Sullivan “Sully” McCormick, S.J., ’15, said friends provided him significant encouragement. “Close friends supported my vocation,” he said. “Singing in the Liturgy Arts Group surrounded me with people committed to their faith lives and Mass.” McCormick is in the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka at St. Charles College in Louisiana.
And while quick to highlight networks of professors, clubs, and other activities that affirmed their interest in a vocation, these BC grads say, the interaction with priests and Jesuits at Boston College added a level of depth to their discernment.
In the classroom, Krall had several Jesuit professors who showed him the many ways he can live out his vocation. Stephen Schloessor, S.J., a former history professor now at Loyola University Chicago, “was the best history teacher I ever had and allowed me to see the influence a teacher can have on students. I still try to model his teaching style.”
Another mentor was the late Ronald Anderson, S.J., an associate professor of philosophy who died in 2007. Fr. Anderson, with doctorates in both philosophy and physics, taught The Philosophy of Physics: An Introduction to its Themes, Science, and Religion, and was known on campus for his dedication to scholarship, teaching, and mentoring.
“He was a big hero,” said Krall, who is now completing his own interdisciplinary doctorate in theology and neuroscience at Marquette University
Today’s students equally appreciate the relationships formed with BC’s large Jesuit Community. The Lunches with Jesuits series—sponsored by Campus Ministry’s Ignatian Society of Boston College and hosted by the Jesuit Community—takes place twice-a-week in the St. Mary’s Hall dining room and brings together five students and a Jesuit for lunch and candid conversation. It is booked throughout the year.
For BC graduates now in the Society of Jesus, those types of candid conversations were key to their vocational journey. They cited more than a dozen past and current BC Jesuits as influential in their discernment, including University President William P. Leahy, S.J., and Frs. Casey Beaumier, Jack Butler, Frank Clooney, Terry Devino, Ted Dziak, Paul McNellis, Joe O’Keefe, Cy Opeil, John Paris, John Savard, Ron Tacelli, and the late Howard Gray and Bill Neenan.
“These men were examples of their vocation, making them more alive and interesting, and of generosity and fidelity as priests and ministers,” Sawyer said of the Jesuits he knew at BC.
Kelley, who converted to Catholicism his sophomore year, said that Fr. Tony Penna, associate vice president for University Mission and Ministry and director of Campus Ministry, introduced him to one of the gifts of religious life: joy.
“Fr. Tony’s example was very formative for me,” he said. “I saw the joy of the priesthood and the graces of the vocation. [From there] I got to know Jesuits, as well, and grew to really appreciate their wisdom, presence, and approachability.”