The Irish Provincial’s Residence was a grand, beautiful and imposing Victorian mansion. As a young Jesuit, I would become intimitated as soon as I started walking up the drive. A friend who lived there once said, “It isn’t home, but it is much.”!
Having gotten over my negative feelings about the place long ago, I stayed there six years ago… until — during my stay — someone set fire to it and destroyed it! (How’s this for irony – the arsonist later claimed in court he’d set fire to the building to protest the Jesuits’ lack of leadership in fighting global warming. I kid you not!)
I am now back in Dublin and, once more, am staying in the Provincial’s Residence.
To my eyes, at least, there is nothing beautiful about the new building, (although someone told me it won an architectural award.) It is what is inside that make all the difference.
The mansion was dark and dingy and most of the bedrooms were tiny. This new place is bathed in light – one whole wall of my room is glass. There is an elevator and, joy of joys, we each have our own bathroom.
Victorian splendor or contemporary comfort? I know which one I choose.