February 14, 2019 — On January 25, our companion Father John Meehan was interviewed (in French) by Jean-Philippe Trottier on Radio VM’s En dialogue program. Here are some highlights from what he said.
Father John Meehan, SJ, who has been living in Montreal since last September, is the rector of the Gesù Church, as well as the interim director of the Newman Centre at McGill University. Shortly after his arrival in the city, he gave us a short interview on his spiritual journey and his first impressions of his adopted city. In the radio interview he just gave to Jean-Philippe Trottier, Fr. Meehan allows us to get to know him better. He revisits his youth in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, his two stays in France, first in Provence, then in a community of L’Arche. Then his academic and intellectual career: he was a multilingual historian who was destined for a career as a… diplomat, who would then dream of becoming a missionary in China.
It also evokes his spiritual quest, his early openness to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, his Jesuit vocation and his first apostolates, whether with the homeless or prisoners. The interview focuses on his involvement with Indigenous peoples, both before and after his appointment as President of Campion College in Regina. Inspired by the call for reconciliation that emanates from the work of the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, moved by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he recounts his radically transformative experiences with Indigenous peoples during his years in Saskatchewan.
“The Indigenous people touched me, they converted me,” Fr. Meehan told host Jean-Philippe Trottier. He experienced a reversed mission with them, while they taught him a more harmonious relationship with Creation, a more just way of resolving conflicts, a healthier relationship with nature, with death and with time. John found a rich spirituality and ritual among the Indigenous peoples. This experience has led him to a better understanding of indigenous realities and he has tried to make knowledge of these realities one of his priorities, not only as a pastor, but also and especially as president of a Jesuit university college.
You can listen to the complete interview here (in French).