Caring for those who cared: A portrait of the René Goupil Jesuit community in Pickering

by Fr. Erik Oland, SJ

April 11, 2019 — I have just completed my annual visit to our Jesuit community in Pickering. My last activity was to participate in the Wake service of our most recently deceased companion, Frank Micallef, a member of the René Goupil (infirmary) community, one of three résidences on the 20 acre property that also houses the Manresa Spiritual Renewal Centre.

René Goupil is one of two such residences in the Province that provides a caring and supportive environment for elderly Jesuits. Like the community in Richelieu, which I wrote about last Fall, René Goupil houses Jesuits, aged up to 104 years old who tell the story of our province in the great diversity of ministry experience that they represent: Jesuits who worked with refugees and First Nations communities, the brother who designed the very building where he now lives, the professor who translated many of Bernard Lonergan's works from Latin, an art historian still working on his magnum opus... to name a few.

I feel honoured to have had a personal conversation with each of the 20 residents of the house; to have heard snippets of their rich life stories and to feel buoyed up by the rich legacy they represent.

They may be active in the field no longer but the depth of life experience they bring to the mission of 'praying for the Society' can only enhance the quality of their prayer. I felt it when I was among them and I am consoled at the knowledge that the work of the Province is sustained by their ongoing dedication to praying for its mission.

The house provides excellent care and ongoing activities; not to mention the two birthday celebrations that just happened to take place while I was there. Happy 93rd to Norm Dodge and happy 91st to Frank Whelan.





Recent News

July 11, 2019 — This year, the Manresa Spiritual Center is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Many things have changed since the first laymen retreats in Toronto in 1925 and the foundation of Manresa in 1949, including the addition of retreats for women and for members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

July 9, 2019 — This second part of the Praying With the Preferences series focuses on the first two Apostolic Preferences: showing the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment; as well as walking with the poor and the outcasts of this world.

July 9, 2019 — On July 31, we will celebrate two special masses in honor of the Feast of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus.

July 8, 2019 — The Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice is very pleased to welcome two new, full-time staff members: Mark Hathaway as Associate Director and Victoria Blanco as Office and Program Manager.

July 1, 2019 — The Jesuits in Honduras are denouncing the Honduran government’s repression of protests over the past two months.

June 28, 2019 — This week is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This feast, whose origins date back to the XVIIth century, gives us the opportunity to meditate on how Jesus expressed his love. It was also an occasion for the Jesuits of Canada to consecrate their Toronto offices on June 25.  

June 28, 2019 — Last week, Pope Francis reiterated the importance of inclusion in the world of education, using the Fe y Alegría model as an example. This exhortation is a recurring theme in the Pope's speeches and is in line with a call for renewal in education which dates back to 1965.

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