Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

Sheila was a reporter for The Catholic Register from 2008-2011.

A graduate of the University of Toronto's international relations program (M.A.) and Carleton University's School of Journalism (M.J.),  she has worked at The Canadian Press, CBC Ottawa, The Toronto Star, The Jordan Times and IRIN Middle East.

TORONTO - Baby Joseph Maraachli, who had been at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and doctors, died on Sept. 27 surrounded by his family.

Joseph's father, Moe, told The Catholic Register that the funeral for the 18-month old child was held Sept. 28.

Br. Paul O'Donnell, Major Superior of the Minnesota-based Franciscan Brothers of Peace, announced the death on Facebook: "(Baby Joseph) passed away peacefully at home with his parents and family at his side. Praise God he had seven precious months with his family to be surrounded by love and was not put to death at the hands of doctors,” he wrote.

TORONTO - Lawyer Daniel Santoro will give a preview of jailed pro-life activist Linda Gibbons’ upcoming Supreme Court hearing at the 26th annual meeting of the Catholic Civil Rights League.

Santoro is the featured speaker at the CCRL’s Oct. 13 meeting that begins with a 5:30 p.m. Mass at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, followed by the meeting at St. Michael’s Choir School.

Santoro said he would present an overall summary of Gibbons’ case before the Supreme Court on Dec. 14 which will challenge a 1994 temporary Ontario court injunction protecting several downtown Toronto abortion clinics. The issue is “whether the Criminal Code can be used to enforce civil injunctions,” he said.

TORONTO - New Toronto Catholic District School Board’s director of education Bruce Rodrigues hopes to bring the “strong work ethic” and “humble leadership” he learned in Toronto Catholic schools to his new role as head of Canada’s largest Catholic school board.

Rodrigues, associate director at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, begins his new job on Oct. 3.

“The things that I learned (as a TCDSB student) were strong Catholic values. I learned about having a strong work ethic and the importance of diversity,” he told The Catholic Register.

Rodrigues attended St. Francis Xavier Elementary School and Chaminade College High School in Toronto. He also taught summer school at Don Bosco High School and a few months at Cardinal McGuigan High School.

TORONTO - The Sisters of St. Joseph are lighting up Nuit Blanche. They are featured in Cloister, a multimedia art installation spotlighting the Sisters’ nearly 160 years of service in Toronto.

“We want to emphasize their amazing contributions to the city. They are amazing leaders and an inspiration to young girls,” said Judy Pregelj, teacher-librarian at St. Joseph’s College School.

“They have a long tradition of helping the poor,” she said, referring to the Sisters of St. Joseph’s outreach to the poor through numerous operations, including the Furniture Bank and Mustard Seed ministry.

TORONTO - Critics often wonder how a Harvard-educated man like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia can believe in God. Scalia answers that being a devout Catholic does not mean you forgo your intellect or reason.

“A faith that has no reason is not sound,” Scalia said to a packed room of more than 200 lawyers and judges as keynote speaker following the 87th annual Red Mass on Sept. 22 at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto.

“That is why I am not a Branch Davidian,” he joked, with chuckles from the audience. (The Branch Davidians are the infamous sect notorious for the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas, where more than 80 people died during a standoff with the FBI.)

TORONTO - It was a triumph of the cross at Neil McNeil Catholic High School.

A seven-by-five-foot cross that was built and designed by two of the east-end school’s students and teachers has been chosen to travel to each of the Toronto Catholic District School Board’s 201 schools over the next two years.

The cross is part of the board’s celebration of “The Year of Witness,” the third year of the board’s pastoral plan focusing on “Word, Witness and Worship.”

TORONTO - A court ruling that a surrogate mother can be legally removed from a birth certificate so two men in a same-sex relationship can be registered as the parents of an adopted baby is redefining the definition of motherhood in a "troubling" way and ignores the child's best interests, says the Catholic Civil Rights League.

At the request of a same-sex male couple, a Saskatchewan judge ruled in mid-September that the name of a surrogate mother who gave birth to a baby girl in 2009 be stricken from the baby's birth certificate. Instead of naming a mother, the birth certificate will name two men as the child's parents.

“One aspect of these cases that often gets overlooked is the interest of the child," said CCRL Executive Director Joanne McGarry. "What entitlements will this baby girl have as a teenager or as an adult to have access to medical or other records of the anonymous biological mother, or the surrogate mother?”

Some years ago, at a graduation ceremony at Gonzaga High School in St. John’s, Nfld., Fr. Len Altilia was struck by the opening line of a student’s valedictorian address.

“This school has been our home where we have felt at peace, respected and cared for,” said the student.

Altilia recalls the moment with pride. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow! we’ve succeeded,’ ” he said.

Altilia was not just pleased by the success of another class of graduates, but by the student’s recognition that his education was about more than academics. It was also about respect and caring, and about developing concern for the well being of others. Those have been guiding principles of Jesuit education for 500 years.

Education has always been a focal point of Jesuit ministry in Canada. In the 16th century, Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola advocated development of the whole person — the mind, body and soul — through an education that nurtured healthy physical habits and a loving relationship with Jesus. His approach might be summarized as: academics, exercise, culture and prayer. French Jesuits schooled in the Loyolan tradition brought those values to Canada in the 17th century and on that foundation they built Canada’s first schools.

Three hundred years later, Altilia was acknowledging that those founding principles remain intact. He is just one of many Jesuits who have dedicated their lives to teaching. After Gonzaga, he taught for 25 years in Catholic schools in Toronto (Brebeuf College high school) and Montreal (Loyola High School). Wherever he went, he noted the Jesuit emphasis on educating the whole person and developing students who expressed concern for the well-being of others.

In the formation of young people, Altilia said Jesuits strive to make students realize “they will have a responsibility and ability to make the world a more humane and caring and compassionate place by the application of their skills.” That message was delivered to him in the 1970s in a talk given by then-Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe. Arrupe said the test is not in the number of professionals turned out, but how well graduating students infuse their lives with Gospel values that promote faith and justice.

The history of Jesuit education in Canada began in 1635 with the opening in Quebec City of  the Collège-des-Jesuites. It was founded by St. Antoine Daniel, who was martyred 13 years later. The school would last until the British conquest of 1759 and evolve into Laval University, North America’s oldest university. Its first famous alumnus was explorer Louis Joliet who, with Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, was the first non-native person to reach the Mississippi River.

The Collège-des-Jesuites served as a model for at least 14 other educational institutions across Canada. Montreal’s Collège Ste-Marie, opened in 1848, spawned three other schools, Loyola (1896), St. Ignace (1927) and Jean-de-Brébeuf (1928). Those were followed by English colleges and high schools opened in Sudbury, Edmonton, Regina, Kingston, Winnipeg, Halifax, St. John’s and Toronto. The operation of many of those schools has since been passed to lay administrators, but the Jesuits remain involved in seven schools: Loyola High School and Jean-de-Brébeuf College high school in Montreal; Regis College at the University of Toronto; St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg; Campion College at the University of Regina; St. Bonaventure’s College in St. John’s; and Mother Teresa Middle School that opened this month in Regina.

Another aspect of the Jesuits’ involvement in education is research. At the University of British Columbia’s St. Mark’s College, Fr. John McCarthy lectures in ecological theology. He is also the college chaplain. During the summer, McCarthy conducts research on lichen biodiversity for the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation.

In Toronto, Fr. Rob Allore is a research scientist at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute specializing in genetics and the development of the nervous system. He also teaches in the human biology department of the University of Toronto.

“As a teaching order, Jesuits have long held up the development of our mental faculties as a path to God and a means to a better understanding of ourselves and our neighbour,” Allore said.

“I regard the scientific research that occupies so many of my waking hours to be a particular expression of this respect for the intellectual life. As a medical researcher, I see the work that I do as being linked intimately to the healing ministries that occupied so much of Jesus’ time (on) Earth.” 

The Jesuit education philosophy that combines academics, faith and social justice remains evident throughout Jesuit schools. For example, at St. Bonaventure’s College, an independent Catholic high school in St. John’s, Nfld., for students from kindergarten to Grade 12, that holistic education approach is evident in regular student involvement in inner-city charitable initiatives.

“What we try to bring across is to train young people to be young men and women for others, so when they graduate they are excellent in academics and care for other people,” said Fr. Winston Rye, the school’s first principal.

Jesuit alumni you may know

A pillar of Jesuit ministry is a commitment to education. Since the 1635 founding of the Collège-des-Jésuites in Quebec City, Jesuit colleges and high schools have graduated thousands of students, including dozens of people who rose to prominence across all sectors of Canadian society. Here is a sampling of Canadian-born, Jesuit-trained laymen.

Brébeuf College, Montreal
o Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, 1968-1979; 1980-1984.
o Robert Bourassa, Premier of Quebec, 1970-1976; 1985-1994.

Loyola High School, Montreal
o Georges P. Vanier, Governor General of Canada, 1959-1967.
o Don Ferguson and Roger Abbott, stars of radio and TV program Royal Canadian Air Farce, 1973-2010.
o Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, 2006 to present.
o Sam Roberts, Juno award-winning rock musician.

Brébeuf College School, Toronto
o Mike Murphy, former NHL player and coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
o Joseph Boyden, Giller Award winning author of Through Black Spruce and Three Day Road.
o Kevin Sullivan, film director of Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea.
o Terence Leon, president of Leon Company furniture stores.

St. Paul’s High School, Winnipeg
o  Angus Reid, founder of polling company Angus Reid Group (now Ipsos-Reid).
o Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, 1999-2009, and currently Canada’s ambassador to the United States.
o John Ferguson, Jr., general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2003-2008.

Catholic Register


Jesuits in Canada - 400 years of Service - Catholic Register special front cover


Jesuits in Canada
400 Years of Service

Browse print edition

Jesuits are a key part of our history

400 years of giving

Wherever they went, Jesuits embraced local ways

Jean de Brébeuf's rules on interacting with the Hurons

Loyola's Spiritual Exercises still at Jesuits' core

A developed mind takes us on a path to God

Setting the world 'on fire with the love of God'

Social justice Jesuit-style is for God's greater glory

Martin Royackers was first English Canadian Jesuit killed in service

Three martyred at China mission

Arts are a tool towards the Jesuit mission goal

The Jesuit Relations opened up the New World to Europe

Finding Jesus through Loyola's Spiritual Exercises

Exhibit unearths gems from Jesuits' history

The formation process for a Jesuit is laborious, lengthy

Experiencing God in ecology

A chronology of the Jesuits in Canada

Jesuit heroes through the years

From the 1611 arrival of the first Jesuit missionaries on Canadian soil to well after Confederation, Canada’s Jesuit priests and brothers engaged in ministry across Quebec, Ontario and into the West. But for most of the last century, they’ve also looked beyond Canadian borders and taken the Gospel message of faith, peace and justice to marginalized people in distant lands.

Almost 500 years ago, Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola urged St. Francis Xavier to “Go forth and set the world on fire with the love of God,” as St. Francis departed to spread the Gospel in India and Japan. That same message carried the first French missionaries to Canada and today it inspires Canadian Jesuits around the world as they live out the order’s unwavering commitment to social justice through international development.

Today Canadian Jesuits can be found in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. They are engaged in missionary work overseen by the Bureau des Missions in Montreal and Canadian Jesuits International in Toronto. The two offices co-ordinate significant international undertakings in the areas of education, pastoral care, social services, community development, agriculture, peace-building and social justice.

TORONTO - As the partisan rhetoric ramps up for the Ontario election, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association’s attempts at influencing the vote seem to be having little impact so far.

OECTA’s “Who Speaks for Children” campaign was launched on YouTube in March. It highlights the successes of Ontario students since 2003, when the Liberal government came to power. It lauds Ontario’s recent education successes and refers to the tumultuous period of the Mike Harris years when unions clashed constantly and bitterly with Harris’ Conservative government.

Billboard ads have also gone up across the province. In Toronto, the ad can be prominently found throughout Union Station where thousands of commuters from across the GTA pass through daily. At the end of August, the campaign moved into major shopping malls and is running in community newspapers.