Francis Sweeney, SJ: Teacher and Mentor, Journalist, Humanist, Poet, Priest
Original Exhibit Spring 1999
The items in this exhibit celebrate the life and work of Francis W. Sweeney, SJ. They include personal memorabilia, photographs, publications, posters, and correspondence. Much of the correspondence concerns the Boston College Humanities Series, which was founded by Fr. Sweeney and which since 1957 has brought world-renowned poets, writers, scholars, and others to the University for lecture engagements. Letters from such literary figures as W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney, and others, are included.
Francis Sweeney was born in Milford, Massachusetts, in 1916. He attended Holy Cross College, and after graduation in 1939, entered the Society of Jesus. In 1944 he earned an M.A. in English from Boston College, and in 1950 began teaching the subject. From 1951 he served as faculty sponsor of the Stylus, the student literary magazine. In the same year his first book of poetry, Baroque Moment, was published. In addition to directing the Humanities Series, Fr. Sweeney has published several books of essays and poetry, including It Will Take a Lifetime and Vatican Impressions. He also edited the papers of several Boston College conferences, including one held to celebrate the University's centenary, and one dealing with the role of the Vatican in the twentieth century. He has reviewed some forty books over the years, and assisted the Burns Library in its efforts to collect literary manuscripts. Boston College awarded Fr. Sweeney an honorary doctorate in 1987.
For Further Study: For Further Study: Copies of Fr. Sweeney's books are available in the O'Neill Library, the Burns Library, and St. John's Seminary Library. In addition, the Burns Library holds a number of archival collections with material relating to his life and career. Of special note are the Francis Sweeney Faculty Papers, which contain letters from many of the important literary figures of the twentieth century. For more information, or to arrange an appointment to view these materials, contact a member of the Burns Library staff.