Letters from London: Preparing to Travel to Paris
Reflections from a Jesuit President on Sabbatical
November 14, 2015
As the tragic events unfolded in Paris last week, I thought immediately of our students studying abroad there. Thankfully, we were able to confirm that they were all safe. I found myself considering that perhaps it is providential that I am here in London and can quickly connect with them in Paris, my favorite city in the world.
I am looking forward to traveling there this week to be with them as an educator, as a priest, and as a familiar face from our Loyola University Maryland community.
These are horrific days. There is anxiety even in London—and I imagine at home in the United States. As Pope Francis has said, it is unimaginable that human persons could inflict such destructive violence on the innocent.
Each of us must determine how we will respond to these vicious attacks. Certainly prayers for the victims must be a primary concern. But on a pragmatic level there is certainly some concern—not only among our students in Paris—about whether to remain in Europe.
As someone living in London at the moment, I have thought about returning to Baltimore sooner than I planned. But I believe that this would be a victory—however small—for the terrorists.
For Loyola students, studying abroad offers the experience of a lifetime, an opportunity to learn more about themselves and another culture, a time to grow and learn and explore in numerous ways. It builds so beautifully on the foundation set during the first years at Loyola, where the Jesuit education helps students become well-rounded critical thinkers who have a sense of looking beyond themselves out into the greater world.
In fact, as we consider this terrorist attack, I am struck by the enduring value of that education and of the “liberating” arts that are so integral to the Loyola experience.
I look forward to seeing our students in Paris, and I commit myself to assuring the safety and well-being of Loyola’s students in Baltimore and around the world.
The Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, is on sabbatical during the Fall 2015 semester, re-engaging with his academic scholarship during his appointment as a visiting scholar at Heythrop College. During his time abroad, he will share occasional reflections.