stained-glass windows in University Church
Photo by Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

When I went to the University Church this morning to pray, I stopped to pray before the stained-glass windows in the East Transept.

The window on the left is a rendering of the vision that St. Ignatius had at LaStorta, in which God the Father asked Jesus (who is bearing the cross) to take Ignatius as his companion. (This is where the Society’s name came from: Companions of Jesus. The vision at LaStorta also became the source of our understanding that we Jesuits are called to follow the Lord in bearing the cross.)

The window at the right shows St. Aloysius Gonzaga receiving his First Communion from St. Charles Borromeo. Aloysius, the son of an Italian Renaissance noble (whose family gave the Medicis a run for their money in corruption) entered the recently founded Society. He died ministering to plague victims in Rome. Known as one of the “boy saints,” he has been for many years the patron saint of all who minister to victims of plagues.

The juxtaposition of the windows hammered home to me how right it is for us to stand with and minister to the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.