It is difficult to choose just one of the personal interactions that I have shared with Fr. James Schall, S.J., as each one stands out in my mind as a significant moment where I saw the world in a different way, reflected on the higher things in life or had a conversation unlike any other. I first met Fr. Schall during the first semester my freshmen year in his “Elements of Political Theory” class. The encounter that stands out to me the most, however, exemplifies the care and consideration that Fr. Schall shows for all of his students.

As I sat in the basement of the Intercultural Center one morning very anxiously awaiting to be called into the classroom to complete a Spanish oral interview, I looked up to see Fr. Schall walking into the building. He greeted me with a, “Good Morning, Miss Schadler!” and with a smile, sat down on the bench next to me and proceeded to ask what I was doing there so early. After explaining my oral interview, he spoke with me of a book he was currently reading in Spanish about the higher topics in life, and after several minutes of intriguing conversation he gave me his best wishes and said goodbye, and I forgot about how nervous I had been prior to our conversation. He later asked me in class how it had gone, and remembered day after day to ask how the class was, knowing my apprehension toward the subject, and even encouraging me to speak with fluent students in our class.

During the final exam as he went around to each student thanking them for taking his class, we shared a moment of mutual gratitude, although I feel as if it is impossible to expresses my thanks for his compassion and words of wisdom. When I returned home for the winter break that year and spoke to a former teacher of mine, and a Georgetown alumna of ’92, about the semester, I mentioned my “Elements” class, and her eyes lit up as she said, “I can still hear Fr. Schall asking me what book of the Nicomachean Ethics talks about justice, and it has been 30 years.” Fr. Schall has been a light in the gateway toward asking the larger questions in life about happiness, virtues, justice and the like for generations of students, and I am honored to call myself his student.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *