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Dear Friends of the Jesuits:

Francis Borgia, SJ (1510-1572) is remembered by the Church on October 3. A Spanish nobleman, he had eight children before entering the newly formed Society of Jesus after the death of his wife. He was a skilled administrator and diplomat, founded what is now the Pontifical Gregorian University, and was the third Jesuit Superior General.

He was also known for his piety and his practice of long hours of prayer and rigorous penances. St. Ignatius wrote to Borgia the following in 1548,

While I did strongly commend the fasts, rigorous abstinence, and retrenchment from ordinary food, and for a time was quite glad about them, I can no longer do so now that I see that these fasts and abstinences keep the stomach from functioning naturally and from digesting ordinary meats or other foods which supply proper sustenance to the body. Instead, I would seek every possible means to strengthen the body, eating any permissible foods and [doing so] as frequently as you find them beneficial (barring scandal to the neighbor). For we ought to cherish and love the body insofar as it obeys and serves the soul, and insofar as with the body’s help and obedience the soul becomes more fitted for the service and praise of our Creator and Lord.

These words of St. Ignatius can serve as a reminder that we all need to take care of ourselves. During the past months, and perhaps for many months to come, society has been under a great amount of stress, and it is so very easy to forget to take the time for some self-care.

Let us try during this month to try to “cherish and love” our physical selves, in hope that our souls can become more able to love and serve the Lord.

The Jesuits are always grateful for your prayers and support, and pray for you daily.

Barry J. Leidl
Director, Advancement

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