More in New York

A lovely New York dinner with Helen and Dan Yee.

During our visit to New York City, Terry Todd and I stayed at the Jesuit retirement home, Murray-Weigel Hall. The place was filled with retired Jesuits I had grown up with. Jack Curran, known as one of the intellectuals, had been moved to the center ten years ago because of Alzheimer?s. Now he sits in a wheelchair all day long, his eyes fixed on a TV screen seeing images and hearing words that he can not possibly understand. As Terry and I approached him, his eyes never once left the screen and he never showed any signs of recognition of our presence. This was the saddest experience I had there.?

Jack Curran in better days.

Pat Sullivan, who ran our formation house on Guam for many years and then took charge of Xavier for a few years, was also there. He is taciturn now, something that could have never been said about him when he was still with us, and leans heavily on his cane as he walks along with head bowed. Jerry Menkhaus, on the other hand, seems to be as active as ever.

Every so often, non-Jesuit friends would stop by for a visit. Brian Conroy, who taught at St. Cecilia School in its heyday (1988-1990), was with us for half a day. Helen and Dan Yee invited me out to dinner on the famed Arthur Avenue, known for its wonderful Italian cuisine. Helen was the first librarian at MicSem during our initial years on Pohnpei and has remained in close contact since.?

Biram with Terry and me.

Terry and I even got out to the upper west side of Manhattan to spend an evening with Scott and Biram Stege, old friends from the Marshall Islands. Biram spent years in education work on Majuro and is now heading Assumption School, while Scott worked as a private attorney there and hosted his well-known music program.

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About the author

Francis X. Hezel, SJ
Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. At different times he has served as high school teacher, school administrator, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He spent thirty years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has written and spoken widely about social change and its impact on island societies. He has also written several books on Micronesian history, including The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in Their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures. His most recent book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, is available through University of Hawaii Press.