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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal/Theological Notebook: Celebrating the Successful Defense of Dr. Alejandro Crosthwaite, OP 
11th-Sep-2006 11:42 pm
Marquette University
Alejandro Crosthwaite, O.P., a young friar I came into the program with, is a machine and defended his dissertation "Who Are 'the Wise'? A Critical Analysis of Film and Papal Social Teaching for Those Who Can Reclaim and Revitalize the Vision of a More Just America" on Friday afternoon at 2pm. I was teaching then, so I was unable to attend, but I was quite interested to see what he had done with his Theology and Film double-degree in our Theology and Society program.

Tonight there was a celebratory dinner that I was privileged to attend (Shawnee grabbed me on her way and gave me a ride) out at the lushly beautiful Saint Francis Seminary south of the city, which I had never had the chance to visit. Alejandro has been living out there the last three years, and so I met some of the priests on the faculty out there, along with dissertation board members Deirdre Dempsey (who always seems like a member of my Sweeney family, some lost cousin or aunt) and William Thorn and his wife, who I'd never met before. Along with just all the cool stuff of being Alejandro's Film committee member, Dr. Thorn was a treasure for me to find because he had been out on faculty at the Gregorian University in Rome in the 1980 and knew my dissertation subject Francis Sullivan and that whole intellectual and spiritual world. I'll likely end up going off to interview him one of these days for background, because the conversation tonight gave me all sorts of insights into what was going on in Rome at the time, particularly in how the Catholic Charismatic Renewal there differed in form from the more "separatist" attitudes or problems it has manifested in the States.

The food was prepared and served Italian-style (pasta then the roast) by a master of the craft, the Rector at the Seminary, Father Mike Witczak, another fellow it was an absolute delight to meet and converse with. Dinner went long, lingering over dessert, and I had two glasses of wine beforehand after fasting all day for health reasons, so I was immediately dizzified. Now I'm nursing an awful headache and am going to go whimper away the rest of this night.

It was good to make this dinner though, because Alejandro and I haven't seen one another so much as the years went on here, because the Dominicans have got him flying all over the world taking part in various enterprises, recognizing his talent. (He just missed me in Geneva, arriving to spend August there, after having spent the previous month in Armenia.) But our first night of classes at Marquette in August 2002, we went out for an overpriced Italian dinner downtown to toast our futures at Marquette: it was good to be with him to toast the successful conclusion of his time as well. He turned down five job offers in the States and is headed out to teach at the Dominicans' university, the Angelicum, in Rome, starting in the spring. In the meantime, he'll be trying to jump-start his Italian, as he's teaching in an Italian Communications (I think) faculty, not formally in Theology, where class are in Italian or English. Everyone was deeply disappointed to hear that the current policy is "no guests" at the Dominicans' residence at the Angelicum where he'll be living. He assured us that within six months he should have enough contacts for alternate spaces for us to mooch free housing in Rome....

I came home to forty Live Journal emails: who are you people?!!
12th-Sep-2006 12:08 pm (UTC)
Are dissertation titles required to have 25 words or more?
14th-Sep-2006 06:49 am (UTC)
Be proud of me, Daddy-O: I just finalized my proposed title at 10 words.
14th-Sep-2006 12:06 pm (UTC)
But how many syllables?!?!?!
8th-May-2007 02:15 pm (UTC) - Buon Giorno!
I was just trying to find the name of the Institute in Krakow, Poland where I'm giving a lecture on film and spiritual discernment when your web-diary came up. What a surprise!
I'm here at the Angelicum in Rome at the Faculty of Social Sciences (where they only have a section in Italian, unlike Philosophy and Theology which have both English & Italian). I have spent the year studying Italian, and as you said, flying all over the world. I just came back from Istanbul, Turkey from a conference on Christian-Muslim ethics, and I'm off in a couple of weeks for Krakow for my talk on film & spiritual discernment, then Geneva, Switzerland to give a retreat based on the mystery of the Trinity. Mrs. Vicki Thorn, whom you met at my post-defense dinner, is coming to Rome at the end of May to present her Project Rachel to the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family. She has asked me to present a priest's perspective on the project, and that will be my first public presentation in Italian!!
I think I have just the right place for you to stay when visiting Rome, so welcome!
fr. Alejandro
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