A poem written by Daniel Berrigan, S.J., poet-in-residence at Fordham University, commemorating the close of the Jesuit Jubilee year, premiered at the University Church on the Rose Hill campus on Sunday, Dec. 10, following a Mass for the second Sunday of Advent. The reading of Ordina questo amore, O tu che m’ami: Recitative for Four Voices; Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and Chorus, combined music, chanting and choral interludes with dramatic speech, to embody the spirits of the three celebrated founders of the Society of Jesus.
“This has been magnificent,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Father Berrigan is the most accomplished Jesuit poet of our time, and everyone who was here had a sense that we had a historic moment. I am confident that this poetic tribute to Saint Ignatius, Saint Francis Xavier and Blessed Peter Faber will long be remembered as the most significant artistic achievement of the Ignatian Year.”
The poem was performed by six Fordham students and directed by George Drance, S.J., artist-in-residence in the Department of Theatre and Visual Arts. The original musical score was composed by Elizabeth Swados, a five-time Tony Award nominee who has written extensively for theater, television and film.
Father Berrigan received a standing ovation. Father Drance said the audience reponse “speaks to the power of these mysterious and beautiful words that you have given us today. The poem offers a beautiful reflection of the struggles for integrity against all odds and sings the praises of these three men.”
The original work was commissioned by Father McShane, who said that plans are underway to have it published. Father Berrigan has previously published 15 volumes of poetry. His first book of poems, Time Without Number (MacMillan, 1957), won the Lamont Poetry Award and was nominated for the National Book Award.
– Janet Sassi