There were many graces to be gleaned at the Jesuit conference I attended last week and I want to share one story we heard that consoled us.
Dan Lahart, S.J., the President of Strake Jesuit College Prep. in Houston shared with us what happened after Hurricane Katrina. He started getting phone calls from parents of students at Jesuit High in New Orleans wondering if they could send their children to Strake until things got better. At first it was three or four students, then forty and the number kept growing until the number reached 440.
A nearby school sent out a letter to its parents telling them that they would not be taking any students from New Orleans because even accepting one would cause “unacceptable disruption” to their faculty and students. Strake Jesuit, however, chose to deal with a completely unexpected influx of 440 new students, many of whom had to be housed and clothed and fed by volunteers. The school began to run two sessions per day to cope with the influx and everything normal was turned topsy-turvy.
Dan told us that it was a time of great anxiety for him and that he lost a lot of sleep. He added, however, that despite all the capital campaigns he’d led and the other successes he’d achieved, the thing he’d remember most about his time in Houston was the decision to open wide the school’s doors to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Are there any decision’s you’ve made which seemed foolhardy but which turned out to be moments of grace for you?