Funerals can be joyous on occasion, especially when the deceased has lived a full life into a ripe old age. Yesterday day I travelled back both in space and time to Manresa, the Jesuit retirement home in Pickering Ontario, to visit the ‘faithful remnant’ and to say goodbye to Father Alan Peterkin, SJ, a man out of the pages of the glorious world- engaged era of Jesuit history. He was 88 and had lived a full life.
I shed many tears when I left Manresa, not for Alan, but for my old friend Jim Webb, a man of my own time and place, now totally consumed by a voracious cancer with but a short time to live. Yesterday i knew intuitive that he was already more in the next world than in this world, and I cried for my old friend. He stretched out a hard to touch my arm, and it meant so very much to me. We travelled different roads ideologically, and often disagreed, but I admired him for being true to his vision, and I always loved him. Our friend Doug McCarthy was with him, his eyes full of tears and care, and the depth of his feeling touched my heart. Jesuits are not often comfortable with manifesting emotion, and that made Doug’s all the more precious. I was never so restrained, even while I lived with my Brother Jesuits, Jim is already with our old friends, Biill Addley and Eick Maclean, and my last words were to please remember me to all of them. In the words of the song, it was time to say goodbye, and part of me dies with him.
Yes world, this old capitalist really does believe!