Now that the College of Cardinals have elected Pope Francis as the first Jesuit pontiff, people have been discerning the Society of Jesus’ contributions to building the Kingdom of God.
Some wags defined Jesuits as: An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with good basketball teams.”
There is some truth to that observation as Gonzaga, Marquette, Georgetown, Creighton and St. Louis all were participants in the 2013 edition of NCAA March Madness. In the new look Big East (which really should be called the Conclave Conference) four of the nine Catholic members are Jesuit. This S.J. hoops tradition is so strong that when Marquette contemplated changing its mascot and team moniker in the early 1990s, one of the seriously considered suggestions was the "Jumpin' Jesuits".
However, Fr. James Martin, S.J. insists that Jesuits ought to be known for more than prowess on the parquet floor.
So we should raise a glass of Gin and Tonic to the explorers, the linguists, the scientists, the educators, the artists, the thespians and the theologians who have been part of the Jesuits’ proud 472 year history.
We should not ignore the recent miracle in the election of the former Fr. Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis– there is such a thing as a humble Jesuit! ;-)