Santa Clara University


'Coming Home' hit home

Thank you for the article entitled "Coming Home" (Fall 2003).

I was baptized a Catholic but never really raised in the faith. In high school I became a Protestant, as I believed Protestantism was more biblical than Catholicism. I was a Protestant for 17 years. A few years ago, I became attracted to the lives of the Saints. While at a Catholic bookstore I ran across books such as Rome Sweet Home and Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. These books gave the biblical and historical reasons why their Protestant authors became Catholic.

Fall 2003 Issue

I had never even heard of a Protestant becoming a Catholic. Yet the more I researched, the more convinced I became that the biblical, historical, miraculous, and other evidence pointed to the Catholic Church as the church founded by Jesus. I re-entered the Church in the year 2000 and it has absolutely been the best thing that has ever happened to me. My hope and prayer is that lapsed Catholics, or even non-Catholics, spend some time and effort to examine the evidence regarding the Catholic faith. It would be well worth one's time.

Portland, Ore.

Give people a reason to return to the Catholic Church

Your fall 2003 article "Coming Home" by Mitch Finley was of interest to my wife and me. Our sons are graduates of SCU and are not practicing their faith. It is our impression that SCU does not offer much in the way of classes on our faith, nor does it actively encourage students to participate in the faith. For example, one son volunteered to be a eucharistic minister, but no one ever contacted him.

The reasons listed in the article were few for people "leaving home" and those for "coming home" were too general-more just a feeling than a specific reason. Our experience is that the Church has lost a whole generation, beginning with the "feel-good" approach to our elementary children in CCD classes and carrying this into the teenage years with more social activities than really educating our youth about the Church, its faith, and its rituals. Is it any wonder, then, that our young adults are leaving the Church? I hope Mitch Finley continues his examination of why our young adults leave the Church, so that our Church leaders can learn from his studies and make changes to prevent the loss.

SAN Diego

Seeking spiritual growth

I read your magazine eagerly, each time it arrives. I enjoyed Mitch Finley's article ("Coming Home," Fall 2003), and found it timely. Having a long and rich history with a multitude of personalities-brilliant, eclectic, prophetic, and saintly-to learn from gives our Catholic heritage a deeper and wider path for personal growth, for growth in community, and in relation to the wide world around us. Some of the best Christian witness and work is coming from dedicated Catholic lay-people. I served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay after graduating with a degree in philosophy.

Working in a Third World country, where there is deep faith but profound material and political needs, was a good way to test my faith and my hope.

Programs such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps should be the norm. When you confront the needs of the world in the context of your faith, it helps you to be firmly grounded in walking with Jesus, and recognizing grace in your daily life. Because of my experience in Paraguay, I became a doctor, and I never lost the life-giving faith I had at SCU.

What I am interested in now is in helping other Catholic doctors to become more grounded in their spirituality, in order to help keep us from burning out, or losing the passion to practice medicine. The Jesuits at the El Retiro retreat house in Los Altos have dedicated the weekend of Jan. 31, 2004 to give Catholic doctors a soulstrengthening retreat. I invite and encourage other physician grads to join us for this wonderful faithbuilder.

For information, see

Santa Cruz

Thanks for the history lesson

You would think that after 152 years, there would be nothing new to learn about SCU's past. Not so! The wonderfully illustrated story about archivist Anne McMahon's re-discovery of the school's historic scientific instruments is full of surprises. We owe her gratitude not only for assuring the preservation of this valuable collection, but also for identifying for us its fascinating parts. Santa Clara's heavy investment in science puts to rest the old cliche that 19th-century Catholic education focused exclusively on the classics and neglected pressing secular concerns. In fact, in its founding era, the old college was a cuttingedge institution. May it ever remain so.

SCU Professor of History
"My hope and prayer is that lapsed Catholics, or even non-Catholics, spend some time and effort to examine the evidence regarding the Catholic faith."
-Brennan Doherty '87, Portland, Ore.

Philosophizing on the future of education

I read with interest your article on "Core Values" in the summer issue of Santa Clara Magazine. It gave me pause to reflect on my experience as a member of the class of '52 (although I left in '51 to attend medical school and missed Ethics ala Fr. Fagothey- which I always regretted). I was adequately humbled and inspired; the environment was conversant with study and womb-like in its care and nurture.

Throughout an academic career in medicine I have valued the courses in philosophy that I took at Santa Clara more than any other learning experience. I learned how to value things in life; they gave me the tools and strength to make decisions and carry on in the face of doubt and death. I came away able to think for myself and went away through the muddied reality of our secular world.

The Jesuits were all powerful and never wrong-not to say they were always right. They were respected by all and I was very proud to say I attended a Jesuit university. We went to Mass on the day appointed for our dorm-all around were the sacramentals and signs of Christianity. We were immersed in Ignation intellectualism. It was a good and life-molding preparation for the real world.

I understand the academic, economic rush to secularism but decry the abandonment of philosophy as the substrate of a college education. Students need the ability to see through and beyond the turmoil of the immediate, global information pollution and know where they stand.

Gainesville, Fla.

Congratulations on award

We just received our copy of Santa Clara Magazine. Another terrific edition! I read in your editor's note about your recent award. Kudos to you and your team. We are lucky for your talents and dedication.


Keep up the good work

I read the magazine cover to cover, and find it to be one of the best university publications out there. You are to be commended for doing such an outstanding job. Keep up the good work.

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