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Santa Clara Mag Blog

Santa Clara Magazine's blog, updated whenever the writing goblin visits the editorial staff of the magazine.

The following postings have been filtered by tag Jesuit. clear filter
  •  A void unfilled: Alejandro Garcia-Rivera (1951-2010)

    Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010
    A tribute to Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, faculty member at the Jesuit School of Theology, who passed away on Dec. 13.

    Alejandro García-Rivera, faculty member at the Jesuit School of Theology, passed away on Dec. 13 after a long illness.

    He inspired many to think freely, inquire uninhibitedly, and believe wholly. Originally from Cuba, his life path took many twists and turns – from a Boeing engineer trained in physics, to Lutheran minister and social activist, to esteemed scholar and author who embraced the Jesuit way of life.

    García-Rivera joined the faculty of the Jesuit School of Theology in 1993 as a professor of systematic theology. His scholarship as a theologian bridged the disciplines of science and religion.

    “I believe wholeheartedly that we must begin to see the interconnectedness of the world, to grasp its complexity, even if our intellectual traditions have conditioned us to seek a different type of grasping,” he said.

    Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, pictured with his wife Kathy, receives the President’s Special Recognition Award from Fr. Michael Engh

    He often used the term “interlacing,” which he described as the artful weaving of various perspectives across disciplines to gain an insight greater than any of its components. “Everything is interconnected, and I believe God gave me such a broad journey in life so I could see the connections,” he said.

    García-Rivera was one of the founders of a joint JST-SCU colloquium on science, art, and religion with colleagues from JST, the SCU School of Engineering, and the SCU College of Arts and Sciences.

    Earlier this year, García-Rivera received the GTU’s highest honor presented to a teacher, the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award, as well as a President’s Special Recognition Award at Santa Clara.

    He was also one of the most important voices in the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. Beloved as a teacher at the JST’s Instituto Hispano summer training institute for Hispanic ministry, he dedicated much of his life to supporting marginal communities.

    García-Rivera always started a course he taught in Theology and Human Suffering by saying, “It’s hard to teach a class where everybody’s an expert…because who hasn’t suffered?” For García-Rivera, however, suffering wasn’t all about gloom, unpleasantness, and pain.

    He saw beauty in suffering. Because if you can’t see that, he said, “there’s just one alternative left … and that’s despair.”

    Here is one of García-Rivera’s favorite poems, written by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

    Pied Beauty

    Glory be to God for dappled things—

    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

    And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;

    Whatever is fickle, freckled, (who knows how?)

    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

    He fathers-forth whose Beauty is past change:

    Praise Him.

    Photo caption: Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, pictured with his wife Kathy, receives the President’s Special Recognition Award from Fr. Michael Engh, president of Santa Clara University.

     

    Mansi Bhatia, University Writer/Editor

  •  What is missing in our leadership?

    Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
    Adolf Nicolas, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, talked at about the Jesuit philosophy of leadership at the Shaping the Future conference in Mexico City earlier this year.

    “What is missing in our leadership?”
    That was one of the questions posed by Adolf Nicolás, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, at the Shaping the Future conference in Mexico City earlier this year. One of the presenters at the conference Chris Lowney, author of Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World, and now the president of the Jesuit Commons. In assessing some of the challenges facing the Society, Fr. Nicolás shared a story from the Philippines when he and Lowney both delivered talks in Manila. “After Lowney’s brilliant presentation of how good we are in leadership,” Fr. Nicolás said, “a Jesuit asked: ‘Can you tell us also something about what is missing in our leadership?’ Lowney very kindly went around the question. But the Jesuit insisted, ‘Tell us what is missing, because we need to know that also, not only what is good.’
    “Lowney said, ‘Well, since you ask, what is missing sometimes in Jesuit leadership are two things. One is a sense of urgency. And second is the ability and the willingness to go through evaluations and measure those evaluations.’
    “A confirmation of that,” Fr. Nicolás said, “is that I receive many proposals for projects in Rome, and very seldom do they come with a budget. Jesuits are very good at thinking. They want to do things. They are very generous. But the challenge is to be realistic and to be able to follow up our work with some form of measurement—which is not mechanical measuring. It’s always human and often spiritual fruits that we have to measure.
    “Whether our students are being transformed—this also has to be evaluated. How do they perform later? Not only if they keep praising the Jesuits, but do they collaborate when we get involved with faith and justice? Do they collaborate when some of the issues in which we are involved bring conflict with the government, when this might bring some weakening in the profits they make in the companies?”
    All that is just one of the asides in Nicolás’ talk, featured in the Winter 2010 issue of SCM. An edited version of the speech appears in the print edition, with more available online—including a downloadable PDF that contains the speech, sidebars, and more.

     

    Read more about the Jesuit Commons
    Read the full Shaping the Future story


    Steven Boyd Saum

    Editor, Santa Clara Magazine

  •  Everything Everywhere: A postcard from Prague ... and Brno

    Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010
    A postcard from Santa Clara Magazine Managing Editor, Steven Boyd Saum, currently traversing the cornfields of the Czech Republic.

    Here in the Czech lands the hillsides are wearing their riotous autumnal colors: from Petrín Hill overlooking the Vltava River in Prague to the rocky Moravian Highlands, the landscapes wear gold and red and orange and yellow and brown and the last of the brilliant green of summer.

    Some of the cornfields have been plowed under and the celebrations of young wine (sweet as apple cider, if not sophisticated in flavor) and local elections (results not earth-shattering, but the Czechs have a stable government and a strong currency), and it’s the eve of a holiday celebrating nation that no longer exists.

    Klementium: a historic site in PragueAn independent Czechoslovakia came into being on October 28, 1918, wedding two regions into an independent nation. That nation ceased to exist on January 1, 1993. But the holiday persists.

    Some of my Czech friends find the celebration absurd; but having lived and worked in the Czech Republic in the 1990s, I’m among those who hold a special reverence for the fact that the little country of Czechoslovakia was formed at all—and then tragically dismembered at Munich in 1938, with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returning home and saying, “How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.”

    That country is not so far away any more. (Not that it was far away then; Prague is closer to London than Vienna is.) But historical memory has a way of receding so quickly.

    Some of the students at Santa Clara were born after the Velvet Revolution brought down the Communist government here. Why does that matter?

    As I write this note, I’m actually in Brno (second-biggest city in the Czech Republic, capital of Moravia, with a tiny fraction of the tourists that Prague has). Our friends here who lived through the heady days of the autumn of ’89 long ago pointed out that when the student protest began, joining them were people of their grandparents’ generation—those old enough to have lived under a democratic government and remember what was possible.

     

    About the photo: Nestled in the Czech Republic is the Klementinum, a complex of buildings historical in its Baroque architecture as well as in its missionary past. It was built by the Jesuits at the foot of the Charles Bridge in Prague over the course of several hundred years. Formerly a Jesuit college, this complex is now part of Charles University.

    Steven Boyd Saum, managing editor, Santa Clara Magazine, and Lindsey Nguyen '13, editorial intern, SCU Stories

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