Tom Lucas, S.J., SU's new rector, sits down for a conversation

(story continued)

 Father Lucas:  The physical part of the project took almost two years; the research was another year. In the midst of all of that, I came up with another idea. This was all focused on the 500th anniversary of Ignatius's birth and the 450th anniversary of the founding of the society, and there were a lot of religious events planned but we weren't doing anything culturally to commemorate the anniversaries. The research I was doing to restore the rooms of Ignatius got me into Jesuit art and architecture, and so, again, I proposed and had to deliver a major exhibit at the Vatican Library on early Jesuit architecture. That was an absolutely crazy but wonderful experience. I found myself standing in the middle of the Vatican Library one day in a pair of Levis and a California sweatshirt looking at St. Peter's dome as paintings are being hung in this grand room and thinking, "This is a long way from Placerville (California)!"--which is where I grew up.

 The Commons:  How about the transition to Seattle. How's that been so far?

 Father Lucas:  It's funny, about a year ago I was chatting with some friends who are all about the same age and people were talking about what they were going to do when they retired, what the next step would be. And I said, "If I couldn't live in San Francisco, I think the one place I'd want to live on the West Coast is Seattle." Little did I know at that point that I was opening the door at least a crack and then the provincial comes thundering through (laughs). But it was a huge surprise.

 The Commons:  You are aware that it rains a lot here, right?

 Father Lucas:  I am aware, but then again, I come from San Francisco where it's foggy a lot of the year. The difference is that you have sun breaks here, which is my favorite new meteorological term.

 The Commons:  How about the NFC West? We've got the Seahawks and 49ers both picked to go far this season--where's your allegiance?

 Father Lucas:  I better just say "no comment" on that. Although I'd have to say that comparing the Giants and the Mariners would be a lot easier.

 The Commons:  In those rare moments you have some free time, what do you like to do?

 Father Lucas:  I still make stained glass windows, and fortunately I've been able to find a little studio space here. I'm an inveterate gardener. Gardening is something I used to hate to do as a kid and now as an adult, I can't get enough of it. I do a lot of work with my head and my mouth, so sometimes it's good to be quiet. I love to poke around in the dirt. And the plants don't talk back, unlike my students!

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