Men and Women for Others
"Ite, inflammate omnia - Go, set the world on fire.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola
During these unprecedented and difficult times, we wanted to highlight the many alumni of Gonzaga College SJ who are exemplifying the college ethos of being Men and Women for Others. We hope that their thoughts and insights into their experiences so far might bring reassurance and inspiration to other alumni, students, and parents.
Of course, this is simply a small representation of all the Gonzaga alumni in our community who we are so very proud of. More videos will be added in the coming days and weeks ahead and we will also be circulating the videos through our social media channels on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
If you would like to be part of the series, or would like to nominate someone who is ‘setting the world on fire’ in the example of St. Ignatius, please email Kathryn Grace
Below you will find videos of the following past pupils.
Dr. Knut Moe, class of ’98, speaks to the school community about the fundamental changes in his practical work as a GP and how adapting the approach to patient care and the capturing of data is crucial in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic. His GP diagnostic and screening tool has been adopted by hundreds of GP practices across the country and his partnership with fellow alumni (brothers Eoin and Joe Newell from GP Buddy) has resulted in the development of a GP Symptom Tracker as an early warning system for an increase in cases of Covid 19 in the community.
Brian Whelan, class of ’92, speaks to the school community on the subject of minding our mental health at this time and the importance of looking out others who might need support from their fellow alumni during the crisis. The Copper Beech Trust is always available for assistance to anyone who might need advice or support on any matter – financial, professional, personal and spiritual.
Dr. Andrew Maree, class of ’88, speaks to the school community about his personal experience of Covid 19, his work as an interventional Cardiologist working in St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, the support of so many fellow alumni in the medical profession and the message of hope regarding antibody screening and the delivery of a vaccine in due course.
Philip Quinlan, class of ’91, speaks to the school community on the subject of adapting our mindsets during the crisis, flipping negatives into positives and the importance of neighbours and friends during this most difficult time. Philip works with for Spinal Injuries Ireland who are one of many organisations in the charity sector to have been deeply affected by the pandemic.
Prof. Brian O’Brien, class of ’88, speaks to the school community on his work at the epicentre of the crisis in Cork University Hospital. As an Anaesthetist, Prof. O’Brien is on the frontline in caring for patients presenting with Covid 19. Chemistry teacher Mr. Slevin will no doubt be very proud of Brian’s recollection of class in the 1980’s as will former English teacher Mrs. Deane - both of whom are credited with being men and women for others in his formative years.
Trevor Browne, class of ’89, speaks to the school community on the challenges of running a restaurant business during the crisis and how doing right by his suppliers and staff in a real and meaningful way has motivated him to work harder than ever before. He speaks on how adapting from an eat-in restaurant to a take-out and delivery ‘family business’ has had a positive impact bringing his family closer and the challenging fun of working as a family team. Alumni can rest easy – TriBeCa wings are still very much on the menu!
David McRedmond, class of 1980 and CEO at An Post, speaks to the Gonzaga Community on the importance of enabling and supporting all those around us, not just Gonzaga alumni, to be Men and Women for Others. The exceptional team at An Post have proven that sometimes it’s the small and simple ideas – the ones from the heart - that are the most compelling and meaningful for the community at large.
Dr. Domhnall McGlacken-Byrne, class of 2011, is a a Paediatrician working in Crumlin Children’s Hospital. He speaks to the community about his hope for good that might arise from this crisis… that we carry a greater appreciation for our excellent Health Service ensuring it receives the funding needed so it is accessible to all. Not that long out of Gonzaga himself, Domhnall’s empathy for the Leaving Cert students is evident and he sends his very best wishes to them during this difficult time.
Gary Lee, class of 1988, is the managing Solicitor in a community law centre in Ballymun and Chair of the Disability Foundation of Ireland. He speaks to the community about the inherent good of the Jesuit ethos, the challenge of chairing mental health tribunals remotely and his memories of John Mulgrew and Fr Joe Brennan whose blackboard response to his teenage queries about the evidence for faith has stayed with him to this day.
Dr. Turlough Bolger, class of 1988, is a Consultant in Paediatric Emergency and Clinical Director for Paediatric Services at Tallaght Hospital. He tells us how doing the right thing for his team to do was to move their Paediatric Service from Tallaght to Crumlin Hospital to make way for the adult service that would need the space most. He credits Gonzaga for having taught him that sometimes our own personal preferences need to come second to the requirements that society puts on you.
Dr. Philip Crowley, class of 1978, is a GP, HSE Public Health lead for the Covid 19 Pandemic and Board Member of the Peter McVerry Trust. He believes the response of the Irish people to what has been asked of them has been phenomenal and while the curve has flattened, the HSE’s hard work on tackling the virus will continue for the year ahead. His clinical work as a GP is focussed on finding ways to limit the impact of the virus on the homeless and trying to protect this vulnerable group of our community. The PMV Trust together with the HSE are finding new ways to protect those lacking safe accommodation or suffering with drug addiction.
Dr. Paul Keelan, class of 1978, is a Consultant Cardiologist in the Mater Hospital. He speaks of the importance of kindness in dealings with patients and maintaining a human touch through the PPE. The compassionate measures health care workers have implemented are a human lifeline for patients and their families.. and Gonzaga alumni (you know who you are!) have shown the nation what a massive impact these small measures can have for those unwell and afraid. He hopes that those of us who are somewhat protected from the virus by virtue of our age and health will continue to shield those in the community who are more vulnerable.
Dr. Michael Clark, class of 1999, is a Maths, Physics and Applied Maths teacher in Gonzaga College and County Councillor, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. He speaks honestly of the difficulties with getting a handle on online teaching and the subsequent joy of making it work. His genuine affection for the school and the students he teaches is inspiring and it is clear how much the staff in the college miss doing what they do best in person and enjoying all the extracurricular activities that make Gonzaga such a special place to learn and work.
Elisabeth Clarke is the Director of Ignatian Formation and Service Programmes at Gonzaga College SJ. She speaks to the entire Jesuit community on the experience of the College during this crisis - the challenges of continuing good pastoral work with students remotely, the importance of celebration and ritual at key moments in our lives and she shares the deep sense of loss felt by the Class of 2020. Thank you, Elisabeth for reminding us that there is much more to education than teaching, learning and examinations and these few weeks have most certainly highlighted the importance of Cura Personalis, the education of the whole person.
We caught up with Philippa Morris Peeters last month where she shared the teacher experience of this pandemic and her pride at how the College teaching community and management have risen to the many challenges and responded with such empathy to the student needs from a teaching and pastoral care perspective. Indeed, you most certainly have 'got this' Gonzaga and the parents and students are most grateful to all staff for their herculean efforts to date.
Fr. Noel Barber SJ was the solitary figure on the sunny front lawn on what should have been the 2020 Sports Day in Gonzaga College. He shares his experience of the pandemic thus far, speaking of the sadness at the loss of his friends in the Jesuit community and his hopes for continued pioneering development of Gonzaga College in the future - in particular the existing plans for Science, poignantly relevant now to our world's epidemiological needs. (Due to observation of social distancing protocols with the utmost of care, there is some interference with sound quality.) Thank you Fr Barber.