I have often said that if one wants a life that gives hopes and aspirations to many, nothing compares to a combination of a priest, a teacher and a Jesuit. When I first walked into the classroom of the old Holy Rosary Mission in 1956 and stood before a classroom of 15-16 year old Lakota boys – Birgil Kills Straight, Joe Brings Plenty and Johnny Her Many Horses, etc. – I asked myself how to inspire them to transform their world of defeat and poverty. I was not surprised when 25-30 years later Birgil Kills Straight became a national leader of the Native Americans in the U.S.
Now, 70 years after getting the cassock in the novitiate at Florissant, Mo., I look back at the parade of former student leaders in the church’s media – six or seven bishops, university teachers and some in top positions in the U.N. – I can only thank God and my fellow Jesuits for this flow of God’s graces.