Sunday, August 28, 2005

". . .the ravages of seventy years of Jesuit living."

Yesterday afternoon the novices and staff of Loyola House attended a special Mass and dinner at Colombiere honoring the jubilarians of the Chicago and Detroit Provinces. "Jubilarians" are individuals celebrating significant milestones in religious life - fifty, sixty or seventy years in the Society, for example, or fifty or sixty years in the priesthood. Though our two provinces celebrate Jubilarian Masses each year at province days in June, an additional bi-province jubilee celebration is held in August at Colombiere as a way of honoring the older Jesuits residing at our retirement community. This year at Colombiere we had a veritable bumper crop of jubilarians - an even dozen, in fact - who have given over 700 years of collective service to the Church and the Society. This year's jubilarians have served in many different apostolates - in universities and in high schools, in parishes and in retreat houses, in publishing and in foreign missions - but everything they have done has been for the help of souls and the greater glory of God.

Speaking with jubilarians and with older Jesuits in general, I'm often impressed by their apparent agelessness and lightness of touch. Though many have accomplished great things, they seldom talk about them. Many remain energetic and sharp into their eighties and nineties, continuing to work as much as they're able and recalling the events of fifty years ago and the events of yesterday with equal clarity. Though many have accomplished great things, they seldom talk about them. Reaching that degree of humility has to take some doing. The title of this post comes from a wisecrack one of this year's jubilarians is wont to repeat to visiting novices: "You're looking at the ravages of seventy years of Jesuit living." The Jesuit in question is doing much better than most other ninety-year olds I've encountered, which suggests to me that the "ravages" of Jesuit living aren't all that bad. On the contrary, the example of the men at Colombiere suggests that the Society of Jesus is a great institution to grow old in. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home