Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65) was kind enough to email me this item for today’s blog, knowing perhaps that I was a student of the Jesuits years ago at St. Louis University. Tony writes about our new Pope being a Jesuit and how Jesuit schools are famous for their volunteer work.
Many of you may know the Jesuits started the international Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 1956, five years before the first PCVs arrived in Ghana (and Colombia). Like PCVs everywhere, these Jesuit Volunteers manifest the Jesuit spirit of serving others, especially the poor.
It was my experience in the Peace Corps, and being associated with the agency from a distance, is that Jews and Catholics make up the majority of PCVs in terms of percentages. When the Peace Corps recently released its list of the top 25 schools fielding PCVs in Fiscal Year 2012, Jesuit schools were prominently listed. The first of three categories was limited to schools with more than 15,000 undergrads and no Jesuit schools appeared there. But, among Category Two schools, Boston College was 6th; Georgetown, 8th; and Loyola-Chicago,18th. Gonzaga ranked 1st in Category Three, and Seattle, 5th.
Of the new Pope, who is a Jesuit priest, we know he took the humble Saint Francis’ name, is described himself as a “humble Jesuit cardinal” who eschewed ostentation and pomp, lives in a small apartment and not the typical mansion of past cardinal in Buenos Aires, and rides public transportation. Taking care of the poor is his chief concern.
The hope is that Pope Francis, though not ideal on a few issues, will imbue the Vatican and all his churches everywhere with the same spirit of service to others that the Jesuit Volunteers and Peace Corps Volunteers do everyday of the year.