>> Friday, December 3, 2010

Seattle University lost a long-time staff member and holy man today, Fr Gillis. I didn't work with him personally in my time there, but he was apparently loved by many.
I stumbled upon an open letter he wrote to the SU community last month, and it was very moving. So I wanted to post it here. It is so full of love and gratitude, it's pretty incredible. And I find myself lucky for having stumbled upon it.

Dear Friends,
Since the full knowledge of my cancer became known to everyone I have been overcome by the positive notes and visits and to a certain extent, the overwhelmingness shouldn't be surprising because I was bowled over by the realization of how much I am loved.
Part of the reason for feeling overwhelmed was also because I was realizing just how much I am loved – loved so deeply. (I am never surprised how good and beautiful you are, realizing that about myself was more difficult. But the two go together!) This confirms that when I am in touch with the Holy Spirit, I believe and act out of love.
It is not always easy to love ourselves. On the other hand, it is easy for me to love all of you. It isn't too tricky, because if you love other people, they'll love you back! My apostolic mission at S.U. has been to love other people. I open up a card and you would thank me for something I did – and you reminded me of it. But lovers don't keep score.
And just as we need to be reenergized or encouraged in the Holy Spirit in communal worship, retreats, and friendships, I have a few things to encourage you with:
Forgive one another. Mr. Thirty-two Search is ALWAYS moved to tears with people finding it in themselves to reconcile. That is at the center of our belief.
Take time to be with each other and to encourage each other. You can't build community at a distance. We all get busy but take time for one another because this is how we know we are loved.
Take care of yourself. I've learned a lot about health and a shout-out to all of my women friends 40 and over, please get a mammogram. Also, Fr. Mike lost weight and if he can do it, so can you!
In all of this, take heed St. John's call: Love one another.
Love, love, love,
Fr. Rog

This was taken from SU's alumni blog. Quite beautiful, and very moving.

Many blessings to Fr Gillis, his community, and to you.


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