The Rev. John Schlegel, former president of Creighton University, often ended a busy day at the school by volunteering at the Siena Francis House for the homeless near campus.
Tim Sully, director of development at the shelter, said he literally bumped into Schlegel as he helped serve dinner shortly after being installed as Creighton president in 2001. Cheap Jerseys china Sully said he marveled at Schlegel’s quiet, humble demeanor as he set tables, served meals and cleaned up afterward.
Sully talked about Schlegel’s commitment to helping the less fortunate on Sunday, when the Creighton Center for Service in Justice was named in honor of the 71 year old Jesuit. About 150 people attended the ceremony and reception at the Harper Center, including Schlegel, who stepped down as president in 2011 and announced this year that he has inoperable pancreatic cancer.
“Of all the reasons that naming the center for service and justice in honor of Fr. Schlegel is appropriate, perhaps the story of Father’s very personal and unassuming service to Omaha’s homeless is the most important,” Sully said.
Schlegel, now pastor of a church in Milwaukee, said it was “a very emotional” return to Creighton to accept the honor.
He also acknowledged the outpouring of concern about his health.
“I’m thinking of Mark Twain (in that) comments about my demise are much over exaggerated, because I’m very much alive and well because something like today really does fill my heart and my spirit,” he said. “There is probably nothing in the realm of this institution that I am more comfortable with than what we are celebrating today.”
Standing on the podium with a large group of students behind him, Schlegel said he was proud of them for “pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone” in service to others. Schlegel said the need to serve others was stressed by Pope Francis when he met with Schlegel recently.
“I came here wanting to make Creighton a very active part of Omaha, and I think we did succeed in doing that,” he said. “Part of it is programs like this.”
Senior Anna Ferguson, a student coordinator in the center for service and justice, said working in impoverished areas of the country is the most meaningful experience she has had at Creighton. She will graduate in May and intends to work in the social services.
“I knew that I was falling in love with the kind of deeper service and social justice work the CCSJ was about, and I wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “I can look back and say the service, faith and justice work I do in the CSSJ really has decided everything for me. nfl-jerseys-discount The people and issues I’ve worked with here have touched me deeply and inspired me deeply to bring love and justice to the broken places of this world.”.