MIT – Pierce Boathouse, Cambridge
Under cloudy skies and cool temperatures (i.e., ideal rowing conditions!), Jesuit Connections held its last event of the 2016-2017 season at MIT’s Pierce Boathouse on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge.
Will Doss Suter, who rowed at Boston College as an undergrad and now rows with the MIT Rowing Club, provided a nautical interpretation of St. Ignatius’ famous charge to St. Francis Xavier, reflecting on the nature of teamwork, leveraging individual talents, and working in harmony with crewmates, the boat, and the river itself. Peter Lew, director of the Boston Dragon Boat Festival, then provided a brief history of dragon boating, tracing its origins back a millennia to ancient China and the Duan Wu festival, before introducing the basic skills it requires.
With life vests secured and oars in hand, the intrepid Jesuit Connections group loaded onto an ornate vessel decorated with crimson and jade colored scales and a fiery-tongued bow. Calm waters and Boston’s serene skyline provided an ideal classroom. Slowly, fear and frustration were replaced by synchrony and speed. To quote Pope Francis, “The ship of the Society has been tossed around by the waves... But the Jesuits must be brave and expert rowers. Row then! Row, be strong, even with the headwind! Let us row together in the service of the Church! Let us row together!”