May 2020
Gregorian University Foundation
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Healing Friendship

Dear Friends,

In his Easter message, Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit Superior General, spoke about how Christ “consoles us with his friendship.”  This is an unusual perspective; but it contains a profound truth.

Friendship is fundamental to Jesuit history, identity and spirituality.  The Jesuit order has its roots in the friendship that developed among Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier and Peter Favre, who were roommates at the University of Paris.  That friendship, into which others were soon invited, was built and sustained by the Spiritual Exercises, in which the retreatant is constantly exhorted to seek to know Jesus more intimately, deepen one’s love for him and serve him more faithfully, in other words to center one’s life completely on one’s relationship with Jesus, which is one of friendship above all, rather than subordination, and which is then expected to overflow into a similar friendship with others.  So central was this experience to the group’s self-understanding that when it came time to formalize the group’s existence, Ignatius insisted on naming it the Compagnia di Gesù.  Although it is translated as the Society of Jesus, the original meaning and intent was less formal, referring to companionship or brotherhood.  In that spirit the founders are often referred to as the “first companions”; and even today Jesuits often speak of themselves as “friends in the Lord.”

The kind of friendship Ignatius was referring to was not just mutual bonding around common interests and needs, but a total self-giving, putting the needs of the other above one’s own.  As Aristotle reminds us, this is the supreme form of friendship.  It is what Jesus modeled in his relationship with his disciples.  We see this most movingly in the post-resurrection encounter with the disciples in the 21st chapter of John’s Gospel.  After inviting the disciples to join him for breakfast on the beach, he takes Peter off for a heart-to-heart talk.  There he gently refers to Peter’s terrible betrayal, an act which could destroy the strongest of friendships.  Yet it is done without rancor or threat.  Rather Jesus encourages Peter to redeem himself by affirming his love, and directs him to express it by caring for others and by imitating Jesus’ own sacrifice.  Finally, Jesus accepts Peter’s repentance with the promise that they will never again be separated, telling him, “Follow me.” 

This is how Jesus “consoles us with his friendship.”  He offers us his loving acceptance, looking past our fears and resistance, our sins and failings, promising always to be with us and inviting us to realize and share his friendship by serving one another.  This is what has sustained us Jesuits and our many friends and supporters through many difficult times throughout our history, including the present crisis.  We see it at work in the inspiring video from the Jesuit scholastics at the Gesù, sent out earlier but also included here, and in the many other stories from Rome telling how the Jesuits, their colleagues and students have faced the danger, the isolation and the severe disruption of the coronavirus pandemic with courage and hope and have carried on their mission as faithfully and effectively as always, perhaps even more so.

We pray that all of you, who have been so generous in your friendship and support, may find this consolation also, knowing that, as you have accepted Jesus’ invitation to know, love and serve him, he will always be with you, providing his strength in moments of weakness, his hope amidst despair and his companionship when you feel most alone.

Michael C. McFarland, SJ
Collegio Internazionale del Gesù durante il periodo della Quarantena
Michael Kolarcik, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute
  • The Greg's YouTube channel ( recently passed one million views. The channel offers free access to over 700 lectures. Learn more HERE.
  • In Memory of Fr Francois Evain SJ.  Read more HERE.
  • In Memory of Fr Hans Grotz SJ.  Read more HERE.

The Gregorian University Foundation is pleased to welcome our newest members of the Board of Trustees

Pamela Chepiga
Pamela Chepiga joins us from New York, NY. She recently retired from Allen & Overy where she specialized in criminal litigation in the financial services area. Ms. Chipega holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law, and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Fordham College.

John Mahoney
John Mahoney joins us from Dover, MA. He is the retired Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer for Staples, the former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross and serves on the boards of several public companies. Mr. Mahoney holds an MBA from Northwestern University and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The College of the Holy Cross.
A. John Merola, MD
Dr. John Merola joins us from Jupiter, FL. After five decades, Dr. Merola retired from his medical practice at St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse, NY in 2013. In addition to being a respected physician, he is chairman and founder of AJM Management and Summit Realty. Dr. Merola earned his Doctor of Medicine degree with honors from the University of California Irvine and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University.

Robert G. Smith, Ph.D., CFA
Bob Smith joins us from Forest Hills, NY.  He is the Chairman and Founder of Smith Affiliated Capital Corp. which he built to design, implement, and manage fixed-income strategies for institutions, endowments and foundations, and wealthy individuals and their families.  Dr. Smith received his PhD from the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration. 
William J. Teuber Jr.
Bill Teuber joins us from Boston, MA. He currently serves as a Senior Operating Principal at Bridge Growth Partners, a private equity firm based in New York. Mr. Teuber is also the former Vice Chairman of EMC Corporation, where he held the role from May 2006 until September 2016, when Dell Technologies acquired the company. Mr. Teuber holds an MBA degree from Babson College, a Master of Science in Taxation from Bentley College, and a Bachelor’s degree from The College of the Holy Cross.

Hon. Barbara Walther
Judge Barbara Walther joins us from San Angelo, Texas. She serves as the Senior Judge of the 51st Judicial District Court. On November 1, 2018, Judge Walther assumed senior status and she continues to serve the State of Texas as a Senior District Judge accepting assignments across the state. Judge Walther holds a Juris Doctor from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and an associate in arts degree from Stephens College.

20 May 2020
Jesuits mourn the death of their former Superior General
Fr. Adolfo Nicolás

The General Curia of the Jesuits in Rome announced today that the former Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, has passed away 20 May, in Tokyo, Japan. He was a member of the Jesuit community at Loyola House in Kamishakujii and had been ill for some years. He is deeply missed by the Jesuits in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, his family and fellow countrymen in Spain, and his many friends around the world.

"I offer my sincere condolences to the Jesuit Province of Japan, to the family of Father Nicolás, to the Jesuits in Spain and to his many friends," said Father Arturo Sosa, current Superior General. "Father Nicolás gave of himself throughout his life. It was a life marked by intense service, serene availability and a deep capacity to live inculturation in Japan, where he went as a young Jesuit. It was a culture that he loved very much and in which he invested himself. The period of his Generalate was marked by his sense of humour, courage, humility and his close relationship with Pope Francis. All of us at the Jesuit General Curia deeply regret him; a special Mass will be offered here in Rome a the Church of the Gesù. Due to current travel restrictions, I cannot travel to Japan for the funeral, but I assure all his many friends there of my closeness, compassion and condolences".

Speaking of the reactions of the Jesuits of the Curia who knew or collaborated daily with his predecessor, the present General said: "All those who worked with Father Nicolás in the General Curia greatly appreciated his presence during his mandate. He will be widely remembered throughout the Society as a wise, humble and dedicated Jesuit, a man of grace and wisdom, simple, unpretentious."

- Read Fr. Sosa's letter to the whole Society.

- Watch his recorded message.

- Visit the website dedicated to Fr. Nicolás:

Student Profile
Steven Safari Mweri
Pontifical Gregorian University

Steven was born on June 10, 1985 in Kenya. For the past 13 years he has been a member of the Yarumal Missionaries, a group which was started in Colombia as a means of evangelizing indigenous peoples. It has developed as a Society of Apostolic Life and includes both men and women, religious and lay. The Society has carried on much missionary activity in Kenya which is where they came to the attention of Steven. He was ordained as a priest within the community on February 6, 2016.

Steven is in his second and last year of study for a Licentiate degree in Missiology at the Gregorian. Some of the sisters from his community had first come to study at the Greg and he decided to follow them in order to continue his education and improve his skills. One of the methods used by the Yarumal Missionaries is to live with people of different faiths and traditions. They evangelize by sharing their faith without trying to impose it on others. Steven sees the degree in missiology as a tool to exercise the mission of the Society. He knows that coming to Rome was a sacrifice for him, but it was one that he was willing to make for the good of his work.
Coming to Rome was difficult for Steven because he had to learn Italian in a matter of two months, adding to his knowledge of French, English and his native language. He had previously spent time living and working in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and believes that he will be sent back there after he finishes his degree. He sees his goal there as one of understanding the diversity of religions, seeing expressions of God in all, and sharing his faith with others, not trying to overcome them. His studies would not be possible without the generosity of donors to the Gregorian University scholarship fund.  Profile by David Books, SJ

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Praying with the Pope in May
Pope Francis' Universal prayer intention for May is: 

For Deacons

We pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.

Reflect further on the Prayer Intention for May and unite yourself with the Pope's Prayer Network 
Watch the Pope's Video >>

The mission of the Gregorian University Foundation is to raise funds that provide financial assistance for the Education Consortium of the Society of Jesus in Rome, Italy, which includes the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

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