Monday, June 20, 2005

The rest is history.

Please forgive the overly corny title, as I'm presently unable to think of anything more creative (I briefly considered naming this post "Rocky Mountain High," but that would be too corny). Anyway, I've settled in here at Regis University in Denver for the biannual Jesuit history course for the Society's novices in North America. There are over ninety Jesuit novices on campus, representing all ten provinces of the United States Assistancy plus the Upper Canada Province and the English-speaking Caribbean novitiate in Jamaica. Many of the novices currently gathered here in Denver will be running into one another repeatedly over the next decade as we go through formation together. As the process of Assistancy Strategic Discernment goes forward, it's also quite likely that many of us who are beginning our formation in different novitiates will end up as members of the same province. In a very real sense, the future of the Society is right here.

The academic component of the Denver program began this morning with a lecture from Father Mark Lewis of the New Orleans Province, former director of the Jesuit Historical Institute in Rome. This week, Father Lewis will be speaking to us about the pre-Suppression Society, with particular emphasis on the world of the early Jesuits. Over the next few weeks, a number of other Jesuit historians will come in to cover other topics. In addition to classroom lectures, we have also been placed into small seminar groups to discuss the material covered, and each week we will be expected to prepare a two-page integration paper reflecting on our experience. Granted, I'm only one lecture into a four-week course, but based on what's come so far I expect the next month will be a lot of fun.

At this point I'm not in a very good position to comment on the merits of being in Denver, as I haven't seen much of the place. I've had an easier time than I would've expected adjusting to the altitude, though the baking heat and bright sun still leave me eager to retreat to the cool, dark indoors whenever possible. The area around the Regis campus is heavily Latino, with a number of taquerias that may bear closer examination. Yesterday I and a couple other novices drove into Denver's historic LoDo (Lower Downtown) area, primarily to visit the Tattered Cover Bookstore there. Tattered Cover was nothing to write home about - to be fair, however, the LoDo store is not the independent chain's flagship - but the neighborhood was very nice, and I'm sure I'll be going back there. The snow-capped peaks of the Rockies feel omnipresent, which is a good thing because they're lovely to look at. So far, Denver looks pretty promising. Whether my initial impression is borne out by further experience may be judged by readers perusing my posts over the next few weeks. AMDG.


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