Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 19 September |
Our Lady of La Salette
home iconVoices & Views
line break icon

A Fast Take on ‘What Would Pope Francis Do?’ with Sean Salai, SJ

Tiziani Fabi/AFP

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 03/22/17

A Jesuit who predicted there would never be a Jesuit pope answers questions about his book on ... the Jesuit pope!

Aleteia posed six questions to author Sean Salai about his new title, What Would Pope Francis Do? Bringing the Good News to People in Need, published by Our Sunday Visitor. Salai entered the Society of Jesus in 2005.

1) What inspired the book?

The folks at Our Sunday Visitor wanted to do a book illustrating the call of Pope Francis to go out to the margins. They liked my writing at America Magazine and thought I might be the ideal person, as a fellow Jesuit, to write an accessible book with lots of stories for people in the pews. So it was really a matter of my being the right person in the right place at the right time — a Jesuit and professional journalist who understands the Ignatian language of Francis.

2) If you could give this book another title, what would it be?

“Pope Francis: Stories from the Margins.”

3) What story or anecdote in this book most personally resonated with you?

I open the book with my experience of watching the pope’s election in a Tampa Jesuit high school classroom with teenage boys. A week earlier, I had told them there would never be a Jesuit pope, and I pulled up Cardinal Bergoglio’s biography to show them the one guy who wouldn’t be elected. It was a very funny and touching moment in my life — one I’ll never forget — when the only Jesuit cardinal walked out on that balcony and proved to my students that I was wrong!

4) Did writing this book teach you anything?

In illustrating six themes from Evangelii Gaudium, I told a number of stories about my own Jesuit religious formation, illustrating the Jesuit side of the pope. Researching this topic, I was deeply touched and moved to realize how much of my own vocation was reflected in the formation of Pope Francis. As I say in the book, every Jesuit life is the life of St. Ignatius in the training we undertake, and there are certain things like the Spiritual Exercises which form a deep bond transcending time and culture.

5) If there is one person you want to reach with this book, who would that be?

I would hope to reach at least one person deeply in need of God’s love.

6) What is the ideal beverage to have in hand while reading your book?

Yerbe Mate, the “Jesuit tea” our missionaries propagated throughout Latin America as an alternative to alcohol among the natives, is a favorite drink of Pope Francis and one that I enjoy very much. That would certainly be appropriate. But any drink that helps one relax and find God in reading would be great.

Tags:
BooksInterviewsPope Francis

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
ANMOL RODRIGUEZ
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
2
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
3
ARGENTINE CHILDREN
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
4
RESURRECTION
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
5
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
6
PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
7
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.