Wednesday, November 1
Three saints in my life
I’m posting All Saints Day like a Jesuit Homie – three Jesuits: one I lived with for years before he died, Art McGovern. The second lived a barely recognized life in the 1500s and was named a Saint in formal Catholic fashion, St. Alphonsus Rodriquez. Today’s third saint is familiar to most readers: Gerard Manley Hopkins, another non-famous person during his life. Hopkins’ poem in honor of Alphonsus, whose feast was yesterday, is a tribute to a compelling human being and the wonder of his seemingly un-noteworthy life as a college door-keeper hundreds of years ago.
Mid-week, November chills, blessings as you go.
p.s. My laptop selectively interrupts this writing by losing its memory unpredictably. That’s why Monday’s post played hooky and today’s is pretty late.
Posted on November 2, 2015
Monday November 2 – a saint who lived with us, Art McGovern, sj
This time of year Art McGovern seems to come and find me. Yesterday was, in the R Catholic calendar, the feast of all the saints. At the opening of the Sunday 12:30 mass, I invited the congregation to think of some one person who had touched their life and pay attention to her/him as we worshipped. I hadn’t chosen my own person yet but as we listened to the readings, I settled on Art, who died at 70 in 2000. Art lived close to the ground — at home with play (“health food is the kind you like so much you feel good while eating it: my 3 are pretzels, ice cream, and bacon.”) and grief, at home with losses and wins, at home leading difficult committees, at home with impeccably prepared classes laced with kind teasing and learning (“Fr. McGovern is like feathers; he makes you laugh while you think hard.” said a student one time). If someone can be a world class scholar, a beloved teacher, a rabid Ohio State football fan and a kinsman day in and day out . . . . No surprise he came to mind yesterday.
In honour of
St. Alphonsus Rodriquez
Laybrother of the Society of Jesus
HONOUR is flashed off exploit, so we say;
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.
On Christ they do and on the martyr may;
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled,
Earth hears no hurtle then from fiercest fray.
Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by of world without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.
Gerard Manley Hopkins 28 July 1844 – 8 June, 1889