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All Things Jesuit

Why Jesuit education?

June 18, 2012

Award-winning journalist and author (and graduate of Gonzaga Prep) Tim Egan delivered Seattle University's undergraduate commencement address and had plenty to say about the impact of Jesuit education. Here are excerpts from his speech:

"How could anything on the 50 acres where you've spent the last four years, that Jesuit oasis in the middle of urban Seattle, affect this messy, troubled planet? 

It starts with something simple: Connect to nature. Watch a long-legged blue heron lift off. Nurture a garden.  Stick your face in a winter storm. Make wine. Go into the woods in the fall and pick chantrelle mushrooms. Feel the healing power of this planet, and then…go out and fight for it!

You know, these Jesuits were fabulous teachers. What I remember from them is how much they challenged us to think for ourselves, and ignore fads and trends. One priest said you must be in constant search for your God and yourself.

So now, in the face of accelerated change of all our major institutions-technology, democracy, the planet itself-the imperatives of the Jesuit tradition, dating 450 years,  are more vital than ever before. And what are those imperatives? To question conventional wisdom, to nurture the heart as well as the mind, to go forth and engage the world.

You leave here today with a commodity from Seattle University. That commodity is the ability to think clearly, to think logically, to think humanely. You've been apprentices of this great tradition until now, when you are released-masters of the method."

James on Jesuits

June 5, 2012

The ever-effervescent SU student known simply as “James” shares his unique take on Jesuit education.

On being House chaplain

May 23, 2012

It was about a year ago that Pat Conroy, S.J., of the Oregon Province was confirmed as chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, making him the first Jesuit and only the second Catholic to serve in that role. Father Conroy worked in Campus Ministry at SU during the 1990s. In an interview with The Oregonian earlier this month, Conroy was asked what it's like to minister to what The New York Times has called "one of the most reviled congregations in his country." You can see how he answered that and read the full interview HERE.

Building hope

May 7, 2012

Graduation gifts come in many forms, but this year a group of MBA students has chosen a very unconventional and moving way to honor one of their classmates as he prepares to receive his diploma.

Anyone who has read "Life of Purpose" in SU Magazine is familiar with the story of Jean Baptiste Ganza, S.J.: How his family members and friends were murdered during the genocide in Rwanda, and how he has responded to the tragedy by creating new educational opportunities for the young people of his native country.

Ganza has already built a primary school, St. Ignatius, in Kigali. He is now focused on expanding that educational pipeline by constructing a secondary school. When completed, the school will hold 750 students. Pretty heady stuff when you consider that more than 75 percent of Rwandans live below the poverty line and children, on average, receive just three years of schooling.

This is where Father Ganza's MBA classmates come in. They have launched a campaign to raise $15,000 for the school before Ganza graduates on June 10. To learn more about the effort and how you can help support it, please visit the St. Ignatius School Rwanda Campaign.

Visiting with Fr. Pribek

April 20, 2012

Father James Pribek, associate professor of English at Canisius College in Buffalo, joined the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences this spring as the LeRoux Scholar. Father Pribek will give a public lecture, "'When Hope and History Rhyme': Irish Literature as a Resource for Hope," on May 10 at 4 p.m. in Wyckoff Auditorium. He recently took the time to field some questions from The Commons.


On his upbringing:

I was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where my father practiced medicine for almost 40 years. I grew up in a big Catholic family: I am number five of seven. We knew plenty of families larger than ours, however: those were the years when parents could afford to have more than a few children, and neighborhoods and schools provided a lot of help. With those kinds of numbers, we had our own "kids' culture" in which the older siblings, friends and teachers filled in for parents for a good portion of the day. 

On why he decided to enter the Jesuits:  

I locate the roots of my vocation in the Catholic culture of the place and time. To be Catholic meant to be literate, funny, community-minded and culture-friendly. The optimism about the church's place in the world ignited by Vatican II was still very much alive. I went to a large state university, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which I loved. At that time a group of Jesuits, some doing doctoral studies and some full-time, helped at the university's Catholic center, and they provided me with all sorts of new images of priests. One was a spirited preacher who routinely filled the church to capacity and beyond for his Sunday morning masses; another was an eloquent, scholarly Jesuit who seemed to have just the right word for the meditative Sunday night masses.

I met up with Jesuits again after graduation when I was living in Milwaukee: my sister worked at Marquette University, and there I came to know Jesuits as her associates and friends. The Jesuits struck me as quite different, one from another, but all seemed energetic, witty, kind and caught up with the best things happening in their fields of endeavor. Somehow I got the impression that a life given to the Jesuits would not be ruled by fear and conformity, and would be a life of consequence and exploration of the good and the Godly. I joined the order in 1987 alongside Marquette grad, Mike Bayard, and despite the usual amount of challenges, changes and hard times, I haven't really looked back. My impression that, for better or worse, this would not be a way of life tainted by regret, has certainly proven true.

On his home institution:

At Canisius, I teach all the Irish literature courses as well as a good few introductory English and Honors core courses. My Irish classes include surveys of poetry, prose, and drama as well as seminars in the work of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats. I also preside at campus masses and direct students on Campus Ministry's Ignatian retreats. I advise many English students and in recent years have directed our department's activities for students and faculty, including our annual banquet. I have a host of smaller duties, but the ones I have listed would take up most of my time. On weekends I routinely assist three Buffalo parishes.  In the summers I try to prepare and present papers at conferences dedicated to the study of James Joyce and John Henry Newman, the two writers on whom my doctoral dissertation was focused.

On what he's doing at SU this quarter:

I always put teaching first, so my first job here is teaching my course in Modern Irish Drama. I am also preparing a talk on hope in Irish literature that I'll offer as the LeRoux Lecture (again, on May 10). I am preparing two more papers for presentation and, I hope, publication: one on the real-life preacher of the infamous sermon on hell in Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and another on a longtime promoter of Cardinal Newman's work in the theological world. 

On his time at Seattle University:

I enjoy getting to know this area and this university, whose model and mission are close to that of my home school, though there are also some significant differences. I think that is part of being a visiting professor: the exchange of ideas about education and service within the ever-more-united network of Jesuit universities. Administrative staff from the Jesuit schools routinely gather for this kind of exchange and support, but we faculty, less so. All of us need it in order to stay informed and flexible, and to remind us that we are part of a cooperative, worldwide endeavor.

I have been much impressed by Seattle University's spiritual ministry, especially the Novena of Grace and the Holy Week services. There is real life, energy and joy there. The Jesuit Community enjoys the reputation as one of the best in the country, and I have certainly found it so. The campus is compact but it does not feel crowded or even especially urban: the trees, green spaces and the Quad create a more natural and human atmosphere. Because I love to walk and to explore cities, I enjoy the proximity to the downtown area. If there have been any surprises, they would be the quietness of the campus after-hours and the weather, which is changeable but overall quite pleasant and full of the beauties of spring.

On what's next for him:

I will be at Seattle University until the middle of June, at which time I'll travel to Los Angeles and complete the second summer of my tertianship with the California Program. This year away from Canisius has provided time not only for rest and renewal, but also to do tertianship and to complete a number of personal and research projects. I went straight from formation into doctoral studies and then into teaching, so the last year allowed me to "catch my breath" and refocus my energies. I needed that after 25 years in the Jesuits, but also after the experience of losing my parents in recent years. In God's providence I was able to be present for their final illnesses and deaths, which was a profound blessing.  Yet the experience of losing a parent is also earth-shattering on a number of levels. As I see spring emerge here, I think of a poem that has helped me grieve: Philip Larkin's "The Trees," and its poignant closing line expressing the message of the new leaves and blossoms: "Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."

Urban dwellers

April 10, 2012

Ever wonder why so many Jesuit schools like Seattle U are located in cities? Thomas Lucas, S.J., of the University of San Francisco, might be the best person to answer that question, and he'll be at Seattle University this month.

A leading authority on the Jesuits' special affinity for urban areas, Father Lucas authored Landmarking: City, Church and Jesuit Urban Strategy, which won an Alpha Sigma Nu National Book Award in 1998. Lucas will speak on that topic when he visits SU on Monday, April 16. Faculty and staff are invited to RSVP for the event, which begins with an optional tour of the Chapel of St. Ignatius that leaves from 1313 E. Columbia (3:30-4:30 p.m.) and continues with an opportunity to socialize (4:30-5 p.m.) before Lucas gives his presentation (5 to 6:15 p.m.).

Robert Schwartz, associate vice president for Facilities Services, heard Lucas speak at USF last spring. "I was captivated by how strategic the Jesuits were in locating their institutions and ministries," Schwartz says. "It's not by happenstance that they chose to be in the heart of the city. Having Father Lucas here will be an opportunity for us to reflect on why it matters that there's a Jesuit school in Seattle."

Lucas' visit is being co-sponsored by Facilities Services and Mission and Ministry. Schwartz says there has been broad interest in the presentation, pointing to significant sponsorship support from the design and construction community as one indication.

Lucas, professor of Art+Architecture and director of USF's Thacher Gallery, is an internationally recognized expert in Jesuit art history, as well as a liturgical designer and artist with an international portfolio. As a graduate student, Lucas designed and directed the restoration of St. Ignatius' apartments in Rome. He has received an award from the American Institute of Architects and has been involved in a variety of projects, including the restoration of the St. Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai, which was badly damaged during the Cultural Revolution.

Dean Phillips in Rome

March 26, 2012

March 20, 2012 
By Joe Phillips, dean of the Albers School of Business and Economics

Earlier this month, I traveled to Rome for a board meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS). The meeting took place in the Jesuit Curia, which is very near the Vatican. The Curia is a series of buildings containing offices, residences and meeting rooms, something like a very crowded college campus (not a lot of open space). Although not in the boundaries of Vatican City, the Curia is considered part of the Vatican from a legal standpoint and not part of Italy. 

Most of the IAJBS board consists of business school deans from around the world. In addition to board members from the U.S. like me, members came from Belgium, Spain, India, the Philippines and Korea. 

The meetings took place March 8-9. The highlight was our visit with Superior General Adolfo Nicolas. I was very impressed with the Father General. He has a very self-deprecating sense of humor and seems very humble. He was amused that everyone wanted a picture with him and maybe even puzzled by it. The purpose of the meeting was to familiarize him with IAJBS and to learn how IAJBS could assist the work of the worldwide Jesuit order. 

The Father General emphasized the important role of business schools at Jesuit universities, noting that business "has more attraction" than philosophy and theology. He noted that business without ethics leads to "disaster," and said that due to recent events the world is now more open to an ethical approach to business. He would like to see the Jesuit business schools lead the way in thinking about business in a different way, one that is more holistic and dedicated to the common good.

The rest of the meeting was taken up with planning for the IAJBS conference in Barcelona in July, reviewing the finances of the organization and discussing the relationship between IAJBS and Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education (CJBE). CJBE has historically been a U.S.-centric organization, but the plan is to become an organization to serve business faculty at Jesuit schools around the world. 

We also were updated on plans to establish Jesuit business schools in Africa. Projects in Kenya, Rwanda/Burundi, Ivory Coast, the Congo, Burkina Faso and a new one in Nigeria are all at different stages of planning. The hope is that IAJBS schools in other parts of the world will assist with this initiative. It does not seem like much progress has been made in this effort, and at this point there is not an obvious way that the Albers School can assist. We will continue to monitor how this develops and how we might contribute.

To read other posts by Dean Phillips, visit his blog.

Janowiak and Eblen on Vatican II

March 12, 2012

St. James Cathedral is marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council with a speaker series, and the first two lectures will be delivered by scholars with SU ties.

Paul Janowiak, S.J., left, will get the series started with a talk "On Liturgy...Ever Ancient, Ever New: Liturgical Reform as an Expression of a Vatican II Vision of the Church" at 7 p.m. on March 15. Father Janowiak had been at the School of Theology and Ministry before leaving last year to join the Jesuit School of Theology (JST) of Santa Clara in Berkeley, Calif.

Father James Eblen, associate professor in the School of Theology and Ministry, will present "On Dei Verbum and the Council's Insights Into Scripture" at 7 p.m. on April 30. Both lectures will take place at Cathedral Hall. For a full schedule of the series and for more information, visit Mission and Ministry.

Jesuit leadership redefined

February 27, 2012

Increasingly, as we know, non-Jesuits are becoming presidents of Jesuit institutions in the United States, but in case you've lost track of how many there actually are, the latest issue of the magazine Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education has made it easy by running profiles of the 10 non-Jesuits who are currently serving as president. The list includes a Catholic priest of another religious order, Rockhurst's Rev. Tom Curran of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and a Protestant, David Burcham of Loyola Marymount. Burcham was featured in a recent LA Times article, reprinted by The Seattle Times, titled "Protestant president helps cultivate university's Jesuit roots."

ConversationsSpring2012_ATJThe 10 non-Jesuit leaders listed alphabetically by institution with the years they assumed the presidency are: 

Canisius College - John Hurley (2010)
Georgetown University - John DeGioia (2001)
Gonzaga University - Thayne McCulloh (2010)
LeMoyne College - Fred Pestello (2008)
Loyola Marymount - David Burcham (2010)
Rockhurst University - Rev. Tom Curran, OSFS (2006)
St. Joseph's University - John Smithson (Interim, 2011)
St. Peter's College - Eugene Cornacchia (2007)
University of Detroit Mercy - Antoine Garibaldi (2011)
Wheeling Jesuit University - Richard Beyer (2011)

You can read more about them at Conversations or on pages 18-19 of the hard copy version, which all faculty and staff receive. By the way, Conversations is published by the National Seminar on Jesuit Higher Education, of which Pat Howell, S.J., rector of the SU Jesuit community is chairman.

Living the mission

February 15, 2012

As previously reported in All Things Jesuit, Magis: Alumni Living the Mission has launched a new series that profiles alumni of Jesuit institutions. The first to be featured are a mother and son duo, Nancy and Clay Walton-House, both graduates of Seattle University. You can read more about them at Living the Mission.

A new book for the Bible?

February 1, 2012

Jesuit playwright Bill Cain has done it again. Following his critically acclaimed play "Equivocation," which premiered in 2009, Father Cain is back with his latest offering, "How to Write a New Book for the Bible." Rector Pat Howell, S.J., attended a preview of the play, which is at the Seattle Repertory Theatre through Feb. 5. In his latest column for The Seattle Times, Father Howell writes: "(Cain's play) invites all of us to discover our own symbols and to write our own sacred story.  Simultaneously, it's a revelation about the Bible itself as the intimate, confusing, ongoing saga of God's love for every family."

Read Father Howell's column for a recounting of the conversation he had with Father Cain at the preview.

Visit Seattle Repertory Theatre for more information on the play.

Magis gets a new look

January 9, 2012

Having just celebrated its fifth anniversary this past year, Magis is rolling out a new logo and campaign called “I am Magis. We are Magis.” There’s also a special party you’re invited to attend at the end of the month (more on that in a moment).

The new logo incorporates a flame “to signify the spirit of the Jesuit, Ignatian tradition that is first ignited in students and then lived out by alumni in their various vocational paths,” explains Brooke Rufo Hill, director of Magis. The office also tweaked its tagline to read “Alumni Living the Mission.” (The previous version was “Alumni Committed for Mission.”)

Since 2006, Magis has served more than 1,300 graduates of Jesuit institutions in the Puget Sound area each year. Alumni from all 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities are invited to participate in Magis events, which include opportunities to explore Ignatian spirituality, serve others in the Jesuit tradition, and pursue further leadership formation.

The “I am Magis. We are Magis.” campaign will feature a series of Jesuit-educated men and women who are living the mission. To nominate someone you know (or even yourself) to be highlighted, visit the Magis Living the Mission web page.

As for the party, it will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, in the LeRoux Room (STCN 160). To RSVP, please e-mail Magis  by Jan. 25. The Magis staff, advisory board, campus and community partners and program co-founders Mike Bayard, S.J., and Erin Swezey, hope to see you there.