The foundation of Fr. Monan’s activities was both intellectual and spiritual. In 1942, at seventeen years old, he joined the Society of Jesus. He would go on to earn a PhD in philosophy from Belgium’s Université catholique de Louvain (and would later accept thirteen honorary degrees). Monan entered the priesthood in 1955. He was the author of many books ranging from scholarly philosophical monographs, such as Moral Knowledge and Its Methodology in Aristotle, to volumes concerning wider cultural issues, like Echoes of a University Presidency: Selected Speeches. The humanistic aims of intellectual endeavor were always at the forefront of his thought. As he put it in an interview from 2009:
We [Jesuits] have a variety of political and ideological inclinations…Wonderful that within the Society we do have different points of view. I think it helps us be able to assist people more, because we’re familiar with difference. And we have people in several different camps so that we’re able to be of assistance to the constituencies of those camps.
Listen to the full interview
1. J. Donald Monan, SJ interview with Bobbie Hanvey, 2009 November 5, Bobbie Hanvey archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College. ↩