March 1, 2010

Jesuit Finds Gaps in Assistance in Haiti

Fr. Alfredo Infante, SJ, and Fr. Marat in Haiti
Fr. Alfredo Infante, SJ, and Fr. Marat, pastor of the destroyed Santa Rosa of Lima's Church (background) in Leogane. (Fr. Ken Gavin, SJ - JRS/USA)

Fr. Kawas François, SJ, French Canada Provincial's Delegate for Apostolic Ministries in Haiti, reports that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) system of seven food distribution centers is still in need of greater organization.

"The centers open at 8 am and long lines begin to form at 3 am. There still are people who do not receive food," said Fr. Kawas.

According to Fr. Kawas, the IOM needs to open more centers and work more closely with neighborhood committees so that food gets to hungry families.

Moreover, Fr. Kawas said, that with the establishment of informal camps throughout Port-au-Prince, there is a growing incidence of diseases due to lack of portable water and poor sanitary conditions. The crowded living conditions highlight the ongoing medical emergency in the capital.

In Fond Parisien, a Haitian town across from Jimani, Jesuit Refugee Service workers visited a well-staffed medical center on the grounds of Love a Child Healing Center, but just minutes from the center they visited a camp of 200 displaced Haitians with few resources and no electricity.

To support JRS/USA's humanitarian response to the emergency needs of the Haitian people, go the JRS secure website and choose "Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund." [JRS Dispatches]

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Jesuit Refugee Service Plans for Long-term Haitian Relief

St. Andre Parish in Leogane, HaitiSince the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has provided emergency food relief to about 50,000 people, while JRS-affiliated medical teams have treated about 4,500 people who were injured in the quake or became ill in the aftermath.

While continuing to serve the emergency needs of the affected people—three million, out of a population of nine million were directly affected by the disaster—JRS is now, in collaboration with the Haitian people, planning sustainable projects to help the population recover and move forward.

In partnership with Fe y Alegria, a school system providing educational opportunities to underserved populations throughout Latin America, JRS plans to improve the infrastructure of at least twelve educational centers by building new classrooms or repairing school buildings damaged in the quake.

In the coming months, JRS will also provide psychosocial services to people recovering from the trauma of the earthquake.

JRS believes strongly that the rebuilding of Haiti should be an effort led by Haitians, and not based on outside interests. Fr. Kawas François, SJ, the coordinator of the Jesuit relief work, has formed a group of key representatives from Haitian society—educators, members of the clergy, human rights leaders, business people, and students—to discuss the role of the civil society in the reconstruction of Haiti.

"Planning meetings in various camps [with people affected by the quake] will help us develop ideas. We have proposed to begin as soon as possible providing care to vulnerable children and training teachers by using staff from the camps," said Fr. Mario Serrano, SJ, National Director of JRS - Dominican Republic.

"Careful planning will make a great difference in the quality of our ability to reach out in love to the struggling Haitian people as we accompany, serve, and defend their rights," said Fr. Ken Gavin, SJ, National Director of JRS/USA.

To support JRS/USA's humanitarian response to the emergency needs of the Haitian people, go the JRS secure website and choose "Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund." [JRS/USA; Photo by Fr. Ken Gavin, SJ - JRS/USA)]

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Lenten Resources from the Irish Jesuits

The Irish Jesuits offer "Praying Together for Renewal and New Life" for Lent, with a daily theme, scripture reading, and intercessions during Lent. The prayers can be downloaded at

Their prayer site, Sacred Space, offers Lenten resources at, including the Sacred Space Retreat, commentaries on daily Scripture readings, and Stations of the Cross text and images.

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Jesuit Panel Discusses Medicine and Religion

When a health care provider assists a patient who asks for help, the experience "exudes holiness," Fr. James Duffy, SJ, said at Jesuit Heritage Week panel at Georgetown University in February.

"Practicing medicine is one of the greatest gifts from God," said Fr. Duffy, assistant dean for clinical education.

Medical students, physicians, faculty, and staff listened to the panel talk about how Jesuit doctors and nurses are influenced by their religious vocation.

"If you can help people grow and ease their pain, that is the privilege of being a Jesuit and practicing medicine," said Fr. Jon O'Brien, SJ.

Fr. Brian Conley, SJ, moderated the talk, which also included Fr. Timothy Godfrey, SJ, a registered nurse; Fr. O'Brien, a faculty member of psychiatry; and Fr. Jack Siberski, SJ, a geriatric psychiatrist.

"Each person has so many gifts and strengths. You [as a doctor and nurse] see what they are living with," Fr. Godfrey said. "Some people taught me things about God and how God always comes at the right time."

Though prayer plays a part in their roles as caregivers, the panelists said they respect the boundaries of their patients. "Pray for your patients if they ask," Fr. O'Brien said. "Pray for your colleagues if they ask. If you want to be nourished, it's there, and it is open for you." [Georgetown University]

Related: Fr. Myles Sheehan, SJ, a doctor and provincial for the Jesuits' New England Province, wrote the essay, "Health Care: A basic human right" for the Winter 2009-10 issue of Company magazine.

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Exhibit Highlights Jesuits on the American Frontier

Crossing the Divide: Jesuits on the American FrontierAn exhibit that opened in late February at the St. Louis University Museum of Art highlights the role the Jesuits and others played in making St. Louis the gateway to the West.

"Crossing the Divide: Jesuits on the American Frontier," includes a chronicle of the work and travels of Jesuit Fr. Pierre DeSmet as well as sketches, watercolors, and maps of the American frontier.

It wasn't just fur traders and commerce that led to the "Gateway to the West" tag placed on St. Louis, according to Fr. David Suwalsky, SJ, curator at the museum on the campus of Saint Louis University. The Jesuits and other religious, including the Religious of the Sacred Heart and the Ursulines, went out to work with the Native American people, he noted, all traveling to the frontier from St. Louis.

Many of the works in the exhibit "have not been seen and normally are not easily available to the public," said Fr. Suwalsky. The last time they were shown in such a large number was in 1991 upon the 500th anniversary of the birth St. Ignatius.

The chronicle of Fr. DeSmet's travels, the Moses Linton Album, is on display for the first time. Dr. Linton was physician in St. Louis and a friend of Fr. DeSmet, and the album includes Fr. DeSmet's experiences as well as artwork and sketches of the frontier. Written in English and French, it has translations of the Our Father and other prayers in the Native American languages.

Fr. DeSmet was very faithful to the album, Fr. Suwalsky said, noting that it is a record of his work between the 1840s and late 1860s.

The exhibit runs through June 27. [St. Louis Review]

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Around Campus

Jesuit Colleges & Universities Rank in Top 25 for Peace Corps Volunteers Nationwide

Four Jesuit schools have made the Peace Corps rankings for the top 25 colleges and universities that produced the most undergraduate Peace Corps Volunteers in 2009.

Boston College, Georgetown University, and Marquette University were in the top 25 for "Medium Colleges and Universities," with the ranks of 7, 8, and 15 respectively.

Gonzaga University ranked 7 on the list for small colleges and universities. Gonzaga also is among some 60 schools nationwide to offer a Master's International program of the Peace Corps. In 2008, Gonzaga's Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA/TESL) program was chosen to become a partner in the Peace Corps Master's International program.

View the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category, as well as all-time and graduate school rankings. [Peace Corps]

Saint Peter's College Students Reduce School's Carbon Footprint

Saint Peter's College students who have taken action to reduce the college's carbon footprint were recognized this February at the third annual Focus the Nation teach-in, a national initiative dedicated to promoting climate change awareness and the creation of the clean energy economy.

The students residing in the eight Saint Peter's residence halls competed to reduce water and electricity use over a three-month period during the fall semester, which saved the college approximately $8,000 in utility costs—projecting more than $30,000 in annual savings. [Saint Peter's College]

Fairfield University to Launch Its First Doctoral Program

Fairfield University is launching a new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, making it the university's very first doctoral program.

The DNP program at the School of Nursing will begin classes in September 2010. It allows nurses to select or build on a specialized clinical focus as a family or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

In addition to the selected practice specialty, Fairfield University's DNP students will be educated in business management, organizational systems, population-level healthcare, information technology, clinical scholarship, leadership, and policy-making to improve systems of health care delivery. [Source: Fairfield University]

Fairfield Prep Alum and USF Student Compete at Olympics

Chris Drury, Fairfield Prep '94, is a member of the 2010 US Olympic Hockey Team, and he scored in the second period of the U.S. team's victory over Canada in Vancouver. At Fairfield Prep, he was co-captain of the varsity hockey team his senior year.

University of San Francisco sophomore Ani Serebrakian competed in the women's giant slalom and the women's slalom for the Armenian women's Olympic team.

Know of other Jesuit students or alumni competing in the Winter Olympics? Let us know!

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