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FOR BAGHDAD

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Baghdad JesuitsWith the war in Iraq, another "BC" has attracted new attention. Baghdad College was founded by the Jesuits in 1932 and staffed with priests from the New England Province, including four current members of the Boston College community (pictured, clockwise from top left: Charles Healy, SJ; Robert Farrell, SJ; Neil Decker, SJ; James Morgan, SJ). At its peak, the school had 1,000 students, half of whom were Muslim. The Jesuits offered a rigorous education in both English and Arabic, with no attempt to proselytize. They also opened a coed university named Al-Hikma in 1956. But in 1969, Saddam Hussein's Baath Socialist Party expelled the Jesuits from Iraq and the schools were taken over by the government. Since the 1970s, a reunion of Iraqis educated by the Jesuits has been held every other year; the most recent, in Toronto, attracted over 1,200 alumni. In an interview with the BC Chronicle, Fr. Morgan said of Baghdad College: "It was my idea of what St. Ignatius called us to do—to go into the whole world."

Photo by Lee Pellegrini

 

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