Catching Fire, Drawing Flame at Creighton

BY ED NUÑEZDecember 3, 2015

Editor’s Note: We are excited to welcome our 15-16 ISN Media Team to the blog! Over the 2015-2016 academic year, these five emerging creatives will be sharing stories of justice from their college campuses. Today’s post is from Ed Nuñez, a sophomore at Creighton University who attended the October inauguration of Creighton’s 25th president, Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, S.J.

“I say more.”

On October 2, 2015, Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., Ph.D. was inaugurated as the 25th president of Creighton University. It was a day filled with celebration, excitement, great food, and great community. As a Jesuit university, Creighton was excited and ready to welcome a distinguished Jesuit educator, priest, and world traveler to campus.

When one thinks of a Jesuit university, one often thinks of the value of magis. Magis, meaning “more,” is a concept that encourages students to constantly strive to make meaning out of their experiences, and to be their fullest selves.

kingfisher (1)

The kingfisher, with its brightly colored wings, serves as the imagery of Hopkins’ poem.

As part of the presidential inauguration, Fr. Hendrickson, S.J. decided on a theme that would set the tone for all of the events, including the inaugural Mass and the inauguration ceremony itself. The theme was based on a poem by the Jesuit priest and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, called “As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame.”

This poem compares a kingfisher and dragonfly to the “mortal being.” In one of the poem’s most beautiful stanzas, Hopkins writes:

“Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—”

What this poem is conveying to the reader is that human beings are meant for some purpose in life. Whether it is a certain occupation, being a spouse, having children, or traveling the world, each person is called and encouraged to be the fullest versions of themselves: “What I do is me; for that I came.”

You might ask: How does this relate to a presidential inauguration, let alone a Jesuit university?


Fr. Hendrickson, S.J. spoke of the Jesuit value of the magis during his inaugural address.

For his presidential inauguration theme, Fr. Hendrickson conveyed to students, faculty, staff, and friends of Creighton that he wants to lead with the magis, the “more,” and wants to transform the school into a place where the “just man justices.” A place where students are challenged to form moral viewpoints to make their communities, and the world, more loving places to live. A Jesuit university exists to mobilize students to change the world; Fr. Hendrickson needed to make that known before assuming this esteemed leadership role at Creighton.

Just as the kingfishers catch fire and the dragonflies draw flame, we, as students, administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Jesuit institutions can catch the “fire”—the passion for justice, love hope, and peace of a Jesuit university—and then draw “flame,” the fruits of that passion. In so doing, we will see individuals working for and with others, each and every day.

May Fr. Hendrickson’s message of catching fire and drawing flame empower people in Jesuit higher education to “act in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is,” just as God created us in God’s own image. And may we continue to remember that “I say more.”

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.


Ed Nuñez is a sophomore at Creighton University studying Justice and Society and minoring in Theology. He hails from Milwaukee, WI and is a proud graduate of Marquette University High School where his passion for social justice and service began. At Creighton, he is a student coordinator in the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice and serves on the student leadership team for Creighton’s delegation to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. He also helps to lead the Ignatian Advocacy Team at Creighton, mobilizing students and faculty to advocate on social justice issues in Nebraska and across the country, such as the death penalty and fair wages. His areas of interest include human rights, peace movements, non-violence, and human trafficking. In his free time, he enjoys running, music, planting, and gardening.


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  1. […] and Justice and is actively involved with the Ignatian Solidarity Network as an activist and blogger. We at Peace & Change Blog are grateful to Ed for offering this piece on Pope Francis’s visit […]

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