True to the vision of St. Ignatius Loyola, our founder, Jesuits today continue to change lives around the world. Two dedicated Jesuit friends, volunteers and donors first encountered the Jesuits overseas, and as members of the advancement leadership board of the USA Northeast Province, they reflected on the lasting impact that the Society of Jesus has had on their lives.
What is your connection to the Jesuits?
Marissa Del Rosario-Blackett: I’m a longtime parishioner, and as a Jesuit volunteer I am a trustee and a member of the finance advisory committee at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in New York City. I first met the Jesuits 50 years ago, while growing up in the Philippines. Fr. Thomas Steinbugler, SJ, and Fr. James Culligan, SJ, were both assigned to the Jesuit school, Ateneo de Manila, ministering to students and families in need. They made a tremendous difference in my life and I am profoundly thankful for them.
Gary Goodenough: I had no contact with the Jesuits until my wife and I moved to England in 1985 and became parishioners at the lovely Farm Street Church in London. I was very impressed by the Jesuits running the church and was mindful that the church had major roof problems due to being bombed in World War II. I volunteered to raise repair money among my colleagues at Salomon Brothers. When we returned to New York City, we joined St. Ignatius Loyola Parish, where Fr. Walter Modrys, SJ, was leading a renaissance. I was enlisted to serve on the pastor’s finance advisory committee and eventually became chair of the finance committee.
Why do you think it is important to support the Jesuits and their works?
Marissa Del Rosario-Blackett, member of the province advancement leadership board, with her husband, Richard.
GG: Through my work on the investment committee of the province, I learned first-hand about the financial demands of different programs—including formation costs, health care and retirement needs—and it was clear to me that the Jesuits, so deserving of support, needed to reach out to capture some of the good will that was out there. One day, I was sitting in church and thought, “Why don’t I get some friends together and start a Charity Golf Outing for the Jesuits?” Fr. Walter Modrys, SJ, suggested it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. Since then, we’ve been very fortunate and just completed our fifth successful Friends of the Jesuits Golf Outing.
Who is your favorite Jesuit?
GG: Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe was an extraordinary Jesuit. Before becoming Superior General much later in life, he was in the blast zone in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb exploded. He converted the Jesuit novitiate to a makeshift hospital and cared for several hundred of the injured. It was amazing dedication in the face of dire circumstances.
MDB: That’s like asking me who my favorite child is! But, like Mary, that is one of those things I keep close to my heart.