BC SealBoston College Magazine Summer 2004
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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


Alicia Munnell's article "Retirement Blues" (Spring 2004) makes one of the strongest cases I've seen— although the author probably didn't intend it—for 401(k) or defined-contribution plans to replace the current Social Security system. Automatic enrollment in such plans, with government-mandated requirements, would be far preferable to the bloated government agency we now have and to Congress using retirement funds as loans for highly questionable public spending.

Bill Markot '67

Newton, Massachusetts


I was thrilled to see BC Hillel's Kabbalat Shabbat dinner featured in the Spring 2004 issue ("Meal Clans").

When I was a student, this was one of my favorite events, bringing together the students, faculty, and alumni who were the core of our BC Jewish community. Now that I work for Hillel International, I realize the vibrant Jewish life at Boston College could serve as a model for small Jewish communities on campuses across the country. The photo spread now hangs in Hillel's international center. B'Shalom (in peace).

Brianne Nadeau '02

Washington, D.C.


I enjoyed Paul Elie's essay "Pilgrims" (Spring 2004), especially because I am about to teach the Jhumpa Lahiri story he mentions in a course of mine on Catholic characters and the character of "the Catholic" in American literature. It goes with other stories that foreground the many different Catholic cultures in America: Frank O'Connor's East Coast Irish, Flannery O'Connor's southern Georgian, Robert Olen Butler's Louisiana Vietnamese, Sandra Cisneros's Chicago Mexicans. I'll ask my students Paul Elie's questions—is the apparently stripped house hoarding the faith's treasures or trash? Is it somehow magically producing a Christian faith the secularized Americanized couple from India needs, or reproducing the colors of their homeland's faith in Catholicism's traditional "creole?" I'll ask them whether artifacts appearing in the house seem to them to be marked "Christian" or "Catholic." And I'll trust that Catholics coming of age in the current climate of division and loss will recognize how our flights as well as our quests are part of our pilgrimage.

Professor Judith Wilt

Department of English


I just finished reading the article about our Kia ("The Gift," by Ben Birnbaum, Linden Lane, Spring 2004). You have captured that evening with all the emotion enveloping it. Since Kia's passing, I have come to know her "Boston family," and it has been a great source of comfort to know that she was so well loved. Kia loved BC and everyone there.

Julie Mercer

Lakewood, New Jersey

Ms. Mercer is the mother of Patrick Mercer, the late Kia Rozier's fiancé.


Re "Distance Learning," by Paige Parvin (Spring 2004): I teach in the religious studies department at a Jesuit high school in San Francisco. My students, formed by a post-modernist worldview, often struggle to appreciate the role that tradition plays in our Catholic identity. As a teacher of scripture, I struggle with ways to help them to understand the power and wisdom of our history.

In Atlanta, BC's president William P. Leahy, SJ, responded to a question regarding women's ordination by saying that "a person without memory is without identity." Indeed. My students may have trouble grasping the importance of shared interpretation through the ages, but they don't have any difficulty with the question of who they would be without their own memory. I now understand how to help them understand.

Chad Evans MA'97

San Francisco, California


I read in the Spring issue the letter from Jack Crowe '82 recalling the late Professor Al Folkard. I had Folkard during my first year. I recall talking with him about the paintings going up in Gasson Hall near the bell tower, and stepping out to the atrium, where he told me the story of each panel. Whenever I visit BC, I try to see those paintings.

Michael Lord '93

Hanover, New Hampshire


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