T H E C H U R C H I N T H E 2 1 S T C E N T U RY C E N T E R
for the Journey
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Guest Editors C21 Resources Fall 2017
Joy Haywood Moore ’81, H’10
on the cover
Anthony Russo, a graduate leader on one of BC’s Arrupe programs, looks out over the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in Douglas, Arizona. photo credit: Lizzy Barrett Photography www.lizzybarrettphotography.com
The Church in the 21st Century Center is a catalyst and resource for the renewal of the Catholic Church. C21 Resources, a compilation of critical analyses and essays on key challenges facing the Church today, is published by the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College, in partnership with featured authors and publications. c21 resources editorial board Ben Birnbaum Patricia Delaney Thomas Groome Robert Newton Barbara Radtke Jacqueline Regan Ernesto Valiente managing editor Karen K. Kiefer guest editors Joy Haywood Moore Jack Dunn
the church in the 21st century center boston college 110 college road chestnut hill, massachusetts 02467 www.bc.edu/c21 firstname.lastname@example.org 617-552-0470 Print and Digital Production by Progressive Print
JOY HAYWOOD MOORE is the associate vice president for alumni relations in the office of University Advancement. Prior to returning to Boston College in 2011, Moore served as the interim head of school at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg, South Africa. Moore has also served as the head of school at the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, California, and as the associate head/director of the Upper School at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. As a university administrator, she has held a variety of positions at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of San Francisco. Moore is a 1981 graduate of the Lynch School of Education, and in 2010 she received an honorary degree from Boston College.
Education for Living Faith by Joy Haywood Moore and Jack Dunn
So What Do We Mean by Faith? by Thomas Groome
C21 Fall Events To Work Is to Pray
by Grace Simmons Zuncic
The Antidote Is Love by Patrick Downes
Thinking Critically, Acting Lovingly
by Matthew BeDugnis by Jeremy Zipple, S.J.
On the Border by Michael Motyl
Welcoming All to the Table by Megan Hopkins
© 2017 Trustees of Boston College
Jack Dunn ’83
Jesuit Education: From and For Faith READ ANYTHING ON JESUIT EDUCATION and it will say that it all began with Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556). This is an eminently reasonable claim since Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits, which now sponsors some 500 high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the world.
JACK DUNN is the associate vice president of University Communications, University spokesman, and adjunct professor of public relations at Boston College. In his administrative role, he oversees all aspects of communications, including news and information, media relations, social media, web content development, video production, print materials, digital media, and marketing communications for Boston College. Prior to joining Boston College in 1998, Dunn served as vice president of external affairs at Catholic Charities of Boston. A 1983 magna cum laude graduate of Boston College, Dunn received his master’s degree in public relations from Boston University in 1990. He is a 1979 graduate of Boston College High School. Dunn lives in Milton with his wife, Hazel, and four children: Siobhan BC ’18, John BC ‘20, Sinead, and Brian.
Living Faith through Service
Faith Is a Journey
by Luly Castellanos de Samper by Charles I. Clough Jr.
Faith Foundations That Last Forever by Ann Riley Finck
A Faith That Does Justice
The Jesuit Way Along My Way
Living the Call
by Jennie Chin Hansen
by Rev. James M. Hairston
by Miriam Hidalgo
Who Is Your Play Caller?
I Was Not Supposed to Be Here
The Special Spirit of Boston College
by Matt and Sarah Hasselbeck
by Juan Lopera by Jerry York
Ignatius’ spirituality encouraged constant discernment of how best to serve ad maiorem Dei gloriam, “for the greater glory of God.” In the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation, then at its height, Ignatius and his companions discerned well that “the good of souls” requires good education. This soon became the Society’s primary mission. Founded in 1534 (papal approval in 1540), by the time of Ignatius’s death in 1556, the Jesuits were conducting some 40 schools throughout Europe and beyond. And that was just the beginning; there where 800 by 1773. And whether Ignatius intended or not, the core themes of his spirituality, summarized in his Spiritual Exercises, encourages a humanizing pedagogy in Jesuit education. For example, discernment in the spiritual life suggests critical thinking in the classroom; the magis to ever reach into holiness encourages excellence in education; the examen as spiritual meditation on one’s own life suggests a pedagogy of critical reflection on experience; freedom to discern how best to serve God encourages the agency and imagination of students; living for the reign of God becomes education that forms “men and women for others”; the mentoring role of the spiritual director can be a model for the teacher, encouraging cura personalis— care for the gifts and needs of the whole student. Ignatius himself, however, would resist the claim that Jesuit education arose from his spirituality. He would insist instead that it all stems from Jesus, and especially from the way of life modeled and taught by the historical Jesus—that carpenter from Nazareth. Ignatius recognized that the commitments reflected in the life of Jesus are the core of Christian living; it was not for naught that he called his group the Society of Jesus. Indeed, so much did he and his companions speak of Jesus that they were given the nickname “Jesuits”; originally intended as an insult, they soon embraced it as a badge of honor. Even as Jesuit education arises from Jesus’ way of life, it is equally committed to nurture as much in people’s lives. And Jesus’ values were so universal that any person of goodwill can be enriched by them—Christian or not. So, Jesuit education is education from and for the values reflected in the way of life taught by Jesus. In this issue of C21 Resources, you find examples of how Jesuit education at Boston College continues to shape people’s living faith. We thank our guest editors, Jack Dunn and Joy Haywood Moore, for gathering these testimonies for us. Jesus and his friend Ignatius would be pleased. Professor Thomas Groome Director, Church in the 21st Century Center fal l 2017 | c 21 resources
Education for LIVING I
Joy Haywood Moore and Jack Dunn
N OUR RESPECTIVE roles in Alumni Relations and University Communications, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to interact regularly with BC alumni and students whose selfless acts, kind gestures, and indomitable spirits have inspired us with their capacity to love, care for, and serve others. In so many cases, when we offer our praise and admiration, their response is the same: “It is what Boston College taught me to do.” There is a distinctiveness to a Boston College education that manifests itself in so many ways, big and small. Throughout its 154-year history, Boston College has urged its graduates to develop their God-given talents and use them in the service of others. It is the Jesuit way. But that commitment to serving others and making a difference in the world seems invariably tied to the faith-based education they received here. In so many cases, members of the BC community tell us that the faith dimensions of their BC experience profoundly helped to shape the course of their lives and the choices they have made, often in ways they never imagined while students. Pope Francis reminds us that our faith must be a living faith, put to work in everyday life. It is the practice of faith that matters. By all accounts, a Boston College and Jesuitinspired education prepares people to put their faith to work throughout their daily lives. In this edition of C21 Resources, you will hear the stories of several of our alumni who have led meaningful lives that were inspired by their faith-filled BC education. Whether it was responding to a call to serve, overcoming adversity, or taking principled stands in the name of justice, they are people who were shaped by the Jesuit education they received at Boston College.
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That education enabled BC grads Jeremy Zipple, James Hairston, and Chuck Clough to respond to God’s calling to ordained ministry, and Jerry York to devote his life to building young men of character both on and off the ice. It is what inspires Grace Simmons Zuncic to be a leading businesswoman and loving mom, and Jenny Chin Hansen, Mike Motyl, Ann Riley Finck, and Luly Castellanos de Samper to devote so much of their lives to service. It manifests itself in the mentoring offered by Matt and Sarah Hasselbeck, and in the hope for the future expressed by recent graduates Juan Lopera and Mathew BeDugnis. And it is surely faith that inspires Patrick Downes’s desire to live the rest of his life as an instrument of peace.
JOY : For me as an alumna and now AVP of Alumni Relations, I still reflect—with much gratitude—on when I was first introduced to the Jesuits by way of taking the core courses of theology and philosophy as a freshman. Prior to attending BC, I had never met a Jesuit and knew very little about the Jesuit principles, values, and teachings. I was not Catholic, but that didn’t preclude me from having the space and encouragement to deepen my own faith while learning and
FAITH “It is what Boston College taught me to do.” developing as a young woman within the Jesuit, Catholic identity that is Boston College. Every encounter I had with a Jesuit was one of care, concern, support, reassurance, inspiration, and a genuine desire to help me succeed. The Jesuits made me believe in myself in a way that I didn’t know was possible and helped to shape who I have become and the paths I have taken throughout my life. For example, I tested my faith in both God and myself during a challenging appointment of heading up a school in South Africa, away from family and friends. The four years I spent there required me to draw upon the deepest levels of my faith-based resources. Though almost 50 at the time, the experience reassured me that I could stand at the crossroads of my life and, with God’s help, stretch myself in my commitment to service. And while I went there to serve others, as is so often the case, I learned more than I taught, received more than I gave. That experience in South Africa helped me to strengthen my core as a woman, a mother, a wife, and a person for others. Even in midlife, my Jesuit and faith-based education was still well at work and sustaining my journey. At BC, you are educated in a particular way that urges you to go beyond your professional calling, beyond your personal accomplishments and self-interests, to consider how you might use your talents and skills to serve others. That is what being men and women for others is all about. As I continue to deepen my understanding of Jesuit values, I have come to realize that I am expected to do more and to live my faith daily and to find God in all things that orbit my world.
For me as an alumnus, AVP of University Communications, and University spokesman, my Boston College education has provided me with a foundation upon which to build a life devoted to family, faith, and service. Outside of the selfless example set by my parents, my Jesuit education was the single most influential factor in my life. That education began at BC High, where Jesuit teachers demanded the most out of me and helped me to believe in myself as a student. Their encouragement played a role in cultivating a love of the written and spoken word that has stayed with me throughout my life. It continued at Boston College, where I was challenged to give the best of myself, both in and outside of the classroom. While here, I was constantly reminded of Jesus’ own teaching: to whom much has been given, much is expected, which helped to shape a commitment to service that has guided my life. I remain forever grateful for the faith-based education I received at Boston College, and I take immeasurable pride in seeing my own children enjoying the same experience as BC students today. I am fortunate also in that I have had the opportunity to work at both of the Jesuit schools I attended. Doing so has served to heighten my appreciation for this special ministry and the unique gift that a Jesuit education provides. For nearly two decades, I have had the privilege of advocating for Boston College, an institution I love and believe in. This wonderful experience has taught me the true meaning of gratitude. I realize every day that I step onto this campus that I have been truly blessed by God. The following essays serve as powerful examples of living faith in action, and remind us of the profound goodness that emanates from this great Jesuit university and from the network of Jesuit-sponsored schools throughout the world. ■ JOY HAYWOOD MOORE and JACK DUNN are guest editors of this issue of C21 Resources. photo credit:
Page 2: ©Boston College Office of University Communications.
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SO WHAT DO WE
Thomas Groome It is no exaggeration to say that wars have been fought over what we mean by faith, at least 30 years of war in the West (1618–48), and some continue to this day (think of Northern Ireland). The intensity around its definition emerged when the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, etc.) insisted on the position of sola fide, that “faith alone” saves. On good ground, they were echoing Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “we have been justified by faith” (5:1). So the Reformers were correct in emphasizing faith alone, but then—it all depends on what we mean by faith.
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MEAN BY FAITH? THE BALANCING ACT OF FAITH
by God.” This placed the Catholic emphasis heavily on faith as belief—in whatever the Church teaches. In that each side overemphasized one particular dimension of Christian faith—either trust or belief—both Protestants and Catholics got it wrong. Though faith always includes belief and trust (head and heart), its completeness is realized only by living faith. Emphasis on living faith is very much the crusade of Pope Francis’ papacy in our time. As he frequently points out, living faith, and doing so with the joy of the Gospel, is located primarily in the ordinary and everyday of life—not in church! Of course, this was also the proposal of Jesus.
Catholics, on the other hand, continued to emphasize that faith must express itself in good works, not that we need to earn God’s favor but that every grace comes to us as a responsibility, or better, a response-ability. While the Reformers favored Romans 5:1, Catholics liked to cite the Letter of James that “faith without works is dead” (2:17). H a p p i l y, C a t h o l i c s a n d Lutherans finally reached agreement on this debate with their “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” of 1999 (took almost 500 years), and since signed by many mainline Christian denominations. The key passage reads, “By grace alone, in faith in Christ’s saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works” (note the careful wording). In the polemics of the Reformation, however, the Catholic Church’s dominant posture—over against the Reformers— was to emphasize faith as belief. This was understandable, given that many of its core beliefs had been challenged. So the Council of Trent (1545–63), launching the Catholic Reformation, emphasized faith as giving intellectual assent to the official teachings of the Church. The Catechism of Trent, the most influential document in disseminating the Council’s reforms, defined faith as “that by which we yield our unhesitating assent to whatever the authority of our Holy Mother the Church teaches us to have been revealed
FAITH FIXED ON JESUS
The Reformers portrayed faith as “a bold trust in God’s grace” by which we are “justified” (Luther). Again, they had good cause; the very etymology of faith—the Latin fidere— means to trust. It calls Christians, as the Reformers rightly claimed, to a boundless trust in God to save through Jesus Christ. They were trying to make a needed corrective to an overemphasis by the Catholic Church of the time on “good works,” as if we need to earn salvation by our own efforts. Luther and friends rightly intended to emphasize the gratuitousness of God’s grace as the effective source of people’s salvation.
We readily recognize the centrality of living faith if we do as the Letter to the Hebrews advises: “fix our eyes on Jesus” (12:2). Specifically, this means turning to what scholars call the historical Jesus, that real person who walked the roads of Galilee. When we look at the great stories he told (the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, Lazarus at the Gate), we recognize that he was encouraging disciples in a living faith. Likewise, in the depth of his compassion, especially for those most in need, he was modeling a living faith. His working miracles to feed the hungry, cure the sick, comfort the bereaved, and drive out evil were all Jesus’ own faith at work. Indeed, the central theme of his life and preaching was calling people to living faith for the Reign of God—to be “done on earth as in heaven.” Of late, this centrality of the historical Jesus has been growing in Catholic consciousness. For a variety of reasons, it had been overshadowed by the Christ of faith—the Risen Son of God. Of course, both are essential; Jesus the Christ was one and the same person, fully human and fully divine. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) gives a fine summary of this core of Christian faith: “At the heart . . . we find a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father” (426). Note the CCC’s insistence on “Jesus of Nazareth” and “the only Son from the Father.”
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FAITH That being said, traditional Catholicism favored the Christ of faith over the Jesus of history. Among other things, the doctrine taught by the old catechisms (such as Baltimore) was based on the Apostles Creed. But the Creed’s articles move from “born of the virgin Mary” to “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” As a result, the traditional catechisms paid no attention to Jesus’ public life—going from his birth straight to his death and resurrection. This is slowly being redressed by the catechesis of our time. Pope Francis is certainly leading Christians to “fix on Jesus.”
WHAT IS LIVING FAITH?
Living faith is faith alive and lived as life-giving—for oneself, for others, and “for the life of the world” (John 6:51). Let us unpack a little. An alive faith is one that is ever fresh and vibrant rather than stale and listless. Alive faith continues to grow and develop over a life-long journey until we finally rest in God. As Jesus promised the Samaritan woman at the well, and to Christians ever after, his Gospel is to be “living water,” like “a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:10 and 14). Jesus’ Gospel, then, should encourage faith that is fresh and vital, ever growing into holiness of life. Stated negatively, a faith that becomes dormant or worse still, deadly, is surely not the living faith that Jesus proposed. Following on, throughout his public ministry, Jesus constantly modeled and taught for faith that is lived as life-giving for oneself, for others, and for all creation. Such faith is demanded of Jesus’ disciples precisely because they are to follow his way. As John has Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6). No wonder that the first Christians were named “those who belong to the Way” (Acts 9:2). Including but reaching far beyond believing and trusting, discipleship to Jesus is realized by faith that is lived according to his way.
Jesus clearly prioritized lived faith as the measure of discipleship. For example, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7: 21). So, not the confessing but the doing of faith is the key to belonging to God’s reign. Jesus repeated often, in one way or another, “blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28). In an amazing moment when his mother and family came looking for him, Jesus declared that his family now are “those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21). Faith in Jesus calls to a living faith.
PUTTING FAITH TO WORK
Above all, living faith is a daily affair, to be put to work in the everyday of life. It is certainly not just for Sundays or Sabbaths; it is a 24/7 lifestyle. Here again we take our cue from Jesus. Recall that he summarized his way of living faith into the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and then added, “for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, all the values and truths of the Bible are realized by living the golden rule. Likewise, when Jesus proposed the greatest commandment of love—to love God with one’s whole being and neighbor as oneself—again he added that this summarizes “all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). Clearly, Jesus called people to put their faith to work in the daily of life. He still invites us to bring our lives to our faith and our faith to our lives, integrating the two as living faith. ■ THOMAS GROOME is a professor of theology and religious education and the director of the Church in the 21st Century Center. photo credit: Page 4: Catholic News Service/L’Osservatore Romano Page 5: The Last Supper, University of Notre Dame: http://sites.nd.edu/ oblation/tag/column/
Above all, living faith is a daily affair, to be put to work in the everyday of life. It is certainly not just for Sundays or Sabbaths; it is a 24/7 lifestyle.
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FALL EVENTS Race in the American Catholic Imagination September 11, 2017 | Episcopal Visitor Presenter: Bishop George Murry, S.J., Diocese of Youngstown Location/Time: The Heights Room, Corcoran Commons, 5:00 p.m. Sponsor: The C21 Center International Solidarity in the Age of Pope Francis October 12, 2017 | Episcopal Visitor Presenter: Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B. Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras Location/Time: Murray Function Room, Yawkey Center, 5:15 p.m. Sponsor: The C21 Center
Women’s Voices Series: Weaving a Life of Hope and Meaning After Torture November 9, 2017 | Lecture Presenter: Sister Dianna Ortiz, OSU Location/Time: The Heights Room, Corcoran Commons, 5:00 p.m. Sponsors: Women’s Resource Center, STM Women’s Group, The BC Council for Women, The C21 Center A Conversation with Jean Vanier December 7, 2017 | Video Conversation Presenter: Jean Vanier, Founder, L’Arche Location/Time: Murray Function Room, 2:00 p.m. Sponsor: The C21 Center
Webcast videos will be available within two weeks following most events on bc.edu/c21
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To Work Is to Pray
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Class of 2005
Grace Simmons Zuncic
A M ON MY second trip for work since my daughter Ellen was born. She travels with me. Today our adventures take us to Twin Falls, Idaho. I hold all six weeks of her in my arms as we share a seat on Delta, responding to work e-mails and texts. I shut down my iPhone and think of my remarkable husband, Eric, and our little precious son Charlie (now two years old). I close my eyes. Then, I pray. I simply recite prayers over and over again as I gently bounce Ellie. That’s my peace. With kids in the picture now, I have been reflecting a lot on my time at Boston College. In the past, I’ve written extensively about how the University’s relentless commitments to social justice, the greater good, and the plights of the less fortunate in the United States and globally have influenced my career path. My time at BC was spent in the Shaw Leadership Program, UGBC, Perspectives, Political Science Honors Program, the C21 Initiative, Ignacio Volunteers, and more—the ultimate “joiner,” as my friends would say, most of whom thought I was insane trying to cram so much into four years. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me well that I took a position at a progressive company that’s committed to refugees, America’s working class, and changing the food industry in our country. The day-to-day linkages between my professional life and my liberal arts and faith-based Jesuit education are profound. The company found me, but God made that happen, or luck, or a beautiful combination of the two. Everything has fallen into place, at least for now. I owe
tremendous gratitude to BC not only for my early successes but also for pushing me to seek purpose in my professional life, and putting me on the path to find it. There is a bigger gift from Boston College, however. As I look at my babies and—like any young mother—think about everything that could possibly go wrong in a single day, what gives me comfort is my faith: those prayers I recite peacefully and quietly as I take on the everyday activities of life. Absent prayer I am fearful, lost, and preoccupied by worry. Absent prayer I am selfish and ungrateful—and I believe gratitude is the essential ingredient to one’s happiness. During these past 12 years post-BC, I’ve come to realize what the college gave me that’s most essential to my adult life is a life of prayer, and the strength to continue it in a society that’s constantly challenging belief in anything bigger than ourselves. Prayer gives me the gift of an ongoing connection to Jesus, to Mary, and to the Triune God. It’s my greatest daily blessing, with the realization that my prayer life will carry me through the most difficult and overwhelming periods of life—and through the most beautiful, precious, and empowering times. In today’s society, I believe there is no gift more valuable or necessary than the practice of prayer. I’m forever grateful to BC for nurturing me as a pray-er. That is the gift I want to give to my children too. They have 18 years or so before applying to BC, of course. But a world that will make them doubt more often than accept the enormous blessings of God requires the antidote of a personal prayer life. I am ready to share with them what I learned well at BC. Not only on my own behalf but on theirs, I say thank you, Boston College. ■ GRACE SIMMONS ZUNCIC won Boston College’s 2005 Edward H. Finnegan, S.J., Award as the senior who best exemplified BC’s motto “Ever to Excel” and is currently senior vice president at Chobani yogurt company. photo credit: Page 8: Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani Yogurt, is committed to the Syrian refugee crisis. Photo courtesy of Refugees Aid BCN IndieGoGo. Source: Anon Galactic News
I took a position at a progressive company that’s committed to refugees, America’s working class, and changing the food industry in our country.
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THE ANTIDOTE IS LOVE Class of 2005
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Y BEAUTIFUL, LOV ING wife, Jessica, and I were blown up in the name of God. Our bodies were torn apart and our psyches shattered in the name of religion. We were casualties of a religious war. At least that’s what we were led to believe. This may seem reductionist, but most of the great religions have three central tenets: love of God, love of self, and love of neighbor. This is true for Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and yes, Islam as well. Ultimately, religious faith is about love, as so well evidenced by the simple message of Jesus in the Gospels. We may all have different customs, languages, symbols, or stories, but ultimately we’re all talking about love. So if anyone conducts themselves in a nonloving manner, and certainly if they act with hatred and evil in the name of God, their actions are not authentically religious. Period. Regardless of how much they pray, speak God’s name, or subscribe to being a steward of God, they are nothing of the sort if they act with malice. In fact, as I learned from my clinical psychology training, we may even describe someone who says that they act in the name of God, but does nothing of the sort, as having
Scripture advises us that we should turn the other cheek to violence. However, my Jesuit training has taught me that in addition to nonviolent resistance we should hit back with love. delusions of grandeur. Somehow their minds have been deceived into assuming that if they really believe that hatred for some others is God’s will, then they will be granted salvation. If this view seems hypocritical, perverted, or disconnected from reality, it’s because it is. It is sacrilegious rather than religious. All truly religious leaders have attempted to unite people—bringing them together for a common good and to inspire hope through words and deeds. This particularly includes Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad. Their intent was to make peace rather than war and violence. We still speak of them and carry forward their message because of their everlasting example of love. As their religious followers, we too hope to be remembered for our love. Terrorism is desperation. It is a desperate search for attention and legitimacy. But these terrorist attempts will never accomplish their end goal. Terrorists may colonize some people’s social conscience from time to time, but their message can never finally triumph. That is because terrorism seeks to pull us apart. It is the antithesis of unification and love, and of any religion that claims to promote peace. We, as citizens of a divided world, must have the wisdom to know the difference between true religion and terrorism, love and hate. It is not an easy distinction to maintain, but once we possess this knowledge, we have an obligation to one another to be loving—to demonstrate for the world a love that is pure, genuine, and for the greater good of all.
I experienced this love firsthand after the Marathon bombings. While the world saw the attack through a lens of “radical Islamic terror,” and some were understandably overcome with anger and despair, all I could see and experience was love. In the time it took for me to regain consciousness, a city had coalesced with a communal determination to spread compassion, generosity, and unity. For me the message was clear: loving and peaceful societies and people will prevail over hate. In my eight years of Jesuit education at Boston College High School and Boston College, and two years of working for Jesuit schools or service programs, I learned that my faith is only as good as how I put it into practice. And my practice was only as good as the love it conveys. My best mentors— Jesuit or layperson—practice way more than they preach, and spread love with every deed. And when they preach, they do so with the intent of practice of a living faith: serving as catalysts for goodness and love. Scripture advises us that we should turn the other cheek to violence. However, my Jesuit training has taught me that in addition to nonviolent resistance we should hit back with love. Violence, in all of its forms, is meant to separate us and instill fear in our hearts. The most powerful antidote is love. It cannot just be about the absence of evil; it must be about the omnipresence of love. Since that fateful April afternoon in 2013, Jessica and I have made it our mission to respond with love. We have attempted to sow compassion
by advocating for people with disabilities and using our family’s experience to care for others who have been scarred by physical and psychological trauma. Caring for people has always been a part of our identities, but now it is essential to our daily existence and our way forward together. We choose to respond this way because that’s how we were raised and educated in our faith. It is also how we have seen the world at its best. We encounter life this way because it is how countless individuals responded to our tragedy—with love. While hate took months to plan, and caused so much pain and suffering in the lives of those it sought to destroy, love responded in an instant. Complete strangers, fueled by human instinct, became our lifelines and took responsibility for our welfare as if we were one of their own. If that is not a true indication of the power of the human spirit, then I do not know what is. No longer do we have to wonder what it means to be my brother’s and sister’s keeper. Boston College taught me that love will always triumph over hate. I hope to live out the rest of my life honoring that lesson. ■ PATRICK DOWNES is a graduate of the Lynch School of Education and recently received his doctorate in psychology. Patrick and his wife, Jessica Kensky, were severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombings and helped to raise over two hundred and fifty thousand to endow the BC Strong Scholarship to support a student with a physical disability. photo credit: Page 10: Patrick Downes and his wife, Jess Kensky, at the finish line of the 2016 Boston Marathon, Boston College News.
Patrick Downes stretched last week before a training run along Memorial Drive in Cambridge. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff, The Boston Globe
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My Faith Home
Class of 0000
Matthew BeDugnis title
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Class of 2017
Y EXPERIENCE WITH Jesuit education began when I was six years old, staring up at the spire of the McElroy building at Boston College High as my brother took his entrance exam. Seven years later, I was entering BC High myself as a member of the first class of seventh graders in the newly founded Arrupe Division. In February of my eighth-grade year, my mother passed away after a long battle with gastric cancer. From that very painful time, two things stick out most for me about BC High. The first was how mature, responsible, and loving my brother’s Jesuit education had made him, as he became my legal guardian after my mother’s death. He embraced the role of a true “Man for Others,” giving up everything and setting aside college and service in the Marine Corps to take care of me and ensure I could receive the same BC High education he had. Things were never easy, but I have no doubt that the experience of our Jesuit education is what made both of us strong. We were taught to be caring and reflective, to find God in all things, good and bad. My brother was my north star, but he wasn’t the only blessing that held me together. The second was the faculty, students, and administration at BC High who supported me in the months and years after my mother’s death. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they saved my life. During my senior year at BC High School, I applied to Boston College. However, Boston University (BU) came through with a better financial package than BC offered me. Reluctantly, I enrolled at BU. After a year and a half at BU, I began to feel like I was losing myself, piece by piece. Without the faith, inspiration, and love of a Jesuit education, I found myself listless, a ship without a rudder. The infectious sense of purpose and love for learning, so present at Jesuit schools, was, in my present situation, noticeably lacking. By the middle of my sophomore year, I knew I needed to at least try for a change and, despite all the odds, I decided to reapply to BC. So many things had to align properly. First, I needed to be accepted; second, I needed my credits to transfer properly; and, perhaps most important of all, I
somehow needed to find a way to get a comparable level of financial aid. I returned to my BC High guidance counselor for help, herself a BC alumna, and began the application process. I received the good news that I was accepted at BC and that all of my credits would transfer. But I was crushed to find out that I would receive the same amount of aid as I had when I was first accepted as a high school senior. But rather than give up, I decided to argue my case to the financial aid office. I found myself trying to explain why I was going through all of this effort just to leave another fine university and come “home” to BC. I explained how I lacked a sense of spiritual purpose at BU and how every day felt like selling my soul for an education that didn’t matter. Eventually, BC heard my plea, and to my great joy, offered me a financial aid package comparable to what I had at BU. After two long years, I felt like an immense weight had been lifted off my shoulders. A few months later at orientation, I sat in an auditorium with several other transfer students and a familiar quote appeared on the PowerPoint presentation we were watching. When I read again the words about finding and falling in love with God, I knew I was “home.”
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way...” I stared up at the words of Fr. Arrupe that I had once heard so many years ago with my mother beside me. Tears welled up in my eyes, as two years’ worth of struggling and soul-searching were washed away in an instant. I was home. In addition to my mom, the special people at Boston College and Boston College High School helped me to fall in love with God. My Jesuit education was what got me out of bed every morning in the years without my mother. It decided what I did with my evenings and weekends, shaped everything I knew, and for the two precious years I was about to spend at the Heights, I would once more be filled with joy and gratitude. I graduated this past May 2017. As I proceeded down Linden Lane, I first thought of my mother not being there to watch me receive my degree. But then I had this deep sense that she would be there in spirit, looking down upon me from God’s presence. ■ MATTHEW BEDUGNIS graduated from Boston College in May 2017 and is a program manager for Mercury Systems. photo credit: Page 12: Boston College Commencement in Alumni Stadium. ©Boston College Office of University Communications
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THINKING CRITICALLY, ACTING LOVINGLY Class of 2000
Jeremy Zipple, S.J.
A NUARY OF 1996 was snow-clogged and bitterly cold, even by New England standards. So for a kid from Mississippi, trudging across the Boston College Campus in old sneakers and the warmest jacket I owned—a few threads above a windbreaker—I was Shackleton braving the South Pole. I was a high school senior and had flown up to interview for a Presidential Scholarship. But after two days of trying interviews and unrelenting winter, I felt impossibly out of place. Not only were the cold and the distance from home unbearable but I was an unrefined public school kid and these future Presidential Scholars had been reading Homer in ancient Greek since third grade. I was ready to declare defeat and find a school south of the Mason-Dixon. But then I ended up at a dinner in McElroy, sitting across from an older gentleman wearing a tweed jacket, maroon and gold rep tie, and a warm smile. He claimed to be a Jesuit priest, which I had a hard time believing. He was so witty and bright and normal—and most of the priests I knew from childhood were not. This was of course the legendary Fr. Bill Neenan, who would become a
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Christians ought to be like giraffes. They should have tall necks, so that they might have a global vision of the world, its challenges, and its sufferings. friend, mentor, and the person who personified a BC Jesuit education for me. (He would also be the one who’d say to me, when I was hemming and hawing over whether to join the Jesuit order, “Jeremy, sh*t or get off the pot.”) Another Jesuit priest, Adolfo Nicolas, former superior general of the worldwide order, once remarked that Christians ought to be like giraffes. They should have tall necks, he said, so that they might have a global vision of the world, its challenges, and its sufferings. And also like giraffes, their hearts ought to be big enough to pump blood up that tall neck. Someone with a wide vision of the world’s struggles and a big heart to respond to them, that is a true Christian, said Fr. Nicolas. Bill Neenan had both, and he and Boston College attempted to instill both traits in me. Bill was a world-class economist—the first Jesuit to serve on the faculty of a public university in the United States (University of Michigan) before arriving at BC—and he was also a caring and committed priest. The intellectual and the spiritual melded so seamlessly in him, and that is what St. Ignatius of Loyola wanted in his priests. Catholicism wasn’t supposed to be an endeavor that eschewed serious intellectual inquiry or that ran and hid from the real world and its challenges. Rather “the world is charged with the grandeur of God,” as the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins put it. And our job as Christians, Ignatius taught, was to point out and lift up and bless God’s activity in the manifold places it is to be found. It was Ignatius’ key insight that grace is always at work in unexpected places: jail cells and brain cells, boardrooms and classrooms, laughter and tears. At BC, I spent the summer after freshman year living and volunteering with a dozen other Presidential Scholars. Each Friday afternoon, after a week of work in prisons, food banks, and homeless shelters, we would sit around in a dorm lounge, grappling with the social and economic factors that created situations of such great suffering for our clients. We would pore over philosophical and theological texts too, trying to figure out why God would permit such conditions to exist in the first place and what we could do to assist in bettering them. That summer, along with Kairos retreats and philosophy seminars, urban immersions and Sunday night Masses, volunteer days at the Campus School and weekly prayer groups at St. Mary’s Jesuit residence—and of course plenty of long talks with Fr. Neenan—these are the
experiences by which BC taught me to be, God-willing, a Christian who thinks critically and acts lovingly. There are Catholic universities that have let Catholic identity slip away as they have taken pains to avoid offense; to be hyperinclusive and politically correct. And there are Catholic universities that have tacked in the opposite direction, becoming so rigidly Catholic—narrowly, tribally, insularly Catholic—that they have forgotten the fundamental mission of Christianity is giraffe-like, aimed at making the whole world more human and therefore more Christlike. I appreciate that Boston College is intentionally and unabashedly Catholic while simultaneously open to diversity and all manner of intellectual inquiry. And I am convinced that today, the mission of Boston College and Jesuit education is more critical than ever. Whether they are fleeing perpetual civil war in Mosul or facing heroin addiction and joblessness in the Rustbelt, human beings are crying out for reasons to hope. And yet, many of us seem to have abandoned God as a life-giving source. Millennials continue to flee religion at a faster pace than any previous generation, and their parents are not that far behind. So the Jesuit university is a place that says: wake up; God is still beckoning. Yes, right in the midst of this world, in the midst of all its tragedies and heartaches. At a birthday party last night, I had a random conversation with a bright 20-something who was raised with no religion and said he was agnostic. But when he found out I was a Jesuit, he declared Pope Francis, that good Jesuit, the most inspiring person on the world stage right now. And he later christened Martin Scorsese’s Silence—about 17th-century Jesuits encountering another faith tradition in a time of persecution—the most inspiring film of the year. Augustine’s famous dictum—that our hearts restlessly seek God, even in a world that shuns God—came to mind. And I was grateful again to be associated with this great Ignatian tradition, with Fr. Bill Neenan and countless other women and men who’ve cultivated tall necks and big hearts through it and taught others to do the same. Boston College is a keeper of that tradition. That is why its mission is so necessary. That is why I am grateful for it. ■ JEREMY ZIPPLE, S.J. (Th.M., M.Div. ’14) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and serves as executive editor of America Films at America Media. photo credit: Page 14-15: ©Getty Images
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ON THE BORDER W
HEN I ARRIVED at Boston College in the fall of 1997, I only had one experience with the word “Jesuit.” This was from one of my high school’s rivals, the Fairfield Prep Jesuits. I had no idea what a Jesuit was and assumed it was must be something quite exotic. Little did I know then, but over the next four years I would learn much about and from the Jesuits. Looking back, it was the Jesuit values instilled in me during my time at BC that dramatically altered the trajectory of my life and vocation. Currently, I have the unique pleasure of serving as president of not one, but two Catholic schools in Brownsville, Texas. One, Guadalupe Regional Middle School, is a tuition-free, all-scholarship school exclusively serving students living at or below the poverty line. Nestled in a tiny blue building across the street from a tortilla factory, Guadalupe is located just 12 blocks from the U.S./ Mexico border. Our goals for the 80 students in our care are simple: COLLEGE and HEAVEN. Were it not for BC and its Catholic, Jesuit commitment to its mission of faith and service, I would surely not be where I am today, nurturing my faith, heart, and home in deep south Texas. While I cherished much about my years on the Heights, two experiences in particular—the Kairos retreat and BorderLinks program—wrote themselves on my soul, playing vital roles in rerouting my journey in faith, and eventually landing me in Brownsville. At the nucleus of these metamorphic encounters was a Jesuit priest, Fr. Terry Devino, S.J., whom I consider a mentor and dear friend to this day.
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Class of 2001
Like many 18-year-olds, I suppose, I spent the first half of my college years searching. I sought a sense of belonging, yearned for connection, and was desperate for purpose. I kept listening for what God was calling me to do with my life. In October 1999, I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in a Kairos retreat, led by Fr. Terry. Kairos was an experience that forever changed my relationship with God, others, and myself. Kairos, meaning God’s time, was truly God’s time to reveal Himself to me. Kairos challenged me to look for God in all things—in my struggles as well as in the many blessings of my life. I arrived at Kairos with an empty cup, and after just a few days in “God’s time” sharing my story with my small group, receiving an outpouring of love from friends, family, and even strangers, my cup overflowed with God’s love, filling me to the brim. At the conclusion of the retreat, we were challenged to “Live the Fourth,” an expression used to encourage us to live out the promises we made to ourselves on the fourth and final day of our experience. I committed to fill the “Fourth Day” and all the days that followed with opportunities that
would help me grow closer to God by living my faith in the daily of life. Through God’s grace, I was brought to the next step in my awakening. Boston College’s BorderLinks was a two-week immersion experience on the U.S./Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. A dozen of us, along with Fr. Terry, traveled to Arizona, spending half of our time across the border in the sister city of Nogales, Mexico. The BorderLinks trip occurred senior year, just a short five months before my graduation. There was uncertainty in my heart about my vocation and I struggled to be patient with all that was unsolved. I went into this trip with more questions than answers. Through intentional prayer, reflection, and community, this experience taught me to live the questions rather than to force an answer. By living the questions, life was able to move me toward the next steps. This thought crystallized the day we spent at a Mexican orphanage named Rancho Feliz (Happy Ranch). It was there I met a small boy named Enrique. The following is an excerpt from the journal I kept while on BorderLinks. A majority of my day at Rancho Feliz was spent with Enrique. My broken Spanish leads me to believe that was his middle name, but nevertheless he was my sidekick. We played on the swings and I tried to teach him how to swing a baseball bat. He was so curious, full of life, and really wanted to hug. He was 6 at most and tiny, so he really would just hug my leg. He ate Snickers and climbed on my back. We hugged. He drank all my water. We hugged. He wanted to explore the contents of my bag so we rifled through my backpack and I gave him one of my bandanas and showed him how to tie it. This little gesture made him beyond excited. He took me around Rancho Feliz by the hand showing off his gift...He then went over to the swings and I sat next to Fr. Terry on a bench and I simply lost it. I cried knowing that I had to leave Rancho Feliz and my buddy, Enrique. I was afraid he would think that I, like others before, was abandoning him. Enrique must have seen me because he came running over and leaped in for a hug to console me…Fr. Terry pointed out to me that these kids were gifts from God and they would undoubtedly lead us closer to God and to the path God has for us.
My heart broke open that day. I knew I needed to find the intersection of the two things that spoke to my heart so directly—serving those on the margins and teaching. I went on to be accepted to the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program, which serves underresourced Catholic schools across the South. Providentially, I was placed back on the U.S./Mexico border, this time in Texas. It was there I met and fell in love with my wife, and following a short stint in Boston, the border called me back. This is where we raise our 16-year-old son, who we recently adopted after being his foster parents for three years. The border is my home now; I try to live my faith every day here—on the border. Boston College’s Jesuit mission shines the brightest through the students who get to experience programs like Kairos and BorderLinks and take those experiences with them to become agents of change in the world. Even now, 20 years after first stepping foot on campus, I am still striving daily to live my faith. I know this means to find God in all things, cultivate compassion for the marginalized, fight for social justice, and be a man for others—all for the greater glory of God. ■ MICHAEL MOTYL is the president of Saint Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas, and a Boston College honorary degree recipient. photo credit: Page 16: ©Jordan Glenn 2016
I sought a sense of belonging, yearned for connection, and was desperate for purpose. I kept listening for what God was calling me to do with my life.
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ALL to the TABLE
CRIPTURE SCHOLARS NOW highlight that one of the most integral aspects of Jesus’ public ministry was that he welcomed all to the table. Indeed, one of the first charges made against Jesus was that he ate “with tax collectors and sinners” (Mark 2:16). Sharing a meal together in Jesus’ culture held a unique weight; it reflected respect, acceptance, and full inclusion. Jesus intended his disciples to promote a community that welcomes and honors all. I am a Catholic woman studying comparative theology at Boston College and working in interfaith understanding and peacebuilding. I am often asked why and how I became interested in my field, and what continues to nourish me. My most precise answer is Jesus’ example of welcoming all to the table and my Catholic faith.
Class of 2017 STM
My freshman year of college, I studied Arabic under the tutelage of a Syrian Muslim woman named Lana. Along with teaching me and my classmates the language, Lana told us stories of her homeland, her religion, and the difficulties she faced as an immigrant in the United States. She lamented the misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians. From the perspective of my own Catholic faith and Jesus’ teaching of respect for all persons, I heartily agreed. Six years later, the call to action Lana offered remains the spark for the work that has become my vocation. In addition to my graduate studies at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, I serve as the camp director and assistant program director for the nonprofit Kids4Peace Boston, an interfaith organization that educates, trains, and inspires Christian, Jewish, and Muslim youth from diverse 18
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backgrounds to become interfaith peace leaders. I work to provide middle school youth with opportunities to share their faith traditions with one another in an experiential learning setting while having fun at summer camp. This is a very unique program, one where a myriad of faith traditions are expressed in one community. Imagine walking around your home or house of worship and collecting the most treasured items that represent and symbolize your faith, gathering them up, and laying them down in front of a group of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian 12- and 13-year-olds. What a vulnerable exercise! One at a time, participants select an object with which they are unfamiliar, inspect it closely, and touch it (if it is respectful to do so), passing it around the circle for all to see. Eventually, one person who knows what the object is will begin to explain for the group, with the response growing in a collective cacophony with help from others of the same tradition. More questions will be posed and answered, and parallels amongst other traditions will be drawn. The faith identity of each participant is quite literally laid down in front of the group, with trust and understanding that it will be met with respect, honest questions, and appreciation. These young people are living their faith in a real and tangible way, modeling nonviolence, compassion, and coexistence. Ultimately, they take these lessons home to their individual communities. At Kids4Peace Boston there is room for all at the table. The experience is humanizing, nourishing our participants and staff, feeding them through liberation from stereotypes, and educating them about the spiritual truths and values of their neighbors. The “other” is engaged in all of their particularity, not flattened into a prescribed mold. Reality is confronted, enabling dialogue with the difficult and painful as well as the beautiful spiritual wisdom that emerges from each tradition. My undergraduate experience with Lana led me to study comparative theology at Boston College, to engage in interreligious dialogue, and precisely to enrich my own living faith. At first, I simply wanted to know who was who, what was what, and most importantly: I wanted to be right. I quickly learned that faith traditions—and those who live them out—are rarely cut and dried; they all reflect something of the Mystery that they address. While interreligious
dialogue offers more information with which to work, simple “answers” about faith traditions are not something it provides. It offers intentional space for persons to say, “Here I am, this is what is most dear to me, this is what I believe.” As a result, it invites people to better appreciate their own traditions and to respect the faith traditions of others. At Kids4Peace Boston I have been blessed to find a larger community with which to express and explore my Catholic faith with people who are seeking something similar. This diversity lends me more room in which to live out my own faith. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, an authentic Christian life is one that is lived in community with others. In his Summa Theologiae, Aquinas classically defines a person as one who exists in relationship with others. This communal understanding of ourselves is at the center of Christianity, and Catholicism in particular. There
Cape Verdian Muslims, Puerto Rican Catholics, and observant Jews, form friendships and teach one another about themselves and their traditions—and play basketball!—has taught me to live my faith in a way unique compared to any classroom experience. It has provided me the opportunity to see the love of God, evident in every human person, in action. For Christians participating in experiences of such ecumenical outreach and understanding as reflected in Kids4Peace, Pope Francis explains that we are in good company. He says there is hope to be found in a reality that is radically inclusive: “To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not
is no better way to live out our vocation as relational beings, as well as our Catholic faith, than to come to know all our brothers and sisters, in their reality and particularity, and be able to respect and understand their religious traditions. Deepening my understanding of other faith traditions through encounter and personal relationships has served to reveal new facets of my own Catholic faith life that were previously unknown to me. Reading selections of the Qur’an, Torah, and Bible with Muslims, Jews, and Christians has offered me a new perspective on stories whose readings felt like second nature to me. Observing Muslim jum’ah (Friday) prayers and the Jewish Shabbat Kiddush has allowed me to find fresh beauty, wonder, and awe within the rituals of my own Catholic tradition. Watching 12-year-old Muslim Palestinian Americans, Jewish Israeli immigrants, Irish Catholics, first-generation
simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens onto the future” (Pope Francis, “The Future Includes Everyone,” TED2017). The door to the future is open now, where grappling with the present and past is necessary, and looking to the future with hope is possible. And it is beginning with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish young people right here in Boston. For me, learning alongside these youth is the best way I can imagine living out my faith in action and reflecting the spirit of hope in the world, where all are welcome at the table. ■ MEGAN HOPKINS is a graduate student at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and a graduate assistant at the Church in the 21st Century Center. A 2015 graduate of Villanova, she also serves as an assistant program and camp director with Kids4Peace Boston. photo credit: Page 19: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim youth share and learn about objects from their religious traditions as part of an activity with Kids4Peace Boston. www.kids4peaceboston.org
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LIVING FAITH THROUGH I
T WAS 1987, and I arrived to BC from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I had been raised as a child of CubanAmerican parents. Twenty-eight years earlier, my parents lost everything they owned to the Cuban Revolution and arrived as exiles in the United States, where they settled for 10 years. My father was later transferred for work to Venezuela and eventually to Brazil, where I grew up. I was raised in a Catholic household where faith and strong values were at the core of my upbringing. For my parents, what we held in our hearts and what we held in our minds were the essential ingredients for a good life. Having lost all their possessions during the Cuban revolution, they understood that material goods could come and go, but deep faith, strong values, and a solid education were all that was needed to be successful in life. It was also crucial always to be thankful to God for what we had and to give back to society. Selecting BC was a natural progression of the environment where I was brought up, which strengthened these fundamental ingredients for success.
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During my years at Boston College my faith was strengthened. I thoroughly enjoyed Mass in the basement of St. Ignatius, had wonderful Jesuit professors who often challenged conventional thinking, and met people of faith who shared my values and taught me a great deal. It was at BC that I chose to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, my roommate functioning as my Confirmation sponsor. I did so as a step toward maturing and confirming my own personal choice of Catholic faith, and my commitment, by Godâ€™s grace, to live it out in my daily life. I was in the Carroll School of Management and enjoyed going to inner-city schools to give classes on basic business concepts. The idea of living in service for others was significantly strengthened as a result of my years at BC. These good lessons have shaped my life both professionally and personally until this day. I work for Johnson & Johnson in the medical devices sector in Latin America. I have been with J&J for over 20 years. As I did when I selected BC for my undergraduate formation, I chose J&J because of its very clear set of values, so very resonant with my own Christian faith-based ones. Giving back to our communities is one of the pillars of our North Star at Johnson & Johnson: our credo. Throughout the years, I have been involved in a series of initiatives that I have either supported financially or dedicated time to support those in need. I have worked with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from feeding and educating children, to empowering teenage mothers to become self-sufficient, to supporting health care efforts in communities in need. I view all of this as putting my faith to work in the context of my life.
Class of 1991
SERVICE A few years ago, when I was general manager for a cluster of countries in Latin America, I led the contributions committee for J&J cross-sector (which includes medical devices, consumer, and pharmaceuticals). We supported many small NGOs across the countries under my responsibility, creating positive impact in society. More recently, as the vice president of a franchise for Latin America, I have been leading our efforts with Operation Smile, an NGO that supports children with cleft lip and cleft palate. Our contributions in the region have grown significantly the last years as a result of these efforts and we have been able to help hundreds of children, giving them the opportunity to be included in society. My sense of responsibility to give back stems from my personal commitment that is grounded in Christian faith. My husband, Mauricio Samper, also a BC graduate—A&S ’91— and I have instilled this philosophy and faith in our children. For years we have been supporting an NGO called TECHO por mi País. It is similar to Habitat for Humanity, except it is a Chilean NGO that has franchises across Latin America. Every year we spend a weekend building homes for those in need together with the family who will be living at the house. We dedicate the time as a family and we also cover the financial costs of the home. TECHO takes families who are living in inhumane conditions to a dignifying home. Apart from TECHO, we support many other organizations. We provide clothing to orphaned children through an NGO called CRAN every Christmas. We have traveled to La Guajira, a state at the northern tip of Colombia, to provide water services to Indians living in precarious conditions.
Luly Castellanos de Samper
We also embarked on building a home with TECHO along with members of the Boston College alumni chapter in Colombia, which we helped to found. This very fulfilling event not only brought chapter members closer together but also allowed us to further embrace BC’s philosophy of service for others. Boston College played a fundamental role in enhancing my sense of social responsibility because of its Jesuit, Catholic mission of faith and service. These learnings have shaped my professional and personal life and have been handed on to the next generation. Now our eldest daughter, Cristina, a soon-to-be senior at BC, is a living example of this legacy. During her freshman and sophomore years, she supported St. Joseph’s Project and would go with friends to feed the poor in the Boston area during winter. This summer she will be going to the Amazon with peers who were awarded a legacy grant for health care support to the indigenous population. As a couple, we are so blessed to have had the Jesuit education we received, which taught us to put our faith to work in daily life. And now we are doubly blessed to see our children embrace the same values of faith, family, and service to those in need. ■ LULY CASTELLANOS DE SAMPER is the regional vice president for the northern region of Johnson & Johnson, Latin America. photo credit: Pages 20-21: @iStock.com: A stone cross overlooks Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
I view all of this as putting my faith to work in the context of my life.
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FAITH IS A JOURNEY F
AITH IS A journey—a pilgrimage—and it takes a lifetime to build. That statement may sound like a popular cliché, but it does incorporate a kernel of truth. A journey does not begin at its destination and a faith-filled life does not come automatically with the conferral of a Boston College degree. For many of us who attended Boston College in the 1960s, our life’s faith formation began in the post-World War II neighborhoods of Boston, where our Catholic communities were tightly knit. The majority of our friends were Catholic, even for those of us who attended public schools. We had few peer relationships outside of those parish communities. Our social and extracurricular lives were often bound up with our parish life. When asked where we lived, we would answer St. Mark’s parish or Holy Name parish rather than Dorchester or West Roxbury. And our faith beliefs were tightly defined. 22
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Class of 1964
Charles I. Clough Jr.
When I chose Boston College for my undergraduate experience I, assumed it would be an extension of that same Catholic ecosystem. I did not grasp how important the relationships with Jesuits and the distinctive influence Jesuit spirituality would have on my life. The Jesuitbased experience was different from the Catholic life I experienced in the Boston neighborhoods growing up. It was Catholicism living in the wider world. It was powerful. I attended BC in the midst of the Second Vatican Council when the Church entered the modern world. Out of that council came the realization that other faith traditions had a lot to offer and could also show God in our lives. It also redefined the Church as a far less hierarchical “people of God.” The idea that we were all called by our baptism to actual ministry in the Church was little more than words at the outset. I would only grasp their meaning over time.
I left Boston College with a critical question: once I had accomplished my professional goals, what then? Looking back, I see how central Jesuit influences were to that process in my life. The Boston College experience taught me many practical things. The Jesuit core taught me how to use my time efficiently and how to meet project deadlines. It taught me how to remember what I read. But it not only prepared me for a professional life in the workforce, it also taught me to reflect on why I would want to choose a certain profession in the first place. It taught me to learn through discussion with others and not to react to wrongs done to me but to let time pass and allow God to heal instead of allowing tempers to flare. It taught me to value other human beings as God values them. I learned to appreciate how God is found in the workplace, how to question my purpose in the world, and how to make good decisions. I concentrated in history at a time the department was very strong, formulating the base for the excellent humanities tradition BC enjoys today. Professors like Radu Florescu, Raymond McNally, and Thomas O’Connor made the history of the human condition come to life. By showing me the span of human history, they taught me how to avoid being pulled by the ebb and flow of public opinion. And just as importantly, Boston College provided more than technical knowledge. It also taught me to put that knowledge to use and learn from experience. Most importantly, I found aspiration at Boston College and aspiration is a transcending gift for a young person. Because of the values my Jesuit teachers brought to classroom discussions, that aspiration was not solely economic. I studied to learn enough to make a living, hopefully a good one. But I also found new things to love and enjoy, like politics, music, and literature. Despite that, I left Boston College with a critical question: once I had accomplished my professional goals, what then? What is there to life beyond the economic and professional? I understood the importance of living a life with a rich religious spirituality, but how precisely does one pull that off once you have left the spiritual comfort zone of Chestnut Hill? The answer was bound up in the two mottos that lay at the heart of the Jesuit experience: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (for the greater glory of God) and “men and women for others.” I have learned they go hand in hand. I don’t think their implications for living can be fully grasped by a 22-year-old, but the Jesuits planted the seeds of openness, friendliness, and generosity through which we can grow spiritually. We can look at life one of two ways: We can look at it as a daily challenge, full of drudgery, work, and stress. Or we can see life as a gift. Our spirituality or lack thereof can be
determined by which philosophy we choose. If we believe life is a gift, it has to be shared with and lived through others. Faith is participatory. In my case, I found the opportunity for service for others in parish life in our local community. Long story short: as my children reached high school age, we found that spiritual formation for youth at the parish level can be a catch-ascatch-can experience. In the late 1970s, organized parish youth ministry was in its early development stage and as our children reached high school age, my wife, Gloria, and I became involved in it. Gloria received a master’s in divinity from the former Weston Jesuit School of Theology, now within the BC School of Theology and Ministry. As the years progressed, we moved up to running Catholic spiritual retreats for young professionals in Boston, some of whom were recent graduates of Boston College. That experience gradually led to my decision to become an ordained permanent deacon. My first assignment as deacon was as part of the Catholic chaplaincy in one of the Massachusetts correctional institutions. There I experienced another real-life example of men and women for others, in this case service to the poor and marginalized. My time there taught me how a conversion of heart can come from meeting pain and suffering. I looked into the eyes of human isolation and loneliness. You could see a palpable desire for companionship. We felt a responsibility to these people and became their friends. Our Bible study nights were the social event of the week. Over the years, we have remained close to the Jesuit community at Boston College. Today we see the University continue to create the total person. Faculty and administrators are creating interdisciplinary programs that draw on multiple academic departments to go beyond simply preparing students for careers, a rather narrow description of a university’s mission. Following through on its Jesuit mission, the University continues to offer learning experiences that shape the entire person—Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. ■ CHARLES I. CLOUGH JR. is the chairman and CEO of Clough Capital Partners, a member of the Boston College Board of Trustees since 1993, and an ordained permanent deacon. photo credit: Page 22: Archway in Gasson Hall at Boston College.
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FAITH FOUNDATIONS THAT LAST FOREVER
ARRIV ED AT BOSTON College just over 50 years ago; a red-haired, freckle-faced, apprehensive 17-year-old from Paterson, New Jersey. Along with countless other Jesuit educated students, the intelligence, talents, and skills I brought to Boston College were gradually molded and transformed into Ignatian tools for life. These tools have provided me with the fuel for lifelong learning and living, putting my faith to work in both my professional and personal lives. Ignatian tools for life are based on the spirituality of St. Ignatius; features like “men and women for others,” 24
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“caring for the whole person,” and “all for the greater glory of God,” to name just three ideals. They are, in essence, a way to live more fully in community with the people who surround you. Over the past decades, I have often been reminded that I did not fully realize the impact of my Jesuit education immediately upon my graduation. Like the ripple effects of a stone thrown into a pond, I have continued to experience the Ignatian effect and a deeper understanding of it throughout these many years after my initial BC encounter in 1962.
There are two occurrences in my life that I feel really speak to Ignatian ideals, especially “men and women for others.” One occurred at the dawn of my career, and the other just recently…at the dusk of it. I graduated in 1966 and became a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Jamaica, West Indies. While there, I came in contact with a 10-year-old girl who had lost an eye in a kerosene lamp accident. She arrived at my clinic one morning and shyly asked if I had any plastic eyes in my medicine cabinet. If I did, could she have one please, and she would work in my office for it. I spent the next six months trying to procure an artificial eye (since I didn’t have one in my cabinet). Along with my little friend, who was one of 12 children, I took numerous two-hour Jeep trips to the University Hospital, where we worked our way through mounds of paperwork, examinations, and fittings. Finally, one glorious day, near the end of my yearlong stay, a new artificial eye was bestowed upon Pauline. When she gazed at her new self in the mirror, the look of radiant wonder and pleasure she displayed can still bring a smile to my face today—over 50 years later! But that’s not the end of that story. Pauline’s family of 14, who lived in a tin shack with no running water, prepared a thank you feast of fish and rice for me. We all sat on a dirt floor with straw mats in front of us for the feast that they had obviously worked hard and sacrificed greatly to
Class of 1966
Ann Riley Finck
put together. And when we sat to eat, they each sat and ate a bowl of rice, while proudly watching me eat my rice and the one and only fish they could afford. I wonder who was the greater recipient of “men and women for others” that evening in Jamaica, so many years ago. It is a memory and an experience that will always speak to me of the Jesuit philosophy realized in extraordinarily ordinary everyday happenings. My second story occurred quite recently in my intensive care unit in New York City. I received a call from one of our interventional radiologists telling me that I would be
receiving a patient who needed to come to my unit to recover from his procedure. This was a common occurrence, but, because we needed continuously to assess him in an awake state, the patient needed to keep the breathing tube in his throat, without the benefit of the usual sedation, for another two hours. This was promising to be a necessary but very difficult two hours! “Oh and by the way,” the radiologist said, “you have something in common with this patient; he’s a Boston College alumnus.” Soon this person arrived on the unit looking very anxious and most uncomfortable. He had tears in his eyes as I squeezed his hand in mine and said, “You are going to be all right…we’ll get through this together…you are unable to talk right now, but I’ll do enough talking for both of us.” And then I said, “We have something very special in common…we are both BC grads!” He looked at me, managed a small smile, and then squeezed my hand in response. We made it through those two hours, and he did very well, giving special meaning to BC’s motto “Ever to Excel.” And when that breathing tube was finally removed, he grabbed both my hands in his, and with tears of relief in his eyes and a huge smile on his face, he looked up at me and said, “You know, I always knew that someday, some way, I’d be saved by a BC nurse!” Two very different stories, spanning a half century, highlighting those Jesuit ideals we were taught, and then coming “alive” in everyday life—as living faith. My 1962 arrival at Boston College was reflected in the unforgettable words of Claude Rains to Humphrey Bogart in the movie Casablanca: “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Indeed, it has been—a friendship rooted in the Ignatian way that has guided and fortified me throughout my life. “Men and women for others,” “caring for the whole person,” and “Ever to Excel” have always piloted me in my familial, social, and professional relationships—all built on the bedrock of my faith. They have truly sustained the “wind beneath my BC Eagles’ wings,” and I look forward to having those ideals continue to keep me aloft! ■ ANN RILEY FINCK served as a critical care nurse at New YorkPresbyterian Hospital for over 40 years, was vice president of the BC Alumni Association, and a Boston College honorary degree recipient. photo credit: Page 24: ©iStock
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A FAITH THAT Class of 1970
DOES JUSTICE L Class of 2005
Jennie Chin Patrick Downes Boston Marathon Hansen Bombing Survivor
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ET M E BEGI N with a few memories of my campus experience and my personal context, circa 1966. Women could attend Boston College only if you chose education or nursing. Women could wear slacks only if the temperature dropped to a certain freezing level. The Bapst Library “stacks” were the place to study. For myself, having grown up in a very ethnocentric Chinese-American culture, I was exposed to a vastly different world socially and culturally by a predominantly Irish Catholic institution—as BC was at the time. I chose to attend Boston College after interviewing the dean of the School of Nursing, Rita Kelleher, whom I found myself liking and who had graciously answered my list of prepared questions. Why I presumed to have that audacious right still puzzles me today! She located me decades later and I
The Jesuit underpinning of caring for the vulnerable was a strong base for the values I had incorporated and would put to work. was pleased to have had a chance to visit her at her assisted living center when she was 99 years old. I joined her for a meal and she proudly introduced me to her resident colleagues. I was touched by her pride in me. Thankfully, she forgot I was fairly rebellious during my time at BC! I have two other defining BC experiences, one due to those tumultuous years of the Vietnam War, and the other with campus change. There were the deaths of Robert Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King. We marched to downtown Boston. BC, with its commitment to social justice, was a backdrop to our sense of civil rights during that heated time and the draft was active, affecting the thinking of all, but especially our male colleagues. As nursing students, we learned we were also “on the line” to be called to serve, which caused some significant distress among us, shaped as well by the antiwar sentiment that was growing more heated. From the “air we breathed” of that period and our spiritual and educational preparation by good Jesuit education, my sense of activism was forever set in motion. And as I look back at the times, what was happening in the deep South was in our awareness, too, but I was yet to realize the horrific racism and suffering in America until I was a more mature adult. Yet, the good seeds of a faith that does justice were well sown by my BC education. The late ’60s was also the time that Boston College began to open its doors for student involvement in university governance. Most significant was allowing for student representation to the University Senate, which had up until then been limited to administrators and faculty. My roommate, Nancy Turletes, and I decided to run for office. After weathering the open student forum query and interviews, we were both elected to serve. This was a pivotal development that prepared me for my career history of participating in governance of large organizations. My experience in Boston College’s nursing education also provided some key events that have shaped my faith— its thoughts, values, and behaviors—for the rest of my life. First, I became quite distraught that when we took patients’ blood pressure, we were told we couldn’t tell the patient! Today, it seems ludicrous that this policy would have existed. I also recall how unprepared I felt when facing death and dying patients. I remember crying my eyes out in the hospital’s laundry room and being comforted by a seasoned and kind nurse’s aide. I also experienced anger over the fact that we didn’t explore patients’ wishes and often left patients totally uninformed about plans for traumatic
medical interventions. The Jesuit underpinning of caring for the vulnerable was a strong base for the values I had incorporated and would put to work. I also have a pattern of working to understand convention but to walk a different path when convention doesn’t make sense. I am grateful for the confidence, flexibility, and trust my parents gave me as an underpinning to make the decisions I made in my early years. My time at BC allowed that foundation to flourish further. I have taken many different roads since then and am forever grateful for the life I’ve lived and am living. As I recall what Boston College set as a foundation for me, the following seem central: 1. A commitment to serve and care, especially for those who are vulnerable 2. An open, deep regard for all, regardless of their formal roles/positions 3. A constant curiosity of how to make and leave things better 4. A global interest and a sense of human connectedness 5. A desire to have an impact for good and to question the status quo for the purpose of sense-making 6. A willingness to stand up for dignity, civility, and integrity
My collective experience, with a strong influence from my time at BC, has allowed me to serve in a manner that is informed by distributive justice, collective good, and change that is geared to help lives and society function better and for all. The battles for justice for all are timeless and continuous. My spiritual true north allows for disappointment and continuance, knowing that we are part of the arc of justice and care. I thank Boston College for being a part of shaping my North Star, both secular and spiritual. ■ JENNIE CHIN HANSEN is the senior strategic advisor and past CEO of the American Geriatrics Society; she formerly served as the president of AARP and on its national board of directors, and is a Boston College honorary degree recipient.
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THE JESUIT WAY ALONG MY WAY
EI NG A “DOT Rat” (native of Dorchester, Massachusetts), it was difficult avoiding the Catholic Church. During the ’80s and ’90s (a little less now), one would identify the section of Dorchester in which they resided by parish name. I was St. Kevin’s, then St. John-St. Hugh’s, and currently St. Ambrose. The closest I came to stepping into a Catholic church was the St. John-St. Hugh’s Rectory because of the food pantry where my mother worked and received services. From time to time, I would wander into a small side room where a prie-dieu (individual kneeler) was located. Being a Baptist, I did not know what it was. At that time, Roman Catholicism in Boston was very much a white and Irish religion. All the priests I would see when I wandered into a random church to attempt to use the restroom, to me at least, were old white men. Due to
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the segregation and deep-seeded racism that plagued the city, I was apprehensive about exploring Catholic tradition. The unspoken norm was that Roman Catholics were white and Baptists were black. If any race dared cross the religious divide (a black Catholic or white Baptist), they were viewed with suspicion. Because of that perception, I rejected an invitation from the young priest of St. John-St. Hugh’s to attend a Roman Catholic school for my secondary education. Thereafter and due to unexplained circumstances, the food pantry at St. John-St. Hugh’s closed, and my limited interaction with Catholicism ceased. Fast forward roughly 10 years, and I am in my junior year at Snowden International School at Copley, a Boston public high school. I attended the annual Boston Citywide College Fair at the World Trade Center. There I met John Mahoney Jr. and Steve Pemberton, admission directors at Boston
College. I nonchalantly inquired about Boston College. Up to that point, I did not hear much about Boston College despite being a Boston native. The only university I knew of at the time with “Boston” in its title is stretched along Commonwealth Avenue. The recruiters mentioned that BC is a Catholic university, founded by the Jesuit Order. Being unexposed to Roman Catholic orders, I immediately went home and looked over the recruitment material. After everyone in my house fell asleep, I dialed up my 56K modem, waited for what seemed like forever (saying a prayer that no one would call and cut the connection), and researched Boston College, the Jesuits, the Roman Catholic Church, and its relationship to other Christian churches. Being impressed with the political science department, the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Pope John XXIII, I decided to take a tour, go through three on-campus interviews, and participate in a prospective student weekend. Being happy with my results, I applied and was accepted. My intention in attending Boston College was not only to receive a world-class education in political science but to grow deeper in my own Baptist faith. I gained much more than I bargained for.
Class of 2004
Rev. James M. Hairston
While at Boston College, I received an in-depth “crash course” in Roman Catholicism and a Catholic style of worship. The feeling I had can be best described as being “released from the Matrix” of Protestant denominational strife and bickering. I participated in a number of organized spiritual development programs, all encouraged by BC’s Jesuit identity. Chief among these was Halftime. I participated in the third iteration of that program. Fr. Michael Himes’s three questions for discerning one’s vocation in life (what gives you joy? are you good at it? does anyone need you to do it?) were very thought-provoking. His ability to work faith into everyday life really connected with me. In addition to Halftime, I would periodically attend Mass. I discovered that a Catholic Mass was a different experience from the Baptist worship that I knew and loved. The first priest I would address directly as “father” was Fr. Richard McGowan, S.J. For a Baptist, to call another
person “father” was a huge hurdle. I would refer to Fr. Leahy as “the school president” and Fr. Joe Marchese as “Joe Marchese.” With Fr. McGowan, since I was a student in his statistics course, my interaction with him was more in-depth than with other priests at BC. Because of the rapport he has with his students (his nickname for me was “the Cardinal” because of my red polo, red Adidas sneakers, and red wave cap), calling him “father” came naturally. As much as I may not have retained as a student of statistics, I gained as a future clergyman in his example. I would observe Fr. McGowan’s understanding but firm interactions with students. He was the embodiment of the Jesuit maxim “men and women for others.” The next Jesuit priest I came to know was Fr. Jack Butler, S.J. Fr. Jack would serve as a confidant from the second half of my college career to this very day. Fr. Jack’s authenticity to the call of Jesuit spirituality really spoke to me. As I wrestled with the call to the ministry, he would emphasize that such a call is from God, not just from myself or someone else. Fr. Jack validated my struggles with clerical hypocrisy while challenging me to embrace such a vocation and to make a difference. I have found this to be a very distinct quality of the Jesuit Order and Jesuit educational institutions; ever encouraging students to wrestle with complex issues and social challenges, and always trying to make the world a better place. Throughout my remaining time at Boston College, my eyes were continuously opened in so many more ways. I grew and gained insight from the elements of Catholic worship and theology. I grew to love and cherish the Blessed Virgin. I began to understand and appreciate the catechism and the need for such a document as a tool for Catholics to know the teachings of their faith. BC taught me to link my faith and social action. It encouraged me to reflect on my everyday actions and how they affect others. I debated not only becoming Catholic but joining the Jesuit Order as well. However, I opted not to do so for some good theological reasons, but it was a tough decision. Alas, in 2013, I became an Anglican priest. As an Anglican priest, I can embody many of the same Catholic and Jesuit values that were instilled in me by Boston College that shaped my faith as a way of life and that I now preach and teach, encouraging all Christians to be and to live the great Jesuit maxim, “men and women for others.” ■ REV. JAMES M. HAIRSTON is an Anglican priest and former Army chaplain who serves as the multifaith chaplain for Boston College’s Campus Ministry. photo credit: Page 28: ©Boston College Office of University Communications
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LIVING the CALL I
Class of 2010
RECALL THE MAGICAL first date with the man who is now my husband. Not because I had butterflies in my stomach or because I did not want to say the wrong thing or laugh nervously; those were the least of my worries. After a great dinner and conversation, we went to a comedy show. Since we were just two people, they seated us in the front row. The comedians were great and the headliner had us laughing all night. However, toward the very end of his show, perhaps because he ran out of material, he began asking audience members from the front row what they did for a living. There were doctors present, teachers, health workers, contractors, small-business owners, to name a few. They all got job-related jokes thrown at them and all had a good laugh. I was sweating from my forehead, praying that I would not get asked. Why? Because what would I have answered? “Umm…I work as a pastoral minister in the Catholic Church.” A woman? And then, might the comedian run out of jokes—or make ones offensive to my faith? Thankfully, he never asked.
GOING WAY BACK
Since the age of 12, I have been involved in Church ministry. I started as a catechist assistant, teaching second graders at my former home parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Providence, Rhode Island. I loved being a catechist. By the age of 14, I had my own class and even my own catechist assistant. I was now teaching First Holy Communion to third graders. We had fun; we played games, watched movies, did arts and crafts, and of course, learned about the great gift of the Eucharist for our lives. The pastor, Fr. Raymond Luft, was wonderful and supportive, always encouraging me to be my best. At 16, I became actively 30
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involved in Pastoral Juvenil (Hispanic youth and young adult ministry) at the parish and diocesan level; I attended and led weekend retreats, youth rallies, Pascua Juvenil (Easter retreat), leadership camps, and much more. Before I even graduated high school, my mother asked me a life-changing question: how would you like to do what you do (in Pastoral Juvenil) for a living? For many years, my mother had worked as a pastoral associate for various parishes; at the time she asked me this question she was a diocesan director. One thing I recall about my mother’s work in ministry was that she was admired and respected by all her bosses (old and new), consisting of several priests and bishops. She went on to tell me about degrees in theology and Church leadership as an actual vocation. I knew in my heart I wanted to work with young people and help them grow in their faith and become leaders themselves. I sensed that this was my vocation in life—pastoral ministry. Thanks, Mom, for that great question! Feeling the call, I chose youth ministry as my undergraduate major at Providence College. Soon after graduation in 2006, I came to Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry for my MA in religious education,
graduating in 2010. Both academically and spiritually, this background prepared me for my life vocation— as a pastoral minister in the Catholic Church, working particularly with youth and young adults. But how well do I “fit”—especially as a lay woman— as an ecclesial minister in the Catholic Church at this time? As a young, educated, lay woman/ Latina in the Church, it never occurred to me at first that some priests would not “accept” me. I was just someone who wanted to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person— especially the youth. My entire life, I had been surrounded by priests who were open-minded, willing to listen, humble, funny, kind, passionate, hardworking, and so much more. It was a hard blow when I experienced that not all clergy embraced me the way my former pastors did. I recall a fair warning I was given when my academic advisor at Providence College asked me if I was “sure” I wanted to work for the Church. Before I could answer, he looked at me and said, “You’re a woman, it’s going to be tough for you.” I remember thinking to myself, What does me being a woman have to do with anything? Alas, I have met clergy who openly cringed at the idea of working with women or forbade having women on the altar. I’ve met some who poked fun at the older Church women and
preferred to work only with young, attractive women—or men of any age. I have seen lay women burned out and never recognized for their work, or worse, “let go” once they were no longer needed. I have seen clergy intentionally put an end to flourishing ministries just because women were the leaders of these ministries. I have personally experienced discrimination (sexism and racism) and I have been intimidated or belittled by many clergy in my 21 years in ministry. And yet, that has not been the whole story. I have also met many wonderful priests who affirmed me and my ministry as a woman in the Church. There are too many to mention here, though I’d begin with Fr. Luft, my first pastor; Bishop Peter Rosazza; Bishop Leonard Paul Blair; and my friend Anthony, a seminarian who is burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit and cannot wait to serve a parish community as its priest. So, why do I continue as a woman pastoral minister in the Catholic Church? The reason is plain and simple: Jesus Christ. Add then my love for Mary, and my admiration for St. Francis of Assisi and St. Teresa of Calcutta. More recently, Pope Francis has brought me so much hope and inspired me in my ministry and in more faithful living of my own faith. My past and present coworkers (who throughout the years have mostly been religious and lay women)
have been my greatest support in ministry. Above all, I’m sustained by my own faith story; I have experienced firsthand many miracles and powerful spiritual moments that have kept me grounded in my Catholic faith. The universal Church and the faith of its followers have nurtured my growth as a Christian in this harsh world. My faith in Jesus Christ and my dedication to the Gospel message of love and justice is my mission in this life and it lends me my sense of vocation. Meanwhile, let me urge my brothers in Christ, the clergy, to view women as their partners, socias, in ministry. Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary, Susanna, Joanna, and all the women disciples who accompanied Jesus throughout his public ministry were fully included in his inner circle of disciples—as leaders in his community. So do not be afraid to seek our advice, ideas, concerns, or suggestions (and follow through with it!); do not hesitate to leave us responsible for any size task or to include us in big decision-making. ■ MIRIAM HIDALGO is director of youth ministry for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. photo credit: Page 30: J. Vericker
“Mary of Magdala Proclaims the Resurrection” by Margaret Beaudette, SC. 2014. 36 x 24” Sculpted relief panel, painted resin from a clay model. Margaret Beaudette, SC, 2014. Commissioned by R. L. Houlihan. Given in honor of Kathrene Blish Houlihan to The Church of the Ascension, New York.
When women (religious or lay) work in harmony together with their pastors and bishops, the Church flourishes and together we help to build the reign of God!
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Class of 1997
Matt Hasselbeck and Sarah Hasselbeck
Who Is Your PLAY Caller? J
UNE 2017 MARKED the 20th anniversary of my graduation from the Heights. I could never have dreamed up where God would take my life.
“When we left BC, we got married. There was a game plan we didn’t expect and a Play Caller who made all the difference—God.” —Sarah (Egnaczyk) Hasselbeck I left the dorms of Boston College for the dorms of St. Norbert’s College in Wisconsin, and a training camp tryout with the Green Bay Packers. For the next 20 years, the NFL helped define my life…it set the cities I’ve lived in—Green Bay, Seattle, Nashville, and Indianapolis. It demanded that I compete my best every single day. It provided the many great people I’ve been surrounded with and influenced by and threw me into challenges and opportunities I never could’ve dreamed facing if it were not for my faith in God and in Jesus. I’ve also been married to my BC classmate Sarah Egnaczyk for 17 years now. We’ve shared the highs and lows of being a professional athlete family as well as the great highs and lows of being an everyday family. We’re raising our three children, Annabelle, Mallory, and Henry, while currently learning to navigate them through high school, middle school, and elementary school. The responsibility and investment of being their father is one that has dominated my heart and mind as much as anything. So that’s what I have been doing…football player turned ESPN football analyst, husband, and father. That’s the
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public version of what I’ve been doing but it’s not a complete picture. So now let me tell you a little of what God has been doing in my life. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. My commitment to my faith in God, lived out daily, is a better picture of who I am because it has so much shaped the football player, the husband, and the father that I am. And this is where I circle back 20 years to my time at Boston College and the Jesuit influence in my life. It is hard sometimes to know in the moment that your life has been forever changed by an experience. One seemingly insignificant experience can influence so deeply that it becomes the defining experience you refer back to many times as your life unfolds. “Why don’t you apply?” I remember a Jesuit priest asking me one summer while I was working for BC’s First Year Experience office. Without any good excuse at the tip of my tongue, I couldn’t say no to this man’s offer. No doubt God was at work in my life through this priest at Boston College. So I found myself applying to BC’s Ignacio Volunteer Corp program….The slums of Kingston, Jamaica, aren’t exactly where I thought I’d be getting ready for my first real chance to become the starting quarterback at BC, but God was working behind the scenes and putting me exactly where I needed to be.
“It is Jesus’ character and teaching that we are trying to be more like.” —Sarah Meeting once a week during the fall and winter of my junior year, I learned (along with 22 other BC students) a great deal about the history, culture, language, and
socioeconomic struggles of the Jamaican people. We wanted to be as prepared as possible when we arrived to “help.” We arrived that spring to uncomfortable living conditions with our host families and the first glimpse of life in Kingston. My most life-changing experience occurred after a hard day of work at the home for victims of leprosy. We were finishing the day by singing hymns with the men and women who lived there. Not by choice, I ended up sitting next to one of the most disfigured lepers. He had no eyes, no nose, and no fingers, yet somehow, he was the one playing the harmonica for our hymn singing together…his name was George McPhee. In between songs, he would say with a smile, “Thank you, Jesus, thank you for blessing my life. Thank you, Jesus.” I’ll never forget the feeling I had sitting next to George. I realized at that moment that our trip wasn’t really about us leaving BC to go “help” the people in Jamaica. They helped me more than I could ever help them. I wanted what George had. He had a peace and a joy that was beyond human understanding. This man had God’s Holy Spirit leading his life; all around him was the aroma of Christ.
“When God breaks your heart, your heart breaks for what breaks God’s heart.” —Sarah I was a 20-year-old college quarterback who at this point was mostly feeling sorry for myself and not realizing my potential in any area of my life. I was good at making excuses, blaming coaches, and doing enough to get by. My Ignacio Volunteer experience was a seed planting and seed watering experience I can now reflect on with great appreciation. This BC trip to Jamaica as an Ignacio volunteer helped change my life. Shortly after returning to BC, I woke up in a hospital to the news that I had contracted hepatitis A while in Jamaica. I was told that my spring football season was gone. Gone with it was my opportunity to compete for the starting job going into the fall of what would’ve been my last year of playing college football…or, I thought, any type of football. But bitterness didn’t take hold of me the way it would’ve previously because of my experience with people like George McPhee. And God had more great surprises in store for me.
By the time I left Boston College, I was more willing and available to listen when mentors would want to help me grow in my Christian faith. The NFL introduced me to some great men. Some of them displayed their faith to me through their daily example; theirs was a living faith. They helped me to grow in my own faith in God and as a disciple of Jesus, yes, even as an NFL quarterback. Two books early on helped shape my understanding of the God I was putting my faith and hope in. More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell, and Twelve Ordinary Men, by John MacArthur, helped solidify the faith I had grown up with in a more personal way. I recommend them highly. I grew up with posters of NFL quarterbacks on my bedroom walls. I always wanted to be like them, but God used an elderly leper in Jamaica to become my biggest role model while at BC. Like my friend Bob Goff said in his book Love Does, “I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but now I know Jesus uses ordinary people more.” ■ MATT HASSELBECK is a former NFL quarterback and current ESPN NFL analyst. SARAH EGNACZYK HASSELBECK was inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. The couple have three children and have been married for 17 years. photo credit: Page 33: ©Agape Latte,
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I WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE M
Y BOSTON COLLEGE experience was filled with many of the same fond memories as any other student who is privileged to attend such an exceptional school. There were the long study nights at Oâ€™Neill Library, workouts at the Plex, occasional parties at the Mods, and cheese steak subs at the lower dining hall. However common my Boston College experience appeared on its surface, there was a constant reminder that I was not supposed to be there. As an immigrant from Colombia, my life was full of moments that were not supposed to happen, starting with when my late dad left war-stricken Medellin, Colombia, in 1989 to look for a brighter future for us. Papa was not supposed to make it, as an undocumented immigrant,
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through the treacherous two-week trip from Colombia through Central America and across the Rio Grande, to eventually find his way to Boston. A year later, my mother, sister, and I were not supposed to get that tourist visa to enter the United States and be reunited with our dad. But we did. Once all of us were here, an immigration lawyer told us less than one percent of applicants actually received political asylum, but we tried anyway. Knowing about that one percent chance for legal status, as a high school student, I knew I had little hope of going to college, but I figured why not applyâ€”God is great and faith can move mountains.
Class of 1999
At that moment my future was dependent on two impossibilities: legal immigration status and a scholarship to pay for the education my family could not afford. Full of faith and resorting to relentless prayer, I submitted college applications to Boston University, UMass Amherst, and Boston College. I was lucky to receive acceptance letters and scholarships from all three great universities; something that would have made any student jump for joy. Instead, I was crushed, knowing that the acceptance letters included requests for proof of legal status, which was something I did not have. One by one, the deadlines passed and I had to turn down Boston University and UMass Amherst. However, when Boston College’s deadline was extended, my prayers were answered. The same week my acceptance was due, I received my political asylum documents. The one percent chance that was not supposed to happen did happen. My dream of becoming a college student came true and I knew two things: I was going to have to work extremely hard to survive academically at Boston College. Coming from Boston public schools, unfortunately, did not prepare me for such a rigorous workload. I also was determined to give back for such blessings that had been bestowed upon me. Luckily, there is no better institution than Boston College to live up to the promise of giving back. For example, I enrolled in Ignacio Volunteers for the summer before my senior year. My volunteer group was charged with renovating an elementary school in one of the poorest areas in the Dominican Republic, near Bani. My Ignacio trip was a life-changing experience in several ways. First, I was uplifted by being part of a community that, in America, we consider “poor in resources.” Actually, it was the richest community I ever encountered, based on its level of happiness, faith, and spirituality. Second, the Dominican Republic took me back to my roots, to my rich culture— with the food, music, and people I missed so much—at a point in my life when I was not allowed to return to my native Colombia due to the status of my political asylum. That strong sense of belonging, however, was short lived when I attempted to reenter the United States. Coming back from the trip I encountered another reminder that
As an immigrant from Colombia, my life was full of moments that were not supposed to happen.
I was not supposed to be here, according to the U.S. immigration officer. Despite my legal documents to reenter the country being in order, according to the immigration official I was “just another drug mule who he could easily deport back to where I belonged.” Though shaken to the bones in fear, I maintained my composure and silently prayed a “Padre Nuestro” and “Ave Maria,” all while responding politely “yes sir” and “I understand.” He eventually stamped my passport with an “advance parole” status. At that moment, I had no idea about the importance of such status but was happy I was released to reunite with family in Boston and finish my last year at Boston College. As soon as I arrived I experienced another “not supposed to” moment, when I received a letter from the Boston College admissions office. It stated that the college was not supposed to have provided a scholarship to someone with the status of political asylum. Although the college would not request scholarship repayment for the first three years, it could not grant me the last year at Boston College unless I could show other proof of legal status. When I showed school officials my passport, they flipped to the “advance parole” page, and my prayers were answered once again. In an ironic twist of fate, the same immigration officer who had belittled me was the one who had stamped my passport with the very status that allowed me to complete my education. I am forever grateful to Boston College for providing an opportunity to someone thirsty for all of the faith-based education and spiritual richness the school had to offer. I know full well that I was not supposed to be there, but with willpower, perseverance, faith in God, and love for service, it all became possible. Thank you, BC! In loving memory of my father, Alberto Angel Lopera (1953–2016), whose love and courage constantly remind me that I am supposed to be here! ■ JUAN LOPERA is the vice president of business diversity at Tufts Health Plan, and serves as a board member for ALPFA Healthcare and the Dimock Center. photo credit: Page 34: ©Boston College Office of University Communications
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Class of 1967
THE SPECIAL SPIRIT OF BOSTON COLLEGE 36
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MY FATHER, DR. ROBERT YORK, attended Georgetown University and was deeply influenced by the Jesuit education he received. After he became a doctor, one of his responsibilities was to care for the Boston College Jesuit community. In those days, doctors had offices in their homes, so Jesuits often came to our house. I was always so impressed by them and the way they conducted themselves. I was the eighth of 10 children and certainly knew we were destined for Jesuit education. I remember vividly the day a nun in my Catholic grammar school told me I had been accepted to Boston College High School. It was a joyous day for me and my family. There were so many Jesuits at BC High who helped me, but in particular, I was always grateful to Fr. Joe Shea, who was the rector of the BC High community. Back then, there were Sunday communion breakfasts at churches throughout the Archdiocese, and he would invite me and other students to attend. The way he spoke at the breakfasts and interacted with people left a lasting impression on me. At BC High, all of the students talked about going to study at Boston College, Georgetown, or Holy Cross. It was Fr. Shea who convinced me that Boston College was the place for me, and he was absolutely correct.
I entered Boston College in 1963. In November of my freshman year, I was told that Fr. George Lawlor wanted to see me ASAP. I was thinking that I must have done poorly on my math test. When I entered his office, he told me that my father had passed away. For a lengthy time, he comforted me and encouraged me to stay strong. During the wake and funeral, countless Jesuits helped me through my sorrow. As a student at BC during the 1960s, I sensed the Jesuit influence in my whole being. They stressed important principles such as “Ever to Excel,” making the right choices, helping others, and doing more for the people around you. Those formative years, 18–22, are so critical in determining what you will be later in life, the person you will become. My faith-inspired Jesuit education helped shape my decision-making, how I raised my family, and how I conducted myself professionally. It has always played a unique role in my life. More than two decades ago, former BC Athletics Director Chet Gladchuck invited me to come to Boston College for an interview with Fr. Monan for the men’s ice hockey coaching position. I met with Fr. Monan in Botolph House. We talked about hockey and expectations, and after 45 minutes he offered me the job. That was the beginning of a relationship I have always cherished. Since 1996, I have also had the distinct pleasure of working under the leadership of Fr. Leahy. I have now coached at Boston College for 23 years and I realize that the philosophy I encountered here as a student has remained. BC has never been about real estate. It is about the people who are here. This year I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my graduation from Boston College with the Class of 1967. There is a special spirit to the University that we have been fortunate to retain. It is reaffirmed every time I come onto the campus. Every day I am reminded that this is where I want to be. I take such great pride in Boston College, with its remarkable history and promise for an even better future. It has been a wonderful experience, one I would not trade for anything. ■ JERRY YORK is the men’s ice hockey coach at Boston College, and is currently the winningest coach in the history of college hockey. photo credit: Page 36: ©Boston College Office of University Communications, Lee Pellegrini
As a student at BC during the 1960s, I sensed the Jesuit influence in my whole being. fal l 2017 | c 21 resources
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