I N PA R T N E R S H I P
Ordinary Miracles By Susie Murphy
n places near and far, I’ve seen Christ’s presence in the life-changing work of the Jesuits. I have experienced it as close to home as Cleveland and as far away as Nairobi, Kenya, and Kathmandu, Nepal. The Jesuit charism has touched my life in innumerable ways. When I was very small, my family belonged to Gesu Parish, a Jesuit church in a Cleveland suburb. I sought the intellectual challenge of a Jesuit education at Marquette University in Milwaukee, and I have grown spiritually at the Jesuit Retreat House here in Cleveland. The Jesuit compassion for commitment to those who are disadvantaged has had the greatest personal influence on my life. When Fr. Joe Daoust, SJ, the former Detroit provincial, led a group to Eastern Africa, I was fortunate enough to be included on that trip. I always tell people that, incidentally, we saw lots of animals, but we experienced so very much more of Africa than that. Our visit included the offices of the Jesuit Refugee Service; a prosthetics camp; the Jesuit Provincial house in Nairobi; Dollycraft, a place where women were learning crafts to support their families, and a novitiate in Arusha. I was struck by something very powerful at this last site, young men raised to hate each other because they were from different tribes were now living and learning together to be Jesuits. It was very moving. Sometime after that, when I was planning a trip to Nepal and Tibet, I contacted the Jesuits in Kathmandu, and asked if I might learn more about their social service efforts there. They graciously welcomed me, taking me to an elementary school, drug treatment program, home for mentally and physically compromised people, and a homeless shelter. Once again, I was shown how Jesuits in their compassion and giftedness were lovingly making a difference for their brothers and sisters. It is a relatively new ministry, closer to home, that has most stolen my heart: St. Martin de Porres High School, a member of the Cristo Rey Network of schools. Connected to the Jesuits and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, this school is not only changing urban Cleveland one student at a time, but it is very clearly changing the lives of those of us who work there.
Things that happen regularly at the school are nothing short of miraculous. For example, just a few days after the principal told me we needed SAT prep for the students, I was visiting someone in the hospital, and I met a priest who said he’d like to tutor our kids for exactly that. There was the time I was in line at a funeral and someone introduced me to the stranger in front of me who, when she discovered I
I was struck by something very powerful at this last site: young men raised to hate each other because they were from different tribes were now living and learning together to be Jesuits. It was very moving. was associated with the school, said that her hospital would like our kids to come on Saturdays to experience a medical environment, so they might feel more confident about going into that field. When people whom I’ve known for years or whom I’ve just met find out that I am connected to St. Martin de Porres, they often ask to visit, offer a job for the students, volunteer to tutor, or ask how they can make a financial gift. With so much need out there, it usually takes
“I have been shown how Jesuits in their compassion and giftedness are lovingly making a difference for their brothers and sisters all over the world,” says Susie Murphy. At an event in Cleveland in 2012, Susie spends time with Fr. Cap Miller, SJ, known for establishing schools in Kathmandu, Nepal, for the last 53 years.
beating the bushes to get people interested in a particular cause in which you are invested, but at St. Martin, if people hear the story, they want to be involved. It has been an incredible privilege and a remarkable experience to be a part of the Jesuit work both here and afar. I’ve been most blessed!
On December 9, 2012, John and Barbara Schubert (front row, center) were honored by the Chicago-Detroit Province as Founders of the Province. Held at the Schuberts’ home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the celebration included family as well as Jesuit and diocesan friends, including (front row) Fr. John Libens, Fr. Howard Gray, Fr. Provincial Timothy Kesicki, (back row) Fr. Bernard McAniff, Rev. Donald Cozzens (Diocese of Cleveland), Fr. Robert Niehoff, Fr. Jack Dister, Fr. William Bichl, and Fr. Martin Connell.
Partners is a publication of the Chicago-Detroit Midwest Jesuits