News
Ruined for Life – A Jesuit’s Inspirational Tale

Father John "Jack" Morris, SJ, died in 2012 before he could finish his book, "Ruined for Life." Still, through the help of his associate Barbara Underwood Scharff, his story is largely told through his own words.

Scharff spent eight months interviewing Fr. Morris, the founder of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps movement, before his passing, learning about his philosophy and life experiences. Before he died, Fr. Morris asked Scharff to complete his then half-finished book. Over the next four years, Scharff compiled, co-wrote, researched, and edited the manuscript, drawing materials from Fr Morris's personal journal, letters, poetry, homilies, and other documents. Scharff also conducted interviews with many people who knew Fr. Morris.

The book, which bears the motto of the Jesuits volunteers, describes the interior changes of heart that happen to volunteers after a year or two of companionship with the poor; JVs will forever be challenged by Christ's counter-cultural call to service and love.

"Ruined For Life" is available for $15 in paperback and $9.99 for the Kindle version on www.amazon.com. A portion of the book's proceeds are being donated to JVC Northwest.

Scharff has been involved with the Jesuits since 2001, having served in leadership at St. Ignatius Parish in Portland and on the board of JVC Northwest for seven years. Her two sons attended Georgetown University, and one son served as a Jesuit volunteer in Tacna, Peru for two years. She says that Ignatian spirituality has transformed her life and credits Fr. Morris for living his life in such a way as to be a beacon of hope and commitment for her and thousands of others.

A pilgrim, philosopher, and gypsy at heart, Fr. Morris changed every soul he encountered by pointing the way to Christ's love and mercy. Though he has passed, his book shares his poignant memories of a life lived on the frontiers of the heart.

"Ruined for Life" has received positive reviews:

"Jack Morris was an extraordinary Jesuit who worked for peace until his death. I first met Jack in the 1990s, when we were both working with the Jesuit Refugee Service in East Africa - he in Uganda, me in Kenya. Jack's lifelong work for peace offers us a question: How do we put peace in the center of the Church's thinking? Jack was the founder of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps movement, which has enabled thousands of college graduates to serve the poor, experience Christian community, deepen their prayer, and meet God in surprising new ways."

Fr. James Martin, SJ, Editor at large, America magazine;
author of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything," and "Between Heaven and Mirth"

"Jack Morris's life from Sheridan, Ore., to Copper Valley, Alaska, from Butte to Bethlehem, was no ordinary adventure. His enthusiasm always carried along dozens of people in his wake. Now, in his own clarion voice, we hear the call to the depths of our own spirit to live the more authentic, more daring life of the Gospel of Jesus. Barbara Scharff has offered this further votive of love by offering up his memoir."

Fr. Patrick Howell, SJ, distinguished professor,
Institute of Catholic Thought and Culture, Seattle University





Recent News

Father Michael Schultheis, SJ, a staunch proponent of education who spent 40 years in Africa teaching and helping to open schools in several nations there, entered into God’s peace April 11 in Monrovia, Liberia. He was 84.

Father George Kalib Aziz, SJ, entered into God’s peace May 12 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 89. Fr. Aziz was a member of the Society of Jesus for 72 years and an ordained priest for 59 years.

Fr. William Blazek, SJ, has been named national director of The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, succeeding Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, who served for 14 years.

It's that time of year again! Check out the roster of speakers and dates for the 2017 commencement ceremonies at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States.

The University of San Francisco will dedicate Burl A. Toler Hall on May 9, renaming Phelan Hall in honor of Burl Toler '52, MA '66, co-captain of USF's famous 1951 football team.

May 3, 2017 — Pope Francis gave a surprise recorded TED Talk presented on April 25 at the TED2017 conference, the first time a pope has ever given a TED Talk.

May 1, 2017 — Today, on the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, the Catholic Church is also celebrating the first-ever Religious Brothers Day.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Mission Magazine - Fall 2016

Mission Magazine - Spring 2016

Mission Magazine - Summer 2015


Update
Spring, 2017

Update
Winter, 2016

Update
Fall, 2016


Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.