I was watching a video on the second day of World Youth Day that Spirit Juice Studios put out on Facebook (so, unfortunately, I don’t know how to embed it), and I saw someone that I know in there: young Catholic intellectual extraordinaire Eugenia Geisel! Speaking from the Mercy Center, her comments were: ‘It’s been a blessing to have so much access to the sacraments. It’s the perfect combination of sacrifice and just sheer joy and bliss.‘
In all full disclosure, Eugenia was one of the students in my class on Trans-Pacific Christianities from the University of Washington. One of the major themes that emerged from that class was how a Catholic sacramental ontology compared with other imaginations of how the world is structured. Because of this, I had to do quite a bit of teaching on Henri de Lubac SJ, especially to explain how the Jesuits thought it was appropriate to combine ancestor veneration with the saints from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries in China and how that led to what was called the ‘Chinese Rites Controversy.’ I don’t have time to elaborate on this, but maybe we’ll talk about it some time around these parts.
I hope to say more about the Jesuits later today as it is the Feast of St Ignatius, and I am off to my Eastern Catholic parish to celebrate it with my Jesuit spiritual father. But I thought it was a really neat Holy Spirit moment to find this while doing my homework on World Youth Day. It brought back good memories of the class in which Eugenia and other extraordinary young up-and-coming Catholic intellectuals participated – in a secular university, no less! Good times! Hopefully, this means that Eugenia and I will get to do some reflecting about World Youth Day in the weeks and months to come.
For some of Eugenia’s more extended thoughts on sacramental ontology, check out her thoughts on the podcast Mad on the Internet. This is proof that I am not kidding you when I call her (and others in my class) an up-and-coming Catholic intellectual. That, and look at how comfortable she is being in the same video as Bishop Robert Barron and Matt Maher and having something to say that is fresh and not recycled.