Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fr. Gerald Walling, S.J. On Becoming A Jesuit

Fr. Gerald Walling, S.J. in the"Blues Brothers" movie
I entered the Jesuits because God extended my life and gave me two big pushes. I had served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from January 1948 to January 1950 when my enlistment expired. My father urged me to reenlist but an inner voice told me not to. 
Five months later the Korean War broke out and my infantry battalion was sent to North Korea in the Allied push to the Yalu River. In October the battalion encountered the Chinese pouring across the Yalu. The fighting, at 25 below, was desperate. I wouldn't have survived. 
That same October back in Chicago I met a young woman whose charm, intelligence and spirituality overwhelmed me; I had never met anyone like her. But on a date in February, 1951, she stunned me by saying she was going to become a nun.
How could she take all that talent and vivacity, and pour it into a life of service of others? God showed me it was love. I began to think, if she'll give her life, why can't I? Since God had saved my life, why shouldn't I? 
The next month when Dr. Tom Kennedy, director of Psychological Services at Loyola University, asked me what I was going to do after graduating from Loyola that June, I said I was thinking about becoming a priest. What kind, he asked. "I guess diocesan." "How you ever thought about the Jesuits?" "Sure, but I don't think I have what it takes." "Yes, you do; I'll get you an appointment to see [Jesuit] Fr. Henderson next Tuesday."
Link (here) to read the full article.
More on Fr. Gerald Walling, S.J. (here) and (here)
Father Walling is professionally trained actor, click on the links provided to learn more about his acting career.

1 comment:

aselvasj said...

I am an Indian Jesuit and had the honor of living for more than a year with Fr Gerry Walling from July 2007 till September 2008 at Jesuit Residence (known as JR) during my doctoral studies at Loyola University, Chicago. He was such a fine Jesuit who helped me a lot on two grounds. He taught me American accent. You know it used to be very painful in your jaw. I used to tell my friends that American English has more jaw twister than tongue twister. He was such a fine gentle man, very humble, every ready to help even at his late 70s or early 80s then. He also gave me two days lesson in driving after which he decide it was not safe for him to give me driving lesson. He was like an angel walking around the corridor having an ever smiling face. I wish him great and long years of happiness and good health.