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BCM welcomes letters from readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and must be signed to be published. Our fax number is (617) 552-2441; our e-mail address is bcm@bc.edu

Formative Years

Re "Close Formation," by Robert Orsi (Winter 2004): Just this week I was discussing with another military retiree our formation of eight years of elementary school with the Sisters of Mercy. We understand Islamic Fundamentalists because we were trained as Catholic Fundamentalists. The nuns never promised us 32 virgins, but we were assured a quick trip to the holy place if we died fighting the Muslims for defense of the Holy Land.

As I look back on it, we were formed as recruits for the old IRA. Lots of time in our formation was taken up with the issue of salvation of IRA members who starved themselves under British detention. No matter our ethnic background, we were brought up as Irish nationalists.

It was so bad that when I met my wife, Macanese with a British accent from English schools in the Orient, I took an immediate dislike to her. It was the accent!

Gilbert Wells JD'58

Lisbon, Portugal

Your recent issue has a photo illustrating Robert Orsi's article on the Catholic Church and childhood: In the foreground, four young men and one older man, all dressed in black clerical cassocks, are talking with several children, with a group of adults in the background. The caption says "A visit to the lily pond on church grounds, U.S., 1953."

Not quite. From the style of cassock the men are clearly Jesuits, the setting is a seminary, and the occasion is almost certainly a visiting day, thus the children and adults in their Sunday best. An older California Jesuit is fairly certain the garden was at Alma College, a Jesuit house of studies near Santa Cruz, which closed in the late 1960s when the theological faculty moved to Berkeley.

The photographer is identified as Margaret Bourke-White. She was one of the first female photojournalists, a war correspondent, and shot the photo that was on the first cover of Life magazine. In 1953 she was working on an article about the Jesuits for Life. In fact, she was shooting at Shadowbrook, the Jesuit novitiate at Lenox, Massachusetts, on the day I entered the Jesuits, August 14, 1953.

Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ, '53

Vice President for University Mission and Ministry

How dare Robert Orsi apply the word "erotic" to the priestly environment of the pre-Vatican II Church! The abundant fruits of holiness, which prevailed then, cannot be denied. This was mostly missing from the priestly formation that followed.

William Tobin '49

Wallingford, Pennsylvania

Cum Laude

As the first in my immediate family to graduate from college, I was proud to receive my Boston College diploma. But having graduated in the new millennium, I assumed that my diploma had simply been one of hundreds printed by a local printer. Reading "Print Shop" (Linden Lane, Winter 2004) I was astonished to learn that my name had been handwritten by James Healy '59. To Mr. Healy, my gratitude and heartfelt appreciation.

Dana Iannacone '01

Beverly, Massachusetts

Military Policy

I read with dismay the article "Fair Fight" (Linden Lane, Winter 2004), describing how a BC professor is leading a charge to have the 1996 Solomon Amendment declared unconstitutional. If an institution takes federal money, then it should accept the strings attached, which in this case means recruiters for federal service. If one finds these strings objectionable because of the military's policy on gays, then one should stand by principle and not take the money.

Additionally, I was struck by the arrogance of this professor and his group. Who empowered them to make career decisions for other students? What of those students who might be interested in a military career, or may get interested after talking to a recruiter? I had no intention of joining the service when I was a freshman, until by chance I stopped to talk to a Marine recruiter who was on campus.

I have served, and continue to serve, our country honorably since my graduation from Boston College. While at times this has been difficult, and what I have seen and done has grayed my hair and saddened my heart, I do not ever regret my decision. I emerged from Boston College well equipped intellectually and spiritually, and have worked to do some good in this world. The decision to join the service made so long ago in the sunshine of a spring day has been the defining one of my life. A zealous few should not deny this opportunity to others.

Major Sean M. Salene, USMC, '91

Wilmington, North Carolina

To construct a nexus between the Solomon Amendment and the alleged discrimination against gays and lesbians is a stretch. If my business were providing funds to an institution or to another business entity that prevented me from having access to the end product, I'd be the first to reevaluate my investment.

Paul X. Bouzan MSSW'62

Rancho Santa Fe, California


Editor's note: For the record, neither Boston College nor Boston College Law School is party to the FAIR lawsuit. BC complies with federal regulations regarding military recruitment.


Archbishop John Quinn's suggestions for changing how authority is exercised in our Church ("Lessons of the Apostles," Winter 2004) seem to me like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need to go beyond his prescriptions—toward making church governance fully transparent and accountable by including laypeople in the selection of pastors and bishops. The Church could learn something from the Jesuits who rightly decided that the future growth of their colleges and universities required lay stewardship through a board of trustees.

Gene Roman '82

New York, New York

Mistaken Identity

How delightful it was for us in the psychology department to read in your Winter 2004 issue that Professor Ali Banuazizi has been elected president of the Middle East Studies Association. But then how sad that you described him as a professor of political science. Although a contributor to several disciplines (he teaches in both history and psychology), Ali is by training a psychologist and is a member of our department.

Professor James A. Russell

Department of Psychology


The first time I met Amby Page I had two black eyes and a broken nose. He was standing in the Flynn Recreation Complex where he was the front desk attendant, his chubby, pink face peeking over a wooden partition. "What's the other guy look like?" he joked, in his rapid-fire Boston accent. A snowball fight had turned bad, and my nose had taken the brunt of it. "You know," he told me that day, "it's always harder to walk away from a fight."

Ambrose R. Page died last September at the age of 89. To many of us Amby was that voice we'd left back home who told us everything was going to be okay even when it seemed it could not get worse. He sneaked us off to meals when he sensed the money was short. When we groused about teachers or coaches, he reminded us how talented we were. We knew it was a ruse, but it was the tonic we needed. After we graduated, he traveled to our weddings, in Rochester, New York, Richmond, Virginia—driving eight hours, 15 hours.

Amby's wake was held in a small funeral home in Brighton. On a posterboard were photos collected from his life. Dressed in fatigues on an island in the Pacific. A slim, dark-haired young father in an oversized bathing suit at the Cape. Years later, sitting at the front desk of the Plex, the strands of a mop perched comically on top of his head. And here were his wife and children, their wives and his grandchildren, Boston College deans and professors, secretaries, and the rest of us.

Thomas Zambito '85

Ridgewood, New Jersey

My work-study job for all four years at BC was at the Plex. During this time, I had the honor of working with an individual who touched my life. He may not have been big in stature, but a bigger heart would be hard to find. Ambrose "Amby" Page loved his position at the entrance to the Sports Complex because he loved people. He spread happiness through his kind, generous, humorous nature, which greeted all at the turnstile. Amby has gone to meet St. Peter at the pearly gates. There is no doubt in my mind that he got in, ID or no ID.

Rosemary Gorman Morley '85

Dublin, Ireland

Folkard Recalled

Professor Al Folkard founded the Honors Program, taught the T.S. Eliot seminar, and had even spent a long night drinking with Eliot and several Jesuits after the poet spoke at BC in the early 1960s.

Folkard smoked a filterless Camel cigarette at our first meeting, an interview for the Honors Program. He glanced at an essay I'd written on Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," read a few lines aloud in a questioning voice, and casually pointed out my grammatical failings. Then things got serious.

"So what's the 'overwhelming question' referred to in the poem?" he asked.

"The meaning of life," I blurted out.

"Exactly," he said, and then he launched into a close reading of the poem. He tied it into Eliot's later work, The Waste Land, quietly singing the popular tune from 1912 that Eliot quotes, "O O O O, that Shakespeherian Rag." He ranged from medieval mystics to the image of the rose in religious stained glass to civil rights.

I took Folkard's class on Eliot in my junior year. He could recite any Eliot poem, no matter how long, from memory. Halfway through the course, I realized that he was also quoting from memory critical works on Eliot. The giveaway was when he would absentmindedly turn the imaginary page of the book he was quoting.

Professor Folkard died on December 14, 2003, at the age of 89. I still have that "overwhelming question" tucked away, and I can hear him asking, as Eliot, "What are the roots that clutch?"

Jack Crowe '82

Oak Park, Illinois


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