Monday February 17
Eight people from UDM got in the Engineering & Science 15 passenger van on Friday and drove through some wet and windy weather 270 miles to Cincinnati and Xavier University. We were the ninth cohort from Detroit to participate in these annual weekend gatherings. Each year I find a similar magic. We engage in the conference theme with faculty from other mid-west Jesuit universities. When UDM hosted in 2011 our theme was, no surprise, “Urban Commitments.” This year focussed on the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Jesuits. Jesuits had been suppressed by the pope in 1773 and restored by another pope in 1814. No matter the theme, when faculty meet as peers from a network of schools we hear about one another’s university troubles & successes and trade stories about how we do things in our home places. That’s part of the magic. Perhaps the longer term effect on the 8 of us will be the birth of friendships among ourselves. When we climbed aboard at the Livernois entrance Friday morning none of us knew all of us and most of us only knew one or two of us. When we climbed off Sunday afternoon, we had the makings of friendships across campuses and colleges and intellectual commitments. Lots of story telling about our work, and why we decided to take the path we chose. Lots of stories about our marriages and children and siblings and where we grew up. Magic.
We also talked about the challenges facing universities in the U.S. today. Along with awareness of tough times, I heard kinship and courage and pride at what we stand for in Detroit
Magic. Of course it was snowing when we unloaded our suitcases.
Today’s post, a reprise from September 27, celebrates the sacredness of how human beings live & work; here at UDM and everywhere in the world; all of us — faculty, facilities, offices, residence life, the registrar and admissions. In Poem # 1 Rabindranath Tagore writes of sacred beauty woven through ordinary humanity.
Happy new work week.
john st sj
Rabindranath Tagore Poem # 1 Gitanjali
Tagore died in the city of his birth, Calcutta, in 1941. He vastly influenced poetry, sacred and secular, not only in India but around the world. He is the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure.
This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again,
and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales,
and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart
loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine.
Ages pass, and still thou pourest,
and still there is room to fill.