, the formal agreement of our special partnership. We see this as the first of our 'Convergence Sites,' which Victoria Jones has been developing. The 'Nicaragua Initiative' is promising for student and faculty exchanges, for community-engaged learning and for common research.
SU's partnership with UCA began with the faculty and staff immersion trips that Orlando led to Managua for many years. The relationship has deepened in recent years with the development of mutually enriching student and faculty exchanges and other reciprocal scholarly initiatives. A key moment came last May when a delegation from UCA
visited Seattle University
to explore how Jesuit universities are especially called to confront poverty. That was followed by a program for UCA MBA students offered by Albers and Fr. Idiáquez's visit to campus in the fall. (His interview with Jones at the time can be found
.) This summer the UCA is offering programs for SU students including a Spanish-language minor and a core class on sustainability and poverty.
The agreement signed by the presidents reads in part: "…both universities believe that (this agreement) is of mutual benefit to promote direct contact and collaboration between students, teachers and people. This could include joint research activities, publications and library exchanges; programs of study and/or service; exchange of teachers and students for the study, teaching and research and the exchange of invitations to scholars to participate in conferences, seminars and speeches."
Mark your calendars
Whether you're Jesuit educated or a fan of Jesuit education, here are two opportunities to get onto your schedule--both are sponsored by Magis and Alumni Relations.
Jesuit Alumni Day of Service
Saturday, April 26
8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
This is an opportunity for Jesuit alumni and friends serve the local community as men and women for others. Volunteers will work at nearby Seattle area agency sites assisting with a variety of service tasks. This day of service is part of the National Jesuit Service Initiative, which engages graduates across the nation in shared service which demonstrates the life-changing and enduring power of a Jesuit education.
Ignatian-Inspired Leaders Panel with SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J.
Thursday, May 8, 6-8:30 p.m., Sorrento Hotel
With a Jesuit Pope who is making waves, more people than ever are asking what the "Jesuit" or "Ignatian" approach to leadership is. Join Seattle University's Alumni Relations and Magis' Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA) Alumni Leadership program for an exciting evening of networking and meaningful conversation featuring our very own Father Steve.
for more information and to register.
The pope, one year in
Today, March 13, is the one-year anniversary of Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election as Pope Francis. While the pontiff has no boss, per se—at least of an earthly persuasion—let's pretend that you are the supervisor responsible for doing his performance evaluation. What overall grade would you give him for his first year on the job from a scale of 1 (needs improvement) to 5 (exceeds expectations),
Please send your answers to
From John Rodosevich, '69, mechanical engineer:
"I give Jorge Bergolio a resounding 5! He's a Jesuit; humble; conservative; reaches out; listens to all; discerning; and very wise. He knows his stuff. I love Pope Francis."