It was a difficult transition, but Murray-Weigel has been very kind to me, and I am very happy to be here. Do I get good food? Yes, indeed – three full meals! Do I get a drink? Yes, but not as many! Do I walk? Yes, but with a walker, and I use a wheelchair for outdoor trips. I have attended football games, seated in the end zone, as well as men’s and women’s basketball games. A volunteer pushes me in my wheelchair to the gym or field. The Fordham football team had only one loss and made it to the second round of the playoffs, where they were defeated by Towson University in Baltimore. Just as at Canisius, students here appreciate your attendance.
How about entertainment? Yes – student socials, lectures, arts and crafts! Music? Plenty –twice -a -week sing-alongs, professional recitals, a pianist, a violinist, vocalists, and the Fordham choirs in the University Church where I was ordained along with Fr. Avery Dulles.
How about medical care? ArchCare, a managed healthcare provider, oversees our needs with great success. I had my left hip replaced and an eye operation. Both procedures went extremely well. A light anesthetic was administered for the eye surgery. During the operation, I sometimes could hear what the surgeons were saying. The first time they were talking medical things; the next time they were saying that San Diego was the best place for a vacation. When they shook me awake, my first words were, “I want to go to San Diego!” This broke up the medical staff! Here at Murray-Weigel, they keep a close watch over you, so I am getting my money’s worth!
Equally as important as medical attention is the companionship, which is special. You meet Jesuits you know but haven’t seen in a long time. They share their experiences. Some have traveled and studied far and wide: France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Vatican City, South America, England, Ireland, Philippines, islands in the Pacific, Spain ( At Pamplona, Fr. Haus and I attended the running with the bulls. Young people from all over the world come for the best party in Europe! Of course, we tried to convert them!), Cervinia (My ski place! It’s the Italian side of the Matterhorn.).
Pretty and handsome Fordham student volunteers help us, and we help them. As I said earlier, they push me to games and concerts. They are trying to bring order to my life by clearing my desk, drawing up mailing and email lists, and teaching me the computer (but I don’t always do my homework!).
My cousin, Joe Shanahan, stayed at the Hall for a couple of days, and he was really impressed with the staff and Jesuits because they are so friendly and helpful. You have my invitation to come visit, too! The Fordham campus is beautiful, and Murray-Weigel is practically part of that campus.
The spiritual benefits here are immense. The great care motivates us to be grateful and not to feel depressed. We are confident that our prayers will benefit our friends and families, and we ask that you, in turn, pray for us.
A skilled Jesuit living here took the pictures I have included. I tried to smile, for I have built my career on my smile! My dear relative created the oil painting. He wouldn’t tell me how much I could get for it. For some reason, the question offended him! The plant is from a distinguished Buffalo family that was the first to visit me. The prayer shawl crocheted in Canisius colors was made by a good friend from Buffalo.
A note to friends who are pushing me for pope: The chance is remote, and the problems for a pope might be too much, even for me!
So wipe away the tears you are shedding for me but don’t be jealous, for even Murray-Weigel is not a perfect world. I hope this letter passes the censors!
Wonderful as Murray-Weigel is, it is an expensive operation. 60 retired Jesuit priests and brothers live here. Visit us, telephone us, and email us. Make a contribution if the Spirit moves you, but don’t mortgage the house! Your friendship and prayers are gifts enough.
Will you do me one last favor? Please spread this message – and the joy – to others!
Fr. Paul Dugan, S.J.