To paraphrase the pamphlet that he handed out to students on the last day of class, “something really different” was around in Fr. James Schall’s, S.J., classes.

Among some of my favorite lessons that Fr. Schall imparted: that some things are more important than others and we should set our minds to figuring out the most important things, that we should read works that would move our soul, that we should learn how to order our lives and that those works could help provide clues about how to do that, that there was truth to be pursued and discovered.

I recall a conversation I had with Fr. Schall a few blocks off campus on a Saturday morning not long before graduation. “Soon, your education will end,” he said, “and it would be time to do something else in order to put that education to use as best as possible.”

He gave students the rare insight that college wasn’t about checking off a box to get a job, but about what we might actually know once we had that education had ended.

It was hard not to be moved by this kind and generous man, by his passion for teaching, and his excitement for the texts that he guided his students through each semester.

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Your email address will not be published.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 *