Ready to Complete the Journey Back

Ready to Complete the Journey Back

After a sudden illness, Fr. Giulietti prepares to resume his duties

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Having been gone for 11 years, Rev. Julio Giulietti, SJ, wanted to get up to speed quickly when he returned to Boston College in July as director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality.

Center for Ignatian Spirituality Director Julio Giulietti, SJ: "The most difficult aspect of an injury such as this is not just the pain. It's not knowing exactly what is happening to you, but knowing that it is bad and it is serious. Your life is in the hands of other people. You are fearful, but you have to be trusting." (Photo by Lee Pelligrini)
A Theology Department faculty member at BC from 1982-90, Fr. Giulietti set about reestablishing his ties to the University, meeting and corresponding with administrators and faculty while embarking on several center projects. He even appeared in a new promotional video produced to air during televised BC football games.

But everything came crashing to a halt on Sept. 24. A cerebral hemorrhage landed Fr. Giulietti in the hospital for a week and necessitated a period of rest and reduced activity.

Having returned to his Rahner House office on a part-time basis, Fr. Giulietti says he has made "an excellent physical recovery" - marred only by a temporary difficulty in reading - and looks forward to an expansion of the center's mission to promote Boston College's Jesuit heritage and ideals.

His plans include overseeing design of a new Center for Ignatian Spirituality World Wide Web page for first-time visitors, establishing ties between the BC community and Jesuit educational institutions around the world and teaching courses on Jesuit and Ignatian spirituality.

"The most difficult aspect of an injury such as this is not just the pain," said Fr. Giulietti in an interview last week. "It's not knowing exactly what is happening to you, but knowing that it is bad and it is serious. Your life is in the hands of other people. You are fearful, but you have to be trusting.

"Every day I ask Jesus Christ for a full and natural recovery. I say 'Thank you, God' because there have been some positive - small, but important - changes."

Fr. Giulietti said he felt a "pop" and sharp pain in his head above his left ear as he stretched his muscles following a jog around campus on Sept. 23. The intense pain subsided after a few minutes, he said, but returned early the next morning, this time accompanied by a 50 percent loss of vision. He went to BC's Health Services for treatment and was immediately transported to a local hospital, where doctors discovered that a small vein in his head had broken, causing swelling in the brain.

"Here I was in the hospital at 9 a.m. on the very day my new teaching career at BC was supposed to begin at noon," he lamented.

Fortunately, doctors were able to treat the hemorrhage successfully, and told Fr. Giulietti he could expect a full recovery.

Besides teaching theology during his previous stint at BC, Fr. Giulietti helped develop the Boston College International Volunteer Program that became a part of Jesuit Volunteer International. He left after the 1989-90 academic year to direct Georgetown University's Center for Intercultural Education and Development, where he stayed for nine years.

Prior to his return to BC, Fr. Giulietti undertook what he called a four-month "mini-sabbatical" visiting Jesuit schools and absorbing spiritual culture in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

On July 1, Fr. Giulietti formally succeeded Rev. Howard J. Gray, SJ, as director of the four-year-old center that develops programs on Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality, and organizes retreats and other activities to help faculty and staff integrate Ignatian values in their professional or personal lives.

"When I arrived back here, the first thing I wanted to do was to understand the present culture of Boston College," said Fr. Giulietti, who had started a vigorous late summer e-mail and personal visit campaign to meet members of the University community before he was stricken.

He also worked with Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ to plan a series of seminars for faculty, staff and administrators on the ideals of Jesuit education. The first of these was to have taken place on Sept. 24.

In the weeks before his hospitalization, Fr. Giulietti also began to rewrite the center's Web page, "to help people find ways to get information [on Ignatian principles] for themselves. That's one of the things I want to get back into very quickly," he said.

Fr. Giulietti envisions a series of short, but insightful articles on the Web page, outlining the history of the Jesuit mission, the changes it has undergone over time, and the Ignatian view of justice as it is applied to the modern world.

"Ignatius of Loyola used letter writing and the Jesuits were the first to use the printing press to inform people," he said. "If he were here now, I know he would be very interested in using the positive aspects of the Internet for sharing information and knowledge."

One of his major tasks at the University will be to promote cooperation between Boston College and the 155 other Jesuit post-secondary schools in the world.

"We have enormous blessings and assets at Boston College," he said, "and we have an enormous capacity to be of assistance to schools in the developing world."

Fr. Giulietti also plans to teach a series of courses beginning next year, including The Life and Legacy of St. Ignatius Loyola, The Ignatian Vision of Justice and Jesuit Education for Contemporary Life.


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