jesuit B u l l e t i n W i n t e r- S p r i n g 2 0 1 3
Adapting the Spiritual Exercises
Retreat Programs Bring People Closer to God Novices in Urban Social Ministries â€˘ Tree of Life
A Colloquy with Jesus At the end, I turn to Jesus Christ, hanging on his cross, and I talk with him. I ask how can it be that the Lord and Creator should have come from the infinite reaches of eternity to this death here on earth, so that he could die for our sins.
What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I do for Christ?
And I talk with Jesus like a friend. I end with the Our Father. â€“St. Ignatius, Spirtual Exercises
feature stories 6 | Urban Social Ministries First-year Novices in Kansas City 10 | Adapting the Exercises Retreat Programs 16 | Digitizing De Smet Preserving History 18 | Tree of Life Fr. Roland Lesseps in Zambia 22 | Jesus and Reconciliation A Lenten Reflection
16 10 Editor Thomas M. Rochford SJ Associate Editor Cheryl Wittenauer Designer Tracy Gramm
Advancement Director Thom Digman
4 | Jesuit News
Cover photo: Chapel, Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House, Sedalia, Colo. (By Thomas Rochford SJ)
24 | Formation Louie Hotop Jonathan Harmon 26 | At Work Peter Callery 27 | Benefactors Jim and Jane Ebel 29 | In Memoriam
Schedule Approved for MissouriNew Orleans Merger
Maryland Jesuits to Open Cristo Rey School in Atlanta
ather General Adolfo Nicolás has approved the schedule for merging the New Orleans and Missouri provinces in the summer of 2014, putting into play the process of selecting the first provincial superior of the future U.S. Central and Southern Province. The new provincial likely will take office on the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola on July 31, 2014, New Orleans and Missouri Provincials Mark Lewis and Douglas Marcouiller said. The two provinces are joining as part of a nationwide reorganization of U.S. Jesuits that considers how best to carry out their mission and respond to current apostolic needs. The new province is expected to bring new apostolic energy, expanded ministry, new possibilities for partnership and greater efficiency of resources. Communities have been discussing province needs and leadership qualities and individuals are submitting confidential recommendations. Lewis and Marcouiller will meet March 15-16 with advisors to review community reports and individual suggestions. Ultimately, a short list of three candidates will be submitted to Nicolás, who is expected to make his decision in the fall.
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director at Manresa House of Retreats to associate pastor at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Grand Coteau, La.
New Orleans and Missouri Jesuits on the Move Fr. Michael Bouzigard has been appointed pastor and superior of Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Antonio.
Sean Powers has been assigned to serve at St. Peter Claver Parish in Punta Gorda, Belize until the fall when he will begin a highschool regency assignment.
Fr. Ronald Gonzales has been named pastor of Sacred Heart Church in El Paso, replacing Fr. Edwin Gros who will be pastor of Most Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. Fr. Michael Chesney has been appointed assistant pastor of Sacred Heart
he Maryland Province, which took over Georgia from the New Orleans Province in January, has announced plans for a 500-student Cristo Rey high school in Atlanta in the fall of 2014, the first Jesuit school in the city. Jesuit Father T.J. Martinez, founding president of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep School in Houston, has been appointed to the board of directors to help Atlanta duplicate the success of the Houston school. The Cristo Rey model educates low-income students with rigorous college prep courses and a corporate work-study program that provides job experience and tuition assistance.
Fr. Ronald Boudreaux professed final vows on Jan.19, at Montserrat Retreat Ronald Gonzales
Church. Chesney, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, has spent the last 24 years in the classroom as a Spanish and theology teacher. Fr. Steven Kimmons was reassigned from retreat
House in Lake Dallas, Texas, where he is superior and a retreat director. Boudreaux served as acting pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans in the months after Hurricane Katrina, and he spent his regency at Sacred Heart Church in El Paso. Fr. Brian Reedy has been appointed assistant pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans.
News Briefs Sebesta Aviation Scholarship Jesuit and long-time aviation professor Fr. James Sebesta has been honored with the creation of an endowed scholarship for students of Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology. Sebesta and the new fund were celebrated last fall at a fundraising dinner.
Regis U. Dedicates Building to Fr. David Clarke
egis University has dedicated a four-story state-of-the-art educational facility in honor of former president and chancellor, Fr. David Clarke. The building will house the College for Professional Studies, one of Clarke’s key initiatives during his 20-year tenure as head of the Jesuit school that established Regis as a national leader in adult education. Clarke Hall also will house conference and seminar rooms, classrooms, dining areas, and administration as well as space for testing, writing and tutoring centers, disability services and a radio station. CPS has a dual-language program that was inspired by Clarke’s visit to a grade school in Denver that alternates class instruction in English and Spanish.
Identity and Mission of Jesuit Higher Education
rs. Douglas Marcouiller and Mark Lewis, provincials of the Jesuits of the Missouri and New Orleans Provinces, were among a group of Jesuits and lay leaders who met with Father General Adolfo Nicolás in December in Rome to discuss progress in strengthening the identity and mission of Jesuit institutions of higher education in the U.S. They discussed work in strengthening lay-Jesuit collaboration, advancing the Jesuits’ faith and justice agenda and reinforcing the schools’ Catholic and Jesuit character. The meeting was led by Missouri Province’s Fr. Michael Garanzini, president of Loyola University in Chicago and the General’s representative on higher education.
Sebesta, who has worked in aviation since the age of 14, has been with SLU and Parks College since 1994. As a Jesuit, he was assigned to Kaltag, Alaska, where he served at the flying operations base for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and transported the bishop of the Fairbanks diocese.
Arrupe Honors Benefactor Arrupe Jesuit High School honored benefactor Dick Campbell at its 10th anniversary celebration in February that raised more than $1 million. Campbell was given the Magis Award for his years of service and ideals. Campbell, a Denver attorney, was the founder and driving force behind Arrupe Jesuit, a college-preparatory high school for Denver’s economically disadvantaged kids. He persisted in his dream of opening the school despite years of obstacles.
First-year Novices Get Immersed in Urban Social Ministry Story and Photos by Thomas Rochford SJ
he five first-year novices jumped from the controlled tranquility of a rural novitiate in Grand Coteau, La., into the bustle of urban social ministry during an intense six-week immersion experience over the winter in Kansas City, Kan., and environs. They experienced apostolic work in a hospital, a prison, a primary school, a homeless shelter and a medical clinic for the poor, as well as in tutoring programs for new immigrants and grade-school students, and an agency that helps men recently released from prison. Each of the five novices rotated through every one of the service placements so that he could experience a wide range of social services. Helping out at Resurrection Catholic School, a disciplined, well-run school on the grounds of St. Peterâ€™s Cathedral where the novices lived in the rectory, was relatively easy. The children were used to having volunteers assist them. The state prison in Leavenworth, Kan., was more difficult. Novices helped lead a Bible study class, familiar subject matter, but the setting challenged them to see a different side of life than they had known before. Turnaround, a program designed to assist men recently released from prison, presented a different challenge. As the novices spent time learning the difficulties that ex-felons face, they came to see the hurdles that often land them back in prison. Once each week, the five novices gathered in the evening to reflect on their experience with the help of Brad Grabs, director of the childrenâ€™s tutoring program and a veteran of social ministry. At the first session, he asked them what had grabbed their attention or challenged them in their first week of work. One novice said he felt like his perceptions were changing. He met formerly incarcerated men whom he didnâ€™t expect to like. He found them interesting to talk to, and that surprised him. They are normally feared and Greg Overbeek (left) tutors a student at the Learning Club at Blessed Sacrament Family Center. Mike Killeen (right, top) tutors a student at the Learning Club at Juniper Gardens Community Center. Aric Serrano (right, middle) reads to students at Resurrection Catholic School. Sean Ferguson (right, bottom) helps students from Bishop Ward High School during a retreat. Winter-Spring 2013
In the photos across the top of both pages: Brendan Love (in the blue shirt, above, left) helps Lawrence Curtis prepare the evening meal at Shalom House, a residence for homeless men, and then serves it. Mike Killeen (above, right) shares conversation with Art, a resident, during the meal. (Opposite page, left to right) Brendan Love helps out at Turnaround, a program that assists men recently released from prison with emergency assistance and job training. Love sorts clothing, sits in with Dr. Tom Cotton who is counseling a client, and gives out clothes. Sean Ferguson (below and right) prays with students from Bishop Ward High School during their retreat. Aric Serrano (opposite page) helps serve the mid-morning snack at Resurrection Catholic School. The five first-year novices and novice director, Fr. Mark Thibodeaux, enjoy a simple meal together at the St. Peterâ€™s Cathedral rectory, where they stayed during the six-week experiment.
detested, like the lepers of today’s society. Another said he wondered what he had to offer these men. One guy said he felt like he was using people, that he was “reaching down” from his privileged position in society to people living on the edge. Their fellow volunteers made a strong impression on the novices and helped them see what they could do. Retired physician Tom Cotton, who helps out one day a week at the center for recently released prisoners, showed the novices how to be patient and understanding with the former felons, and listen well to them. The novices struggled with the contrast between the optimism they felt in their own lives and the brokenness of others that the system can’t always fix. Even though the experience was difficult, the comment of one novice showed why the men begin their training to serve others by spending six weeks in Kansas City. “It’s good to be challenged,” he said.
Adapting C the Spiritual Exercises Retreat Programs Bring People Closer to God By Cheryl Wittenauer
hip Songy learned about Manresa House of Retreats while still in high school, never imagining that his stepfather’s sharing about the place would lead him to pursue it for his own spiritual refueling in the decades to come. More than 30 years after making his first of many annual retreats at the iconic Jesuit institution on the Mississippi River, halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., Songy said he’s never had to “sell” the place as he recruits other men to give themselves the gift of a silent Ignatian retreat one long weekend a year. “When someone knows I attend retreats there, I hear one of two things,” he said. “Either, ‘I’ve been there, too, and I love it,’ or ‘I’ve heard of it and I’m really interested in attending, but I hear it’s always full!’” Manresa, in Convent, La., and its sister, White House Retreat, 700 miles upriver in suburban St. Louis, both benefit from their inherent beauty and serenity. White House, with exquisite gardens and landscaping, sits on a wooded bluff overlooking the river and floodplain. Manresa is on 50 acres of lawn under scores of live oak trees, its quarters re-fashioned from an antebellum college for sons of plantation owners. Both places enjoy a local culture of men passing their retreat experience to the next generation, thereby creating a new class of retreatants. But perhaps the biggest factor driving enrollment is a shared tradition of recruiting by “captains” from parishes, Knights of Columbus chapters and other fraternal groups. “Some groups have been coming for 50 or 60 years with that recruiting system,” said Fr. Jim Burshek, White House’s director. “The strength of the retreats is the strength of captains doing the recruiting for us.” The family legacy and captain factors, and a similar, more established clientele with strong Catholic tradition to pull from, help account for a regular draw of 6,200 men a year to Manresa, and 4,000 to White House, making them remarkably financially stable in a market where Jesuit retreat houses elsewhere in the U.S. have shuttered. Just last year, the New York Province of the Society of Jesus, in the face of “new challenges and new needs,” announced it will close two of its last remaining retreat centers in June, leaving only one in Morristown, N.J. “The model of maintaining retreat houses is no longer financially viable,” New York Provincial Fr. David Ciancimino wrote in announcing the closures.
He said change was forcing a “more nimble and mobile” approach to promulgating St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises to include training of Jesuit and lay partners, programs in Spanish, a focus on the needs of young adults, and opportunities for retreats and spiritual direction beyond traditional Jesuit works. But Jesuits have been adapting the Exercises almost since the time Ignatius instructed one of his men to find a room for people to make retreats. The “long retreat,” the full Exercises done in silence for 30 days, was adapted, for those who needed it, into the eight-day annual retreat, done with the aid of a director. Retreats in daily life developed as a phenomenon of the 20th century, “when we realized people can’t go off for 30 days because they have a job or are rearing children,” said Fr. Joe Tetlow, Father General’s assistant for Ignatian spirituality from 1996 to 2004. The preached, three-day silent retreat in which a director meets with a group for a number of daily talks based on the Exercises was an especially popular model in the U.S. from the 1930s to the 1970s, Tetlow said, and remains Manresa’s and White House’s bread and butter. He noted that interest in silent retreats has faded on both U.S. coasts but that they remain popular in the middle of the country. It’s more economical to have one director
preaching to a group of 100-plus retreatants over three days than one directing five individuals for eight or 30 days when building, staffing, meals and other costs are figured in, Tetlow said. Manresa, which draws the greatest number of retreatants of any Jesuit center in the U.S., according to Tetlow, offers 57 annual retreats and about two dozen other retreats, and has a waiting “There’s a great sign at list. It deals excluWhite House that hangs over sively with men. It’s unclear what may the coffee pot. It says develop in the wake ‘We need to talk,’ God. of a recent decision by Cenacle Sisters It says it all. . . . to close their retreat house in Metairie, Getting the opportunity La., which has to get away and get closer served women since 1958. Tim Murphy, to God is a real gift.” Manresa’s first and –Charley Meyer on White House Retreat current lay director, said 10 percent of retreatants come from outside of southern Louisiana, including a recent group of physicians from the Mayo Winter-Spring 2013
Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He recently reinstituted the high school retreat program to plant seeds for the next generation of Manresa retreatants. White House is doing 59 annual retreats and four prayer days in 2013, along with eight more retreats for the archdiocese and local Jesuit high schools, and is just short of maximum occupancy. While it caters primarily to men, White House does offer 10 women’s retreats a year, Burshek said. He recently hired a marketing director in hopes of attracting younger people who connect on social media.
“Guys go there to reenergize, fuel back up for the rest of the year and load up on the Spirit. The batteries wear down. You need that time to rest and refuel.” –Bill Bader on White House Retreat
“My challenge is to get young retreatants,” Burshek said. “A lot of people who come came with their fathers. It’s a legacy. But one of their great pains is that they say, ‘My kids don’t go to church anymore. I’d love to have them come but church is not where they are.’”
Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas, has made a conscious effort to reach out to the region’s fast-growing Hispanic population, and considers Hispanic ministry a big part of its mission. Among its offerings are Ignatian retreats in Spanish, and opportunities for spiritual growth and renewal for Spanish speakers. Tetlow, who was Montserrat’s program and retreat director from 2004 to 2011, said the retreat house raised $5 million over six years for capital improvements and an endowment. “People want that retreat house there,” he said. The church is urging priests, deacons and spouses to make annual retreats, and they’re filling the house, he said. Although Manresa and White House drive the biggest numbers, each retreat house in the New Orleans and Missouri provinces has found its own niche in response to the local area’s needs and culture. Len Kraus, one of the Jesuits on staff at White House, and who specializes in recovery retreats, said one thing he discovered as pastor of St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis, is that each one (parish or retreat center) does things uniquely. “They’re focused differently,” he said. “Each province has a different situation.” The Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City, which is not so much a place but a vehicle for bringing the Spiritual Exercises to the people, serves pilgrims of both genders and various faiths from Catholic to Quaker to Lutheran throughout the metropolitan area, on both sides of the Missouri-Kansas state line, said Kate Pope Hodel, executive director. “We are itinerant preachers,” she said. “We don’t have a location, which is great. Figuratively and literally, we meet people where they are.” The arrangement also gives them maximum programming flexibility and keeps their costs low. Pope Hodel said when other retreat center directors hear how Kansas City’s center operates, they “look at me like I’m crazy. “They say, ‘I don’t know if you’re weird or the wave of the future. You don’t have a roof that leaks, boilers that break down or beds that need to be filled.” The center began in 2001 out of Kansas City’s Jesuit parish, St. Francis Xavier, after a number of lay Rockhurst University faculty and staff who had made the Spiritual Exercises asked the Missouri provincial to assign a Jesuit to organize an Ignatian
Recovery and Homeless Retreats By Cheryl Wittenauer
spirituality center in Kansas City. Fr. Jim Blumeyer was tapped to get things going. Today, Jesuits and lay volunteers team up with parishes to offer the nine-month Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, prayer programs, evenings of reflection, and other “short bursts of spirituality” to adults “hungry for spirituality and to find meaning in their lives, and looking for a way to make sense of this crazy world we live in,” Pope Hodel said. The center also trains “prayer companions” to guide others on their Ignatian spiritual journey, and offers programs for those who want to enrich their own experience of the Exercises.
“It’s a unique experience, sort of like a road map. You begin with the core questions: Where am I going? Why am I a follower of Christ? To what is He calling me?” – Chip Songy on experience at Manresa House of Retreats
Back in the 1940s, St. Louis Jesuit Fr. Edward Dowling first identified similarities between the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola and the Twelve Step spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous, co-founded by his friend, Bill Wilson. Today, Jesuits are among a network of people in the U.S. who offer spiritual retreats for those in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, a niche ministry that is in high demand. A recent recovery retreat at White House Retreat center in St. Louis that was led by visiting retreat director, Fr. Jim Harbaugh, author of “A 12-Step Approach to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius,” drew 84 retreatants from as far away as Kentucky and South Carolina, and had a waiting list of 30 others. Charley Meyer, who recruits participants for some of the recovery retreats, said they fill up within days of his posting dates. He said Ignatian spirituality works well for people in recovery. “Alcoholism is a spiritual, mental and physical disease,” Meyer said. “It’s about more than not drinking. There are amends to be made.” Fr. Len Kraus, who offers recovery retreats at White House as well as at Jesuit retreat centers in Sedalia, Colo., and Oshkosh, Wis., said the Spiritual Exercises have a similar dynamic to that of Twelve Step spirituality. Kraus explained that Twelve Step spirituality is a path to enlightenment, joy and freedom much like the Spiritual Exercises. Both recognize reliance on a higher power, staying in touch with God and bringing to others the gifts one has received. A related Jesuit ministry, offered in more than a dozen U.S. cities, is retreats for homeless people. Fr. Clyde LeBlanc of Manresa House of Retreat in Convent, La., has been offering them for three years, initially at the urging of his late friend, Richard “Buzzy” Gaiennie, a recovering alcoholic who headed Bridge House/Grace House in New Orleans. LeBlanc said the homeless retreats follow a modified version of the Exercises developed in 1998 by Fr. Bill Creed of the Ignatian Spirituality Project in Chicago. It’s an overnight program that includes a film, discussion, night prayer and closing liturgy for homeless people in an organized recovery program. He said the retreat gives participants “a sense that God finds them worthy objects of his love, and encourages them with their own methods of self-improvement. “It helps them see that there’s a spiritual element in everyone’s life that wants to be attended to. We need a relationship with God.”
Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House in Sedalia, Colo., outside of Denver about a mile from the Rocky Mountain foothills, offers half a dozen retreat programs for men, women and couples. In contrast to Manresa and White House, directed, one-on-one retreats account for 40 percent of its business and is growing. Among those doing directed retreats, about 25 percent are not Roman Catholic, said Fr. Ed Kinerk, its director. He’s also seeing an increasing percentage of lay people making directed
Ignatian Spirituality Center Kansas City
| Winter-Spring 2013
Manresa House of Retreats Convent, Louisiana
retreats including the full, 30-day Spiritual Exercises, such as a woman he directed whose husband recently died. “We do couples retreats and we encourage couples to talk,” Kinerk said. “I do one on the new cosmology and physics. Vince’s (Jesuit Vince Hovley) retreats focus on John’s Gospels. We have a different pattern than White House and are dealing with a different clientele. St. Louis is a very traditional community; Denver is a transient community.” Sacred Heart is not financially supported by the province, and never has been. A group of donors known as the Centurians helps support it. A $4 million capital campaign is under way, and more than half has been raised. “Retreats,” he said, “don’t pay for themselves.” At the Jesuit Spirituality Center at St. Charles College in south central Louisiana, a 40-year tradition of directed retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises will resume in late June. It follows a nearly two-year, $15 million renovation of the century-old college complex, which also houses the New Orleans-Missouri novitiate and soon will be home for older and infirm southern Jesuits.
Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House Lake Dallas, Texas
Our Lady of the Oaks Grand Coteau, Louisiana
The center in Grand Coteau, La., which serves religious and lay people, men and women and people of all faiths, offers directed retreats ranging from three to 30 days, and also hosts special weekend retreats featuring nationally known speakers. At nearby Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House, also in Grand Coteau, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of its founding in October, retreats are led by Jesuit priests as well as by trained lay ministers, which initially generated some pushback from retreatants. Jan Tate, a spiritual director and retreat director, was the first lay woman to lead a retreat at the Oaks in 1999. “Initially, the (female) retreatants were apprehensive,” Tate said. “They expected to see a Jesuit priest. But that I was a lay woman, not even a nun, was difficult for them.” But by the end, she’d earned their unanimous acceptance as a lay woman directing retreats. Jesuit Ken Buddendorff, her mentor, later asked Tate to direct a men’s retreat, and she tackled the topic of sexuality with them. Afterward, one retreatant approached her and said that in all of his 52 years of retreats, no one had ever addressed men’s conflicted feelings about their sexuality. He told her he wept afterwards and could not wait to get home and discuss it with his wife. Fr. Jerry Neyrey, retreat director at Our Lady of the Oaks, said that “every weekend, we see the wisdom of the program Ken Buddendorff developed to train lay directors. “They have become mature speakers and even the crustiest of Cajuns tolerates a female director now.” Brooke A. Iglesias, Editor of The Southern Jesuit, contributed to this report from New Orleans.
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Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House Sedalia, Colorado
Retreat finder at www.jesuitsmissouri.org/retreats
Fr. Peter Callery (opposite page) leads retreatants at Manresa House of Retreats, Convent, La. Fr. Steve Yavorsky (below) trains prayer companions through the Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City.
“To use one of Ignatius’ favorite words, ‘adapt,’ we try to adapt to as many different circumstances and needs that come our way.” Tim Murphy, director, Manresa House of Retreats
Jesuit Spirituality Center Grand Coteau, Louisiana
White House Retreat St. Louis
Digitizing De Smet
By Cheryl Wittenauer
hen a Belgian museum asked to borrow five original artifacts from the collection of Peter De Smet papers for an exhibit last year, the head of the Midwest Jesuit Archives in St. Louis had some concerns. Archives Director David Miros wondered if the museum in Turnhout, Belgium, had sufficient security, lighting, climate control and insurance coverage. It turns out, the Taxandriamuseum could provide all those safeguards. So, only 2 ½ hours before his flight last March to New York and on to Brussels, Miros entered the Archives at 8:30 Sunday morning to pack up the precious documents. Packing them at work Friday would have been unthinkable; he wanted to limit as much as possible the amount of time the papers were bundled. As it was, they were subjected to an eight-hour flight from New York, and a seven-hour layover, but Miros and the papers traveled first class, the latter in a briefcase that fit comfortably in the overhead compartment. After the lengthy trek to Belgium, Miros worked with the museum staff to install the documents in the exhibition. “They met all of our expectations,” he said. De Smet, one of the first Jesuits to the Midwest and perhaps the most well-known missionary of the 19th-century American West, is one of the most iconic
figures in Missouri Jesuit Province history, and still commands interest in his native Belgium. He is known for his peacemaking and rapport with Native Americans and a desire to protect them from white incursion, much as Jesuits had hoped for native people in Latin America a century earlier. The four hand-drawn maps of the American West by De Smet and a letter from his friend and missions benefactor, Peter de Nef, were rare loans; the fragility of the Archives’ estimated 5,000-piece De Smetiana collection of De Smet’s maps, letters, journal entries and other correspondence makes handling too risky. In fact, Miros said he turns down researchers all the time, although as a scholar himself, he knows that circulating the collection is the only way to shed light on De Smet and an era in Jesuit history that he says scholarly researchers largely have ignored. Miros wants to conserve De Smet’s papers before they physically deteriorate. He also wants to put them in digital format to enable scholarly research and collaboration. He’s talking to national and local groups about funding the project with grants. “People think the Jesuits live in their own little Catholic world,” he said. “But if they plow beneath the surface, they’d see that Jesuits were involved in science and politics and were engaged in American society just as Jesuits are today. “Nineteenth-century American Jesuit history has largely been ignored. Until people know materials are available, they won’t do research.” De Smet’s papers are contained in 16 bound letterpress books, a 19th-century method for tracking his official correspondence, letters home, ideas and travels that seem to suggest he understood the power of his legacy. They include his letters to military, political and religious leaders and notes from his meetings with indigenous people and mountain guides. They also include 40 of his maps of the Pacific Northwest, believed to be among the earliest of the region.
De Smet’s map showing the source of the Columbia River
One of the maps was used in 2006 by an Indian tribe in Canada to identify property in a land dispute with the Canadian government, providing proof of where the tribe was living. The map wasn’t available in digital format at the time, but each of the collection’s maps has been digitized since then. How and why De Smet got into map-making is a mystery; Miros said there’s not enough research on the subject to know. He said it’d be interesting to plot points using modern mapping techniques to learn how accurate De Smet’s mapping was. The Belgian Jesuit came to St. Louis in 1823, traveled extensively in the West for missionary work among Native Americans, and promoted and raised funds for the missions, largely through his writings and handdrawn maps that circulated among potential benefactors in Europe. He returned to St. Louis where he died in 1873, his papers collected for the province files. After his death, a French Jesuit asked to have the papers shipped to him for a biography he wanted to write. He kept them a little too long, Miros said, and the Missouri provincial dispatched a Missouri Province Jesuit in St. Louis to fetch them in Louvain (Leuven), Belgium. They’ve been in St. Louis ever since. De Smet’s friend, Peter De Nef, was a key benefactor of the Belgian Jesuits’ missions in Missouri and beyond. De Nef not only gave his own money to the missions, he raised funds from other supporters, screened candidates for the Jesuits and opened and ran a school for them in his home town of Turnhout.
Among the maps the museum in Turnhout, Belgium, borrowed to mark the city’s 800th birthday last year are ones that indicate De Smet’s naming of a lake to honor De Nef and a river to honor Turnhout. The De Smet family in Santiago, Chile, recently donated some artifacts, including beadwork, feather fans, and calumets, or ornamental peace pipes, to the Mas Museum in Antwerp for an exhibit in 2017. De Smet would have received the items as gifts from Native Americans, and often gave them to the Jesuit missions’ benefactors in Europe. Miros is working with Loyola University in Chicago on an exhibit to mark the 200th anniversary of the restoring of the Jesuits as a religious order in 1814; they had been suppressed by papal order in 1773 throughout much of Europe. De Smet came to the U.S. shortly after the Jesuit order was restored. Miros said the timing of the Jesuits’ re-forming and De Smet’s arrival in the U.S. had to have influenced his decisions about venturing into America’s frontier. “If I’m a researcher interpreting history, I can’t ignore those things,” he said.
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Links to De Smetiana Collection and Maps: www.jesuitsmissouri.org/arch/collections.cfm www.jesuitsmissouri.org/arch/online.cfm Winter-Spring 2013
Tree of Life Story and Photos by Thomas Rochford SJ
ost people think of an academic career as moving steadily up from doctoral studies to first teaching position to tenure to advancement in rank, culminating as full professor and head of a department. But Fr. Roland Lesseps is no ordinary man. The Jesuit biologist, an expert in embryology with a doctorate from The Johns Hopkins University, walked away from a comfortable position in his home town of New Orleans to spend almost 20 years pursuing science in service of the poor in Africa. He left a full professorship at Loyola University where he chaired the biology department. He found a second home at the Jesuit agriculture research and training center at Kasisi, Zambia, not far from the capital, Lusaka. The Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) trains subsistence farmers and conducts research on sustainable agriculture, which does not use chemicals and fertilizer. Instead, small farmers fight insects
through biological pest management, fertilizing the soil organically and growing crops that tolerate a dry climate. Such farming practices require a better under– standing of the properties of plants and trees like the amazing one that led Lesseps to Kasisi. While at Loyola, Lesseps began to research Moringa Oleifera, a tree with edible leaves that grows well in a dry climate, as tall as nine feet only 10 months after planting. “This particular tree was very interesting to me,” Lesseps said. “It was good for humans because it had deep roots and could survive a long dry season when ordinary crops can’t grow. I thought it would help people so they would not have to go hungry.” Some cultures call Moringa Oleifera the “Miracle Tree” and the “Tree of Life” because of the nutritional value of its leaves, which provide a significant source of vitamins B, C and A, as well as beta carotene, magnesium and protein.
near Kasisi who has planted 300 trees and Lesseps thought the tree had potential who dries and pounds the harvested leaves to help people in Africa, and initially he and sells the material in Lusaka. “He makes considered testing it during a sabbatical in a good income from that,” Desmarais said. Kenya. Then he learned about the Kasisi “In fact, there are many people doing that Agricultural Training Centre that the Jesuits throughout the country now.” run at Kasisi, Zambia. Besides the Moringa tree, Lesseps also He contacted its founder and director, researched alley farming, an agroforestry Canadian Jesuit Brother Paul Desmarais, practice in which leguminous trees are who learned conventional farming methods Fr. Roland Lesseps grown alongside crops for their mulch on the family farm in Canada. He later and nutrients. He also studied planting discovered sustainable agriculture. of high-quality fodder, or fodder banks, to supplement Lesseps spent the 1987-88 academic year in Zambia animals’ feed in the dry season, as well as using trees for and then resumed his teaching post at Loyola-New fences and other practices. Orleans. But he couldn’t get the Zambia project out of Lesseps was the center’s senior scientist, editing its his mind. monthly newsletter, Desmarais’ writing, and teaching “Roland returned to New Orleans and spent time him the science of genetically modified organisms. “I was praying about what he should do,” Desmarais recalled. more on the farming side and he covered up on the “Eventually he asked for permission to leave his tenured scientific point of view,” Desmarais said. position at Loyola University and be missioned to work From KATC’s beginning in 1974 until 1990, it taught in Zambia. conventional agriculture, but then shifted to organic, “He had tenure, which he gave up in order to work sustainable agriculture. The center offers a series of short among the Zambia farmers. He felt that there were courses (three days to two weeks) in organic agriculture enough scientists in the U.S. who could do the work he was doing, but that Zambia lacked scientists. He felt he could do more for the rural poor by being here in Zambia.” Lesseps moved to Zambia in 1990 and spent the next 19 years doing research and helping develop a sophisticated array of strategies for small farmers. “Roland did a lot of work on the Moringa Oleifera,” Desmarais said. “He sourced seeds from various places because he had read that some cultivars had better nutritional value than others. He did a lot of research and kept Fr. Roland Lesseps (opposite page, right) shows a Moringa Oleifera tree to a visitor to the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) in Zambia. himself informed by corresponding with scientists Lesseps served as superior of the Jesuit residence (above) as well as senior around the world.” scientist. He said the Moringa is well-known and well received in Zambia especially among people with HIV who find it helpful in their diet. He knows of a farmer Winter-Spring 2013
Fr. Roland Lesseps (left) conducted research on trees and plants as well as practices that help poor farmers get better yields without having to buy chemicals. KATC is situated in a rural area near the Lusaka, Zambia, airport. Women sort through seeds (right) to keep the best ones for planting. Bro. Paul Desmarais (opposite page, center) directs the center which researches new methods of sustainable agriculture and teaches them to farmers who come to the center. KATC also develops technology such as a solarpowered food dryer that allows farmers in remote areas without electricity to dry fruit and other crops for export.
and conducts field days at its demonstration plots, farms, and schools in the area. It also prepares weekly radio programs for a community radio station and promotes adult participatory education in the villages. Farmers are taught how to produce more food by improving soil fertility through organic means such as compost and green manure fertilizers and crop rotation. Participants in KATC’s programs gain practical experience in organic gardening, agro-forestry, conservation tillage and integrated pest management. In 1982, KATC began to research and develop equipment and tools that are easier on the environment, such as a foot-powered water pump and a solar fooddrying cabinet suitable for use in rural areas. It also hosts blacksmithing courses. 20 Jesuit
Desmarais, whose staff includes agronomists, a biologist, an animal specialist, an agri-business specialist, an agricultural engineer, a forester and blacksmiths, said Lesseps was superior of the Jesuit community part of his time at KATC and that his interests extended beyond science. “Roland is a great Jesuit,” he said. “He supported me tremendously even when I was out on a limb. He believed in me.” In addition to practical scientific research, Lesseps kept up to date in theology and promoted creation theology, which emphasizes the relationship between humans and nature. “He was known in the province as the person who would speak up on environmental issues,” Desmarais said. “Since he had a solid scientific background, his comments were impeccable.”
In 2003, Lesseps was invited to Rome to speak at a Vatican-sponsored conference entitled “GMO: Threat or Hope.” He and another Zambia-based Jesuit argued for caution. “Nature is not just useful to us humans, but is valued and loved in itself, for itself, by God in Christ,” they said in prepared remarks. Desmarais said that Lesseps’ stand “showed his commitment to the farming community and the link between agriculture, development and the environment.” In October 2009, Lesseps returned to New Orleans, and in May will move from Ignatius Residence to the new assisted living community in Grand Coteau, La., where he will continue to pray for the church and the Society of Jesus. Perhaps his knowing that he would be cared for in his declining years freed the now 79-year-old
to risk leaving a secure job to offer his gifts where they were needed most. Like the small farmers it serves, KATC struggles to survive. Desmarais acknowledges that “finances are the constant worry. “Last year was a constant battle from month to month,” he said. He plans to begin raising crops for sale at market to help sustain the agricultural center.
M O R E we b ON THE
For more information on the KATC, go to www.loyno.edu/~katc/aboutus.htm Winter-Spring 2013
Jesus Takes the Extra Step of
By Mark Mossa SJ
t the conclusion of John’s Gospel, Peter and some of the other disciples, feeling a bit lost and out of sorts, decide to go fishing. While they are still out on the water, a man calls to them from the shore to inquire about their success. Peter recognizes Jesus and doesn’t wait for the boat to return to shore, but instead leaps eagerly into the sea and makes his way to Jesus. On the seashore, the group shares a meal with Jesus, and later, Peter and Jesus take some time to speak alone. A well-known conversation follows, during
which Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Peter assures Jesus that he does indeed, and is so exasperated at being asked three times that he finally cries out, “Lord, you know everything; You know that I love you.” Jesus responds as he had the two previous times, instructing Peter to “feed my sheep.” Most interpreters see this exchange as Peter’s opportunity to be forgiven by Jesus for his denial – Peter’s threefold assertion of love serving to cancel his three denials in the hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifiction.
But the question that is not often asked is: Why is this even necessary? After all, Jesus just died on the cross to take away the sins of the world. Shouldn’t Peter know that because of Jesus’ death his sin has already been forgiven? Perhaps Jesus was just trying to make Peter feel better. I think many of us know from experience that Jesus meant much more than that. If you’ve been wronged by a friend or loved one, you know that there is often much more at stake than simple assurances of forgiveness. A deeper reconciliation is required. Even though we often equate the two, reconciliation is not the same as forgiveness. I was reminded of this a few years ago when I had a falling out with a friend who was the author of a well-meaning but sometimes incendiary blog. She began receiving disparaging, anonymous comments and set about trying to discover who was responsible. To my surprise and shock, she made known in a public forum her suspicion that I was the person responsible. I thought the person who brought this to my attention had to be mistaken. My friend knew well enough that I would never do such a thing, I thought. I was quick to point out the mistake and she apologized, but she never offered an apology in that same public forum in which she had announced her suspicions. When a mutual friend inquired about it, she explained that she had apologized to me and had gone to confession. She felt that was enough. I forgave her, but her failure to rectify the accusations in that same public forum proved an obstacle to reconciliation. Perhaps, I wondered, I wasn’t being forgiving enough, but I found it impossible to preserve our friendship under these circumstances. The pain of such a loss in our lives underlines the need not only for forgiveness, but reconciliation. I think this is, in part, what Jesus was up to in his appearances to his disciples after the crucifixion. It wasn’t just an opportunity to say, “I’m alive,” but also to be reconciled with the disciples.
The theologian Miroslav Volf suggests that we would misunderstand Divine forgiveness if we thought that it could take the place of the victim’s giving and the perpetrator’s receiving of forgiveness. “If divine forgiveness could substitute for inter-human forgiveness, it would, in Matthew’s terms, make it unnecessary for persons who remembered that their brother or sister had something against them to go and be reconciled to them before offering their gifts ‘at the altar.’” This need for reconciliation is why Jesus does not appear to the disciples as a disembodied spirit, but rather in bodily form. The disciples know that at the time of his greatest need, on the eve of his suffering, they abandoned the human Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection appearances seem then to serve not only as a revelation but as a means of reconciliation, that “inter-human” forgiveness that the disciples and perhaps even Jesus needed to take place, so that they could all confidently move on to feeding his sheep. That Jesus would take this extra, seemingly unnecessary step is an example to us of the extra step we must take when our relationships with friends and family fall victim to human weakness and sin. Relying only on forgiveness or confession might keep us at a distance from one another, but seeking reconciliation can repair the fragile and intimate human bonds of friendship and love. Sometimes our human stubbornness can make this restoration seem impossible, but we must always hope that we might achieve reconciliation by finding a way, as Jesus and Peter do, of reminding ourselves that we do love each other. Love makes worthwhile the extra step toward reconciliation.
“We must always
hope that we might
achieve reconciliation by finding a way,
as Jesus and Peter do, of reminding
ourselves that we do love each other.”
Fr. Mark Mossa is a professor at Fordham University’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies.
Louie Hotop: ‘Joy’ in Service Inspires a Vocation By Cheryl Wittenauer
n Louie Hotop’s family, conversations about God and religion inevitably led to discussion about responsibility and care for others. His family modeled the practice of service, hospitality and help to strangers, and it made an impression on Hotop, who joined the Jesuits in 2009 as a high school graduate. “For my parents, there is no distinction between faith and service to others,” he said. “My dad always stops to help someone broken down on the highway, or when he cooks, he almost always makes extra and sends it over to the neighbors. My mom, who has a great love for animals, instilled in us care for all creatures.” His grandmother regularly took in people who needed a place to stay. Hotop, of suburban St. Louis, picked up the service bug at a young age, even organizing kids in his parish to help clean out hoarders’ homes through a county program. At St. Louis University High School, he joined mission trips to Reynosa, Mexico, and was introduced to a Catholic Worker house, where he worked during a SLUH month of service. He also connected with a Catholic sister who impressed him as a joyful religious servant. “I get so much joy out of service, I knew that’s what I wanted,” he said. “I thought, ‘why not do it for the rest of my life?’” The desire for service led Hotop to consider the priesthood, initially with the archdiocese. But competing desires to teach, help homeless people, and live and work internationally led him, at 2 o’clock one morning in his senior year, to email the Missouri Province vocation director that “I think I might have a vocation with the Jesuits.” He expected to be turned away and told to reapply after a few years of college and maturation, as is usually the case. But the Missouri Jesuits accepted him into the first class to join with New Orleans in August 2009.
Now 22, Hotop survived novitiate, made first vows, and is in his second year of First Studies at Saint Louis University, studying philosophy, Russian and women’s studies. He writes poetry and takes private voice lessons. Hotop also presides over a weekly, Internet call-in radio show, “Coffee Club,” broadcast live from the university, that features music (Marvin Gaye singing “Wie Schon Das Ist” or “How Sweet It Is” in German), a poets’ corner, guests such as his Russian professor to expound on the Eastern Bloc, and “News Stories You Probably Never Heard Of.” The show was the brainchild of Hotop and his friend and fellow Jesuit, Sean Powers, who completed First Studies at SLU in December and was assigned to a parish in Punta Gorda, Belize. The quirky show comes naturally to a once “independent kid” who trimmed his sports schedule in fifth-grade to accommodate piano and other interests, including those that friends weren’t pursuing. Hotop feels that his vocation is natural even though it runs counter to the culture. It’s difficult to see a brother Jesuit leave the order, he said, yet any turmoil it may stir up seems only to affirm his vocation. “That’s how I’ve come to see my vocation as organic,” he said. “It no longer feels like a choice but rather something that I’ve come to understand about myself.” Asked where he sees himself years from now, he offers: “I don’t have any idea. It’s up to God.” He says he’d be happy teaching high school, leading retreats, doing “so many things.” Yet, “there’s this desire to work in Russia,” which his Jesuit formation helped him discover, he said. “If I bring that to my prayer, maybe I’ll find some great adventure beyond the classroom.” Whatever his path, Hotop doesn’t want academic pursuits to trump service to others. Living only in one’s head, rather than one’s heart, can obscure opportunities to be with the poor, he said.
Jonathan Harmon: Learning in Stages By Brooke A. Iglesias
onathan Harmon may have entered the Jesuit novitiate with a slight advantage over the other men in his novice class. He had spent most of his 23 years studying martial arts, immersing himself in the discipline of patience, humility and awareness that karate teaches. Like the Jesuits, he was used to learning in stages, mastering each level of the discipline as he earned belts to designate his rank. Still, entering the novitiate in the historically Catholic town of Grand Coteau, La., was a considerable adjustment from life in Tyler, Texas. “Grand Coteau is pretty different from most of the world, culturally, and the novitiate itself was a very different experience,” he recalled. “Up to that point, I had not been in a community that was predominantly Catholic.” Harmon attended public schools, and his home parish was one of only three Catholic churches in Tyler. He became involved in youth ministry and eventually began teaching classes on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Presentations by visiting priests sparked his interest in religious life. Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio of the Diocese of Tyler, a Jesuit, was open and generous with his time while Harmon explored a vocation. Harmon found like-minded men at the Jesuit novitiate where he enjoyed discussions about the saints and Mass. After completing the 30-day Spiritual Exercises in solitude, his novice class set out for their “experiments,” first in a hospital to visit patients and their families, then at a youth detention center where they tutored young men for high school diploma exams, and where they listened to the stories of incarcerated youth. “Overall, the experiments were a way of delving into my own understanding of community and the work that we do, and how we pray and interact with each other,” he said. After he completed the first stage of formation, Harmon moved to Bellarmine House, his First Studies community of 25 Jesuit scholastics at Saint Louis University. One of six children, he feels at home there.
“First Studies is an interesting time because we are all coming from our first vows, from all over the country, and we get to know each other and build friendships.” He said his studies are challenging but enjoyable. “It’s very different from anything I’ve done, not having gone to Catholic school. It has been a really good time for me to focus on academic work. “The greatest challenge on my journey thus far has been that I simply cannot be in control of where the Lord takes me, no matter how hard I try,” Harmon said. It’s a common sentiment for Jesuits who can be missioned anywhere at any time, who build relationships with people they probably will not be with much in the future. “How can you love these people and be able to let them go?” he asked. He said he relies on prayer and enjoys creative pursuits like photography, drawing and digital painting. He finds inspiration in the namesake of his Jesuit community, St. Robert Bellarmine, the 17th-century Jesuit theologian who always strove to live his Jesuit life to the fullest, even after becoming an archbishop and a cardinal. “He was known to give readily whatever he could to the poor, often giving or selling items from his own room to help the needy and desolate,” Harmon said. Harmon is also inspired by Bellarmine’s strong devotion to the Spiritual Exercises. After retiring from his prominent service in the Vatican, Bellarmine moved back into a Jesuit community and made the full 30-day retreat annually. His faith offers a great example for a Jesuit scholastic, one not out of reach for Harmon who says his parents’ trust and faith in him and in God are also constant sources of inspiration. “These past few years in the Society have only helped me grow more, not just as a person, but as a Christian,” he said. “The novitiate helped me find Christ; and studies and my interactions with fellow Jesuits have been constant reminders of Christ working in my life.” Winter-Spring 2013
Peter Callery: Jesuit Finds ‘Story’ in Life and Retreats Callery is one of four retreat directors who give preached retreats at Manresa. He starts with a funny story to relax the men and peppers subsequent talks with other stories to illustrate a point or elicit self-reflection as they are led through St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. “Ideas are like bones. They give you the structure,” he said. “Stories are flesh and blood. They give you the living creature.” In his teaching days, Callery had his students write stories rather than essays on topics real and fantastic. “I had them write a story about a shoe on the side of the road,” he said. “I’d say, ‘tell me how it got there, what happened to it while it was there and afterward. I didn’t By Cheryl Wittenauer get the same two stories. Or I’d say, ‘write me a story about being a worm. The evil Fr. Callery is turning you into worms.’” eter Callery, an early reader who came to love stories, Such story outlines were writing prompts designed arrived quickly in understanding their value in life as to stimulate the creative process in kids who didn’t think food for the spirit. they could write. The 70-year-old Jesuit incorporated story in teaching In an Ignatian retreat for adults, the stories help middle- and high school boys for nearly 40 years in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Tampa, Fla., and in preaching retreatants reflect on how they got where they are and retreats for the last six years at Manresa House of Retreats where they want to go from here, he said. “We assume people making the (Spiritual) Exercises want to go in the in Convent, La. direction God calls,” he said. Even his film studies classes in Baton Rouge, La., use “They taught me in philosophy class that the statestory to stimulate reflection and learning. He’s also written ment, ‘Man is a rational animal’ shows how we differ from a number of short stories that are not yet published. other animals,” he said. “However, I began to question “Our lives center on stories we tell ourselves and whether human beings are always ‘rational.’ And I notice stories we experience by witnessing them,” Callery said. that some other animals show evidence of some ‘rational“We take in all these stories and we create our own life ity.’ So, I say human beings are story-sharing animals. story. We can always rewrite the story.” “We pass stories on to each other, person to person, A move six years ago to Manresa helped rewrite his generation to generation. All conversations are a form own. Callery had taught Latin, math, English and theolof story.” ogy to middle school and high school boys for 36 years One story for which he’s known is his family’s and coached sports for 27 of them. When he noticed that connection to turtles. When Callery was a high school he was the third-oldest faculty member in his last school, sophomore, he acquired a box turtle that he named Pa, he decided it was time to turn his job over to a younger which stayed with the family for 45 years. After his teacher. A year’s sabbatical allowed him to tackle some medical problems and prepare for retreat work at Manresa, parents’ death, his younger brother moved into the family home in New Orleans where he collects and mainwhich he has found refreshing and fulfilling. “I loved my years of teaching,” he said, “but after I got tains a menagerie of turtles in the backyard. They include a 1 foot by 1 ½ foot tortoise whose into retreat work, I asked God, ‘why didn’t you send me species roams in Africa. here a long time ago?’ The answer was ‘you weren’t ready “My brother built him a house last year,” he said. “He yet.’” He said all those years of interacting with students, comes out in the morning, eats some romaine lettuce and parents and faculty had prepared him for accompanying goes back in his house.” retreatants on their spiritual journeys.
Jim and Jane Ebel: Skeptic Turned Donor By Cheryl Wittenauer
or years, Jim Ebel discarded letters from his former high school English teacher about his theater ministry in a godforsaken corner of Central America. Ebel, a successful internist in suburban St. Louis, said that 20 years ago, “Jack (Warner) out of the blue started sending Teatro La Fragua letters, saying ‘I’m here. This is what I’m doing,’ in an attempt to raise money. “I thought, ‘this man is an idiot,’” Ebel said. Ebel, 57, a self-described Type A, obsessive-compulsive workaholic, couldn’t understand why anyone would give up a comfortable life in the U.S. to run a theater troupe in Honduras for 30-plus years. Besides, he thought, wouldn’t a nation with nearly 65 percent of its people in poverty be served better by sanitation and water-quality improvements, new housing construction or medical care? “I’m a concrete-thinking kind of guy,” Ebel said. “Get these people basic sanitation. That’s the doctor part of me.” Then he saw the troupe perform in St. Louis and something clicked. Ebel said the 68-year-old Jesuit was giving Hondurans, in his words, “hope and social justice,” and had struck on an innovative means of evangelization, a perhaps less tangible but equally powerful gift that is worth supporting financially. “I think the guy is crazy, but crazy can be genius,” he said.
Ebel and his wife, Jane Ebel, an art teacher for a Catholic school in St. Louis that serves Spanishspeaking children from throughout the Americas, have given tens of thousands of dollars to Teatro La Fragua, among other charities. They include the W. Peoria, Ill.based group, Haitian Hearts, which sponsors medical trips to the U.S. for Haitian children in need of heart surgery. The Ebels have hosted half a dozen children. They even adopted one.
Ebel said he started sending checks to Teatro La Fragua for $100 or $200 about 12 years ago, but when his income suddenly grew, he offered $10,000 if Warner would quit smoking. After some failed attempts, Warner succeeded. More recently, Ebel and other 1970s alumni of St. Louis University High School raised enough funds to replace Warner’s worn-out van. The doctor also offered a $10,000 matching grant for van maintenance and the theater troupe’s travel expenses. Warner doesn’t know why a man he taught in high school English class 40 years ago, who once was skeptical of his ministry, has become a substantial donor.
“I’m not really sure,” he said. “Maybe he sees it as serious and important work, and work that he couldn’t do. I think the presence of Jane had something to do with it.” Jane Ebel, 60, has traveled to Honduras for 10 years to teach English and arts and crafts through a network of volunteers unrelated to Warner and his ministry. Her introduction was through a friend who had been invited to help in the wake of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Jim Ebel has never been to Honduras, and until very recently, had no desire to travel there, knowing that serving in a medical capacity would be physically and emotionally exhausting.
Jane Ebel said he listens with a look of surprise when she describes living conditions there. But the driven, energy-charged doctor, who struggles with spontaneity, recently said the idea of hanging out in Honduras for a while is appealing. He said it never occurred to him that he could go as a sightseer, and take a walk on the beach, or just spend time and have a beer with his old teacher. Warner spent his Jesuit scholastic years at St. Louis University Winter-Spring 2013
High School, and taught freshman- and junior-year English to Ebel and other boys in the Class of ’72. Neither could recall anything remarkable between them in those years. Ebel said he was neither an academic standout nor a goof-off who barely slid by. “I can’t say I did really well,” he said. “I was just one of those guys in the middle of class.” After leaving SLUH, Warner continued his own studies, earning a Master of Fine Arts in directing from the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago in 1978. He then studied Spanish for a year in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where he came to see the importance of theater in an essentially illiterate culture. Warner knew he wanted to work somewhere in Latin America, and at the time, the Missouri Province ran the Jesuits’ mission in the Honduran state of Yoro. So, in 1979, the place emerged as the site of his people’s theater company, Teatro La Fragua, or Theater of the Forged, “as in a blacksmith’s forge,” he explained. “I like the image . . . taking ideas and cultural realities and forming them into a shape that can be seen, heard and experienced; the forming of people and forming of ideas, and by doing so, giving people a reflection, an image of who they are and their own reality. Hamlet uses the image of holding a mirror up to nature.” Warner, who had been around theater since childhood, and whose great aunt was a Broadway producer, said his dream of community theater seemed doable. He launched Teatro with a parish youth group in Olanchito but eventually moved it to El Progreso, the nation’s third-largest 28 Jesuit
Fr. Jack Warner
city that for years was the commercial center for banana farms. Today, the city is better known for its clothing sweatshops, but a former dance hall of United Fruit Co. serves as Teatro’s performance venue when the troupe isn’t on the road. The hall is about the size of an off-Broadway theater. Warner directs actors in their late teens and 20s, most of whom joined the theater after participating in acting and staging workshops Teatro offers at parishes and schools. The troupe spends half the year rehearsing and performing strictly scriptural material, dramatizing Gospel stories for the Christmas and Easter seasons. The other half of the year, they work on secular material with a social message such as Grimms’ Fairy Tales or popular folk stories from Europe and Latin America. Teatro la Fragua has toured Central America, Mexico, Colombia, Spain and the U.S., and was the subject of a PBS documentary in 1989. The theater’s mission is to stimulate the creativity needed for problem-solving, and to enable Hondurans to show themselves and the world their culture’s worth,
beauty and power even as globalization ranks some as inferior. Warner’s work echoes a Jesuit tradition of working with people on the margins of society. “It’s not a political message as such, but a cultural message,” Warner said. “People need the mirror. They need something to reflect back who they are and what they are doing” as an antidote to a bombardment of images from the outside. “Shakespeare did that. Goethe did it in Germany. Cervantes did it in Spain, and we’re trying to do it for Hondurans.” Ebel still thinks his old English teacher, who only recently cut off the ponytail he wore for 20 years, is half crazy to have gone off to Honduras to establish a theater. But when he realized what Warner’s ministry was accomplishing, he felt obligated to financially support his efforts. Ebel said he donates 10 percent of his annual income to charitable groups each year. Warner has no plans to retire but would like to turn over the project to Hondurans and serve as its consultant. He’s working on securing an endowment that would ensure Teatro’s financial future. Teatro is funded by private donors and international organizations (40 percent each) as well as by ticket sales and earned income (20 percent). Ebel knows that when he retires, he won’t be able to maintain his current level of support and wonders how that will be made up. “I don’t have a good answer for that,” he said, “but through God’s mysterious ways, things seem to work out.”
Fr. John F. Kavanaugh
John F. Kavanaugh, philosophy professor and social commentator, died of a blood disease Nov. 5, 2012 in St. Louis. He was 71. A Jesuit for more than 50 years, Kavanaugh entered the Society of Jesus in August 1959 and was ordained to the priesthood June 3, 1971. He taught philosophy at Saint Louis University from 1976 until his death. Highly regarded for his scholarship, Kavanaugh founded the Ethics Across the Curriculum program at SLU, which helps faculty to reflect critically on ethical issues and incorporate ethical considerations into their courses. During the year he spent doing tertianship in India in 1975, he worked with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity at The House of the Dying in Calcutta. Kavanaugh wrote for the national Jesuit magazine, America, for nearly two decades.
Fr. Martin J. Bredeck
Martin J. Bredeck died of cancer on Dec. 3, 2012, in St. Louis after 61 years in the Society of Jesus. He was 79. Born in St. Louis, he entered the Society in 1951. He received a doctorate in Religion and Religious Education at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and then joined the faculty at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, where he served for the next 33 years. In 1988, he published “Imperfect Apostles: The Commonweal and the American Catholic Laity, 1924-1976.” He remained interested in American Catholic history throughout his career. He explored Midwest Jesuit history during a sabbatical in the mid-1990s and later offered a course in Mid-American Christianity. He enjoyed teaching, and students found him both demanding and fair. Bredeck was awarded emeritus status at Rockhurst University in 2011.
Fr. Richard W. Dunphy
Richard W. “Dick” Dunphy died of cancer Dec. 12, 2012 in St. Louis after 53 years with the Society of Jesus. He was 71. During his time with the Jesuits, he worked with men in formation, was a hospital chaplain, directed retreats and served at three universities: Saint Louis University, the Gregorian University in Rome and Regis University. During his time as chaplain at Saint Louis University Hospital, he developed a special concern for people with AIDS and coordinated a year-long program of AIDS Education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In 1997, he was appointed rector of the Jesuit community at Regis University. He became the first director of Regis’ Institute for the Common Good, an organization that provides a place for community dialogue and public deliberation. In 2002, Dunphy became a retreat and spiritual director at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House in Sedalia, Colo., where he served for the next 10 years. He was well-known for his outreach to the Alcoholics Anonymous community and gave AA retreats throughout the country.
Fr. Raymond A. Pease
Raymond A. Pease died Jan. 17, 2013, in El Progreso, Honduras where he had spent most of his priesthood. He was 75 years old and a Jesuit for 57 years. Born in Denver, Pease entered the Society of Jesus in 1955. He taught English and religion in Jalisco, Mexico, and El Progreso and studied theology in Bogota, Colombia. Pope Paul VI ordained him to the priesthood in 1968 at the 39th Eucharistic Congress in Bogota. Pease worked in El Progreso as a teacher and principal at Instituto San Jose, the Jesuit secondary school, and as pastor of the Jesuit parish. The provincial of Central America lauded Pease as a “Jesuit who spent most of his life in the dusty streets of El Progreso and in the barrios often destroyed by floods, who loved the townspeople very much and who treated everyone with great affection. He wanted to give his life at the end where he had given it for so many years, leaving his homeland and family with a heart full of generosity and goodness.”
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www.jesuitsmissouri.org • 1.800.325.9924 Jesuit Bulletin XCII • Number 1 • Winter-Spring 2013 The Jesuit Bulletin is published and distributed by the Jesuits of the Missouri Province. All communications about editorial matter should be addressed to the editor at: 4511 West Pine Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63108-2191. All communications about change of address, memberships, burses, and requests should be addressed to Thom M. Digman, Advancement Office of the Jesuits of the Missouri Province, 4511 West Pine Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63108-2191. Email: email@example.com
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legacy will you leave?
We all desire to lead happy and fulfilled lives surrounded by family and friends. Many of us feel compelled to make a difference and leave a lasting impact on the people we love and the world we will leave behind. The search for significance and the desire to plan for the future lead many to ponder their legacy.
What kind of legacy will you leave?
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