Saturday, December 11, 2004

Guests and more guests.

Yesterday was a busy day at Loyola House, taken up largely with providing hospitality for two groups of gracious and welcome visitors. In the morning and early afternoon, we had Mass and lunch with the women who constitute the committee that coordinates the annual Jesuit formation benefit that we all attend in October (read my reflections on that event here). Having the committee over to visit gave us an opportunity to express our gratitude to some of the generous benefactors who pay for our formation while also giving the benefactors a chance to tour the novitiate and meet the novices and staff. Chatting with members of the committee was a lot of fun; I was especially interested to discover their diverse Jesuit connections - some are relatives of Jesuits, others have spouses or children who attended province schools, others have ties to Jesuit parishes and retreat centers, and so on. The benefactors also enjoyed a sumptuous meal prepared by the undisputed culinary giants of the first-year class, Denis and Ryan. Someday these guys should come out with a cookbook in the tradition of Brother Rick Curry's The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking and its sequel The Secrets of Jesuit Soupmaking. If you have any ideas for a catchy title, let me know.

Practically as soon as Loyola House had big goodbye to the benefit committee we began to prepare for our second big group of visitors for the day: the teachers from Our Lady of La Salette School across the street. Starting in early February - shortly after making the full Spiritual Exercises or "Long Retreat" - the first-year novices begin teaching religion at La Salette, and yesterday afternoon we had the school's faculty over for a social hour. The social gave us an opportunity to meet the teachers we'll be working in a couple months and to get a better feel for the culture of the school. Over the next few days each of us will be thinking about what grade(s) he may be interested in teaching, and yesterday's meeting with the teachers is a key help in our discernment. Like the benefactors we met earlier in the day, the La Salette teachers were a great group and I enjoyed my time with them. The anecdotes and stories they told reminded me how little things have changed since my own elementary school days - it seems like a lot of what went on then still goes on now, despite the passage of almost twenty years. Hopefully in February I'll be able to say whether this hunch is true. AMDG.


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