Teach Me to Be Generous

A while back, I felt deflated when I discovered that the wonderful Prayer of St. Francis (“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”) wasn’t written by Francis at all. It was written in 1912 by a writer for a small French Catholic magazine. My disappointment wasn’t on the level of discovering the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, but it stung a bit. I wish Francis had written it in the 13th […]

Scorsese’s Next Film?

There have been rumblings about director Martin Scorsese making a film of Shusaku Endo’s magnificent historical novel Silence, about Japanese martyrs of the 17th century.  Now it seems that the rumor may become a reality, according to Spero Forum. In a preface to Endo’s book, Scorsese writes perceptively about faith: How do you tell the story of Christian faith? The difficulty, the crisis, of believing? How do you describe the struggle? … Shusaku Endo understood […]

Why Edgar Allen Poe Liked the Jesuits

Church historian Pat McNamara writes about how the Jesuits at St. John’s College (later Fordham University) befriended Edgar Allen Poe in the last years of his life.  The poet, grief-stricken and depressed after the death of his wife, found companionship with the Jesuits. One of them remembered Poe as a “familiar figure at the college . . . It seemed to soothe his mind to wander at will about the lawn and the beautiful grounds […]

Losing One’s Life

Luis Espinal, SJ, is a Jesuit hero I hadn’t heard about.  He was a Spanish Jesuit who worked for social justice in Bolivia.  He was murdered in 1980.  He wrote this. Losing one’s life means working for others, even though they don’t pay us back. It means doing a favor without it being returned. Losing one’s life means jumping in even when failure is the likely outcome – and doing it without being overly prudent. […]

Things Change in Montmartre

In 1534, Ignatius and his companions went to the church of Sainte Pierre in the village of Montmartre north of Paris, and  took vows to work together as a company.  It was an important moment because this band of brothers soon became the first Jesuits.  When my wife and I went to Paris a couple of weeks ago to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, I was eager to visit this spot. On the day we […]

400 Years of Jesuits in Canada

Jesuits arrived in Canada in 1611, and went on to shape significant parts of that nation’s history as missionaries, explorers, and educators.  To mark the 400th anniversary, Canada’s Catholic Register of Canada has published a 36-page supplement about the Jesuits and their history.  It’s fascinating reading. I especially liked St. John de Brébeuf’s advice to his fellow Jesuits about getting along with the native Hurons.  Much of it is good advice today. To conciliate the […]

An Ignatian Pilgrimage

A group of lay people and Jesuits have set up a new pilgrimage route in Spain that should appeal to walkers and cyclists with an Ignatian bent.  It’s called the Camino Ignaciano (the Ignatian “way” or “road”). It’s the route St. Ignatius walked in 1522 after his conversion.  It begins at his family’s home in Loyola and ends in the town of Manresa, where he began to put together the book that would become the […]

A Hero’s Jesuit Son

Church historian Pat McNamara has written a fascinating account of the life of Thomas Ewing Sherman, SJ, an American Jesuit in the late nineteenth century and the son of Civil War hero William Tecumseh Sherman. Thomas Sherman entered the Jesuits despite his father’s bitter opposition. He wrote: People in love do strange things…. Having a vocation is like being in love, only more so, as there is no love more absorbing, so deep and so […]

Peter Faber: The Second Jesuit

Tuesday was the Feast of Peter Faber (Favre), SJ, sometimes called “the second Jesuit” because he was especially close to Ignatius when the order was getting started.  Peter was looking for direction in life when he ran into Ignatius.  He was overwhelmed with choices, like a young person today: I was always very unsure of myself and blown about by many winds: sometimes wishing to be married, sometimes a doctor, sometimes a lawyer, sometimes a professor […]

Ignatius’s First Followers

Let’s take a moment in IgnatiusFest to think about the men who first followed Ignatius.  We wouldn’t be here without Ignatius, but we wouldn’t be here without the first companions either.  They were a handful of students who met Ignatius at the University of Paris.  They made the bold decision to join their lives together in a radical fellowship.   It was a crucial moment.  As the narrator of this video says, “the first follower turns […]

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