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Catholic University in Angers on the Loire and Maine Rivers. We loved this place. There is nothing else quite like studying classic literature and philosophy with the “frères” of the order of San Gabriel.

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Frère Roger

 

Frère Roger
 

Frère Roger (pronounced “RoJAY”) is an inspirational teacher at the Catholic Institute of the West in Angers, France. In fact, our son is named William Roger Jarvis after him. (As is natural with kids, William hates his middle name and is not interested in where it comes from.) Another reason the name sounded so good was its association with Will Rogers, the famous Oklahoma humorist. My father often quoted Will Rogers, especially his saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” That was also Father’s philosophy. Daddy told about one time Will Rogers was granted an interview with President Calvin Coolidge—Silent Cal, as he was known. He was the president who never cracked a smile. After Will Rogers first shook Silent Cal’s hand he edged up to him and said, “Sorry I didn’t catch the name.” Silent Cal automatically replied, “Coolidge, Calvin Coolidge,” and then burst out laughing.

Back to France with Frère Roger. He first impressed me by opening his seminar session with the question, “Qui de vous sont créants?” (Who among you are believers?) A very innocent question, but how do you answer it? Without hesitation, my wife Leticia put up her hand. And you could see a bond form that moment between the two “believers,” Leticia and Frère Roger. I hesitated just a moment before putting up my hand. Of course, I considered myself a believer, but my beliefs are more a matter of philosophy and less a matter of pure faith. And all that subtlety of thought was revealed by my slight hesitation. But what a good man Frère Roger is, a man who truly accepted me. A man whose face opens his soul to you, a man whose smile makes a lifetime impression of genuine warmth.

 
 

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