About 50 years ago–it must have been in the early 1970s–I first met Angken Rapun on Tol, the westernmost island in Chuuk. Angken was hard to miss. He was a rugged, good-looking young man who told me he had played football on Guam during his high school days. That was easy to believe, given his size. In 1968, not long after his return to Chuuk, he married Kintina. They had several children–most of them as well-built as their dad–and the couple would have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary next year if Angken had lived.Read More
“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” Douglas McArthur used this saying to describe himself after his removal from the Korean War in the 1950s, but it could just as easily apply to Jack Curran. Jack did die, on January 4 this year, but only after a long decade of fading away due to his Alzheimer’s. He may not have intended it to happen that way, but Jack certainly made good on his promise to surrender to the Lord his “mind and memory” along with life and liberty. Not only that, but he did it with his characteristic good grace. His caretakers at Murray-Weigel loved him, people there say.Read More
She was one of the pioneers of the “new Xavier” in the early 70s when she arrived from the Philippines. Since the school’s founding 20 years earlier, nearly all on the staff had been Jesuits. Upon Rosa’s arrival in 1972, she was still one of a very small number of staff who didn’t have “SJ” at the end of their names.Read More
Everyone used to call him Nico, but I preferred using first names. So I asked him one day why his parents had named him Adolfo. He smiled as he reminded me that Spain was involved in a violent civil war when he was born, and that the leader of one of the nations strongest in its support of the “Catholic side” of the war was a guy by the name of Adolf.
Nico, Adolfo, or whatever you want to call him, was the provincial of Japan about the same time I was superior in Micronesia. That was how we became friends. At the weekly semi-annual meetings of the superiors in the assistancy, I came to know and like him more and more during our time together.Read More
Attending Xavier High School in the early 1970s was John Hagileiram’s introduction to the wider world. For those of us who got to know this friendly young man with the mischievous twinkle in his eye, it was our only introduction to Eauripik–a tiny islet with a population of barely a hundred that made that rest of the Outer Islands of Yap look like downtown.Read More
We called him Joachim in those days. In 1980, as a freshman at Xavier High School, he was a new arrival from Ettal in the Mortlocks… young, playful but polite, everyone?s friend. Neither a standout student nor a trouble-maker, he was just an outer-island boy eager to make it at a school with a big reputation. Even then he was known for his ready smile and his warm personality.
Then, during the summer break after his freshman year, everything changed. While climbing the waterfalls at the Wichen River, he slipped off the ledge and broke his spinal cord. He was sent to Hawaii for treatment, and soon afterwards went into rehabilitation for the rest of the year. The doctors informed him that he would never walk again.Read More
Soon after I first met Dick on Palau in 1964, he had me pushing wheelbarrows full of wet cement up a ramp to be dumped on the second floor of the new Maris Stella School he was building. Dick came to Palau in 1958 as a classical missionary figure, the man who could construct churches and schools as easily as he can repair the engine of his jeep. Men of my age might have admired the versatility of that generation of Jesuits, but we could never have aspired to imitate them. Still, the cold beer tasted especially sweet after two hours of hauling cement.Read More
Finally, on December 29, we received the news that we long anticipated but dreaded: Fr. Bill McGarry died at the age of 90 in the Jesuit infirmary in Manila. The man who more than anyone else had shaped the course of the modern Jesuit mission in Micronesia had left us. The uncrowned (and unmitred) head of our Jesuit band of brothers had passed away.
Bill was born and raised in Brooklyn, but he attended Xavier High School (the Manhattan version, of course) along with just about every other Jesuit who served on Pohnpei?Hugh Costigan, Joe Cavanagh, Jack Curran and Dick Becker for starters.