Skip to main content
Seattle University

All Things Jesuit

Mass of the Holy Spirit

October 2, 2018

UPDATE: Click here for the full text of the homily Lucas Sharma, S.J., delivered at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Oct. 4. 

Seattle University's annual Mass of the Holy Spirit will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, at Immaculate Conception Church (820 18th Ave.–18th and E. Marion). Students, faculty and staff of all faith backgrounds are encouraged to attend.

A longstanding tradition at Catholic universities around the world, the Mass of the Holy Spirit is an opportunity to ask the Spirit of God to bless us as we start a new year of learning and discovery. Classes are cancelled between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to make it possible for all to participate. Following are additional details.

Robing and Procession | Faculty and staff are invited to robe and join in the academic procession. The basement of the church will be open for robing at 10 a.m. Please be ready to form the faculty and staff procession at 10:15 a.m. (Note: It is recommended that you not leave any items, especially valuables or money, in the robing hall during Mass.)

Transportation |
For those who would like a van ride, beginning at 9:30 a.m., shuttles will depart from the university seal (11th and E. Marion St.) and proceed to Immaculate Conception Church. (Van rides are also available back to campus following Mass.) If you require an accessible ride, please contact Public Safety at 206-296-5990.

After Mass Celebration | Immediately after Mass, students, faculty and staff will process together down the hill and back to campus for light refreshments on the plaza in front of the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. Rain location: Student Center 160.

Come help us mark this new beginning of an academic year as a campus community!

For more information, or to volunteer to serve at the Mass, contact JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy,

Father Leigh marks 50 years as a priest

September 20, 2018

David Leigh, S.J., a longtime member of SU’s Jesuit community, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest this year. (Pat O'Leary, S.J., who spent many years at SU before moving to Spokane in 2016, is celebrating his 70th anniversary of entering the Society of Jesus.)

Reflecting on his 50th anniversary as a priest, Father Leigh recalls, “The most memorable parts of that day on June 15, 1968 were being in St. James Cathedral for ordination to the priesthood after 13 years of training as a Jesuit and seeing all my family (my brother has seven children) and lots of old friends and former students. A day of strong remembrances, thanks and grace.”

Since then, Father Leigh has served in myriad roles—and touched many lives.

At SU alone, Father Leigh has worn many a hat, including director of the Honors Program for 10 years (1983-93), director of the Core Curriculum for a decade (1990-2000) and chair of the English Department (six years).

In his “spare time,” Father Leigh has taken on numerous other responsibilities on campus and beyond. He has also enjoyed offering Mass in parishes, schools, homes and other places, especially for students he has taught at Gonzaga U and Seattle U and many parishes in Seattle (including his home parish of Christ the King in the North End). And he has led retreats and alumni seminars, taught overseas, presented social justice workshops and projects in the Northwest and has been involved with peace and ecology movements.

Then there’s his research and writing. A noted and prolific scholar who was honored as the 2017-2018 recipient of the Father James B. McGoldrick Fellowship, Father Leigh has authored two books, Modern Spiritual Autobiographies and Apocalypse in 20th Century Fiction, as well as 50-some articles.

What Father Leigh values most in looking back on his 50 years and counting as a priest are the relationships he has formed with the people he has gotten to know. “I most enjoy working with faculty and staff in retreats, workshops, personal relations, friendships and work for ‘faith and justice,’ the Jesuit goal in all our activities. I also enjoy teaching and working with students, especially in English and Theology classes, retreats and workshops, living in the dorms, and helping them with grad school and job transitions, as well as helping some with their spiritual growth and lives.

“I find joy in seeing people I have taught or worked with as a priest find happiness and peace in their own lives through my teaching, preaching, sacraments (and other activities).”

Cosgrove on Emigration

September 14, 2018

“I never set out to be an expert on immigration, nor do I have a track record of scholarship on the topic,” writes Serena Cosgrove, faculty coordinator of SU’s Central America Initiative, in an article for Connections, the monthly publication of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). 

In the article, “For Many Nicaraguans, Emigration is an Escape Valve,” Cosgrove goes on to explain how her longstanding collaborations with colleagues at the Jesuit sister school Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua led to ongoing research on emigration. While her scholarship on the topic was initially focused on emigration motivated by economic factors (and its impact on those left behind), recent unrest in Nicaragua has forced thousands to flee the country for safety—and reoriented Cosgrove's focus. 

“This politically motivated emigration—versus the economic migration we’ve been researching these past few years—has transformed the SU-UCA partnership into one of solidarity and advocacy,” writes Cosgrove. “SU is raising awareness about the situation in Nicaragua by recommending actions of solidarity; raising scholarship funds for UCA students; and helping place students who have had to leave the country.” 

Read Cosgrove’s full article at AJCU.

Strengthening the Bond

August 13, 2018

Last month, during a gathering in Bilbao, Spain, representatives from more than 200 Jesuit institutions and organizations around the world—including President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and three other delegates from SU—signed onto a charter establishing the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU). The signing fittingly took place July 11 at the Basilica in Loyola, where Saint Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, was born, about an hour's drive from Bilbao. 

With universities in nearly 50 countries, the scale and reach of Jesuit schools is unrivaled—not only within the realm of higher education, but in other sectors, too. Signed by Arturo Sosa, S.J., superior general of the Society of Jesus, the charter formalizes as never before this network of institutions of Jesuit higher education, setting the stage for new and deepened collaborations among universities worldwide.   

IAJU is organized into six regions—Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America—and leverages the work already being done by those region’s Jesuit bodies such as the United States’ Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). 

Father Sosa met with met with each regional delegation during the meeting, and spoke about the university as “a source of reconciled life”: 

“Through its commitment to the university, the Society seeks to contribute to turn the word of Jesus into a historical truth: ...I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Reconciliation is possible when there is life. Life produces reconciliation, which in turn makes life full. Reconciliation is a way of returning to life and making it grow toward fullness. A full life entails a kind of love capable of giving one’s life so that all may have life. The growing commitment of the Society of Jesus within the university’s endeavor takes on its meaning through the desire to effectively contribute to enabling a dignified full life for each and every human being, both in the present and in the future.” 

Many who participated in the gathering were moved by the unifying power of Jesuit education. “It was clear that (the attendees) shared a mission, values and a common purpose, regardless of their language or continent,” said SU’s Executive Vice President Tim Leary, who attended the gathering. 

It was also clear to Leary and others that Jesuit universities are shaped largely by their diverse socioeconomic contexts. “When Jesuit institutions in the U.S. talk about social justice,” Leary said, “we talk about service and other issues such as sustainability and divestment, and these are legitimate. But for Jesuit universities in (other parts of the world), social justice is about how the university can stay afloat and help people develop as human beings at the most basic level. It’s a real challenge for many of the universities in North America to see the vision and mission (of Jesuit education) through the eyes of people living on the margins.” 

So what’s next for the nascent association? To a large extent, IAJU will come to be what its members make of it. Its charter does provide a broad framework of the association’s identity, mission and purposes, as well as details on governance and the general assemblies (to be held every three years). The association’s six working groups give a sense of what sorts of issues it will take up. These are: 

  • Civic and Political Leadership Formation
  • Education for Marginalized and Refugees
  • Environmental and Economic Justice
  • Inter-Religious Dialogue/Understanding
  • Leadership in an Ignatian Way of Proceeding
  • Peace and Reconciliation 

Joe Orlando, director of the Center for Jesuit Education was part of an eight-person North American delegation that helped plan the Bilbao meeting and served as an SU delegate (as did Erin Swezey, faculty member in the College of Education’s Student Development Administration program). Orlando sees IAJU as unlocking many new opportunities for Jesuit universities throughout the world. “(Those of us in Jesuit education) have always had a presumed sense of being in a global network,” he said. Now, he adds, with a formal charter, “the door is there” for more robust collaborations. “We can now move forward together in more practical ways.” 

In this regard, the delegates wasted no time. During the Bilbao gathering, they approved a statement in support of University of Central America (UCA), a sister Jesuit school in Managua, Nicaragua, which is at the center of a violent repression being undertaken by the government. 

“When the Nicaraguan contingent told us about the need to get behind UCA,” Leary said, “No vote was taken; no vote was needed. The whole group stood and applauded. It was a very powerful moment.” 

And perhaps a glimpse of what might be possible when faculty and staff at Jesuit universities throughout the world come together behind a common purpose. 

You can learn more about IAJU here.

(Photo: University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain)

Stop, Look, Listen

July 31, 2018

Tom Lucas, S.J., rector of Arrupe Jesuit Community (right), delivered the following homily at Mass today in SU's chapel on the Feast of St. Ignatius.

I learned what has proven to be the most valuable lesson of my life immediately after my mom got done spanking me. The spanking was the earned result of my first bona fide sin, the first transgression I can ever remember having committed. 

We lived on a country road outside our small town of Placerville, “Old Hangtown,” in northern California. The rules were clear. I could go anywhere in the yard that surrounded the house, but I had to stay within the confines of the split rail fence. It was April, and big lush weeds had sprouted around the telephone pole, on the side of the road, just outside the fence. They deserved a look, as beautiful and alluring as Eve’s apple. So over the split rail fence I went in my little red cowboy boots, cap pistol on my hip. This was, still, the Wild West. 

After the spanking, which was minor, my mom took me by the shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and asked me what was the rule. “Stay inside the fence,” I said. “And what you do if you have to cross the road?” she asked. I hated this part. I had to repeat, not once but twice, the Golden Rule of Rural Life. “Stop. Look. Listen.”  Stop, Look, Listen. Then, and only then, act. Act, then Stop, Look, Listen. Then Act. Then stop, look, listen again. 

On a hot April morning in Placerville in 1956, the hermeneutical circle of discernment was laid out perfectly for me. 

In the summer of 1522, another adventurer—clad in shattered armor, not little red cowboy boots—was carried home to die in a strong house in northern Spain. Iñigo Lopez de Loyola was a soldier of fortune, a gallant, a courtier, a man who was popular, successful, aimless. His leg was shattered by a cannonball in an inconsequential battle. He didn’t die, though he suffered gravely, physically and emotionally. His life was as shattered as his leg was shattered. 

You’ve probably heard this story before. No trashy novels to read during his painful convalescence, only the story of Christ and the lives of the saints. He found calm and lasting consolation when he considered focusing his life as the saints had; a momentary pleasure, then nothing but emptiness when he dreamed of returning to his old life. He stopped, looked and listened. For a long time. Then he acted. 

He left home, he gave away his rich clothes, left his sword before Our Lady of Montserrat. He stopped, looked listened again. He found God and what he thought was God’s will for him. He embarked on crazy travels, an abortive trip to the Holy Land influenced by his chivalric mindset. When that didn’t work out, he stopped, looked, listened again. He put his experience up against the horizon of meaning he was leaning towards, changed his path, went back to grammar school. He calmed down and started helping others to find their own way. Stop, look, listen. After he was twice hauled in by the Spanish Inquisition, he stopped, looked, listened again. Then, only then, he moved on, to Paris; he found companions. Together, they stopped, looked, listened. Eventually they joined together in Venice and then Rome, and then made the world their cloister. 

We’re here today in this university chapel (that bears Ignatius' name) because the good citizens of Messina came to Ignatius in the mid 1540s, begging him to send some of his men to start a school for their sons. He stopped, looked and listened. He examined their context. He looked at the possibilities. He listened to their appeal for help. The first Jesuits had no intention to start schools. But they stopped, looked, listened, then acted; And here we are today, in the middle of an important, burgeoning city, sitting in a chapel dedicated to Ignatius, doing the same thing. 

Our paradigm of Ignatian education follows the same pattern that Ignatius laid out in all the adventures of his life. He stopped. He studied the signs of the times, engaging the world he knew and learned what he needed to learn, exploring his context. He reflected on what he needed to do, what the world needed of him and his friends, reflected on those imperatives against the horizon of meaning they found in the life of Jesus of Nazareth and then they acted in a bewildering variety of ways. 

Over and again, they stopped. Studied. Reflected. Acted. Evaluated. Stopped. Studied. Reflected. Acted. Evaluated. Even in the last years of his life that ended on July 31, 1556, when Ignatius was confined to limping around four small rooms in Rome in his worn bedroom slippers, he applied discerning freedom and transformed it into action for the glory of God and the good of his sisters and brothers. 

As we face our world with all its ambiguities, conflicts and broken promises, and as we look to a future full of uncertainties and hope, we strive to follow same paradigm, that same pattern of learning, discernment, action and evaluation that Ignatius and his friends described years ago. Following that design, we know, will send us on strange adventures, to places we never expected to know and to people who will be challenges and graces to us. 

We may wear Birkenstocks, flip flops or Nikes instead of worn bedroom slippers or red cowboy boots. Yet we still need to remember my mom’s admonition, and Ignatius’ fundamental instruction. Stop. Look. Listen. Then Act. And then begin the process again and again. For the glory of God and the salvation of our world.

Read more here on the Feast of St. Ignatius.

From cannonball to canonization

July 13, 2018

Seattle University will join other Jesuit institutions worldwide in celebrating the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola on Tuesday, July 31. 

Honoring the founder of the Society of Jesus (a.k.a. the Jesuits), the feast day will include a special Mass on campus at 12:30 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Ignatius. Tom Lucas, S.J., rector of the Arrupe Jesuit Community will preside; all are invited to attend. Earlier in the morning, faculty and staff will gather for a continental breakfast hosted by the Jesuits at the Arrupe Residence. 

Feast days are typically celebrated on the dates of saints’ deaths. St. Ignatius passed away July 31, 1556. He was canonized—that is, made a saint—by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. 

Born in 1491, in today’s Basque Country, Spain, Ignatius embarked on a spiritual journey after being injured by a cannonball in battle, eventually forming the Jesuits. Today, he is known for the international educational system the Jesuits founded, The Spiritual Exercises he authored and much more. 

The Jesuits’ website refers to Ignatius as “a different kind of saint,” quoting noted Jesuit historian John O’Malley, S.J.: “Ignatius redefined the traditional basis of saintliness” in making sure the early Jesuits were getting out into the world, including secular spaces such as classrooms. 

An overview of St. Ignatius by James Martin, S.J., can be found here.

(Pictured: Icons depicting the life of St. Ignatius as installed in the chapel bearing his name on SU's campus.)

Summer Retreat for Faculty and Staff

June 28, 2018

Looking for spiritual renewal this summer? Consider a weekend retreat hosted by Seattle University’s partner, the Ignatian Spirituality Center. The retreat will be held at the same center in Federal Way that is used for SU’s annual retreat for faculty and staff and will follow a similar pattern in the use of silence, spiritual direction and thematic presentations. The Center for Jesuit Education will provide $100 toward the full cost of the retreat. 

For more information and to register, click here and let the Center for Jesuit Education know you are registering by sending an e-mail to so they can arrange for the subsidy.

(Photo from Ignatian Spirituality Center)

Law school opposes Trump administration’s asylum ruling

June 13, 2018

Seattle University School of Law is part of a coalition including 11 other U.S.-based Jesuit law schools opposing the recent decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that drops asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. 

The law school joined Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology and the Kino Border Initiative in a statement that reads, in part: “As Jesuit organizations and affiliated law professors and advocates serving refugees and asylum seekers, we are appalled at this ill-conceived decision. It is contrary to both U.S. and Catholic values which protect the most vulnerable, including victims of violence and persecution. In the midst of the largest global forced migration crisis in recorded history, with over 65 million people displaced from their homes, we must do more, not less, to address the needs of individuals, families and communities in search of safety and security.” 

It is estimated that the attorney general’s ruling could impact tens of thousands of asylum seekers. 

Click here to read the full statement.

Add Your Voice in Support of Nicaragua

June 7, 2018

Update – June 21, 2018: A total of 629 members of the SU community signed onto the university's statement of solidarity with the people of Nicaragua. Signing on were 54 alumni, 142 faculty, 152 staff and 281 students.

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., is calling on the SU community to support the people of Nicaragua by signing onto a statement of solidarity. Here is the president's June 6 message in its entirety:

The country of Nicaragua has been in crisis for more than six weeks as the government has taken violent measures to repress protests, leaving more than 115 people dead and 1,000 injured. I write to you today with an important request: I am asking you to consider signing a statement of solidarity with the people of Nicaragua.

For Seattle University, the unrest in Nicaragua hits home in a particular way, as our sister Jesuit institution, the Central American University (UCA), is located in the capital of Managua and is at the center of the crisis. Our university shares with UCA a longstanding and special relationship, as formalized through an agreement in 2014, and this partnership is now part of the university’s Central America Initiative, which Dr. Serena Cosgrove leads as faculty coordinator.

Over several years, faculty, students and staff at SU have collaborated with colleagues at UCA on a number of scholarly and programmatic activities. Many in our community have had the opportunity to visit UCA, and several of their faculty, students and staff have spent time with us, including Father José Idiáquez, S.J., who leads the university as rector and has been a target of death threats in recent weeks.

As a Jesuit institution committed to building a more just and humane world, we are called to support our brothers and sisters in this time of need. Please join me in signing the statement of solidarity by June 15, and in praying for peace and justice for all people of Nicaragua.

Commencement speakers at Jesuit institutions

May 4, 2018

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has announced the speakers for its 28 members’ commencement ceremonies. In addition to SU’s speakers, Samuel Green and Sally Jewel, the list includes a number of women and men with ties to Seattle U.

  • Rev. Bryan Massingale, who is speaking at Regis University, was also a featured speaker at last summer’s Justice Conference.

  • James Martin, S.J., speaking at Loyola University New Orleans and Spring Green, was a keynote at the 2012 Search for Meaning Festival.

  • Chris Lowney, who will speak at Wheeling University, gave a talk on campus in 2013.

 Visit AJCU to see the full list of this year’s commencement speakers.

Alpha Sigma Nu inducts new members

April 26, 2018

Alpha Sigma Nu, the Seattle University Chapter of the Jesuit Honor Society, inducted its newest members this month. 

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., announcing the inductees, wrote “(they) represent a group of people who show excellence in scholarship, loyalty to Jesuit values and service.”

The new members were honored at a special ceremony on April 18, at which distinguished SU alumna Nhi Pham, DDS (’95) received the 2018 Alpha Sigma Nu Magis Medal and delivered the keynote address. 

Following is a list of SU’s 2018 inductees: 

Honorary Members

Robert Dullea, Douglas Peduti, S.J., David Powers, Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, Frank Savadera, S.J., and Kristen Swanson 

Albers School of Business and Economics 

Undergraduate Members: Matthew Alderson, Briana Bonam, Carly Fehringer, Alexander Wayne Grob, Caylee Kurasaki, Pearl Lee, Ryan Lim, Evfemia Natania, Monica Ongke and Kayla Schoonhoven 

Graduate Members: Chelsea Adamson, Jessica Bishop, Stephanie Chang, Kay Chikos, Thanh-Thuong Chuche, Thomas Hischler, Vani Karikalan, Emily Kaufmann, Toni Olson, Dannielle Rondeau, Kenneth Short, Andrew Warren and Wenjun Zhang 

College of Arts and Sciences 

Undergraduate Members: Sufia Ahmad, Alec Blake, Annamarie DeGennaro, Matthew Enrique Garcia, Kathleen Hannick, Bradford Howe, Azrael Howell, Twila Joselyn McDonell, Kathy Mulcher, Gabriel Zavala Narvaez, Andrew Reid, Mariah Ribeiro, Claire Star, Emily Stefhon, Paige Elizabeth Treff and Paolo Violante 

Graduate Members: Emily Alder-Storm, Christopher Castro, Katharine Chen, Amanda Ferguson, Andrea Guiffre, Fatima Gulamali, Meaghan Leferink, Ryan Moore, Lauren Morgan, Caroline Nicefaro, Sara Smith, Alvin Tan, Laura Wessel and Emily West 

College of Education 

Lauren Albano, Jennifer Chew, Nancy Courtney, Sophie De Haan, Kayla Fencl, Erin Fullner, Nancy Huang, Audrey Hudgins, Leslie Ikeda, Justine Kaufmann, Zachary Kravey, Swathy Marri, Janie Sacco, Guillermo Sandoval, Megan Stevens and Quynh-Nhu Tran 

School of Law 

Wei-Hsuan Chen, Tamara Comeau, Sonya Daisley-Harrison, Nicholas Doherty, Emily Gunderson, Ben Halpern-Meekin, Joshua Halladay, Tyrone Ivey, Megan Kelly, Rachel Marshall, Melanie Notari, Courtney Olson, Jonathan Schirmer, Ashley Steichen, David West, Emily Wright, Joseph Wright and Emily Yoshiwara 

College of Science and Engineering 

Undergraduate Members: Dominic Burgi, Asa Davidson, Angela Flores-Marcus, Ciara Goetze, Jesse Goncalves, Julia Gorman, Matthew Horn, Brittney Kessel, Jorge Lara Alvarado, Nicholas Luckman, Olga Musinina, Christina Sargent, Isheeta Tewari, Nicholas Andrew Wagner and Irwan Winarto 

Matteo Ricci College 

Harrison Peter and Joseph Fein 

College of New and Continuing Studies 

Undergraduate Member: Toni Malaspino 

Graduate Members: Ken Bailey, Emily Fix, Kin Luu, Summer Meyer, Marisol Morales, Stephen Swisher and Kristy Whitlatch 

College of Nursing 

Undergraduate Members: Faiza Abaroone, Sophia Cima, Mariajesus Elgueta Laree, Danielle Klindt, Spencer Kobernusz-Gibbs and Sarah Symonds

Graduate Members: Caitlin Campbell, Kirsten Carlson, Jeremy King, Jean Paula Ly, Coralie Meslin, Rim Sem and Claire Thurman-Moore 

College of Theology and Ministry 

Donna Cheesebrough, Nicole Chilivis, Morgan Frost, Tara MillerBerry and Marci Scott-Weis 

To learn more, visit ASN.

In Solidarity with UCA and Nicaragua

April 26, 2018

Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States have issued a statement supporting their sister institution, Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), in Nicaragua. 

The Nicaraguan government’s announcement of an overhaul of the Social Security benefits system  last week was met with a popular uprising not seen “since the end of the nation’s civil war nearly 30 years ago,” as reported in The New York Times. While President Daniel Ortega has since reversed the order, tensions remain high in the country. 

Against this backdrop, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), issued a statement on April 24 that reads in part: 

“Over the past few days, Nicaragua has seen a return to the repression and violence that have scarred its past. On behalf of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, we express our solidarity with our Jesuit sister institution, the University of Central America (UCA) of Nicaragua, which calls its students to peaceful advocacy for social justice, even as government violence at the University’s gates suppresses dissent.” 

Seattle University shares a longstanding and special relationship with UCA, as formalized through an agreement in 2014. That partnership is now part of the university’s Central America Initiative, which Serena Cosgrove, PhD, leads as faculty coordinator. She was asked by AJCU to draft its statement of solidarity, which you can read in full here

Over several years, faculty, students and staff at SU have collaborated with colleagues at UCA on a number of scholarly and programmatic activities. 

For updates on the situation in Nicaragua, please follow Seattle University’s Central America Initiative page on Facebook or email Serena to be put on the CAI mailing list: