There are few things in life that one ought to count on as certain. But, unless there were some very unforeseen difficulties, “the move” will be over by the time this essay appears in print. After years of discussion and construction, the Jesuit Community will have moved from its residence in the Gervase, ulledy and Ryan buildings on Dahlgren Quad to Wolfington Hall in the Southwest Quad. After almost 34 years the community will be in a new place.

Moving, as most of us know, is never easy. It involves leaving the familiar and going to someplace unfamiliar. Even if we don’t like where we are, we are often happier to remain there, in the familiar, than go to the new and unknown. Moving involves uprooting ourselves from the well-known, the routine, the normal. Moving means we need to redefine the normal and the routine in our lives. Where do I do my laundry? Where is the nearest mailbox? Such re-orientations, even for the most stouthearted, can be challenging. All of you have lived through such changes and many of you are still in the midst of such a change.

But moving, difficult and inconvenient though it may be, is something that is a part of the Jesuit life and spirit. St. Ignatius Loyola, and his original companions, formed the Society of Jesus to travel throughout the world and live in any part of it. The choice about where to go and what to do is driven by the criteria: what will be to the greater glory of God and better serve our fellow human beings. Formed in this spirituality the conception of moving and traveling has been the normal mode of Jesuit life. Indeed, one famous early Jesuit, Jerome Nadal, spoke of the different types of Jesuit houses. The most important house was “the journey” whereby the whole world is home for a Jesuit. Some Jesuits travel, literally, a great deal. Others may travel very little. But even those who travel little are formed to be on the move.

Jesuits at Georgetown have, until now, never really had a home that was designed to be a home. The buildings we have lived in, ulledy, Ryan and Gervase, have served a number of functions over the years. Gervase, the oldest of the three, was built in 1830 and served as an infirmary for the College. The statue to St. Joseph, which is outside Gervase, was erected after a small pox epidemic in the District in 1873. Gervase has also had rooms that were classrooms, chapels and other uses. It was named for the Jesuit Brother Thomas Gervase who was one of the first Jesuits to land in aryland in 1634. Gervase was a pilgrim who crossed the Atlantic to this new world in the Maryland colony. Mulledy Hall, which faces Dahlgren Quad, was completed in 1833. It was a center for student activity with a dining hall, a chapel and an auditorium. Ryan Hall, with its long columns facing the Potomac was built in 1904 and replaced Old South. Ryan Hall contained a kitchen and bakery, a student dining room and student rooms.

Throughout all this time, Jesuits at Georgetown were on the move. The community and its members kept reconfiguring the Jesuit living situation to fit the needs of the university. Jesuits have been, even in what seemed like stability, on the move. The configuration of our living situation has been driven by the basic question of how better to serve the school.

Now, this question is moving us again. The Jesuit Community has moved to its new home, Wolfington Hall. The buildings we leave behind will change once again and serve the university in new ways. The university is alive, developing and moving to better serve the needs of our students and faculty. We move with a great sense of opportunity that we can use our new home to better serve and engage the university community. We move with a sense of gratitude for the past and a sense of hope for the future.

Father Kevin Wildes, S.J. is an assistant dean for the College. As This Jesuit Sees It. appears every other Tuesday.

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