"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Jesuit Memories:Company Magazine asked readers to submit recollections of Jesuits who'd had an influence on their lives. Some of the responses:
Fr. Hubert Cunniff The Jesuits' Cranwell School sat atop one of the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts, with endless views from every vantage point. Of course, I was a teen-aged boy and was oblivious to such. The exception being when I was serving jug and was raking leaves from every tree on every hill.
The man in charge was our prefect of discipline, Fr. Hubert Cunniff. He amazed me as he was everywhere, all of the time, rain, snow, sleet, or sun. When he took out "the book," hearts dropped, invisibility was sought, and fast prayers were said. He had eyes everywhere. Now I realize that those eyes were kindly and were on the lookout for our well-being. Admittedly, a hard sell at the time! At one of the last reunions, he sat in Cranwell Hall, with a long line of "boys" waiting to tell him that they'd grown up a bit and ask why couldn't life be as uncomplicated as it was when we wore blazers and flannels with a crease.
When my turn came, I asked if he had any regrets. He said, "I was never able to tell you boys just how much I loved you. It just wouldn't have worked with the job I was given. But now I can."
Fr. Cunniff lived well into his nineties. At his funeral I passed his casket and said, "You were loved too, Father." -- John O'Connell, Sharon, Conn., Cranwell School '66, John Carroll University '70
Fr. John Beall Fr. John Beall, SJ, was assistant principal—read school disciplinarian—during my years at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, in the early sixties. The task for students was to stay clear of him as much as possible. But at the beginning of my junior year, he actually approached me and said that he'd noticed I was taking Greek that semester and wondered how I was doing. I told him that I was coming to enjoy it.
My senior year English class was taught by a scholastic. He told us that all students should experience jug, detention, at least once. I had somehow managed to avoid it all those years until the day he said, "Mann! Report for jug after classes. There's a spitball on the floor and it's closest to your desk."
When I showed up at jug, Fr. Beall asked me what I was doing there. I gave him the story and joined the others. A few minutes later, Fr. Beall told us, "Each of you is to write down the Greek alphabet on a sheet of paper. Not one word with each other. You'll stay here until you have it finished."
He left. It took me 30 seconds to write down the Greek alphabet and start to circulate it among my fellow detainees. Ten minutes later, when we told him we were done, he told us we could go and that he didn't want to see any of us back in jug.
He made eye contact with me as I was leaving, then gave me a wink. A delightful memory of a wonderful Jesuit I'll always have. -- Charles Mann, Northbrook, Ill., Loyola Academy '63
Fr. James Mertz Fr. James Mertz used to come once a month from Loyola University Chicago to St. Timothy's to offer Mass and talk about Madonna della Strada chapel on Loyola's campus, which I later found out was his life's magnum opus. I served Mass for him. He always had good, friendly words for us in the sacristy.
I "heard" him again while the student body at Loyola Academy was marching out of his chapel one day in 1943. Suddenly we were halted in our steps when we heard a voice that sounded like the wrath of God thunder, "Better that boy stop a bullet in the battlefield than have carved his initials in my pew." I can still hear his awful anger.
At two in the afternoon, our principal, Fr. Walker, announced that Fr. Mertz didn't say those words. The heck he didn't! Fr. Mertz also taught the religion class at Loyola University in 1947 that formed my religious life. -- Bert Hoffman, Jr., Chicago
Fr. Ambrose McManus It was 1945. The war with Japan was coming to an end. I was in my senior year at Brooklyn Prep. A new teacher came in—Fr. Ambrose McManus. The story was that he had been held prisoner by the Japanese and had only recently been released.
Being the wise guys that we were, we soon took advantage of his timidity and created uproars in his classes. It reached a point where class was completely out of control, with the poor man not knowing what to do.
The culmination came during one class when all the students started making sounds that mimicked Japanese planes while throwing scraps of paper in the air, simulating exploding bombs, with accompanying sounds and noises and uproarious laughter. We subsided and waited to see what his reaction would be.
He stood still—and then bent over and started to pick up all of the scraps of paper. The class was shocked and ashamed at what they had done to this poor man. The class was always orderly after that incident. -- Joseph Bardwil, Cranford, N.J., Brooklyn Prep '46
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Rev. Frederick Turner, SJ, archivist and librarian of the 400-year-old Stonyhurst College, "knew more than anyone about the school's remarkable history" and his "conducted tours of the school and libraries were legendary and took many hours," it was observed in the Telegraph on his passing in 2001. An excerpt from his obit:
The Arundel Library is not only a country-house library from Wardour Castle but also has a notable collection of incunabula, medieval manuscripts and volumes of Jacobite interest. Signal among its books associated with historical figures is Queen Mary's Book of Hours which belonged to Mary Tudor and is thought to have been given by Mary Queen of Scots to her chaplain on the scaffold.
To these were added the archives of the English Province of the Society of Jesus. These included 16th-century manuscript verses by St Robert Southwell, the letters of St Edmund Campion (1540-81) and holographs of the 19th-century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. To them Turner gave unremitting attention, showing great courtesy to visiting scholars and correspondents.
Among more eccentric legacies to the collections at Stonyhurst was a series of grotesque stuffed animals - some of them imaginatively manipulated to represent unknown species - donated by the strange early 19th-century naturalist Charles Waterton, celebrated for his exploits riding an alligator in South America and for climbing trees in his eighties.
Turner knew all there was to know about the Jesuit school's history, traditions, architecture, collections and old boys - among whom the school has the rare good fortune of numbering several martyrs.
Sports were abhorrent to him and, from early boyhood, books and reading took their place. But he was a skilful skater and delighted, until advanced middle age, in completing elaborate figures on the 17th-century Stonyhurst canals.
Naturally conservative, Turner disliked change. Every day at 6am he celebrated the Mass of the Tridentine Rite in the Boys' Chapel and was punctilious in his religious observances.
Every morning he devoted an hour to Homer whom he regarded as a real link between the civilised and educated. He was an antiquary who sometimes shocked visitors when he showed them manuscripts while smoking, and he never wore gloves to aid preservation of the ancient objects that surrounded him…
As I'm sure you know, as a young man it was his custom to spend whole nights in prayer in the catacombs, the underground burial places of the early Christians outside the walls of the City. On the vigil of Pentecost in 1544, St Philip was praying in the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, on the Via Appia, as he had done many times, and asked God to give him the Holy Spirit. St Philip was suddenly filled with great joy, and had a vision of the Holy Spirit as a ball of fire. This fire entered into St Philip’s mouth, and descended to his heart, causing it to expand to twice its normal size, and breaking two of his ribs in the process (a fact later proven by his autopsy). He later said that it filled his whole body with such joy and consolation that he finally had to throw himself on the ground and cry out, “No more, Lord! No more!”
During his lifetime many people noticed that he seemed always to be warm; he was often flushed, and would walk around with his cassock unbuttoned at the chest, even in the middle of winter. Not only that, but several of his disciples reported that his heart used to beat violently when he prayed or preached, sometimes enough to shake the bench on which he was sitting. Some people could hear his heart beating across the room, and others experienced unspeakable peace and joy when he embraced them and held their heads to his breast.