Santa Clara University

Fr. Paul Locatelli 1938-2010

Memory Book


Memories of Father Locatelli

Back to Blog

A global visionary

Monday, Jul. 26, 2010

I was about to celebrate an early morning mass with the Jesuit novices in Dili, East Timor when news came through of Paul’s death. How appropriate it was to be commemorating his life, his achievements and his very self there in one of the poorest countries in the world, with a group of young people being formed and educated in a faith that does justice. I received the news just a few feet away from the graves of two Jesuits massacred during the 1999 uprising in East Timor. Tonight I have discovered the funeral mass on the Internet and prayed belatedly with you all there in the mission gardens. Thanks to Michael McCarthy for the wonderful homily and to all who contributed to such a celebratory liturgy. No doubt much of the technology permitting such access was invented in Silicon Valley. I was privileged to use Paul’s room when there at Santa Clara for a couple of months – so generous was he in sharing all he had. In recent years, we met annually in Rome for the intellectual and tertiary apostolate meeting. Rome was a difficult appointment for him, given not only his love for Santa Clara but also his passion to be on the ground mixing daily with students, faculty and staff. A man of simple faith with a passion for justice, he was not much interested in the pomp, circumstance and clerical hierarchy of Rome. But he got on, practically doing the job at hand, never complaining even though by last October he was having to take breaks, lying on the floor during our meeting at the Jesuit Curia. The Mexico conference was the fulfillment of so much he dreamed of for Jesuit higher education, and yet it was just a beginning – a very bold beginning which could be ushered in only by one of Paul’s experience, passion, groundedness, romanticism and global vision. He was a wonderful Jesuit friend – a deft mentor, a warm encourager, and a no-nonsense director. Thanks to all of you at Santa Clara who were not only shaped by him; you gave him vision and purpose. I daresay you received many requests for service of the mission from him similar to the one I received just before the Mexico conference commenced: “Here is my request... in anticipation of your saying yes, thank you.” I daresay that is the way God asked him always, and to the end. Be assured that Paul is missed as a loving brother even down under here in Australia, and he will continue to inspire Jesuits and our apostolic partners throughout the world. May he rest in peace, and may we not rest until we too have spent our all in the pursuit of the vision of an educated, just world reflecting God’s love for a