Tag Archives: Jesuits

Das Eschaton or Saving the Worst Till Last

We must all go, I suppose, into that good night, some gentle, some kicking and screaming, as the poet suggested, and some, it now appears, scribbling. Death throes were once thought painful and appalling. No longer, apparently; they are expected to be, at least by their authors and publishers, interesting. That is the impression left […]

A Very Indifferent Jesuit 1954

It pleases Jesuits to call themselves “Ours”. Ours were not to own property, were to regard the Superior as the instrument of the will of God and were to have as little as possible to do with Externs, all those who were not One of Ours. I am an Extern of long-standing now, but for […]

A Season in the Sun 1947

Novitiate time was like no other before or since. There were no calendars about and none of us had wristwatches, so time was a public rather than a private commodity. It was stored in large Seth Thomas clocks in the hall and the ascetory and dispensed to us in small particles by the Manuductor from […]

The Two Ways 1946

The figure of two ways or paths is a well-worn trope in religious traditions. The moral pilgrim is confronted with a fork in the path of life. One way represents the way of virtue, an arduous and even dangerous path, but in the end rewarding; the other, the passage to evil, is temptingly attractive but […]

Regular Order 1945

The Novitiate was entirely automated. It was run by a cybernetic device known as the Regular Order. The Master of Novices was a kind of systems engineer who checked the numbers once in a while, read out the passengers’ temperatures and made a few minor adjustments. It is conceivable that he could have propped up […]

In the Beginning 1945

In the middle of my senior year at Regis High School, and without losing a step of my steady pace in the tracks of Miss Maloney and her fellow steeplechase artists, I, the infant moyen sensual, told the Reverend Thomas Burke, S.J. of my intentions of signing up with his Company. Father Burke seemed neither […]

I Think I’ll Pass on the Bulgarian Monastery 2012

I am sitting, this late November day in 2012, beside a pool in the Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yesterday, before I left New York, I received a phone call from my first wife. I almost didn’t pick up when the ID flashed, but since this was her first call in 40 years, I […]

Sufis and Jesuits: Religious Orders in Islam and Christianity

There are numerous scholastic tracts in Arabic on the theory and practice of Sufism (tasawwuf) or what would be called in Christian terms, Muslim ascetical and mystical theology, For most Muslims the reality  of Islam was, however, the tarîqa or brotherhood into which Islam’s ascetics, the Sufis, began to assemble themselves. As in Christianity, the […]

The Downtown Local 1943

Of course you can never go home again. I knew that. I never went back to smell the lilacs that bloomed, and perhaps still do, about the Bronx school and convent of Our Lady of the Assumption on Country Club Road, or even to contemplate the ivy that surely still runs round the lead-mullioned windows […]

Mi cava no es su cava – 1953

The Jesuits are a caste society, not so colorfully garbed as the Hindus perhaps, and with a slightly less florid mythology, but more upwardly mobile and with a much richer diet. The Jesuit candidate was made to stoop to enter that society through a cellar door as a lowly Novice. Purged of all worldliness by […]