We at the Teilhard de Chardin Project are gratified that so many people from around the globe are joining the community of Teilhard devotees found at this website, and sharing their stories with us. With this post we start a new periodic series, sharing individual journeys that have led to their continuing interest in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Kicking off the series, from Canada, is Daniel Driscoll.
We would like to hear your story, too. Write email@example.com.
At age of 84 I’m not up to ‘perennial blogging’. My hope would be that the sharing of some personal anecdotal data and random comment might be supportive of the Teilhard Project context. Since Teilhard himself often hinted that the ‘phenomenon’, in final analysis, gets down to ‘the personal’—I feel that at the outset I should in some fashion ‘introduce myself’.
When a friend forwarded to me the URL for Teilhard Project I was almost in ‘Doubting Thomas’ space. Can it be that someone is coming forward with actual ‘doing’, in a context that I had been thinking and talking about for the last two or three decades—“Too good to be true”, as my dear mother used to say.
In year 1962 I was an ordained priest (as of 1955) with a religious order which, by virtue of historical contingencies affecting Canada, specialized in missionary endeavors with aboriginal peoples, and the work of Secondary School and University Education. As a baccalaureate major in English Literature I was deployed, upon seminary completion, to the work of classroom teaching.
In respect for my ‘word quota’ I will not get into detailed analysis here, except to suggest that our priests, brothers and sisters of the post WW II era, charged with arduous physical, mental and psychological workloads relating to the education of Catholic Youth, oftentimes suffered varying degrees of ‘fatigue syndrome’. After twelve years of classroom teaching, plus supervision of ‘boarding students’ in their study halls & dormitory sleep-time; the ‘youth work’; planning and chaperoning ‘sock-hops’, where Elvis was an energizer for everyone except me—I was getting to the point of being ‘a burnt out case’.
I’m already well ‘over-quota’. Suffice it to say, that one afternoon in 1962 I was browsing in a ‘Catholic bookstore’ and somewhat by accident fingered a volume entitled The Phenomenon of Man, by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. That book, and many others read with avid attention consequent upon that first impulse, ‘changed my life’, and kept me ‘in the Faith’, even if I had eventually to relinquish priestly caste. For some time I took a ‘breather’, but then was alerted to Ursla King’s ‘Spirit of Fire’, and the Georgetown U. Press Correspondence with Lucile Swan. In my opinion these latter two are ‘must reads’ for all who engage in the ‘Role of Women in the Church’ dialogue.
It’s quite a long story, since that first day in 1962, but I now feel that ‘the world has unfolded as it should’. I eventually found myself living (for 25 years) in India, within a few miles of the tomb of Francis Xavier. I spent quite a lot of time in Indian Ashrams, including the renowned Sri Aurobindo Ashram in ‘Pondicherry’, where I had lengthy teatime converse with a man contemplating a book ‘about Teilhard de Chardin & Sri Aurobindo’. It is only as of this past year that I thought of checking back to see if that erudite person actually completed and published his book. He did; and I have it now on my shelf—THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE FUTURE: A SEARCH APROPOS OF R.C. ZAEHNER’S STUDY IN SRI AUROBINDO AND TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, by Dr. K.D. Sethna. I can write about what I’m able to conjecture from the reading of it—but, ‘enough already’ . . .until next time. . .
— Daniel Driscoll