Monday, December 31, 2007

California Dreamin'

In my fifteen years as a Jesuit, I've spent four or five vacations in California and done an 8 day retreat here, too, so maybe it's not a surprise that as soon I arrived here for a few days before heading West, I immediately felt rested. Honestly, as soon as I saw the palm trees, Boom! I was in the groove. 

I've spent most of my time here hanging out with John Privett, my former rector and a real comedian. He loves to kid... Like at the end of our diaconate ordinations, when he got up and said he wanted to welcome our families.  Some have come a long way, he said, from as far as Lithuania, Tokyo, California and even... "the fuzzy middle." (That would be, the Midwest.)

Much beloved at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, John finished his term there a year ago and has just started as the rector of the retirement community of the California province, where the guys lovingly call him "Loud Mouth". I've posted a picture of the outside of the community below -- it's a huge house, the former California novitiate and juniorate (juniorate: third and fourth years of life in the Society in earlier times, a time for studying humanities and wearing a sweet beretta).  As you can see, the staff does an amazing job of decorating. 

Yesterday we went to Santa Cruz, about a half an hour from the retirement community. Spectacular.

It's just hit midnight.  I can hear the crack of New Year's fireworks in the distance.  Time for bed. Tomorrow, a plane to China...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gone Walkabout

"Gone walkabout": a  slang term for something that seems to have disappeared, either temporarily or permanently.  Derived from an aboriginal custom of the same name in which, as a rite of passage, young aborigines leave everything behind and spend six months wandering in the wilderness. 

For the next 8 months, I have the great luck of being able to travel to Australia to do my tertianship, the last stage of a Jesuit's formation. It's traditionally called the "schola affectus", the "school of the heart", and it's a time in which Jesuits "redo" some of the things we did when we first entered the Society of Jesus, like the 30-day silent retreat or study of the history and documents of the Society.  For me, living abroad for the first time, it's a great adventure as well as a great opportunity to look back and appreciate the ways in which God has graced my life. 

While I'm away, I thought I might post some pictures and stories for family and friends and those who happen upon this website.  Enjoy them.