Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

16 June 2009

Cochabamba

Saludos de Cochabamba

Today is my first day of class at the Maryknoll Language Institute in beautiful Cochabamba, Bolivia. Six American Jesuits are studying here this term, four from Loyola Chicago, including myself, one from Fordham, and one from St. Louis University. Our trip down was largely uneventful except for a minor volcano related delay. A volcano in Peru erupted recently, the ash cloud delayed our arrival in La Paz about an hour.

So far we're all still getting our barrings. One of the Bolivian Jesuits was kind enough to show us around the city, I am pleasently surprised how nice it is here, downright cheerful really. The weather is sunny all day. It gets down to about 40 in the night and up to maybe 75 during the day. Rain and clouds are rare this time of the year they tell me.

More later and hopefully some pictures.
AMDG

08 June 2009

Youngstown

I'm here in Youngstown, well Boardman really but it's close enough. Take it away Bruce:



This morning my Dad and I took the Cessna up for a flight around the area to properly survey Youngstown. Sad to say it is not an encouraging site. The city and surrounding area even by air shows the scars of the rust belt--empty fields where steel mills once stood and proud homes slowly decaying. Proud residents too remain though many of their children have left. There's an odd beauty to the place almost as though the city has been frozen in time, waiting, for what I can't say. By most measures, at least American measures, the Youngstown economy was dismal before the financial crisis and has only gotten worse since. Still there's no place like home and hope springs eternal.

I had a wonderful but exhausting week in D.C. at the Kennedy Institute Course, "Bioethics Beyond the Soundbite." The course brought together many different disciplines including theologians, philosophers, lawyers, nurses, dentists, and primarily doctors to discuss the major issues confronting bioethics. I found the back and forth between the ethical theorists and the clinic professionals particularly helpful. Theories show their worth only when confronted with the human drama a practice. (No, I'm definitely not a Kantian.) I was particularly impressed with the presentation of Edmund Pellegrino M.D. whose list of accomplishments is nothing short of overwhelming. Dr. Pellegrino spoke of the practice of virtue in medicine and the need for self-examination including a reference to the Ignatian Examen. The Georgetown Jesuit community was particularly accommodating. I was also happy to see many friends while I was in town though not nearly as many as I would have liked. There are only so many hours in a day.

AMDG