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Mcij for Others 

Joseph f. MacDoiwell, S.J. 

The 25-acre Baghdad College property 
purchased by the Jesuits in 1934. 


/^T# by the * 


Meif for Others 


Joseph F. MacDonnell, S.J. 

Jesuit Mission Press 

Copyright © 1994 by Jesuit Mission Press 

P.O. Box 799, Back Bay Annex 
Boston MA. 02117-0799 

First Edition 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or 
reproduced in any manner without written permission, 
except in the case of reprints in the context of reviews. 
(For information contact Jesuit Mission Press) 

Printed and bound in the United States of America 
(NU-AD Inc.; Detroit Michigan) 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
Joseph F. MacDonnell, S.J. 

Jesuits by the Tigris Men for Others in Baghdad 

Includes bibliographical references and index. 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication number: 94-77276 

This book is dedicated 

to the long-suffering and noble people of Iraq 

who have endured wars that they did not seek 

deprivations that they did not expect 

and sorrow that they did not deserve. 

May God deliver them from their suffering. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 

Table of Contents f 

Preface xi 

Introduction xiii 

Chapter 1 Civilization's Infancy in Mesopotamia 

Early Mesopotamian cultures B.C. 1 

The cradle of civilization; Early science; 
Later Mesopotamian cultures A.D. 5 

Christian presence, Islamic civilization; 
The Jesuit educational commitment 7 

Jesuits as scholars, explorers and educators; 

Their success in education; Network of Jesuit schools 
Chapter 2 Beguiling Challenges Beckoned Jesuits 
Early apostolic ventures in Mesopotamia 1 1 

Various religious orders; Interest in Islam; Interest 

in other Christians; Other Middle East Jesuit schools; 
Recent apostolic ventures in Iraq 1 5 

Petitions from Baghdad Christians; Rome's response; 
The 1931 arrival of the Proto-founder Fr. Walsh 17 

College vs. boarding house; I. A. E. A. 
Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 
The beginnings of the Jesuit endeavor 2 1 

Baghdad in 1932; The arrival of the founders; Iraq's 

independence; Iraq's early problems; 
The locations of Baghdad College 26 

Along the Tigris River; Real estate dispute; Move to 

Sulaikh; The new property; Villa in the North; 
Post-Turkish education in Iraq 35 

A new secondary school program for Iraq; Conscription 

law; Truce; Militarization; Government curriculum 

of the thirties; The B.C. curriculum of the thirties; 
Experiences and influence of Jesuits in this decade 46 

Al Baghdadi; Missionaries and humor; The first Jesuit 

residence; Muslims of Adhimyah; The angry Tigris; 

Dust storms; A special Sulaikh family 
Chapter 4 Against AH Odds, Coming of Age: the Forties 
Summary: B. C. during this decade 59 

The Rashid Ali Coup of Spring 1941 60 

The expansion of B. C. during this decade 63 

Enrollment; Construction; Composition of the student 

f v f 

f Table of Contents f 

body; B.C. enrollment data; 
The El Iraqi - Al Iraqi Yearbook 7 1 

The boarding division; An increasing faculty; 
Curriculum at Baghdad College in the Forties 75 

Influence of Baghdad College 76 

Influence on education in this decade; Jesuits; 

as perceived by some alumni; Jesuit reactions 
Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 
Summary: B.C. during these decades 83 

Growth during these last two decades 84 

Growth of the student body; more buildings; 
New undertakings during these last two decades 89 

The Commercial section; The Jesuit Arabic House of 

Studies; Bi-ritual Jesuits; Vocations (Jesuit and 

Diocesan); Jesuit scholarship; Jesuit planning; 
Jesuit influence during these last two decades 96 

Influence on other schools; 
Life with Father during these decades; 99 

Crime and punishment; The floods; The visitor; 

The timer; The impostor; The scheduling board 
Some Spectacular events 107 

The King's visit in 1957; The revolution in 1958 
Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 
Summary: 37 years of B.C. programs 111 

Academic Programs 113 

Scientific programs; Debating; Language laboratory; 
Teacher education; Experimental mathematics; 
Religious Programs 121 

Impact of religious formation; Service to the poor; 

Apostleship of prayer; Novena of Grace; Sodalities; 

Instruction; The Christian Center; Minor Seminary 
Social activities 135 

Parents' Day; Visiting wakes; Visiting families 

during the feasts; The June Graduations; Lay Faculty; 
Athletic Programs 142 

Football; Basketball; Baseball; Track; Boxing; 
Finances and Planning for the future 149 

Rome's effort to create new Middle Eastern schools 152 

Basra, Haifa; Transjordan; Teheran 
The influence of the Jesuits in these decades 154 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 ■ 1968 

The beginnings of Al-Hikma 157 

Request to the Iraq Government; Grants; 
Objectives of Al-Hikma 1 63 

The name; The goals; Ideals Embodied in the Seal; 

f VI f 

Personnel at Al-Hikma 1 67 

The faculty; The students; 
Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania 174 

Buildings; Graduation; Co-education: 
The Curricula of Al-Hikma' s three schools 178 

Finances and Programs of Al-Hikma 1 8 1 

Scholarly programs: Spiritual programs; Social 
programs; Student Union; Athletic programs 
Visiting dignitaries 1 85 

Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 
Campus Characters 1 89 

Lay Volunteer Program 215 

List; The lay volunteers; Memories; 
Chapter 9 An Auspicious 35th Anniversary: 1967 
An auspicious year of academic promise 223 

Great expectations; B.C.'s 35th anniversary; 
Some imaginative and creative undertakings 228 

An increase in alumni activities; Retreats; Opening 
the Jesuit Novitiate; The Oriental Institute 
Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

Preliminaries 233 

The two 1968 July Revolutions 235 

Letter of Fr. McCarthy; 
November 25, 1968 dismissal of Al-Hikma Jesuits 245 

Letters of Fr. Ryan and the Jesuits; Departure; 
'68 - *69 School year at Baghdad College 25 1 

September 30, 1969; Baghdad Diary 
Reasons for the dismissal 256 

The Baghdad Jesuit Diaspora: where did they go? 258 

The Jesuit - lay volunteer reunion; 
The Jesuit cemetery and residence today 260 

Memories of happier times 
Chapter 11 The Living Heritage of Alumni 

Summary: Biennial reunions 267 

Baghdad Jesuit Alumni Association: B. J. A. A. 273 

Humanitarian Efforts 
Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni 277 

As professionals and contributors to society; 
The retreat movement 
Epilogue 284 

Appendix A References 285 

Appendix B Chronology 287 

Appendix C Lists of Names 288 

Appendix D Complementary Notes 292 

Index 319 

f vii T 

T Illustrations 

"The holy tree" 2 

Mesopotamia 3 

Over 400 stamps (of 40 countries) commemorate Jesuits 7 

Jesuit physicist, Roger Boscovich, S.J. 8 

The seal of the Society of Jesus 14 

The ruins of Babylon 15 

Fr. Edmund Walsh, S.J. 16 

The famous mosque of Kadhimain, near Sulaikh 20 

The four Jesuit Founders 23 

Early Baghdad College students 24 

1960 Baghdad map showing all three Jesuit houses 26 

1935 B.C. game of Badminton 28 

Map showing the new Sulaikh property and neighbors 30 

A quiet library scene 33 

Some of the terrain of Northern Iraq 34 

Baghdad College homemade bus system 38 

1940 Baghdad College graduation ceremonies 43 

The ziggurat of Aqar-Quf, a favorite picnic spot 45 

Friendly neighbors and one uncertain 48 

The First Jesuit house 49 

Fr. Madaras and Youssef 50 

One of the seven bridges across the Tigris on a calm day 52 

"The play's the thing ..." 56 

The first student body 58 

Weekly salute to the flag 63 

Frs. Madaras and Guay: Graduation with Dr. Fadhil Jamali 65 

Baghdad College campus 66 

The courageous builders in precarious circumstances 68 

B.C. enrollment data according to religion 69 

Fr. Quinn at assembly, about to send scholars off to class 70 

Armed and disarmed boarders 73 

Ramzi Hermiz, '48 teaching at B.C. 79 

Tanus of Sala'adin cooked for the Jesuits 82 

Jack-arched sections 86 

Vent for air cooling: Fr. Guay's chapel 87 

Interior of the chapel showing Fr. Guay's rose window 88 

Upon completion of a building a sheep would be slain 88 

Archbishop Bakose and Fr. Marrow: 3/10/56 92 

An industrious biology lab 96 

The three Ghantus brothers 98 

Jesuits enjoying their garden 99 

Fr. Gerry at his post in the bookstore 101 

B.C. neighboring refugees from the flood 102 

f VIII f 

T Illustrations T 

Jesuit guests at a couzzi of Shaikh Famar al-Faisal 1 04 

King Faisal II's visit to Baghdad College 107 

Visit of King Faisal II to Baghdad College 108 

The graduates of 1957 110 

1957 assembly of the whole student body 1 12 

Fairfield University's gift: a reflector telescope 1 1 3 

Fr. McCarthy describes the Testla coil 1 14 

An eloquent elocution 1 17 

Fr. Sullivan's language lab 118 

A reception for the English teachers seminar 120 

SabahJadun, 1937-1956 122 

Collectors for the poor 1 24 

Fr. Morgan's Apostolate of Prayer 1 26 

Religious instruction 128 

Way of the Cross on the roof of the classroom building 129 

A living rosary: Fr. Loeffler's irrigation system 134 

Blessing a worker's home 139 

A gathering of the faculty 140 

Boarding students for the year 1949-50 141 

Fr. Quinn in charge of the game 142 

An informal basketball game 144 

Baghdad College marches in the government track meet 145 

Fallah Akram receives basketball cup from his father 147 

Tennis enthusiasts: Fr. Larkin, boxing coach 148 

Baghdad College in the early days with only one building 151 
Faces of eager students at assembly anxious to get to class 153 
The Sodality marches in the Petroleum Sunday procession 154 

Graduation Day 155 

Hurdles on track day: Bob Mathias' visit to B.C. in 1957 156 

Map of Al-Hikma showing the 1 68 acre land grants 1 59 

Fr. J. Larkin inspects a new wall 161 

Fr. McDonough's enchanted and crowded calculus class 1 62 

Jesuit houses in Baghdad 164 

Al-Hikma seal 165 

Fr. Guay's beautiful arches: Sisters at Al-Hikma 166 

List of visiting professors 168 

Fr. F. Kelly's engineering drawing class 169 

Dr. Louden's business class 171 

Organization of Al-Hikma buildings 173 

Al-Hikma's enrollment data 175 

A game of tawli (backgammon) 176 

The solar heaters and Surveying 177 

Fr. Guay's strength of materials lab 179 

The cafeteria 1 80 

Fr. O'Connor's Regis discussion group 182 

Fr. Campbell answers questions 1 83 

A place for every sport 1 85 

Fr. Arrupe's visit: Graduation with Abdul Karim Kassim 186 

T ix T 

T Illustrations f 

Al-Hikma's last building. The Oriental Institute 188 

Part of the 1936 faculty 191 

Fr. Cronin preaching in Arabic at Padre Pierre's church 193 

Fr. Donohue and friends 194 

The B.C. Community in 1956 195 

Fr. Guay's last building 196 

Fr. F. Kelly running a physics lab in 1951 198 

The renowned scheduling board invented in 1956 199 

One of Al-Hikma's first physics teachers: 1956 200 

Fr. Madaras and Fr. Guay 203 

Fr. McDonough's celebrated costume 206 

Fr. Owens addressing the students just before his death 209 

Fr. Sara visiting the homes of workmen 212 

Fr. Sheehan's physics class 214 

Some lay volunteers on their way to class 215 

List of lay volunteers at B. C. and A. H. 216 

Moderator Mr. Eugene Mulcahy 217 

Chemist. Mr. John Dempsey 1962 218 

Fr. Arrupe with the lay volunteers 220 

Aerial view of Baghdad College 222 
Learned scholars who did so well in the government exams 224 

Al-Hikma Jesuits enjoying Christmas 226 

Aerial view of Al-Hikma looking toward the Tigris River 227 

A synod of Chaldean Bishops held at Baghdad College 228 

Fr. John McCarthy directing the choir 230 
Opening day of school began with Mass for all Christians 231 

The last building started by the Jesuits 232 

Last picture of the Al-Hikma Jesuits: 1 1/22/68 251 

One of the last Baghdad College Jesuit photographs 253 

Fr. Merrick at the lay volunteers' picnic 259 

Older and wiser lay volunteers 260 

The five Jesuit gravestones at Baghdad College 261 

R.I.P. Thomas Manning, S.J. and Edward Madaras, S.J. 262 

5,000 such postcards arrived after the Jesuits left 266 

List of alumni reunions 268 

The Saturday night dinner/dance party 269 

The Saturday morning business meeting 270 

Dave Nona makes a point 272 

Putting what they learned at B.C. to good use 273 

The Gulf Peace Team of the B.J. A. A. & Medical Convoy 275 

A few Al-Hikma geniuses 278 

Some Baghdad College graduates: the hope of the future 278 

Alumni Retreatants 280 

Manresa retreat house Tahir Bazirgan and son 281 

Fr. Ryan, Premjit Talwar, Dave Nona 282 
Montage of photographs 323-328 

T x T 

f f 

m Preface ^ 

Why do hundreds of middle aged Iraqis spend long weekends 
every two years with post middle age American Jesuits in order to 
celebrate two schools from which Jesuits were dismissed 25 years 
ago? Why have two and a half decades not dimmed memories of 
activities and routines of everyday school life? Why has the 
hostility between Iraq and the United States not weakened the bonds 
of friendship between these Iraqi students and their American 
teachers - not even frayed them? First time visitors to these 
reunions find the excitement, the enjoyment and the camaraderie 
of both parties beyond belief. This book is an attempt to explain 
this latter phenomenon as well as to respond to an alumni request 
for a record of the Jesuit Baghdad adventure which they can pass 
on to their children. 

During the past 25 years it has often been proposed that 
someone record and celebrate this very Ignatian enterprise where 
men of faith, armed with little more than trust in God, overcame 
great obstacles to build a successful and joyous sign of faith and 
dedication, and one of the great works of the New England Jesuit 
Province. Alumni wanted some means to explain to their children 
the extraordinarily close bond between alumni and Jesuits. 
At these gatherings they discuss how they can pass on to their 
own children the system of values they have received. They 
appreciate the fact that the quality of their lives has been 
enriched. Their compassion for others has deepened and they value 
the spiritual dimension of life. A major concern of these men and 
women, who are now American citizens, is how to serve others. 

My plan has been to document the extraordinary successes of 
the Jesuits and their Iraqi colleagues as they introduced to the 
Baghdad community a variety of intellectual, spiritual and social 
benefits. My story treats neither of church politics nor of secular 
politics partly because I have neither expertise nor interest in 
either: it was none of our concern. The Jesuits deliberately 
avoided such involvement from the beginning because it would 
interfere with their commitment to education. It is curious that 
none of the numerous books recently published on Iraq mention the 
two Jesuit schools in spite of their many prominent graduates. 
Among other things it certainly demonstrates that the Jesuits were 
considered neither political nor even politically relevant. 

The Jesuits, themselves, were sensitive to the needs of the 
Iraqi churches and offered a great deal of pastoral assistance 
outside of their classrooms. Their primary reason for being 

f XI f 

f Preface f 

educators in Iraq was to help rejuvenate the native church. The 
Jesuits intended to strengthen the Christians in the practice of 
their faith in a Muslim world; they welcomed Muslim students 
also - it would have been unthinkable not to. In this educational 
setting these Christians and Muslims got to know one another 
intimately. In this context also the Christians developed a 
patriotism and pride in a society of which they were a part. 

My sources include letters and documents from the New 
England Jesuit archives {file #510} at Campion Center in Weston, 
Mass. as well as the memories of Jesuits and alumni who have 
generously sent me their evaluations and recollections. After 
introducing Baghdadis and Jesuits, this story divides naturally 
into three periods punctuated by four events; 

the arrival of the Jesuits in 1932, 

the start of World War II in 1941, 

the start of the Republic in 1958 and 

the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1969. 
Then follows a description of the many Baghdad College 
programs, the Al-Hikma story, some of the interesting characters 
of both schools, the expulsion and finally a splendid and proud 
heritage, our alumni. 

Of enormous help in this enterprise was Ramzi Hermiz who 
often read and reread my manuscript and offered countless 
insightful suggestions. He was the Baghdad College valedictorian in 
1948 and completed his education on academic scholarships at 
both Yale and Princeton. He advanced in engineering with many 
inventions and patents to executive positions. In a similar way Fr. 
Ryan from his perspective as a teacher at Baghdad College and 
former dean of Al-Hikma offered many very valuable corrections 
and detailed suggestions. Fr. Donohue, the Superior of the Jesuits 
who was at the center of the storm during the expulsion and is still 
involved in scholarly work in the Middle East, offered sage advice, 
precise details as well as valuable data which the archives lacked. 
It would be impossible to find a more observant, efficient, prompt 
and cheerful proof-reader than Joan Hanlon. Also contributing 
their encouragement and support were: Dave Nona, Premjit 
Talwar, Tahir Bazirgan and Waiel Hindo. Invaluable also was the 
technical advice of Walter Kempski and also the president of NU- 
AD, Louis J. Stephen, brother of Najib Yusuf Stephan who belonged 
to that elite group of 107 young men who entered Baghdad College 
in its very first class in 1932. 

Joseph F. MacDonnell, S.J. 

Fairfield University 

4 May, 1994 

T xii f 

f f 

u Introduction u 

"If you have not seen Baghdad, you have not seen the world," So 
runs a sentence from Medieval Arabic literature, underlining the 
splendor and opulence that was Baghdad's. City of Caliphs and 
Turkish mercenaries; center of learning and locus of intrigue, 
Baghdad still maintains a charm distinct among oriental cities. 
For 37 years the city fascinated and held a group of New England 
Jesuits who came, not to see the world nor to imbibe the mysteries 
of the East, but to aid in the education of Iraqi youth. The Jesuits 
came suddenly in 1932 at the request of the Chaldean Patriarch 
and they left as suddenly in September 1969 when the Iraqi 
Government found them no longer desirable. But they left behind 
them their modest monument - a secondary school, a university, 
some thousands of graduates, a handful of Iraqi Jesuits and a 
wealth of good will and love. To be uprooted so quickly and curtly 
without explanation or excuse is not easy. Several of the sixty 
Jesuits expelled in 1968-1969 had spent over 20 years in 
Baghdad and had thought of nothing save living, working and dying 
in Baghdad. By simple decree those plans were voided. 

Many years ago, back in 1932, a handful of American Jesuits 
sailed the seas to Beirut and bused across the desert to Baghdad. 
They came to Baghdad in answer to this request from the Patriarch 
of the Chaldeans and the other bishops of Baghdad who wanted a 
secondary school for their Christian boys. At first Baghdad was a 
strange city for the Jesuits. The language, the dress, the customs 
created that aura of mystery which surrounds the cities of the 
East. The covered bazaar, crowded and dimly lit, with its brocades 
and spices and peculiar smells was in sharp contrast to the broad 
pavements and glassed store fronts they had known. But they 
settled in and got down to work. Before long they became familiar 
to the silent scrutiny of the Baghdadis. Baghdad College and its 
robed faculty became part of the landscape of Baghdad. Faculty and 
students increased and Baghdad College sired a University, Al- 
Hikma. Five Jesuits lived and died in Baghdad and were buried 
under the date palms. Five Iraqi boys became Jesuits and all 
seemed well. Then came the shock and horror of war breeding 
humiliation and hatred. That war of 1967 which was supposed to 
solve the problems of the area only increased them and spawned 
new ones. The world took sides after so many years of wordy 
neutrality, and the Jesuit College and University which had seemed 
to blend into the surroundings so well, now became a foreign 
element in the eyes of some Iraqis. The years of devotion, service 
and proven sympathy could not negate the origins of the Jesuits. 


T Introduction y 

And so the Jesuits were sent off as quietly as they had come. 

The operation started like so many other Jesuit overseas 
enterprises: a few men rich in interest, devotion and hope but 
poor in finances set out to do what they could to help the church in 
Iraq, convinced that the generosity of American Catholics would 
provide. Fr. Edward Madaras acquired a second-hand mimeograph 
machine before setting sail for the East and started publishing Al- 
Baghdadi - while still on the high seas. The interest created by 
the Al-Baghdadi, a very popular periodical chronicled by Fr. 
Madaras, and the continual work of the Jesuit Mission Office in 
Boston provided the funds to start and continue Baghdad College. 

From a beginning of 107 students and 9 faculty (4 Jesuits and 
5 Iraqis) Baghdad College grew to an enrollment of over 1,000 
students with a faculty of thirty-three Jesuits and thirty-one 
Iraqi laymen. The growth was not easy and painless. The 
centuries of antagonism between Islam and Christianity and the 
long hostility between East and West had left scars on the Iraqis. 
They were justifiably suspicious of these Western priests. Iraq 
whose population is 95% Muslim was struggling to gain its footing 
in the modern world. In 1932 the League of Nations had 
recognized the independence of Iraq, but the problems of 
developing its resources and creating modern institutions weighed 
heavily on Iraqi administrators. Although some Iraqis were a bit 
suspicious, all Iraqis were enormously hospitable and tolerant. If 
one had patience he could prove himself. 

Quietly the Jesuits went about their business of educating 
Christian Iraqi boys and the Muslims who were interested in 
coming. There was never any attempt to convert Muslims - that 
was not the purpose of the Jesuits coming to Baghdad. Slowly this 
became apparent to the Baghdadis and dissipated their fears and 
suspicions. There was a low period early in World War II when 
alienation from the Allied Powers and nascent nationalism made 
the future of Baghdad College look very bleak, but the impending 
threat turned into an impetus for growth when some key Muslims 
in the Ministry of Education reevaluated their judgment about 
Baghdad College and the Jesuits and brought their sons to enroll at 
the College. The enrollment increased steadily and the donations of 
anonymous benefactors and thousands of friends of Jesuits enabled 
the school plant to keep pace with the added numbers of students. 

From the early, days Baghdad College followed the program 
prescribed for secondary schools by the Iraq Government. There 
was no desire on the part of the Jesuits to transfer American 
programs of study to Iraq. In the framework of the Iraqi program 
the Jesuits offered their students a distinct advantage - 
bilingualism in Arabic and English. The students studied science 

f XIV f 

f Introduction 

and mathematics in English and in Arabic. Thus they were 
prepared to take the final government exams in Arabic and also to 
pursue further scientific study in Baghdad University through the 
medium of English. Also several were judged competent by the 
government to study abroad in the U.S.A. and Great Britain. 

From evidence available and from the response of Baghdad 
University Professors the Jesuits judged that they were making a 
substantial contribution to education in Iraq during a crucial 
period in its development. Several graduates went into medicine 
and engineering - the two most critical and needed professions in 
the developing world. Very few went into politics. The Jesuits 
never considered themselves purveyors of political ideology and 
deliberately refrained from entering into the complexities of Iraqi 
politics and from currying favor of any political faction. This 
neutral stance was an asset for 37 years. 

The Jesuits on request had made various attempts to aid 
primary schools, but all came to naught. Their main effort 
remained concentrated on secondary education until the early 50's 
when requests from interested people pushed the Jesuits to study 
the possibility of opening a university in Baghdad. An affirmative 
decision was made and with government approval and 
encouragement, Al-Hikma University was begun in September 
1956 with offerings in engineering and business administration. 
Later an arts college was added when the university went co- 
educational. In the 12 years of its existence Al-Hikma University 
grew to an enrollment of 700 students and established a favorable 
reputation. In the Fall of 1968 there were 25 Jesuits and 53 
laymen on the faculty. 

Such is the skeleton history of the Jesuits in Baghdad. They 
were not missionaries in the classical sense of the term. They 
preached rarely and they proselytized not at all. They faced no 
threat of natives on the war path and none could console 
themselves by counting their converts. Baghdad was referred to 
by some as a fruitless waste of men and money; others called it a 
mission of faith to underline the lack of concrete consolations and 
accomplishments. But these were the judgments of "outsiders," 
people who had not experienced the myriad fascinations of Baghdad 
and Baghdadis. They had no knowledge of the impact Jesuits made 
on students as well as their families, Muslim as well as Christian. 

In addition to the impact on their charges, Jesuits also 
impacted Baghdad society. The opportunities provided to make 
contributions in education were many and the response of the 
Jesuits was praiseworthy. The development of an English program 
especially geared to Arabic speaking students was one instance; a 
course in religion tailored to Iraqi Christians was another. And 

T xv T 

T Introduction f 

the case of Fr. Guay who turned a side interest in architecture to a 
full-time occupation is the most fascinating of all. He designed and 
executed most all of the buildings. The two Jesuit campuses - low 
cost, functional architecture reflecting the periods of Iraqi 
history from Babylon up through the Muslim period. The Jesuit 
impact certainly went beyond the walls of the two schools. 

It is hard for a foreigner to blend fully into a different culture 
but the attempt was made and was appreciated. Fr. Richard 
McCarthy became one of the well-known Arabic preachers in the 
Christian community and established a reputation for his 
education in Muslim theology among the learned men in Iraq. 

Even apart from these singular examples there was a general 
satisfaction among all the Jesuits from the work they were engaged 
in, from the rapport with both Muslims and Christians, from the 
many little helps they were able to offer to so many, and from the 
experience of learning from a very different culture. Perhaps it 
can all be summed up by the fact that the Iraqis are a happy, 
hospitable and unsophisticated people, frank, warm and forthright 
in expressing appreciation as well as disapproval. 

Working in Baghdad did not require some fierce determination 
rooted in totally supernatural motives. It was enjoyable to work 
in Baghdad. But there were problems, springing mostly from the 
limits which come from being a foreigner. The Jesuits could serve 
the Christian poor, but the Muslim poor were beyond their reach. 
The Jesuits tried to foster social responsibility but had to beware 
of entering into the area of politics. 

From the beginning there was strong hope that before too many 
years there would be Iraqi boys in training to be Jesuits. They 
would complete the process begun and the Society of Jesus would 
become an integral part of the Iraqi scene. Vocations were 
numerous, but only a few had the stamina and persistence to 
overcome parental opposition and social pressures to follow 
through on their original desire. 

Also the desire to help the Church directly become a reality 
when the Jesuits assumed responsibility for the Chaldean Minor 
Seminary in 1964. The Jesuits could complement the work of 
training priests done for nearly a century by the French 
Dominicans. At the same time Jesuits were becoming involved in 
the direction and training of Iraqi Sisters. These new 
ramifications and work with Iraqi Christian youth which had been 
going on for some time in conjunction with the Carmelites seemed 
to auger well for the future of the Church and for Muslim- 
Christian relations. 

The Jesuits had overcome in part their foreign origin and had 
identified with the church in Iraq and with the Iraqi educational 

f xvi f 

T Introduction f 

system. But there was always the awareness that at anytime the 
Jesuits might be asked to leave. They were guests of the Iraqi 
Government. Each year they had to renew their permits for 
residence in Iraq, and every wave of anti-American feeling which 
blew across the Middle East was a threat to their continued 

The revolution of 1958 and each succeeding revolution was a 
crisis of sorts. Each succeeding government studied the question of 
"foreign" schools; each time Baghdad College and 
Al-Hikma University were judged beneficial to the country and 
their work went on - until the traumatic crisis of June 1967 
when the Israelis took over Arab territory and displaced more 
Palestinian refugees. The wave of anti-American feeling reached 
new intensity because of the United States stance in the area and it 
became clear that the continued presence of American Jesuits was 
more tenuous than ever. For a time it seemed that the Jesuits 
would weather this crisis as they had others in the past. School 
and work went on for another year until a new revolution brought 
to power a socialist government more interested in controlling all 
private education. The government decreed that it would 
administer Al-Hikma while the Jesuits continued to teach. The 
Jesuits accepted the proposal and attempted to work in the new 
framework for a few months until an extremist element in the 
government decreed their expulsion from Iraq in November 1968. 
A year later the American Jesuits at Baghdad College were ordered 
to leave by the same group. 

The expulsion was a disappointment and a shock of sorts, but it 
was not unexpected, it was always a possibility during each of the 
37 years the Jesuits worked in Iraq. All things are passing and 
the usefulness of the American Jesuit contribution to Iraq was 
nearing its end. It is difficult for a foreigner to play an active role 
in the process of politicization and nationalization now gripping so 
many of the developing countries. Without regretting the past or 
prejudging the future, the Jesuits think the time has come for new 
forms and different accents. 

Reflecting on their work over the past 37 years, the Jesuits 
feel it was all very worthwhile and they are grateful to the many 
benefactors who made that work possible. It was an investment of 
men and money in the process of human development. The yield 
has been great if one measures results, not in financial terms, but 
in terms of human growth and love and understanding. 

John J. Donohue, S.J. 

CEMAM (Center for the Study of the Modern Arab World) 
4 May, 1994: St. Joseph's University in Beirut 

T xvii T 

Chapter 1 

Civilization's Infancy 
in Mesopotamia 

17te Lord §od -planted a garden in Eden, to the 'East; 

. . . the tree of lift also in the midst of the garden, 

and the tree of the knowledge of good and evii 

Qenesis 2:8-9 

Early Mesopotamian cultures B.C. 

Iraq has a history that fascinates anyone even slightly interested 
in the civilized world, since civilization was born in the city- 
states of Mesopotamia 6,000 years ago. To adapt one of Ben 
Johnson's sayings: "To be tired of Iraq is to be tired of life". Here 
one finds the first traces of agriculture and the trading that 
ensued, the beginnings of organized religion, the development of 
mathematical methods, the flowering of the arts and architecture. 
Here is found the first form of writing and the beginnings of 
literature (including the first story of creation and the flood) 
which made possible the pursuit of knowledge and economic order 
within an organized government. Later civilizations were all 
influenced by Mesopotamia. 

The cradle of civilization 

It was Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and the 
Euphrates Rivers, that hosted the legendary Garden of Eden - if it 
existed anywhere. To emphasize this the ancient village of Al- 
Qurna singled out a tree ("Adam's tree") with a sign - in Arabic 
and English. 

2 Chapter 1 Civilization's Infancy in Mesopotamia 

On this holy spot where the Tigris meets the Euphrates this 
holy tree of our father Adam grew symbolizing the Garden of 
Eden. Abraham prayed here 2,000 years B.C. 

Throughout Iraq loom 
ziggurat temples dating 
from 3,000 B.C. which 
recall the story of the Tower 
of Babel. One such ziggurat 
is Aqar-Quf (a suburb of 
present day Baghdad) 
marking the capital of the 
Cassites. In the south lie the 
ruins of Sumer where were 
found tens of thousands of 
stone tablets from the 
incredible Sumerian culture 
which flourished 5,000 
years ago. "The holy tree" 

On some of these tablets, which were used for teaching children, 
are found fascinating descriptions of everyday life, including the 
first organized and detailed set of instructions on when to plant and 
when to harvest. Also in the south lie the ruins of Ur from which 
at God's prodding Abraham set out for the promised land. Here the 
Akkadians introduced chariots to warfare. Nearby on the west 
bank of the Shatt-el-Arab lies Basra which later became the home 
port of Sindbad the Sailor. The Marsh Arabs (Ma'dan) are found at 
the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates in the south. 

In the north of Iraq the gates of Ninevah (Ney-na-wah), the 
Assyrian capital with their imaginative stone winged-bulls mark 
the place where the prophet Jonah is said to have preached penance 
to the wicked inhabitants, all of whom repented, much to Jonah's 
chagrin. Later neighboring Mosul became the crossroads of the 
great caravan routes. Kirkuk is the oil center of the north and 
boasts of the tomb of the Old Testament prophet Daniel. The city of 
Mosul has given us the cloth that bears its name "muslin" as well 
as building materials, alabaster and gypsum cement with its 
remarkable strength and rapid-drying properties. 

In the middle of Iraq lie the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's Hanging 
Gardens of Babylon (Babel) close to the place where Shadrach, 
Meshach and Abednego sang their hymn of praise in the midst of 
the fiery furnace. Here Daniel read the mysterious Aramaic 
handwriting on the wall "mene tekel peres" (counted, weighed, 
divided) in the Aramaic or Chaldean language for Nebuchadnezzar 
and under the later rule of Darius, the biblical Daniel sat 

f Early Mesopotamian cultures B.C. 3 

unharmed in the lions' den. The Old Testament "Daniel" story, 
probably written between 167-164 B.C., was borrowed from 
Babel and Persian literature and adapted for Jewish readership. 

Judaism had been a presence in Mesopotamia since the 
Babylonian captivity from 586 to 538 B.C. Nearby, Xenophon and 
his 10,000 fought against the Persians and in 1700 B.C. 
Hammurabi composed his famous collection of laws. After 
conquering the world, Alexander the Great, at the age of 32 died an 
untimely death at Babel in 323 B.C. The Sassanid settlement of 
Selucia-Ctesiphon (Ma-da-in) boasted of a giant arch (the only 
remnant of the palace still standing) which was believed to have 
been the widest span of pure brickwork in the world. The Arch of 
Ctesiphon (Taq-ki-sra near Baghdad) testifies to the skill of its 
third century builders. 

Ml Ararat 
Ninevah \Q Qurna 


11 Basrah 

12 Ctesiphon 

13 Sumer 

14 Marsh Arabs 

15 Aqar-Quf 

16 Karbala 

17 Najaf 

Saudi Arabia 

Mesopotamia, land of the twin fivers. 
The Tigris hosts Iraq's 3 main cities: 
Mosul, Baghdad and Basrah 

Early science 

In History Begins at Sumer, Kramer tells of the third 
millennium B.C. Sumerian astronomers living along the Tigris 
River who noticed that there were roughly 360 days in the year. 
The missing five days were declared occasional holidays. This 

4 £}: Chapter 1 Civilization's Infancy in Mesopotamia 

number 360 was very convenient since it was divisible by many 
smaller numbers, so they divided each day into 360 fifes/?, which 
were later changed by the Babylonians to 24 hours with two levels 
of subdivisions. Present day use of minute and second is traced to 
the Latin translations of the Babylonian designations for these 
subdivisions: small bits (minuta -> minutes) and secondary 
small bits (secunda minuta -> seconds). 

Around 2400 B.C. the Sumerians developed an ingenious 
sexagesimal system to represent all integers from 1 to 59 using 

59 different patterns of wedges (cunei . . . cuneiform) which were 
usually imprinted in soft clay and later hardened. Integers from 

60 to 3600 were then represented by a different symbol for 60 
which was combined with the other 59 patterns. Like our decimal 
system it was positional so that the successive symbols were 
assumed to be multiplied by decreasing powers of 60. For 
instance, the number 365 in the decimal system would, in the 
sexagesimal system, be written 6 5 (=6 times 60 + 5 times 1), 
just as 65 in our decimal system of base ten means 6 times 10 
plus 5 times 1. 

An adventuresome, determined and curious reader with a 
calculator can verify that the Babylonian number 4 2336 
(equals {4 times 60 times 60} + {23 times 60} + {36 times 1}) 
represents 15,816 in our decimal system. In their grasp of the 
workings of arithmetic the Babylonians were far superior to the 
Greeks of later centuries. The latter used letters for numbers (so 
888 would be co7ir|) and they would have trouble multiplying a 
simple problem like 12 times 28 which would be i(3 times ktj. 
The multiplication rules for letters were beyond the reach of an 
ordinary person. 

Kramer uses as his main source the content of tens of thousands 
of Sumerian tablets, uncovered in this century from 1902 on, 
which date back to 2,400 B.C. and reveal a rich literature long 
before Greek civilization. These remarkable tablets gave us the 
first Farmer's Almanac filled with astronomical and mathematical 
data, proving that Sumerian schoolboys were learning the 
Pythagorean theorem 1,800 years before Pythagoras (circa 585- 
500 B.C.) was born. In this mainstream of our own cultural 
background, the Mesopotamian civilization, a fortuitous event in 
the evolution of arithmetic symbols occurred through the adoption 
of Sumerian "cuneiform" symbols by the Akkadians to represent 
their Semitic language as it became more popular in Mesopotamia. 

f Later Mesopotamian cultures A.D. f 5 

Later Mesopotamian cultures A.D. 

Christian presence since the first century 

Iraq's Christian community dates back to Apostolic times. In The 
Nestorians and Their Muslim Neighbors (p. 24), John Joseph 
relates the traditions claiming that the Apostles, Jude Thaddeus, 
Bartholomew and Simon first planted the Christian faith in the 
north of Iraq. Also he notes the belief that St. Thomas stopped in 
Mesopotamia on his way to India. In the third century the 
Nestorian and Jacobite Christians became the most important 
advisors to the rulers of Mesopotamia. Their influence and ability 
to spread Christianity lasted for centuries. 

The dominant rite now is that of the Chaldean Catholics. Others 
represented to a lesser degree are: Jacobites, Syrian Catholic, 
Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Greek 
Catholic (Melkite), Nestorians and Latin Catholic. The totality of 
Christians constitutes a small minority of less than 5% of Iraqis. 
The multiplicity of rites, however, in this small minority has led 
to friction, jealousies, and disputes which have prevented the 
Christian presence from being an effective Christian witness. 
After Vatican II, however, there has been a marked growth of the 
ecumenical spirit. 

Three major seminaries were founded in Iraq during this 
century. One is at Dora just south of Baghdad and two are in 
Mosul, St. Peter's for the Chaldeans conducted by Chaldean priests 
and St. John's Syrian Seminary conducted by French Dominicans 
who also run a high school in Mosul. The Chaldean Sisters are the 
Daughters of the Immaculate Conception who had a number of 
schools for girls. In the first part of this century native 
Dominican Sisters ran 10 schools with 2,500 students. Chaldean 
Antonian monks in the monastery of St. Hormiz near Alqosh and the 
Carmelite Fathers do parochial work. 

In the early days of the Society of Jesus while St. Ignatius was 
still alive, Jesuits passed through Baghdad on their way to the 
China mission. Recorded in the Monumenta Historica Societatis 
Jesu are the travels of Jesuits Gaspar Barzee and Raymond 
Pereira sometime between 1549 and 1567 and later Nicolas 
Trigault between 1612 and 1614. During the 17th century 
several dozen Jesuits made such a journey including one of the 
greatest Jesuit missionaries, Alexander de Rhodes, who labored in 
Indochina and whqeventually was buried in Ispahan, Iran. Jesuit 
Brothers Bernard Sales and George Berthe died in Baghdad in 
1661 and 1664. During this century the time had come for the 
Jesuits to return to Baghdad. 

6 Oi Chapter 1 Civilization's Infancy in Mesopotamia 
Islamic civilization 

In the seventh century came the Muslim Conquest and the 
Baghdad Caliphs had more to offer than Sindbad, Scheherazade with 
her 1,001 stories, Aladdin and his wonderful lamp, Ali Baba and 
the forty thieves. The city of Baghdad became a center of Muslim 
power, the capital of the Abbasid Empire for five centuries 
(750-1258 A.D.), and the center of a flourishing Arab culture. 
In 1232 A.D. the Caliph Al-Mustansir founded, in the middle of 
Baghdad, Al Mustanseria, one of the earliest universities. 
However, later in the 13th century Baghdad was plundered by the 
Mongols and stagnated for centuries. 

Baghdad then endured four centuries of Ottoman domination and 
mismanagement which ended with the British occupation following 
World War I. After this long ordeal Baghdad grew steadily into a 
modern city, especially after World War II. Among the significant 
events which shaped modern Iraq were the discovery of oil, the 
establishment of the Hashemlte Monarchy, the overthrow of this 
same Hashemlte monarchy and the establishment of the Republic 
in 1958. 

The majority of Iraqis are Arabs. There is a large minority of 
Kurds and a lesser percentage of Turks, Iranians, Chaldeans, 
Assyrians and Armenians. According to the 1965 census about 95 
percent of the eight million (in 1990 eighteen million) 
inhabitants were Muslims. The Muslims of Iraq are divided into 
Sunnites and Shiites, with the latter forming the majority.- 
Southwest of Baghdad lies Najaf and the city of Karbala which is 
the shrine of the imam El-Hussein ibn Ali and an important 
pilgrimage site for Shiites. 

About the middle of the ninth century Bait Al-Hikma, the "House 
of Wisdom" was founded in Baghdad which combined the functions 
of a library, academy, and translation bureau. A very conspicuous 
creative work of the Arabs lies in mathematics and astronomy. 
Arab astronomers have left quite a discernible impact on maps of 
the heavens and given us such words as azimuth, nadir, and zenith. 
Our mathematical vocabulary includes such borrowed terms as 
algebra, algorithm (from al-Khwarizmi), cipher, surd, and sine. 

The "House of Wisdom" turned toward the ancient Babylonians in 
order to return to primary sources instead of relying on Greek 
translations. It continued for several centuries and eventually 
took in boarding students from Europe and all over the known 
world. Bait Al-Hikma flourished long before Paris, Salamanca, 
Bologna, Prague, or Oxford. 

f The Jesuit Educational Commitment 7 

The Jesuit educational commitment 

On many Jesuit campuses in the world one will find buildings 
with the same unpronounceable names of Jesuit scholars and 
saints. It takes little effort for a student of culture and 
scholarship to discover the Jesuit influence on poetry, 
philosophy, geography, art, drama, ballet, science, mathematics, 
politics, theology, asceticism, education, religious freedom and 
history. Today the Jesuit Society has 24,400 members (4,700 in 
the U.S.) in 1,825 houses, in 112 countries. 

Jesuits as scholars and explorers 

Jesuits have always been explorers, scholars and educators. 
They came to Brazil in 1565 and by 1615 they had five 
colleges/universities in Brazil. And long before the pilgrims 
arrived in Plymouth in 1620, the Jesuits arrived in Florida in 
1566. Their foray into Paraguay in 1588 which was celebrated 
in the movie "The Mission", lasted for 160 years and resulted in a 
massive collection of 57 settlements run for and governed by 
113,000 Paraguayan natives where Jesuits taught them how to 
live together in security and in comfort while defending 
themselves against the Spanish slave traders. By 1700 this 
Paraguayan civilization was so advanced that they were printing 
their own books and were writing music that competed with the 
Gregorian Chant. 

John Jacques Rousseau, hardly an admirer of the Jesuits, called 
it one of the most altruistic ventures of human history. This noble 
enterprise was destroyed by the Spanish King Charles III in a 
brutal massacre in 1767 because the Jesuits had prevented the 
Spaniards from kidnapping the natives for their profitable slave 

> x" - - - .'Tnc«itana#io.-Ucoac» o* Kino 

t ^^-^ V.jZI v,1 

Explorer Eusebio Kino and Saint Ignatius Loyola 
Over 400 stamps (40 countries) commemorate Jesuits 

Two of the fitly statues in Statuary Hall in the Capitol in 
Washington, D.C. are Jesuits: Eusebio Kino and Jacques Marquette. 
Five of the eight largest rivers of the world were first charted by 

8 ; Chapter 1 Civilization's Infancy in Mesopotamia 

Jesuit explorers and the border between Russia and China was 
plotted by the Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest 300 years ago. Jesuits 
have been working in Russia for four centuries, many were jailed 
by communists in this century, some of whom today are being 
considered for beatification. China recently announced that a 
monument to the famous Jesuit scientists of the 17th century will 
be erected in Zhaoqing - China of all places! Since 1948 China 
jailed 120 Jesuits. In fact, no other religious order spent as 
many man-years in jails as the Jesuits have. 

Jesuits as educators 

Through the centuries many Jesuit scholars have impacted 
society in every intellectual pursuit, but especially in the field of 
education. Some find it curious that historians place Ignatius 
Loyola with the world's great innovators of education from 
Socrates to Dewey. It was Ignatius' original plan that his 
energetic, well-educated men form a band of roving missionaries 
like Francis Xavier who would preach and administer the 
sacraments wherever there was the hope of accomplishing the 
greater good. It soon became clear to Ignatius, however, that 
schools offered the greatest possible service to the church. He 
realized how critical changes in a whole society could come 
through education, so he revised his original plan and became an 
enthusiastic champion of systematic education. 

From the very beginning these Jesuit schools became one of the 
most influential exponents of Catholic reform, and this novel 
Jesuit enterprise was later called "a rebirth of the infant church". 
But this is not the reason why institutions like the Sorbonne in 
Paris and Columbia University's Teachers' College in New York 
City engraved "Loyola" on their walls. Ignatius' particular 
contribution to education was the fact that he realized education 
was not an end in itself but rather a means to lead the student to 
care about other human beings. The genius and innovation he 
brought to education came from his Spiritual Exercises whose 
object is to free a person from predispositions and biases, thus 
enabling one to make free choices. They are based on the premise 
that people who are free enough to say that the world is good, will 
ji ^g^ ^ 38006351 r^L recognize their own goodness and 
flljwill live happy and fulfilled 
J :JP lives and be more concerned 
''• 33 about fellow human beings. 

ts fiT\i?^ Jesuit physicist Roger Boskovich 

^ —~ „^^^^^^§$2fAA W W;^ on a recent Croatian banknote 

f The Jesuit Educational Commitment 9 

Ignatius infused this ideal of service into the existing pattern of 
humanistic education and then fashioned these into an orderly 
process. The norms of instruction, known as the Ratio Studiorum 
or plan of studies, established certain basic characteristics for 
the Jesuit program which included a respect for the varying 
capacities of students. The organizational genius of Ignatius and 
his followers, focusing on the individual, stabilized classical and 
scientific studies gave them a popularity which even Erasmus was 
not able to achieve. Ignatius' innovations were perpetuated by his 
followers so that two centuries later in 1750 Jesuits operated 
740 endowed Jesuit schools across Europe - all free of charge - 
paid for by benefactors and the state. Jesuits were called the 
schoolmasters of Europe during these centuries, not only because 
of their own schools but also for their pre-eminence as scholars 
and for the thousands of textbooks they composed. 

Jesuit success in education 

Among the characteristics which contributed to Jesuit success 
and to a new international educational style, John O'Malley, S.J. in 
his book The First Jesuits includes the fact that the schools 
welcomed students from every social class. Also they borrowed 
the insistence on self-activity which reflected the plan of the 
Spiritual Exercises. Jesuits sponsored a clear, coherent, and 
basically simple religious program, adaptable to students of 
different ages and backgrounds which sought to move the student 
beyond merely pious practices to an inner appropriation of ethical 
values. They used confraternities such as the Marian Sodalities to 
further articulate their religious program. All of these 
characteristics later became quite evident at Baghdad College, 
consisting not only in written compositions and oral repetitions in 
the classroom, but also in plays, disputations, and other spectacles 
open to the public. 

The Jesuits were on the whole better educated and motivated 
than most pre-university schoolmasters almost anywhere in 
Europe. Further, they tried to influence their students more 
by their example than by their words. They repeatedly 
inculcated in one another the importance of loving their 
students, of knowing them as individuals and of enjoying a 
respectful familiarity with them. Whenever these ideals were 
achieved, they were crucially important in contributing to a 
school's success. Failure to achieve them would perhaps be 
even more telling. The blend of these features resulted in all 
educational programs that in some parts of Europe appeared as 
an improvement on practices already in operation, in other 
parts as a stunning innovation. (O'Malley, 1993, p. 226) 

10 O Chapter 1 Civilization's Infancy in Mesopotamia 

The network of Jesuit schools 

This largest of all religious orders and largest missionary 
society in the Church educates 1.5 million students. Today there 
are 90 Jesuit colleges in 27 countries. In the United States the 28 
Jesuit colleges and universities have over a million living 
graduates. There are also 430 Jesuit high schools in 55 countries 
(46 are here in the United States). In these schools the Ignatian 
system of values has attracted exceptionally competent faculty and 
highly qualified students who form a Jesuit network in pursuit of 
the same goals. 

Graduates of Jesuit schools are expected to make mature 
commitments to values and should acquire the self-discipline to 
live by these values. They should tolerate diversity of perspective 
and have a critical respect for their own cultural tradition. They 
should have developed competence in the skills of analysis, 
judgment and expression and be aware of their interdependence 
with their fellow men and women. They should know that theirs is 
a privileged position in a world where most people are poor and 
oppressed by the conditions they live in. They should be "men and 
women for others," that is, the good things, material and 
spiritual, which they want for themselves they should want for 
others too. They should be able to see in their own lives signs of a 
transcendent life and means of access to it. In Jesuit schools the 
Catholic tradition is nourished and there is a vibrant liturgical 
life as well as a faith perspective that motivates students and 
faculty to serve the marginalized. 

Ignatian education, which began in 1547, is still committed 
today to the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is 
an absolute requirement. Because of this, both Jesuit and lay 
educators in Jesuit schools have been a thorn in the side of tyrants 
for more than four centuries. Jesuits were often dismissed from 
countries and frequently involved in awesome controversies. They 
battled remote Roman clerics who during the "Chinese Rites" 
controversy forbade Jesuits working in China to allow Chinese 
converts to show traditional reverence for their andestors because 
it seemed like ancestor worship. The ill-informed Roman decision 
proved a disaster for the Jesuit effort to spread the faith. Jesuits 
were a fearsome threat to the Spanish slave traders working in 
Paraguay because they organized the natives into defensible 
settlements as they had done for the Huron Indians in Canada a 
century previous. One recent example is the murder by the El 
Salvador military of the two housekeepers and six Jesuits who 
were determined to promote justice and to spread the Ignatian 
vision, teaching love and concern for others, which is the Jesuit 

Chapter 2 

Beguiling Challenges Beckoned 
Jesuits for Centuries 


Ife reaf optimist is the one zoith the conviction that Qod fqiows, 

can do and unit do what is best for mankind. 

Christians must live for others. 

Tedro Arrupe, SJ. (1907-1991) Jesuit Superior Qenerat 

Early apostolic ventures in Mesopotamia 

Various religious orders 

The brief span of 37 Jesuit years at Baghdad College contrasts 
with the centuries of Christian presence and was only the latest in 
a long line of efforts made by other Jesuits and other religious 

Members of the Dominican Order have been in the northern part 
of Iraq since 1748 and the Carmelites came to Baghdad in 1623, 
but, the Capuchins had been there before either order. The 
ancient church of the Carmelites in the center of Baghdad, testifies 
to the Carmelite's long tenure in Iraq. They founded Catholic 
primary schools of high quality while attending to the pastoral 
needs of the Latin Catholics. They founded the St. Joseph school in 
1737. In the magazine Baghdad (May, 1971, #3), published by 
the Ministry of Information, Dar Al-Jumhuriya calls attention to 
a learned and dedicated Carmelite scholar and Arabist, Fr. Anastase 
Maria of St. Elias, O.C.D. born in 1866, who published articles in 

12 -Q Chapter 2 Beguiling Challenges Beckoned Jesuits 

no less than 62 periodicals about the Arab World using 37 noms de 
plume. The Arab Academy in Cairo elected him among its first 
members in 1932. 

Interest of the Jesuits in Islam 

Ignatius Loyola was always interested in Muslims and dealing 
with Islam remained one of his highest priorities. He wanted to 
learn about Islam partly because Muslims controlled the Holy 
Land, and he sent Jesuits to Egypt in 1550 when the Jesuit Order 
was only 10 years old. There was a more profound interest in the 
Middle East at the beginning of the 19th century with the 
apostolate dealing mostly with dissident Christian groups but 
always with an interest in Islam. There were numerous Christian 
massacres, especially during the four centuries of Turkish rule 
which ended in 1918. Jesuits had been working in Syria and in 
Turkey, and before the Armenian massacre in 1915 Turkey had 
11 Jesuit houses. Both the Jesuit General Wlodimir Ledohovsky, 
S.J. and Gerhard Bowering, S.J. commented on the modern Jesuit 
interest in Islam. 

Worldwide, quite a number of Jesuits today have the 
privilege of being teachers of Muslim students. The guiding 
principle of a changing attitude toward Muslims on the part of 
the Catholic Church in today's world can be found in the 
declaration Nostra aetate of Vatican II. The document looks on 
the Muslims with respect and recognizes their worship of the 
one God, merciful and almighty, who created heaven and earth 
and has spoken to human beings. It commends the Muslims for 
their submission to God, their veneration of Jesus and Mary, 
their moral conduct, and their life of prayer, fasting, and 
almsgiving. It evokes the example of Abraham as a common 
bond of faith and invites both Christians and Muslims to 
overcome centuries of mutual hostilities and cooperate toward 
justice and peace. The Church explicitly exhorts not only to 
dialogue but also to collaboration with the followers of Islam. 
"God's saving will also embraces those who acknowledge the 
Creator, and among them especially the Muslims, who profess 
the faith of Abraham and together with us adore the one God, 
the Merciful One, who will judge men on the Last Day." 
(Bowering, 1993, pp. 1-3) 

St. Ignatius even thought of founding colleges for this 
purpose in Sicily and Malta where future missionaries could 
devote themselves to the study of the Arabic language; if the 
Society had permitted it, he would very gladly have given the 
last days of his life to this peaceful and apostolic Mission. ... I 

T Early apostolic ventures in Mesopotamia ' 2 

have determined to establish at Rome in the Pontifical Oriental 
Institute a scientific center dealing with questions relating to 
Islam. (Ledohovsky, 1937. pp. 719-723) 

Baghdad was a very important center in the Muslim world, near 
Najaf and Karbala and with Muslim dominated countries for 
hundreds of miles in every direction. At the request of the Vatican 
in 1850, two Jesuits joined a caravan heading for Baghdad to 
investigate the feasibility of starting a school there. Their caravan 
having been robbed during each crossing of the Syrian desert, they 
notified Rome that the time was not yet opportune to embark on 
such a project. Shortly after many Jesuits were killed by the 
Druzes during the 1860 massacre of Christians in Syria. 

Interest of the Jesuits in other Christians 

The Jesuits had always been convinced that the Oriental 
Christians themselves are the most effective apostles of the faith 
when they present a vigorous Christianity to the Muslims. This 
they certainly had accomplished in the sixth through the ninth 
centuries when they preached the faith in a campaign that extended 
to China and included the countries in between. This is related in 
the book Nestorian Documents and Relics in China by P. Y. Sacki. 

In his History of the Jesuits, Bangertrelates the Jesuit efforts to 
bring about the reunion of Catholic and Orthodox Christians in 
spite of the fact that a war-torn Middle East had made 
communication between the Maronites and Rome a practical 
impossibility for centuries. For one of the early missions Pope 
Gregory chose two Jesuits. Tommaso Raggio and Gianbattista 
Eliano, both Hebrew and Arabic scholars. They made their report 
to Rome in 1580 and Pope Gregory was so delighted by the success 
of the mission, he founded in Rome the Maronite College and placed 
it under the supervision of the Society of Jesus. Pope Gregory 
depended on the Jesuits to continue these delicate discussions with 
other groups but these later efforts were less successful. 

In March, 1583. three Jesuits, counselors to Bishop 
Leonard Abel, left Rome to meet with leaders of the separated 
groups. These and other Jesuits who followed held conferences 
in many of the ancient cities of the Levant, but they were 
dealing with men who were custodians, and consciously so, of 
old and not readily discarded traditions which reached back to 
the days of Nestorius and Dioscorus. Success, which often 
seemed within their grasp, eluded them like a wraith. The 
patriarch of the Jacobites was willing to accept papal 
supremacy but not the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon: the 
patriarch of the Armenians made a profession of Catholic faith 

14 :0 Chapter 2 Beguiling Challenges Beckoned Jesuits 

only to be haled to Constantinople and to have his decision 
reversed; conferences with the Melkites at Damascus broke 
down under pressure of the hostile Turk; the entourage of the 
patriarch of Jerusalem resisted his desire to renounce schism; 
in Egypt a new patriarch annulled the letter of submission to 
Rome sent by Gabriel VIII; the patriarch Elias VIII of the 
Chaldeans (in Mosul), after bringing the Jesuits to his 
country, informed them that there was nothing to change in his 
creed. Cairo, Mosul, Damascus, Jerusalem, Edessa, all became 
for the Jesuits scenes of blighted hopes. (Bangert, 1986, p. 

Other Middle East Jesuit schools 

Arab and French Jesuit colleagues had been conducting a 
celebrated college in Cairo for more than a century along with 
other missionary congregations and were working in the same 
field. There was ample opportunity for Catholic education for the 
Christians in Egypt, however, the Christians of Iraq were not so 
fortunate. Their country, freed from 400 years of Turkish rule 
after the First World War, was becoming the modern Kingdom of 
Iraq, and Baghdad, as its capital was undergoing a tremendous 
revival. There was not a single Catholic secondary school in the 
country and it was to remedy that situation that Baghdad College 
was established by the American Jesuits in the first place. 

The Jesuit objective in Baghdad was to help form an active 
Christian community through sound Christian education. At the 
same time, by educating a number of Muslim young men they 
would encourage greater tolerance and understanding of the faith, 
which would work to the mutual advantage of Christians and 
Muslims alike. 

Though Muslims were admitted to Baghdad College, the 
objectives of the mission never included proselytizing Muslims. A 
loyal supporter of the Baghdad Jesuits, Boston's Cardinal Cushing, 
never seemed to grasp this idea and expressed his opinion to his 
Jesuit friends: "This mission has to be the biggest waste of money 
and manpower in the history of the church - not a single convert 
from Islam!" 

Nonetheless, the Baghdad Mission always had a 
special place in the affections of the New England 
Province and a particular claim to its spiritual 
and material support because the "Baghdadi 
Jesuits" seemed to exemplify the spirit and the 
traditions of the whole Jesuit Society. 

S.J. seal 

f Recent apostolic ventures in Iraq f 


The ruins of Babylon 

Recent apostolic ventures in Iraq 

Petitions from the Baghdad Christians 

As far back as 1921 the Chaldean Patriarch, Mar Emmanuel II 
Thomas, who graduated from the Jesuit University of St. Joseph 
in Beirut, petitioned Rome for a Jesuit college in Baghdad. Also 
the Chaldean, Syrian and Armenian bishops together with Catholic 
priests of the different Middle Eastern rites as well as the leading 
Christian leaders of the country requested Pope Pius XI to send 
religious to open a Christian secondary school for boys in Baghdad. 
At the time only a few Catholic primary schools for girls and a few 
small primary schools for boys existed. Pius XI thought the time 
had come and passed the request on to Father General Ledochowski 
who accepted the undertaking with its numerous responsibilities. 
His first call was to the American provinces of the Society since 
English-speaking Fathers were most needed and Americans were 
more plentiful. 

In his dissertation on the history of the early days of Baghdad 
College, Charles Bashara describes good relations between the 
Patriarch and the King which made the invitation to the Jesuits 
more secure. He draws his data from the Chaldean Patriarch's 
correspondence as well as from the New England Province 

The Chaldean Patriarch, Msgr. Yusuf [actually Mar 
Emmanuel II], described a [1931] visit of King Faisal I to 
Mosul revealing his close connection to the King. "His Majesty 
lent a very attentive ear to me and was quite satisfied with the 
information which I gave him and, at the conclusion of our 

16 Ci Chapter 2 Beguiling Challenges Beckoned Jesuits 

interview I expressed to him the great attachment and 
profound submission of the Christians and especially the 
Catholics to the Iraqi Government, conforming to our holy 
belief and to the recommendations reiterated by our August 
Superiors and that as faithful subjects of His Majesty we did 
not desire anything but the security of life, the preservation of 
our rights and traditions, the free exercise of our religion, and 
the personal statutes, at least as in the time of the Turks. 

His Majesty assured me of the great regard which he holds 
toward my humble person, his conviction of the loyalty of his 
Catholic subjects and of his strong disposition to supply all of 
our wants for the present and in the future. On the evening of 
the 5th [of June 1931] the Patriarch was invited to join the 
other notables of Mosul at the king's table and was given the 
place of honor at Faisal's right hand. Faisal . . . said to me 
with emotion: "Just as our forefathers tried to give unity to us 
by their good intelligence and mutual services, let us do the 
same for our grandsons and let us prepare them for a future 
full of peace and happiness." Faisal's visit boded well for the 
patriarch and his community, which escaped the massacre of 
the Church of the East communities in 1933. Yusuf [actually 
Mar Emmanuel II] was relieved to know that he enjoyed the 
confidence of the king and with that, felt secure in pressing 
Rome and the Jesuits to open the proposed school. 
(Bashara, 1985, pp. 25-28) 

Rome's response 

What was needed to 
begin such an enterprise, 
more than the talents of an 
educator and executive was 
the wisdom demanded in j$f, 

dealing with the leaders 
and the diplomats of an 
Arab country and of a 
suspicious Muslim public. 

Fr. Edmund Walsh, S.J. 

f The 1931 arrival of the Proto-founder Fr. Walsh f 1 7 
The 1931 arrival of the Proto-founder Fr. Walsh 

Georgetown's Fr. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. was chosen and sent to 
Rome for initial briefing and then to Baghdad as a Vatican 
representative. Pius XI emphasized with Fr. Walsh the dire need 
of a Catholic college in Baghdad, but the project was faced with a 
double difficulty, personnel and financial. Both agreed that the 
personnel problem could be solved with the help of the Jesuit 
Superior General and the second by using the reserves of the 
Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a Vatican sponsored 
foundation of which Fr. Walsh was both a fund-raiser and an 
officer. Fr. Walsh had a practical plan involving the American 
Jesuit colleges. 

In order to profit by the present tendency of looking toward 
America for direction and assistance, it would be highly 
advantageous to place the school under the patronage and the 
auspices of four high standing Catholic American universities 
such as Georgetown, Fordham, St. Louis and Boston College. 
This could be done by forming a corporation, an educational 
association made up of one man from each of the universities. 
The Father conducting the school would have full power to act 
in the name of this corporation. The reputation and the 
experience of the American universities would be a supporting 
influence for the school as well as a guarantee of prestige and 
of a high standard of studies. Moreover, in virtue of its 
affiliation with American universities, the school could look 
forward to them to assist in its development financially and 

The Government of Iraq would also be awakened to the 
realization that this particular part of its people belong to a 
great international family. This arrangement would likewise 
exclude any idea of a political protectorate. Its results would 
be noticed in a purely moral order and hence should be very 
effective. (Gallagher, 1959, p. 138) 

Fr. Walsh arrived in Baghdad on March 7, 1931 and made his 
contact with the Iraqi Government. The government had no 
difficulty granting him permission to open a school of higher 
education and agreed that starting with a secondary school made 
sense. In a treaty which had recently been signed by the United 
States and Iraq, Americans were granted full freedom for founding 
and running schools in Iraq. It was not, however, until a year 
later on March 5, 1932, after informing Iraq that the Iraq- 
American Educational Association was ready to undertake 

18 ip Chapter 2 Beguiling Challenges Beckoned Jesuits 

operations, that he received the following cablegram, as a 
confirmation of the one he had received nearly a year before but 
had not made public. A similar letter to Fr. Rice is found in 
Appendix D. 


DATE 5/3/32 NO. 1350 

To: Edmund A Walsh, Esq. S.J. Ph.D., 

Vice President, Georgetown University, Washington D.C. 

Subject:- Permission to found a Secondary School. 

Dear Sir, 

Reference your letter of 14th January, 1931. 
On 17th February, 1931 the following cablegram was 
dispatched to you. 

"Permission foundation Secondary School granted conditional 
compliance with all Government requirements and 

We take this opportunity to wish you complete success. 
Yours sincerely, Abdul Hussein Chalabi, 

Minister of Education. 

College vs. boarding house 

The only sticky problem in Fr. Walsh's negotiations came 
neither from the hierarchy nor from the government of Iraq but 
from the Vatican's Oriental Congregation which wanted to start a 
boarding house not a school. The Jesuits as well as Iraq's bishops 
assumed that they were negotiating for a self sustained college 
while the Oriental Congregation used the peculiar word "convitto" 
or boarding house. Fr. Walsh's instructions from the Oriental 
Congregation limited the Jesuit work to a boarding house for 
students in government schools, apparently assuming that the 
Jesuits were not up to the task of starting and directing a college 
in Iraq. The Jesuits and the Iraqi bishops were shocked at the 
Congregation's very restricted plan which was so beneath their 
expectations. They were determined to have a secondary school 
which would possibly pave the way for a later college and 

Fr. Walsh visited not only Baghdad but Mosul and Basra. He 
found the Christian leaders unanimous in demanding a school not a 
boarding house. Fr. Walsh represented the wishes of Iraq's 
bishops to the Congregation in a very forceful manner. The 
Oriental Congregation bowed to the wishes of the Iraqi bishops and 
reluctantly allowed the college to go forward. They did not take the 
reversal of their plans graciously, however, and blamed Fr. Walsh 
for being unwilling to settle for a mere boarding house. As a 

T The 1931 arrival of the Proto-founder Fr. Walsh f 1 9 

result he was excluded from further business between the 
Congregation and the mission. In fact the plans for Fr. Walsh to 
lead four Jesuits to Baghdad to start the school were changed by the 
Oriental Congregation. Furthermore, the Congregation saw to it 
that the funds to start the school were not given directly to the 
Jesuits but were tunneled to them through New York's Cardinal 
Hayes. It was Cardinal Hayes who informed Fr. Walsh that his 
part in the project was over and done. 

Fr. Walsh not only had to cope with Roman bureaucrats but 
during his journey to visit the Bishop of Mosul he met the head of 
a tribe associated with satanic influence. The head of the tribe 
measured his wealth in the number of his 5,000 sheep. He asked 
how many sheep the great White Father in Rome had. His eyes 
widened in awe and/or disbelief when Fr. Walsh answered: "about 
320 million". 
The Iraq-American Educational Association 

As a result of Fr. Walsh's report, the Presidents of eight 
American Jesuit colleges formed an association to sponsor and aid 
the educational work in Iraq. This corporation acted as a sort of 
holding company, to offer both moral support and representation, 
if such should be necessary. These eight institutions were: Boston 
College, the University of Detroit, Georgetown University, Loyola 
University in Chicago, Loyola University of New Orleans, St. Louis 
University, and the University of San Francisco. For some reason 
Aloysius J. Hogan, S.J., President of Fordham University, decided 
not to sign, so Fordham was not involved in the association. 

This association was later replaced by the Iraq American 
Educational Association, duly registered with and approved by the 
Ministry of Interior in Baghdad. The legal certificate for the 
incorporation of the Iraq-American Educational Association is in 
the files of the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia, dated 
April 9, 1932. A replica of this certificate with the names of the 
participants is found in Appendix D. One significant item in this 
particular document is that the term for which the corporation is 
organized is perpetual. The actual Incorporators were W. Coleman 
Nevils, S.J., Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and Joseph A. Farrell, S.J., 
who were, respectively, the President, the Vice-President and 
the Treasurer of Georgetown University at that time. 

Ever since Fr. Walsh had left Iraq, had reported to the Oriental 
Congregation and had visited Pope Pius XI and after all the Church 
and government permissions were in place, the bishops of Iraq 
were impatiently awaiting the arrival of the Jesuits from 
America, writing letters urging them to hasten their coming. In 
January, 1932, the Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, Mar 
Emmanuel II Thomas wrote: 


Chapter 2 Beguiling Challenges Beckoned Jesuits 

Not only many Christians, but notable Muslims as well, are 
asking 'Where is Father Walsh? When is he coming to begin 
the great work so necessary for the happiness and prosperity 
of our people?' We have heard that Father William Rice and 
four companions destined to begin the work in the Capital of 
Iraq await only the authorization of the Iraqi Government to set 
out for Baghdad, but after making inquiries at the American 
Consulate here, and at the Office of the Minister of the 
Interior, we can get no confirmation of the rumor. (Gallagher, 
1959, p. 140) 

They did not have long to wait. At this same time the American 
Jesuit provincials were busy picking four suitable men for the 
job. As for the authorization of the Iraqi Government, they 
anticipated no difficulty and left America without clearance sure 
that it would eventually arrive. They were right, it did. 


The famous mosque of Kadhimain, near Sulaikh 

Chapter 3 

Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis 

all in Their Youth 

During the Thirties 

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: 

to fqiow what hie ought to believe; 

to know what he ought to desire; 

and to fqiow what he ought to do. 

St. Thomas Aquinas: Two Precepts of Charity [1273] 

The beginnings of the Jesuit endeavor 

Baghdad in 1932 

To get an idea of Baghdad's geography in 1932 and the intricate 
maze of streets which the early Jesuits encountered, one has 
merely to read the wonderful account written on the 25th 
anniversary of Baghdad College in an article entitled Baghdad In 
the Year 1932 which was written in Arabic by Zuhair al-Dhafir, 
Baghdad College '52 -'57 and which appeared in the 1957 Al Iraqi 
Yearbook on pages 6 and 7 in the Arabic section. It was translated 
by David Leon. In comparing his time (1957) with the birth of 
his country (and of Baghdad College in 1932) Zuhair was 
demonstrating the rapid progress of his country. Part of his essay 
is reprinted here. A map of the city with a detailed description of 
19 sections of the city can found in Appendix D. 

Baghdad, after World War I, could be described as having a 
very poor and inadequate infrastructure. At the time, Baghdad 
was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the government 
then permitted al-Rashid street as it is known today, to be 

22 Cl Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

used only for military purposes. It stretched from Eastern gate 
to al-Muadham gate. As for al-Karkh area situated on the other 
side of the Tigris River, there were hardly any streets, except 
a narrow winding street that started from the old bridge to the 
train station at the west end of al-Karkh area. There was also 
another street which ran from the train station heading 
towards Kadhemiya. The situation remained the same until the 
year 1930, when some landlords from al-Orfaliya district at 
Eastern gate, began to lease their lands as small lots on which 
adjacent houses were built mostly according to eastern style 
resembling Baghdad's old houses, with the exception of having 
a relatively upright position and straight streets. 

In 1932, Baghdad did not have any expansion whatsoever in 
its side-streets, except for al-Rashid street. However as for 
Ghazi and Shaikh Umar streets, they were constructed after 
this period. Also in Baghdad in 1932, large buildings, 
universities and theaters did not exist up until the period 
before World War II and shortly thereafter. During the years 
1932 and 1933, many peasants migrated to the city of Baghdad 
when the countryside was hit by agricultural hardships while 
on the other hand Baghdad was witnessing expansion in the 
housing sector. 

Furthermore, a great number of tribal sheikhs whose 
special circumstances compelled them to stay in Baghdad for 
long durations, decided later to move their domicile from the 
countryside to the capital on a permanent basis. ... In 1932, 
Baghdad did not have fixed bridges. The bridges were very 
narrow, weak and were constructed on small steel pillars. 
Often times these bridges would weaken during the flood season 
and break apart which would result in obstructing people's 
interest and delaying traffic. These bridges had to be raised and 
lowered daily to let large sailboats pass up and down the river. 
(1957 AS Iraqi Yearbook, Zuhair al-Dhafir '57, pp. 6,7) 

The arrival of the founders 

After the decision was made by Rome and by the American 
provincials to start the school in Baghdad the next step was to find 
Jesuits to do the job. The provincials decided to start with one 
man from each of four provinces. Their choice of these Jesuits 
was quite intricate, seeking men who could be spared from local 
apostoiates, who knew several languages, who had experience as 
educators and who were outgoing and self-sufficient. It is curious 
that a minor criterion seemed to favor men whose names sounded 
"American" - whatever that could have meant. 

The choices finally were: the superior, New England's Fr. Rice 
(whose father's French Canadian name Raiche had been changed to 

f The beginnings of the Jesuit endeavor f 2 3 

Rice) and Chicago's Fr. Madaras who arrived in Baghdad in early 
March, 1932, and were joined a few months later by New York's 
Fr. Coffey and California's Fr. Mifsud. The fact that the names of 
all four men had Arabic meanings had nothing to do with their 
selection: Rice = president, Madaras = school, Coffey = enough! 
and Mifsud = corrupter. Later Fr. Mifsud discretely changed his 
name to Fr. Miff which had no meaning at all. Within a few years 
the Iraq Mission was almost entirely made up of members of the 
New England Province. Until 1960 the Rector of Baghdad College 
was also the Superior of the Mission. 

The first entry of the Baghdad 
Mission (Missio Iraquensis) 
which appeared in the New 
England Province catalog came in 
the 1933 edition. The catalogs 
were published in January and so 
were four months behind the 
school schedule (September - 
May). Translated, here are the 
assignments (which were 
sometimes rather vaguely 
expressed in Latin) of the earliest 
Baghdadi Jesuits during the first 
four years. The 1933 catalog 
revealed what the four founders 
taught and what jobs they had. 

The four Jesuit Founders 

Fr. W. Rice Superior French Apos. Prayer 

Fr. E. Madaras Minister Fourth year Drama 

Fr. E. Coffey Principle Fourth year Sodality 

Fr. J. Mifsud Discipline Fifth year Choir 

In the following year the 1934 catalog added three names. 
Fr. A. Wand Minister History Librarian 

Fr. J. Merrick Counselor Science & Mathematics 
Fr. J. Scanlon Second year 

In the next year the 1935 catalog added only one name. 
Fr. F. Sarjeant Fifth year Drama 

In the following year the 1936 catalog added seven names 
including the first Jesuit Scholastics (those not yet ordained) 
and the first Jesuit Brother (Br.). Frs. Scanlon's and Coffey's 
names were deleted since they were reassigned to other jobs. 
Fr. F. Anderson French Drama 

24 Ci Chapter 3 

Fr. V. Gookin 
Fr. C. Mahan 
Mr. W. Casey 
Mr. J. Connell 
Br. F. McGuinness 
Br. J. Servaas 

Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

Second year 

(Study Arabic) 
(Study Arabic) 

Jobs were interchanged: for instance the drama director and the 
office of "minister" (the domestic administrator) seemed to 
change often. Apparently tney were not very popular assignments. 
These few men had other jobs which do easily not fit on this list. 

One such assignment exam, 
cand., not mentioned because 
of lack of space, appears 
after four names each year, 
even when there were only 
four men. It indicates the 
level of optimism these early 
Jesuits had, because the 
expression "exam, cand." 
assigns a man to examine the 
credentials of students who 
present themselves as 
candidates for entrance into 
the Society of Jesus. The 
office was not needed for a 
long time since the first 
student to enter the Jesuit 
Order was Stanley Marrow 
who graduated in 1947, a 
full 15 years after the first 
Jesuits arrived. 

Early Baghdad College students 

Coinciding with Iraq's independence 

The Jesuit enterprise started the same year that Iraq obtained 
its independence after four centuries of Turkish rule followed by 
14 years under the British. Iraq became a monarchy in June of 
1921 when Faisal I was made King of Iraq and in 1932 Iraq 
became a member of the League of Nations. The first 10 years 
were difficult years for the mission as well as for the country. 
There were many changes of government during this time; in fact, 
seven internal insurrections occurred in the period 1937-1941. 
In her book, The Modern History of Iraq, Phebe Marr refers to 
this decade as "an era of instability." The Assyrian insurrection 

f The beginnings of the Jesuit endeavor 2 5 

and the subsequent deaths of many Assyrians (numbering 
somewhere between 230 to 900) in the village of Sum'male near 
Fiesh Khaboor (Pesh Kabur) and the looting of all 60 neighboring 
villages in early August of 1933 furnish examples of this 

Under the leadership of the 26 year-old Patriarch Mar 
Sham'un, Assyrians were seeking the same Assyrian autonomy 
which they enjoyed under Turkish rule. The Iraqi Army's defeat of 
the "invincible" Assyrians gave the army prestige that it lacked 
and allowed them to push through a conscription law which later 
was to affect the fledgling Jesuit school. The brutality and size of 
the massacre on August 4, 1933 brought worldwide attention and 
caused the League of Nations to question Iraq's ability at self rule, 
particularly regarding minorities. (Marr, 1985, p. 158) and 
(Joseph, 1961, p. 203) This story is related by Fr. Madaras 
and is found in Appendix D (Madaras, 1936, p. 172-3). It is told 
in a very detached manner, being careful not to touch upon any 
political overtones. 

Iraq's early problems 

After independence, unrest in the schools was not uncommon and 
the demonstrations were not always clearly political. In his book 
Iraq Between Two Wars (Simon, 1986, p. 109), Reeva Simon 
tells of 50 students who went on strike in 1931, "alleging that the 
problems given to them by their mathematics teacher were much 
too difficult," and in 1937 and 1938 students left en masse when 
they felt that the final examination in mathematics was too 
difficult, demanding and receiving revised exams from the 
Ministry of Education. 

Further instability followed the sudden fatal heart attack of 
King Faisal I on September 7, 1933 in Geneva which left the 
throne to his 21 year-old son Ghazi who made clear his dislike 
of the British. On April 4, 1939, King Ghazi was killed in a 
mysterious car accident. The official version of his death has 
always been suspected by Iraqis as a British concoction. The 
successor to Ghazi was his infant son Faisal II, so a regent, 
Abdul-llah was chosen who was both brother of Ghazi's wife, 
Queen 'Aliyah, and also Ghazi's cousin. (Marr, 1985, p. 78) 

Even though their first decade was an interesting one and political 
intrigue seemed to surround them on every side, the early Jesuits 
remained informed but detached, keeping their mission of 
education of Iraqi youth their sole preoccupation. 

26 0' Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

The locations of Baghdad College 

During the 37 years following 1932 the Jesuit mission and the 
country itself grew together from infancy to maturity. In these 
37 years Iraq's population expanded from 3.5 million to 8.5 
million while the Jesuit population grew from 4 to 61. Iraq's 
secondary school (including intermediate) enrollment grew from 
2,076 Iraqi students in three schools to 270,000 in 840 schools, 
while the enrollment in the Jesuit schools increased from 120 
students in rented houses to 1,100 students in nine buildings at 
Baghdad College. 

|Y7 ,>vi ■Vt t n£ - ^j^V Ma P or Baflhdad In the fifties Indicating the locations of the three Jesuit houses: 

Baghdad College BC, the language house of St. Joseph St.J and Al-Hikma AH 

^The original location in the center of the city on Muraba street is marked M 


Along the Tigris River 

During its first two years the school used two rented houses in 
the center of Baghdad on a side street (Muraba St.) near the river. 
The early days were described by Ramzi Y. Hermiz in excerpts 
from the letters of Fr. Edward F. Madaras, S.J. 

The school was located in rental property at 11/45 Muraba 
Street on the left bank (east side) of the Tigris (Rasafa). The 
school was made up of two houses ". . . which were not gems of 
the builder's craft . . ." The classroom ". . . floors were of 
rough uneven brick ... the rooms too small, the light not so 
good, windows and doors were ill fitting . . . and when a dust 
storm came up, the atmosphere was not pleasant . . . . " For 

f The locations of Baghdad College T 2 7 

athletic fields, there were two internal court yards; 25' by 
40'. . . 375 boys had applied; 120 were accepted, becoming 
107 at the end of the first year. Ages ran from 13 to 20, with 
around 15 years an average age. There were 4 grades in first 
classes: 5th & 6th Elementary, first and second Intermediate. 
Besides the four Jesuits, there were five other teachers: 
Father Sheiko (a Chaldean Priest), Mr. George Abbosh, Mr. 
Razzouk Isa, Mr. Salim Hilantu, Mr. Walter Weirs. There 
were classes six days a week, Monday through Saturday. The 
school day was from 8:00 am to 4:10 pm winter time and 7:00 
am to 1:00 pm summer. Within a few months, the Library 
(with all books arriving as donations) became the best of its 
kind in Baghdad. ". . . the boys were surprised to learn that 
they could actually take home to read whatever book they 
wanted, free of charge. . .". To many students, it was the first 
time they saw ". . . real black boards, history maps, hygiene 
charts, projectors, movie machines, and . . . individual arm- 
chair seats. In the eyes of their Jesuit Teachers, the boys ". . . 
have completely won our hearts. They study hard, they are 
respectful, obedient, and well disciplined, as well as definitely 
religious. (Ramzi Hermiz, Reunion VII Yearbook, 1990, p. 4) 

In the amazingly short space of a few years Baghdad College had 
substantially realized the primary purpose which had been 
proposed in 1931 - to provide secondary education for Christian 
boys. From the outset, however, its doors were open to Iraqi non- 
Christians. The first advertisement to appear in an Arabic 
newspaper described Baghdad College as "An Iraqi School for Iraqi 
Boys." This policy and spirit were faithfully maintained, as was 
also a high standard of academic excellence. 

One of the first advertisements in English concerning Baghdad 
College was carried in the Iraq Times September 10, 1932 on 
the front page explaining the intentions and methods of the school. 

BAGHDAD COLLEGE High School Department 

A Select Secondary School for Boys conducted by 

The American Jesuits Standard Academic Courses 


Courses Offered in 1932-33: Fifth and Sixth Preparatory 

First and Second Intermediate (High School). 

For terms, apply to THE PRINCIPAL, Gelani St. 13/203 

Hours: 10 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6 p.m. 

Last application 9/17. Final Registration, 9/22-23. 

The earliest notice presents a long explanation of the origin of 


'Oi Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

the school and is found in Appendix D along with one of the early 
report cards. Later advertisements were carried in the Iraq 
Times. On September 13, 1937 it told of the preparation for the 
Government Exams which reflected a later change in the 
curriculum and one such is found in the appendix. Similar 
advertisements were carried in Arabic papers. 

1935 B.C. game of badminton 

Real estate dispute 

Some of the Christian families were anxious to help the Jesuits 
find suitable property for the school. In October 1932, Fr. Rice 
visited one of these families who owned property that they were 
eager to sell. He inquired about the price and size of the property 
but considered it too near traffic since there were plans for a 
highway adjoining the property and also it was too expensive (@ 
$5 per square meter). It seems, however, that he was more polite 
than he was clear in refusing the offer and gave a different 
impression to the family. The family claimed that he promised to 
buy the property and kept pressing the issue until the following 

The Apostolic Delegate insisted that Fr. Rice end the now public 
dispute with the family so Fr. Rice called for a trial, being careful 
to keep it within the Christian community. This trial was held on 
June 9, 1933 at the Carmelite monastery with three Carmelites 
presiding and a local Monsignor representing the Apostolic 
Delegate present. The verdict was that Fr. Rice had not promised 
anything and owed nothing to the family. This left him free to 
concentrate his energies to continue the search which eventually 
led to the purchase of the Sulaikh property. 

Baghdad College moves to Sulaikh 

In 1934 the school and Jesuit residence were moved out to 
Sulaikh, four miles north of the center of the city. This Sulaikh 

f The locations of Baghdad College T 2 9 

site consisted of 25 acres with a 200 foot frontage on the east bank 
of the Tigris. It extended back some 3,000 feet towards the 
desert, widening out to 600 feet and had been purchased as a 
permanent site for the school. A very large house in the 
neighborhood, sufficient to accommodate both students and faculty, 
was rented. Planning for the new school buildings began soon 

The very earliest students of Baghdad College will remember 
"the house on the river", the building Baghdad College rented 
in Sulaikh and used for a time as both school and residence for 
the Jesuits. Made of mud brick it enclosed a courtyard. It had 
two stories, all of which opened out onto the courtyard with a 
gallery around the second floor. The rooms were large enough 
to serve as classrooms. There was no central heating so we 
used portable kerosene stoves. The courtyard provided 
recreation space, even a reduced-size basketball court. It was 
there many basketball stars performed. And Fr. Frank 
Anderson who one day was challenged to sink a basket from 
center court, did so and when challenged again turned around to 
sink one at the other end! He never tried it again! (Fr. Hussey) 

The new property 


The map of the property gives an idea of the early and late 
Baghdad College buildings as they appeared on the scene. The 
Jesuits occupied this 25 acre property (circumscribed by a wall 
shown in bold print) in Sulaikh from 1934 to 1969. Nine major 
buildings and some minor buildings were constructed. Other 
buildings already existed and were used at certain times. The 
property extended from the Tigris (west) to the desert (east). It 
had been an orchard of olive, orange, apricot and date trees, many 
of which had to be cleared for the buildings and the playing fields, 
leaving a few olive groves and about 200 date trees. In the east 
was the sadda, a 15 foot-high-dike, topped by a two-lane road, 
surrounding the city to prevent spring flooding from the Tigris 
overflow which was swollen by the melting snow in the North. 
Baghdad College was the terminal point for one of Baghdad's 
("Amana") bus lines. In 1953 the Jesuits unsuccessfully 
attempted to enlarge their property about 11 acres by purchasing 
neighboring plots, shown within dashed lines. 

In 1938 the administration/classroom building was occupied 
and the faculty/boarders residence was finished in 1939. In 
1941 a brick wall of some 1500 feet was completed around the 
property. The south wall was of mud but the eastern, northern 
and western walls were impressive brick structures nine feet 


?££ Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

high. It was customary to surround property with a substantial 
wall on the premise that an absent wall signified the owner was 
indifferent to what happened to his property and the produce it 
contained. The 1938 administration/classroom building together 
with a 1940 classroom annex contained 14 classrooms 20 by 24 
feet, two classrooms 12 by 20 feet, a lecture room 20 by 24 feet, 
a laboratory 24 by 52 feet (used for physics, chemistry, and 
biology), a library 24 by 52 feet (with some 10,000 volumes), 
rest rooms, a book store, and the principal's office. The 
residence, contained 40 rooms, housed 15 faculty members and 
48 boarders in separate wings, with dining facilities for the full 
complement of faculty and boarders, numbering 90 in all. Two 
rented dwellings a five minute walk away furnished living 
quarters for six additional members of the staff and for 21 


' s y 


'// / 

/ , ,' 


garden of Rashld All al-Gailani 

parcel of land which Jesuits : 

tried to purchase (tmuccenfuiiy) ■ td a p 

Bi0hd*d CoR*g* rotd 


>. > 'I / ) / ) / I / I ) 

Baghdad College property and neighboring homes 
(borrowed from the memories of Michael Sittu, '59 

and his brothers: Munther '60, Amir '56, Najah '56, George '52| 

garden of Hlkmat Sullalman 

parcel of land which Jesuits 
tried to purchase (unsucc«nfuily) 


E F 




Hlkmat Sullalman 

Louis Bakos 









Police station 

Rashld All al-Gailani 

The property purchased in 1932 (looking north) 
reached from the Tigris to the desert and was 
surrounded by charming neighbors: 13 are listed. 

As fate would have it, in the same year (1936) that ground was 
broken for the erection of the first building, the enrollment fell 
from 132 to 86 students because of complications arising from 
the Military Conscription Law. This law provided that students 
attending schools where no Iraq Government School Certificate was 
required would not be exempt from conscription. Thereafter the 
necessary certificate was required of each student entering 

T The locations of Baghdad College f 3 1 

Baghdad College, and once this was settled the enrollment climbed 
again. In 1938 the new classroom and administration building 
was occupied, and the extra space thus gained in the rented 
building was used to accommodate some 23 boarders as a newly 
opened boarding department. 

By 1939 there were two main buildings: the administration and 
classroom building, and a residence for faculty and boarders. 
When it was realized that the old building along the Tigris River 
which housed the boarders and the 10 Jesuits would not be fit to 
live in the following year because it was falling apart and it was 
too distant from the school, the new building was started. It was a 
race between the final dissolution of the old building and the 
opening of the new. 

They did not expect the house to hold together until July 1 
when they had to get out anyway, and it seemed as if they would 
be living in tents for the following year. The annual threat of 
flood was at hand - the river being up to the danger point. As 
the brick kilns are in the desert - where the waters go when 
the dike breaks - a flood would have held up our building. But 
the danger dissipated and the building was finished in time. Fr. 
Sarjeant explained to Fr. Murphy in Boston some of his 
problems. "You may ask how we are going to move out of our 
old house on July 1 when our new one will not be ready until a 
couple of months later. Well we must for the contract expires 
July 1 - and when you must do things, you find a way. We 
shall move the belongings of the Fathers down to the school 
building where they will stay until they can be moved into the 
new one." (letter #232 5/15/39 from Fr. Sarjeant to Fr. 
George Murphy Archives #510). 

The earliest students had their own view of what effect the 
"Fatheria" (as the Jesuit Fathers were called) had in their lives 
and how they first perceived them. One of the earliest students 
recalls how the transfer from downtown Baghdad to this 
magnificent new Sulaikh property with its plentiful space effected 
the sports programs. Even before the buildings were built there 
was room for endless youthful exuberance, among the students as 
well as among the Jesuits who often behaved like students. 

I joined Baghdad College from the very first day of its birth 
in the two adjoining houses in Baghdad in I932. I registered 
with Fr. Coffey and started in the sixth grade. Fr. Madaras was 
our home room teacher. Our activities that year were limited 
to volleyball, basketball and handball. During the first two 

32 CI Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

years at Baghdad College athletic events were limited to games 
we were able to play in the courtyards of the school. Various 
tournaments were arranged between the classes which 
competed against one another. Handball was the most favorite 
game and I can well remember the teams I captained in 
basketball and volley ball. The College was later moved to 
Sulaikh to a large mansion owned by the Gailani Family. The 
place was huge, surrounded by gardens where students used to 
sneak out during the break for a puff of a cigarette only to be 
caught by one of the Fathers who was on duty strolling in the 
yard. New grounds were made available to us about half a mile 
away which eventually became the site for the new Campus of 
Baghdad College. On these grounds we were able to play soccer, 
and two new games the Fathers introduced to us namely, 
American football and baseball. 

Everyone was enthused to see the Fathers join in playing 
football and baseball. These games became so popular that later 
other schools came to watch us and then played baseball with 
us on our fields. I remember very well that I had taken part in 
all these games and captained a soccer team of my class. The 
Fathers used to referee the games. Father Sarjeant was our 
referee whenever I requested him. We also had running 
contests, sack races, potato and spoon races, three legged races 
and other ingenious games. 

The Jesuit Fathers also introduced a new type of School life 
that we were not used to before in the primary Latin School 
(run by the Carmelite Fathers). Discipline was the 
paramount rule of the day and left an everlasting effect on our 
lives. Obedience and respect were the two other features that I 
feel were instilled into us and which have been in the 
background of everything I do, and which in turn I have passed 
to our children. (George Rahim '37) 

The Jesuits found themselves in the company of interesting 
neighbors, one of whom was Hikmat Sulayman a minister of many 
governments and survivor of numerous coups, he got along well 
with the Jesuits and would send his two sons to the school. Other 
neighbors seemed to pick on the new kid on the block, and wanted 
the Jesuits to donate a section of their newly bought land to the 
city for use as a police station. One of these was Rashid (Rasheed) 
AN who would lead the revolt against the government nine years 
later. Fr. Rice relates in his diary (11/2/34): "Serkis Abdeni 
and Rasheed Ali want me to give a corner of our land for a police 
station. They want the corner right in front, a most beautiful and 
valuable piece. I have decided to contribute to the police station. 



f The locations of Baghdad College 

If I did not I would be losing the favor of our neighbors. They could 
make things difficult, and at the same time the. have influence te 
make things easy". The police station was later located along the 
road to the desert. 

rp Lii n 



^ 1* 



A quiet library scene 

Another early problem at the new property concerned 
transportation since roads out of the city were just being 
constructed. For that reason a complete bus service for the 
students was necessary and the Jesuits bought the necessary parts 
and constructed the buses as they needed them. 

The Villa in the North 

An experiment with a villa house was inevitable due to the 120 
degree heat of the Baghdad summer which was not peculiar to 
Sulaikh, but felt in all of central and southern Iraq. It occurred to 
the Jesuits that they would recuperate from the year's work and 
their future work would proceed more smoothly if they retreated 
for the summer. They inquired about a villa house in the cooler 
northern part of Iraq. One possible location was in the village of 
Inishk which they could have the use of for nothing. Fr. Madaras 
led the Jesuit group and described the adventure. 

It is an ideal spot. Near a waterfall and two or three 
mountain streams that afford several swimming holes, it 
commands a view of the valley for miles around. There they 
unpacked, lived in a tent, and with our carpenter and some 
hired help, began the construction of the qupranas, that is, 
shelters which are wide open on four sides and have a roof of 
leafy boughs supported by rough beams cut in the 
neighborhood. They are safe because there is practically no 
rain here in the summer in these mountains. Thev constructed 

34 ;Q: Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

four of them; one a large open one with only one corner closed 
in, to be used as a dining room and a recreation room, located 
right beside a copious mountain stream; one rather large, 
which we lived in for privacy and formed into cubicles and a 
small chapel with two rough altars in it; one a kitchen and 
storeroom; and one an out-house. 

We were told when we were at Inishk that we would need 
night guards. In our ignorance of the country we thought they 
might just be trying to create jobs there, but we hired two 
with rifles, each one receiving 25 cents a night. Besides we 
had two large dogs. The fact that some thieves had entered the 
town on the night of July 3, cut a hole in the wall of the village 
chief's house while the family slept on the mud roof, and 
walked off with about $400 worth of money, jewelry and 
provisions made us feel that we might need the guards. On 
Tuesday night, July 19, we had an armed attack. 

The moon rose that night at midnight. We retired as usual at 
ten and at eleven-forty we were rudely awakened by shouts and 
rifle shots just outside the quprana. I could see the flash of 
the rifles through the leafy walls of my room. No one stirred 
in the house till the firing ended; then we got up to investigate. 
The two guards pursued the robbers up the hill and fired again. 
In a few minutes about ten villagers came up with rifles. Some 
had circled the village on the far side, had seen the robbers in 
the moonlight on the slope of the opposite hill and they fired a 
few shots at them as they made off towards Araden. Do not get 
alarmed over this - as there is no reason for alarm. We shall 
take all the precautions necessary. And the Lord has sent a 
special detail of Guardian Angels to watch over us - as is 
evident from many happenings around this school. 
The Jesuit Mission Magazine Nov. '38 XII #10) 

Some of the terrain of Northern Iraq 

f Post-Turkish education in Iraq f 3 5 

Post-Turkish education in Iraq 

The people of Iraq, called by someone, "a new world infinitely 
old", are descendants from many races, professing varied 
religious beliefs. Traditional education was within the given 
religious communities, the famous Kuttab schools for the Sunni, 
and the religious universities of Najaf and Karbala for the Shiites. 
A 12th century philosopher, Al-Namari proposed five goals of 
education: "learning pleases God and leads to eternal life; learning 
is a companion in loneliness; learning awakens man's intelligence; 
learning brings the esteem of others and finally learning leads to 

The Ottomans opened the first modern official secondary schools 
in 1870 and by the turn of the century there were only about a 
dozen with less than 2,000 (mostly Turkish) students. 
Educational development would pick up so that in 1913, in 
addition to the 83 government schools, there were some 20 
private schools with about 5,000 students, the majority of these 
students (some 3,000) were in the "Israelite Alliance" schools. 
While the Ottomans held sway, the language for advancement of 
course was Turkish. With the advent of nationalist sentiment the 
young Turks placed more insistence on Turkish; the Arabs 
reciprocated in kind and demanded instruction in Arabic. 

Coping with this fact the young government found religious 
minorities to be an intricate problem when Iraq attempted to build 
up an educational system satisfactory to all classes. The 
government schools, since 1920, have been open by law to all 
students regardless of religion. A difficulty in building up a State 
educational system was the language to be used. Previous to 1920, 
all teaching was done in Turkish, a language alien to all students 
except to the children of Turkish officials and to some areas where 
Turks lived in larger numbers. After the Turkish occupation of 
Iraq terminated, the official teaching language changed to Arabic. 
With this change, and in a country that was largely illiterate, the 
Ministry of Education had to build the foundations and the 
superstructure of an educational system simultaneously, and in 
12 years (1920-1932) under British supervision. They were 
astonishingly successful. These difficulties experienced by the 
government to build up a state system of education, were 
multiplied for foreigners such as the Baghdad Jesuits who 
contemplated opening a secondary school, to be followed by a 
university in later years. On the other hand in 1931, Baghdad 
was not a very promising place for outsiders undertaking a 
project meant to develop into a permanent establishment. 

By one of history's cruel ironies, the Arabs, who had nurtured 

36 CI Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

the Muslim faith with which the Ottoman Turks were able to 
conquer all of southeast Europe, were themselves to be engulfed by 
the Turks as their conquerors. The dark era through which Iraq 
passed from the middle of the 16th century up to the First World 
War was the era of the Ottoman Turkish rule. The Turkish 
language, foreign to Iraqis, was the medium used in the schools. 
This, as well as other discriminating factors, kept almost all 
Iraqis away from the schools. 
A new secondary school program for Iraq 

When the British took charge, they established another foreign 
system of schools along the lines of the British program, and so 
Iraq's secondary science curriculum was modeled after the "O" 
level course in England. The secondary school program was first 
published in 1926 and provided for a four-year course. In 1932 
the secondary course was lengthened to five years. Finally in 
1943 another revision resulted in two parallel curricula of 
scientific and literary subjects. The scientific track had a very 
extensive science program provided in both the intermediate as 
well as the secondary levels. In fact 16 of the 32 hours per week 
in the secondary grades #10 and #11 were taken up with science 
or mathematics. 

Here are some data on Iraqi schools which demonstrate the 
growth between 1920 and 1967. The number of schools increased 
greatly but the increase in the number of students was enormous; 
it is also true that the ratio of girls to boys grew from 1 to 1 1 in 
1930 and from 1 to 3 in 1968. 

Enrollment in Iraq's Secondary Schools 

School Year Enrollment 

1920-21 110 

1960-61 135,961 

1964-65 216,626 

Number of Schools in Iraq 

School Year Secondary Schools Primary Schools 

1920-21 3 88 

1940-41 56 735 

Secondary (including Intermediate) School Enrollment in Iraq 
Year Boys Girls 

1930-31 1,906 170 

1930-31 215,144 70,577 

Another element that has affected education in Iraq has been the 
migration to the urban centers. At the end of the 19th century 
about 70% of the Iraqis were rural peasants; today many have 
settled in cities. The Iraq Ministry of Planning(1968, p. 35) 

*f Post-Turkish education in Iraq f 3 7 

states that in 1965 more than 50% of the population lived in 
urban areas which explains why the urban schools were 

In 1927 an important event took place in Kirkuk: oil gushed 
from an experimental well. This discovery changed many things 
in Iraq but especially the demands of education. The country now 
had the means to throw off the chains of poverty and come into the 
modern industrial 20th century. Besides oil which received the 
most attention, copper, and other industries were developing in 
Iraq. These economic opportunities have spurred the 
modernization of education while the political upheavals and 
changes of government very often have hindered progress. With 
each successive government new ministers of education were 
appointed so that continuity in the efforts to improve education 
was lacking. 

The college preparatory program imposed by the British in the 
early 1920s laid a foundation for Iraqi secondary education so that 
further revisions could be made. The changes in Iraqi life caused 
by the discovery of oil, emancipation of women, and the migration 
to the towns all affected education and the demands put on it. The 
success of program revisions like the UNESCO (United Nations 
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which was 
created in 1946 to promote better understanding throughout the 
world) project depended, in part, on these factors. 

Public education in Iraq since 1920 was almost entirely 
financed by the government. The following data from an agency of 
the League of Arab States, the New York based Arab Information 
Center gives an idea of the growing importance held by education 
during successive decades. 

Only 2% of the national budget was allotted for education in 
1920; this grew to 25% in 1965. By 1966 Iraq was rated 
seventh of all the countries of the world for percentage of 
national budget spent on education. 
(Arab Information Center, 1966, p. 32) 

Students of primary, secondary, and vocational schools pay no 
tuition nor do the students of the institutions of higher learning. 
Students in some of the professional institutes and colleges sign 
contracts to serve the government for a certain number of years 
in return for their free tuition, boarding, books, and medical care. 

The conscription law 

A major crisis arose for the Jesuits with the publication of the 
National Defense Law, or Law #9, in 1934 which decreed the 
conscription of Iraqi youth into the military. Fr. Madaras was 

38 Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

first to comment on this, and then returns to this gnawing 
problem four times in his famous periodical 

We have no reason to suspect that our enrollment next year 
[1936] will fall off any, at least as regards the first year 
classes. Concerning the upper classes, there seem to be some 
misgivings, and that for two reasons. In the first place, Iraq 
recently passed a universal conscription law which is soon to 
go into effect; and although students are supposed to be exempt, 
we have heard that there is some kind of feeling among them 
that it would be wise to join the military college and get into 
the army as officers. In the second place (and this concerns 
only our own students) our graduation certificate has not yet 
received Government approval, which means that our 
graduates must submit to an examination to get into 
Government Medical and Law Schools. In addition, a 
Government recognized certificate seems to be regarded here 
as a sine qua non for a successful career. But this subject has 
ramifications around which a whole book could be written. So 
we desist. (Madaras, 1936 p. 290) 

Baghdad College homemade bus system 

In his Master's degree dissertation at Princeton University 
Charles Bashara outlines the details of the problem bothering the 
Jesuits and refers to some of the issues in the new law under 
Chapter 7, such as articles 27, 29 and 36. These stipulated that 
private and foreign schools must employ the teachers whom the 
Ministry of Education appoints for history, geography, civics, and 
the Arabic language; also these schools would pay the salaries of 
these teachers and the principals and teachers of private and 

f Post-Turkish education in Iraq f 39 

foreign schools will not be appointed without the approval of the 
Ministry of Education. Finally Iraqi students were forbidden to 
attend foreign primary schools. The crisis lasted for five years 
and returned to haunt the Jesuits again in the proposed new 
Education Law of 1939. Observations from Charles Bashara in his 
dissertation and Fr. Madaras in his Al Baghdad! are arranged here 
in chronological order until the problem finally disappeared in 
June of 1940. 

As outlined in a letter to the Jesuits in December, 1935, the 
Ministry of Education exempted from military service only 
those students enrolled in Government-run intermediate and 
secondary schools or those in schools recognized as valid by the 
government. Here lay the crux of the Jesuit dilemma, for the 
authorities at Baghdad College were being told, in effect, that 
the school was not recognized by the government. The major 
argument offered by the Iraqi officials was that the Jesuit 
school had been admitting students who did not have 
certificates acknowledging that they had passed the government 
primary school examinations. . . . The threat that the 
government would not recognize diplomas from the largely 
foreign institutions which had neglected the primary school 
certificate requirement effectively, barred graduates from 
these schools from public employment or admittance into 
higher government schools to train for civilian or military 
professions. (Bashara, 1985, p. 141) 

Just now we are concerned with quite another matter. The 
Government is summoning our students for military 
conscription. We are not lawyers, but as far as we understand 
the conscription law, it states that students attending schools 
that are recognized by Government as possessing intermediate 
or secondary status are exempt from conscription. Now 
[1935], our five-year course embraces both intermediate and 
secondary grades, that being the terminology used for the first 
three and the last two years of the course respectively. The 
whole matter seems to hinge on the meaning of the word 
recognized. Before we ever sailed from America to open 
Baghdad College, we received the written and explicit 
permission of the Government for that step, duly signed and 
approved. (Madaras, 1936 p. 317) 

40 Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 


The difficulties which our boys have been experiencing with 
the conscription laws during the past two months [1936] are 
over - temporarily. A truce has been called by the 
Government for the present year, during which we have time 
to swing into line, whatever that may involve, or the matter 
has been composed in some other way. One of the demands of 
the Government is that we accept no boys into our school who 
have not passed the Government primary school examinations. 
That would mean that the boys from Catholic schools who 
should fail in these examinations would be excluded from the 
school. What that would lead to is not difficult to see. 
Meanwhile we are endeavoring to convince the Government that 
it ought not to impose any extra burden on non-government 
schools, but treat them on a basis of equality with their own. 
Whether we shall be successful in that or not is problematical, 
but we shall work hard, pray fervently and hope for the best. 
We ask you to help us with your own prayers. The life of the 
school may depend on the outcome. Who can say? (Madaras, 
1936 p. 342) 


We thought we had written the last word in the matter of 
military conscription when we told you about the truce in our 
previous issue. But you never know what is going to happen 
next here. It seems that we misunderstood the Government, or 
they changed their mind, or something. At all events we were 
informed that those boys who were of military age would have 
to take the Government primary examinations at the end of the 
present school year [1936]. Accordingly, Fr. Sarjeant 
excused those boys from the regular classes to give them a 
chance to prepare themselves for the impending examinations. 

That had been going on for a couple of weeks, when word was 
again received that the new Director General of Education, who 
had taken office only a short time before, inclined towards our 
opinion that the law should not be retroactive and that those 
boys who were already in high school when the law was passed 
should not be obliged to take Government primary 
examinations. That means simply that the matter is up in the 
air again, and there is no telling when a definite decision may 
be expected. (Madaras, 1936 p. 369) 

A letter to the Jesuits from the Ministry of Education was dated 
12 December, 1935: 

According to the inquiry of principals of some of the schools 

f Post-Turkish education in Iraq f 4 1 

mentioned in our last decision dated, November 23, 1935, 
asking for a delay in which they might put themselves within 
the law, we shall ask the Directorate General of Conscription 
to postpone the call of students to the colors from these schools 
which pretend to be secondary, till the end of September, 
1936 on the condition that the principal will guarantee the 
following: first to send all the students who have no primary 
certificate to take the primary examinations in June, 1936; 
second to send away any student who does not take this exam or 
who does not pass it; third to accept no one in the future who 
has not passed the primary exam and fourth to announce this in 
school catalogues. Directors of education must notify us of the 
names of all who are included in this temporary postponement 
when the faculties of the schools sent letters showing their 
approval of these conditions." The Jesuits chose not to reply to 
the letter, neither accepting nor refusing its terms. Instead, 
17 Baghdad College students of military age took the primary 
school examination and passed it in June and September, 
1936. By March, 1937, the crisis seemed to have passed. 
(Bashara, 1985, p. 147) 

Al-Jamali reminded the Americans that the new law was not 
aimed in retaliation against them and praised their service to 
Iraq. He was determined, however, to preserve the "national 
culture". . . . The secondary schools, including Baghdad 
College, were only affected in the matter of faculty 
appointments in civic and Arabic studies. Nouri el-Said was 
satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and considered the 
issue settled. . . . And so ended the affair of the Education Law. 
The Iraqis had asserted their prerogative as guardians of 
national culture. . . . Before the issue was resolved, the 
Jesuits had held graduating exercises at Baghdad College on 23 
June, 1940, at 6 in the evening: "They were a great success. 
The Delegate presided. The Director General of Education (ex- 
Minister, father of one of our boarders, the first civil official 
to assist at one of our ceremonies) spoke - and highly of the 
Fathers. The Director General of Public Instruction was 
present. All the bishops, most of the clergy, and 600 people 
saw our fifth graduation - 20 boys making the alumni total 
now 70. 

Given the presence of both lay and clerical prominent Iraqis, 
including Sami Shawkat and Fadhil Al-Jamali, as well as 
representatives of other religious orders and members of all 
the major Christian sects, it looked as if the conduct of Jesuit 
relations had been a success. Baghdad College was there to 

42 ;CI Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

stay, until circumstances, in time, determined otherwise. 
(Bashara, 1985, p. 169-174) 

From 1935 to 1940 the Jesuits confronted this serious 
problem for their educational mission. If they had not been so 
persistent and not received substantial concessions they would 
have had serious interference from the government in the running 
of their school. This would have greatly effected their enrollment, 
teaching staff and freedom of operation. Here is one final letter 
expressing the concern which was relayed by the rector Fr. 
Sarjeant to Fr. George Murphy, the Jesuit Province treasurer in 

On 5/23/39 there appeared in the papers a notice that a new 
educational law might be passed. It will put Iraq in the class 
with Turkey and Persia. It forbids foreigners to run primary 
schools - thus killing nearly all the Catholic schools of the 
country especially the Carmelites of Baghdad who send us the 
larger part of the best trained of our boys. All private schools 
must submit to the Minister of education their annual budget 
one month before school opens. Without his permission they 
may not appoint mudirs (Prefects of Studies) nor teachers; 
nor change texts (which must be the same as the 
government); nor deviate from the government school holidays 
(therefore it would seem forbidden to have Sunday as the 
holiday and Christmas week would be out etc.) nor program, 
nor receive help from abroad. But the prize provision is the 
next. The government will send you all teachers of Arabic 
language, of all history and geography and civics and sociology; 
you will pay them the salary named by the government. That 
could swell our teaching payroll from about $1,700 to 
$7,200 per year; they will be responsible only to the 
Ministry; and they must teach in Arabic. What would that 
mean with regard to discipline? If your teachers came late or 
failed to turn in their marks or correct themes what could you 
do about it? (Letter #268 7/15/39 Sarjeant to G. Murphy) 

The government curriculum of the thirties 

Public examinations for students of all schools were held at the 
end of the six primary years, then after the three intermediate 
years, and finally after the two secondary years. Their function 
was to find if a student was ready to pass on to higher education. 
Government certificates issued on the basis of passing grades in 
these examinations are the only passport from one school level to 
the next. A passing mark is 50% in the individual subject and 

f Post-Turkish education in Iraq 


60% for the general average. 
One who fails three subjects or 
the general average must wait 
until the following June to take 
the exam again. Those failing one 
or two subjects may move ahead 
after passing a "conditional 
exam" in the summer. Results of 
the public examinations of the 
government secondary schools 
(including Intermediate) shows a 
dramatic decrease and is shown 
here by academic year and 
percent passed: 



Chaldean Patriarch and Fr. Madaras 

The important place of mathematics in the program was evident 
from the large proportion of class time spent on mathematics. 
Two of the seven subjects in the final terminal exams were 
mathematics. The exams covered the following subjects: Arabic 
and Religion (Islam), English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and 
then Algebra-Trigonometry and Geometry-Analysis. 

1940 Baghdad College graduation ceremonies 

Higher education in Baghdad was behind most other countries due 

44 ~ Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

to long Turkish rule and the following table indicates an enormous 
increase in the number of college graduates in Iraq during the 30 
years intervening between 1921 and 1951. The number 
increased from 15 in 1921 to 1,091 in 1951. (The source for 
this table is the Iraq Ministry of Planning in the Report on 
Education in Iraq for 1957-1958. Baghdad: Republic Government 
Press, 1959, pp. 16, 26) 

College Graduates. 1920-1958 

College 21 31 41 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 

_£ 15 10 






158 180 

' -~ 


Education 1 9 


176 167 



162 210 












Tahrir (Women) 










69 105 







Arts & Sciences 


















































Nonacademic Institutions 



Total 15 29 










i Baghdad College curricu 


of the 


The Baghdad College program followed completely the 
government syllabus. There were three intermediate years with a 
terminal degree followed by two more years of secondary studies. 
The Baghdad College program was quite different from the 
American system, but it never was the plan of the Jesuits to 
impose any program foreign to that of Iraq especially an American 
program. In fact even a cursory study of the curricula of the 
other New England Province schools shows few points of 
comparison with the Baghdad College curriculum. 

One of the earliest Baghdad College students wrote about the 
curriculum and the complicated life he had committed himself to. 

The curriculum was a full time one. Homework and quizzes 
were the order of the day. Penmanship, reading and elocution 
were daily requirements of Father Madaras. Having started in 
the sixth elementary class at Baghdad College and having 
progressed without previously having to take any Government 
exams, we were told that if we wished to go on for college 
studies we had to take three baccalaureate exams: the sixth 

Post-Turkish education in Iraq 



year elementary, the intermediate and the secondary exams. 
Since all the subjects for these exams were taught in Arabic in 
the Government schools, we had to prepare all the subjects we 
learned in English (algebra, trigonometry, history, 
geography, chemistry, physics, botany, zoology and social 
science), using the Arabic books in our free time. 

So, at the end of my fourth year at Baghdad College I took the 
sixth year elementary exam and passed the intermediate exam 
at the end of that same summer. Then I took the final 
baccalaureate exam in June 1937. That September I was 
admitted to the Royal College of Medicine from which I 
graduated. (George Rahim '37) 

The ziggurat ofAqar-Ouf, a favorite picnic spot for B.C. students 

46 S Chapter 3 Jesuits. Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

Experiences and Influence of Jesuits in this decade 

Al Baghdadi 

The early days of the mission were delightfully recorded in the 
pages of the periodical Al Baghdadi. which provided 
indispensable background material for understanding the Mission 
of Iraq. In its early days Al Baghdadi had to admonish its readers 
that Iraq was not in Persia. India or Africa, but was a country in 
its own right. The journal chronicles the progress of the school 
through the years from early suspicion by Muslim Mullahs to the 
position of esteem and affection it later enjoyed. The first 17 
editions (1932-1936) were published in book form by The 
Jesuit Mission Press in 1936 in New York. The spirit of the 
newsletters is caught very nicely in the introduction. 

In the first place it assumed that just as God loves a cheerful 
giver, so. too. He loves a cheerful missionary, and it treated 
the Baghdad venture, not as a lark, to be sure, but as a joyful 
adventure for the King of Kings. The Fathers were knights 
setting out on a jousting match to defend the honor of their 
Liege Lord, and although they felt that they were going to get 
many a hard knock and be unhorsed more than once, they 
looked forward to the contest with a glint in their eye, a smile 
on their lips, and a song in their hearts. They knew that when 
you go out to do battle for Christ, you do not go alone. And with 
Him they were ready for all things. If these young Americans 
appeared to be a bit debonair on the surface, deep down inside 
they were deadly serious about what they were doing. They did 
not. however, allow that seriousness to interfere with their 
sense of humor. And in this attention to the lighter side of 
things Al Baghdadi differed in a marked respect from its 

A touch of humor makes the whole world kin, they say. Al 
Baghdadi contained more than just a touch, and it was not long 
before those who began to write back told us, among other 
things, that they felt that they knew the Fathers personally, 
even though they had never met them. Word was passed along 
from friend to friend that Al Baghdadi was free and well 
worth it, and it was not slow in growing. 
(Madaras. 1936. pp. 1-2) 

The periodical was meant mostly to encourage financial and 
spiritual contributions from American benefactors and also to 
keep fellow Jesuits informed about the progress of the mission, as 
did the 17th century Jesuits in Canada. Baghdad College alumni 

T Experiences of the Jesuits in this decade 47 

rarely saw the magazine, as Ramzi Y. Hermiz points out. 

Most former students of Baghdad College and Al-Hikma 
University are familiar with their own school publications of 
Al-lraqi and/or Al-Hikma. But probably, not so many from 
either school are familiar with, or maybe even heard of, A I 
Baghdadi, nor as a result are aware of the key role that 
publication played in developing the support of the new school' 
needed from around the world. In the words of its own 'creator' 
(Father Madaras) the Al-Baghdao .'.as A spasmodic journal, 
published by the American Jesuits in Baghdad, appearing when 
mood and weather permit, its purpose being to keep our 
friends and the world in general informed as to what we are 
doing, how we are faring, and thus to sustain interest in the 
project entrusted to us by His Holiness, Pius XI." The Al- 
Baghdadi was written in the format of diaryletter. and was 
'born' almost as soon as the ship carrying Fathers Rice and 
Madaras left New York on Feb. 9. 1932. on the way East. The 
diary/letter called Al-Baghdadi kept increasing in popularity 
after each new mailing, with general readers, seminaries. 
libraries, schools, and institutions in the U.S. and in Europe, 
such that by the 10th issue the mailing list had reached 2000 
locations. (Reunion VII Yearbook. 1990. p. I 

All of the articles in the early years of his Al Baghdadi 
newsletter were written by Fr. Madaras. Here follows a few 
examples of Fr. Madaras writ and love for detail as he describes 
life in the thirties and the many unexpected things that caused the 
Jesuits' hair to gray as we as s:~e pleasant surprises: humor, 
the lay-out of a typical Baghdad house, telephones, clocks, snakes, 
floods. Baghdad boils, trains, the praise of the local Imam, finding 
two dependable and capable workers who stayed with the Jesuits 
for many years and dust storms. Dust storms, by the way were a 
new experience for the Jesuits, all of wtiom were used to seeing 
snow in the winter, but now had to settle for a brown substitute - 
a dust storm. 

All Jesuits had their own descriptions of such adventures, but 
Fr. Madaras preferred the student version below written as an 
English assignment to his own account giving a more scientific 
description of a dust storm. He supplied the inr cate statistical 
details that he found so interesting, enthusiastic even in tne 
presence of glassy-eyed stares from his numbed hearers. Some 
people who took an interest in Catholic enterprises how e v er , did 
not comprehend the humor that came with these homey 
descriptions of life among the Jesuits. A passage follows about a 

48 Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

rather humorless Boston lady visiting the Jesuit Mission Office 
who was not sure that humor was the proper way to God. 

Missionaries and humor 

A woman came to us one day with a letter she had received 
from some missionary who, of course, was begging for funds. 
In the course of his letter he happened to mention that he was 
"as busy as a one-eyed cat in a bird store". That touch of 
humor made the good woman suspicious; no bona fide 
missionary, she felt, would talk like that, and she concluded 
that he must be a fraud. She had come to us apparently to have 
her suspicions confirmed. Well, we looked his name up in the 
Catholic Directory and we found him to be perfectly genuine. 
As we remember it, the woman was almost sorry. 

Now, that woman's attitude illustrates a popular 
misconception; the impression has somehow got abroad that 
missionaries have no sense of humor, or at least that they 
ought to have little. Well, if missionaries weren't humorists, 
they wouldn't hold out on the missions very long, as our fellow 
Jesuit, Richard Welfle, down in India remarked in a recent 
issue of Catholic Missions. As a consequence of the popular 
idea that the missionary is a gaunt individual with long beard 
and solemn, hollow eyes containing a far-away look, a man who 
speaks in sad, sepulchral tones and never writes back home 
except to tell of hardships and the wonders he could do with 
five dollars, most of your missionaries who write for the 
magazines are a bit chary about saying anything that is not 
redolent of piety and edification, anything that departs from 
the "trek across the veldt" or the "steaming jungle" tradition. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 157) 

Friendly neighbors and one uncertain 

T Experiences of the Jesuits in this decade 



First Jesuit residence 

We have commissioned our staff artist to draw a plan of 
our domicile. He has prepared a rough sketch, not exactly 
according to scale, but it will serve to give you an idea of the 
place where we work and play and dream our dreams .... To 
the extreme left you have the ground floor. The rooms are 
disposed around the open court, only two of them being suitable 
for living purposes. Windows open either on the court, or on 
the back or front: there are none on either side, since the 
neighbors' houses are there. The open air court mounts right 
up to the sky as far as you care to go. The second floor has 
seven rooms: we have numbered six of them to help you count. 
The two rooms on the roof are for the purpose of storing 
bedding during the day. 

Notice the unique fashion in which our 
artist has depicted the canvas 
tarpaulin which keeps the sun out of 
the court, thus helping to keep the 
inside temperature down about twenty 
degrees below that of the street. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 58) 

Open House 



ROOM—* , 

.J L 


oviuhahO to UtT SOJ 
"look, down THE STWErT 


January 26th [1936] was a historical day in the life of the 
school. It was then that the first call came in on our newly 
installed telephone, for which we had been waiting patiently 
many months. We mean the telephone, not the call. In case you 
should wish to call us up, our number is Shamal 62. Don't 
forget this number, for you will have a difficult time finding 
us in the phone book. Although instructions had been given to 
list us under "Jesuit Residence", we found after a long search 
that we had been placed under "William", that being Fr. Rice's 
first name. The operators here are men, and their occasional 
use of seemingly affectionate language may possibly be 
explained on the score of oriental exuberance. 
(Madaras, 1936 p. 17) 

50 CJi Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

The Muslims of Adhamyah 

Shortly after we moved to Sulaikh we heard that the Imam of 
Adhimyah, a nearby village, addressed his congregation in the 
great mosque and expressed his pleasure that Baghdad College 
had settled in the neighborhood. As we had been uncertain how 
our Muslim neighbors would take to a Christian school in their 
midst, this news was reassuring. Later Fr. Coffey paid the 
Imam a visit and was cordially received and entertained. The 
Imam in his turn called to see the school and appeared 
impressed by what he saw, not least by the chapel, concerning 
which he asked many questions. (Madaras, 1936, p. 299) 

Youssef and Zieya 

Two buses require two chauffeurs, and we have two that were 
sent to us from Heaven. Youssef and Zieya are their names, 
which is the local version of Joseph and Isaiah. They are 
brothers, somewhere in their late thirties, both with years of 
experience in town and desert driving, good-natured, reliable, 
honest, hard working. Besides driving the buses, they both 
serve table, wash dishes, run the boys' canteen, and do 
anything else they are told to do. Youssef always has a merry 

Youssef and Fr. Madaras 

twinkle in his eye. He can read and write Arabic, Chaldean, 
and English, and that is enough to establish him in his position 
as Zieya's boss. He does practically all the buying, for he is a 
demon at driving a bargain, and seems to know all the 
shopkeepers and traffic policemen in the city. 

He has learned to serve Mass, too, which he does each 
morning to the apparent envy of our other Catholic workmen, 

f Experiences of the Jesuits in this decade f 5 1 

all of whom attend Mass each day. Zieya is the imperturbable, 
wearing for the most part a grave and dignified look whose 
authenticity we have always suspected. This grand manner he 
affects particularly when he is serving table, and we are sure 
that the head-waiter of the Waldorf Astoria could not give him 
any pointers on this score. Zieya and Youssef swear that they 
will never leave us. For our part, we shall never let them go. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 248) 

The haunted clock 

We told you last time that we had heard our house was 
haunted. Local legend reported the particular room 
responsible as being that occupied by Fr. Merrick. We do not 
lightly lend credence to such statements, but one day when the 
chime clock was brought up from downstairs and hung outside 
Fr. Merrick's room, it began striking 13 for each hour. Our 
attitude towards the number 13 has always been one of total 
disregard, but when things like that begin to happen, who can 
be complete master of his feelings, especially when you wake 
up at four in the morning to hear the dismal strokes struck out 
with slow deliberation? 

Fr. Madaras was frankly incredulous as to the facts and 
hinted that the Fathers who claimed to have heard the fateful 
number were either dreaming or simply could not count. But 
then it was learned that the doubting Father had himself 
repaired the clock only the day before. He took the clock down 
and restored a missing part. The clock's conduct has been 
exemplary ever since. (Madaras, 1936, p. 257) 

Snakes of Eden 

We are happy to report that we have found hundreds of 
snakes, but not in the house; they are decent enough to confine 
themselves to the gardens of our new property. We have quite 
a sizable collection now, and whenever one of the workmen 
happens to kill another (snake), he brings it to us full of 
pride, although a bit puzzled concerning our desire to keep 
dead snakes. One specimen was brought in a few days ago that 
measured 54 inches. It was coal black and Toby calmly 
informed us that you die in 30 seconds after being bitten by it. 

We have heard similar dreaded predictions with regard to the 
scorpions that go scurrying around the house at certain 
seasons of the year, but we have yet to hear of anyone dying 
from a bite. Still, we're not taking any unnecessary chances. 
Further research into the antecedents of the 54 inch snake 
reveals that its name is the European whip snake. In fact, of 

52 CI Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

the 25 species of snake found in Iraq, only six are poisonous. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 258) 

The Angry Tigris 

The Tigris, referred to above, refuses to allow itself to be 
dismissed with such passing mention. This year, on February 
19 to be exact, it threw something of a scare into us and won 
for the boys an unexpected holiday. Within the space of a few 
days it had risen something like 15 feet, and on the morning of 
the 19th we found it within a couple of feet of the top of the 
dike which rises some eight feet above the level of our own 
front yard. We saw that if it should begin coming over the 
dike, our house would be standing in eight feet of water. Our 
concern therefore was easy to understand. (Madaras, 1936, 
p. 260) 

One of the seven bridges across the Tigris on a calm day 

Dust storms (student version) 

This is the story about dust storm. If you see in our country 
a thing you do not see it only in a little part of world that it is 
the dust storm. Every three weeks or 1 month or 2 days you 
see all the sky is covered by the dust storm, and the sky all 
change from the blue to the yellow. The wind becomes high. 
The mother at home shuts the windows. Sometimes the strong 
wind with the storm breaks the glasses of the windows. When 
it is storm too bad we cannot breath well and we cannot open 
our eyes because the dust enters in our eyes and they become 

And when the dust comes you will see that all the things and 
rooms are covered with the dust. After if you will go away in 
the street you cant see a man or cars about 4 yards. And many 
of cars they make accident. You could not see anybody passing 
on the street every one went to his house and hide himself into 
the room. And this dust very bad for the man whom are sick in 
the bed. If we close the door and the window we must open the 

f Experiences of the Jesuits in this decade 5 3 

light like the night. After the storm they shine the sun. 

My parents was sweeping the house with a brooms and when 
they finished they cleaned the glasses and the cups and the jar 
and the water filter till they finished. Then they cleaned the 
carpets and they swap the room till they finished all the house. 
The little boys and the girls come out of their room and wash 
their faces and hand and some of them swam in the bath room 
in order to get clean. After that the dust came another time. 
Always the dust comes in place of coming rain. Comes dust. It 
is not good for the flowers and other things. Not only for the 
flowers but for the persons also. My friend, if they came in 
your country like this? (Madaras, 1936, p. 151) 

Dust storms (Fr. Madaras version) 

On the evening of March 30, 1935 occurred Iraq's worst 
dust storm in its history, 100 people dying because of it. 
Baghdad lost one of its pontoon bridges and traffic came to a 
halt. It started during the Saturday morning classes and lasted 
most of the day. Shutting the windows did not help much but 
classes were finished. The atmosphere was an orange hue and 
the velocity of the wind reached 70 mph. 

When the Fathers came up to dinner after the evening 
Litanies, they were all such a wild-looking sight that it was 
difficult to preserve a becoming gravity during the saying of 
grace. Meanwhile the lights were going on and off, and about 
10 o'clock that night stopped altogether. We had no electricity 
for the next 20 hours. 

Next morning the house, inside and out, was a sad sight. In 
our courtyard, which contains something like 2500 square 
feet, we swept up 415 pounds of dust. Fr. Merrick figured it 
out to three decimals and found it amounted to 2,328.945 tons 
per square mile. In Fr. Rice's room the fall was at the rate of 
524 tons per square mile. Last summer's dust storm in 
America gave Chicago 75 tons per square mile, so Chicagoans 
at least will be able to appreciate how much dust we really had. 

The dust that fell on each square mile of Baghdad would make 
a column one foot square and nearly two miles high. Send that 
to Collier's for us (they might not take our word) and let us 
have the five dollars they give you for this piece of 
information. And the next time mother complains about the 
difficulties of keeping the house clean, just ask her jocosely 
how she would like to live in Baghdad. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 262) 

54 Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

Baghdad boil 

Our early readers are not unacquainted with the Baghdad 
boil, for we told about the one which Father Madaras had on his 
left hand about two years ago. Since then we have garnered 
further information about it which may not be uninteresting to 
our medical-minded readers. Our latest informant is none 
other than Dr. Kennedy, of the Royal College of Medicine of 
Iraq. What lends the matter added interest now is the fact that 
Fr. Coffey has taken it on the chin (by it we mean the boil) and 
Fr. Wand on the back of the right hand. It will soon be a year 
now that they blossomed out with the said adornment, and then 
they may hope to be relieved of their affliction. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 267) 

Train ride 

We had second-class tickets, but because of our failure to 
make reservations in time (the reason behind that is another 
story in its own right), we had to take our places in the third- 
class coach. The conductor graciously cleared the benches of 
Arabs in order that we might each have a seat to ourselves, but 
we had to sit upright all night, all except Mr. Casey, who 
followed the example of some of the natives and climbed up into 
the luggage rack, where he slept peacefully until morning. 
(Madaras, 1936, p. 295) 


Clerical collar and a black suit was the customary garb of 
American priests but cassocks (at least their predecessor the 
"dishdash") were invented in Baghdad so these were preferred by 
the Jesuits. Due to Fr. Madaras 1 facility at striking a bargain the 
Jesuit cassock was made of khaki colored cloth which cost 25 cents 
a yard and the finished cassock cost a mere $1 .75. This color was 
preferable to the black cassocks most priests wore because they 
were cooler in the summer and also the accumulation of Baghdad 
dust, not to mention classroom chalk, was not apparent on them. 

After the people got used to seeing the Baghdad Jesuits wearing 
them Syrian priests adopted this style. It was odd that it was 
called a "Jesuit cassock" since St. Ignatius did not want Jesuits to 
have a distinctive garb. All Jesuits changed from winter black to 
summer khaki on the same day in March and back again on a fixed 
day in November. The students would watch the Jesuit residence 
for the first man out to see if spring had come or if winter had 

Like the early Jesuit explorers, the Baghdad Jesuits were 
inveterate writers and related many details of their ordinary day. 

f Experiences of the Jesuits in this decade 5 5 

Some writers were more graphic and interesting than others, but 
officials such as superiors and treasurers were frequent 
correspondents. There were always unexpected events which upset 
schedules such as the death of a king. Here is a letter from the 
superior Fr. Francis Sarjeant to Fr. George Murphy, the Jesuit 
Province treasurer in Boston. It is followed by a letter in which 
Fr. Hussey describes his arrival in Baghdad in August of 1938 and 
records some of his first impressions. 

The King [Ghazi] was killed in an automobile accident [early 
on Tuesday, 4/4/39]. The news was not released until about 
eight or nine on Tuesday morning after our boys had begun 
classes. A telephone call from a friend in the city advised us to 
get the boys home while the going was good. We went down 
town in the small car to see that everything was all right. On 
the way we were stopped once ourselves by wailing groups 
trotting towards the royal palace. But we got through all right. 
We returned and sent the boys down on the buses. As we are 
four miles north of the city and there is only one good road 
leading through the middle of the city to the section at the south 
where many of our boys live, at times when there is any 
possibility of trouble in the city, we are obliged to rush them 
through when we can, lest they be cut off and stranded at the 
school. (Letter #211 4/19/39 Fr. Sarjeant to Fr. Murphy) 


When I arrived in Baghdad Fr. Miff met us at the Nairn bus 
station and bustled us through customs to an Arabana. Though 
taxis were available, the horse and carriage gave us a 
leisurely view of a city that was to become so much a part of 
our lives. Fr. Miff was born and raised in Malta before 
migrating to California where he eventually entered the 
Jesuits. He was a gracious, hard-working priest, genial and 
friendly to all and yet a strict and well organized teacher. His 
native Malta must have had much influence from the Muslim 
northern Africa. 

Greeting us on our arrival at Sulaikh (northern quarter of 
Baghdad) was the Superior of the Baghdad Mission, Fr. 
William Rice, an elderly corpulent, gentle person. He had a 
difficult task. He had been lifted from being rector of our 
Jesuit Novitiate in the glorious green of the Berkshires in 
Massachusetts, to be dropped into the sandy, dry, largely 
barren plains of Iraq. (Fr. Hussey) 

56 Q: Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

A special Sulaikh family 

The Jesuits found their neighbors to be wonderful people and 
frequently became acquainted with them through their children 
who would wander onto the property to use the fields and courts. 
Fr. LaBran has fond memories of one such family, and his 
comments are introduced by an admiring son. 

During the war between Egypt and the West over the Suez 
Canal in 1956, the rough winds of political change started to 
move all over the Arab world. In Baghdad, there were 
demonstrations and rumors that the army would move against 
the government. In light of this situation, one of the visitors to 
our home asked my father if he had any weapons at home or if 
he carried a weapon on his person. To my amazement my father 
put his hand in his pocket, took out a rosary and replied: "Yes, 
I do carry a weapon, the most effective weapon in the world." I 
wondered if our Moslem friend understood what he meant. 

On 14 July, 1958, the day of the revolution, my father and 
another General were brought to the Minister of defense for 
detention, to be later removed to prison. They were put in an 
army truck escorted by army officers who were at one time 
under their command, but had later joined the opposite camp. 
The mob in the streets leading to the ministry of defense 
attacked the truck. But then, one of the escorting officers 
opened fire over the heads of the mob and dispersed it. My 
father recounted this episode to four Jesuits who were visiting 
our home after his release. One of the Jesuits asked him how 
he had felt about this close call, being attacked by an angry 
mob. My father's answer was, "Father, I knew nothing would 
happen to me that day because I had not finished my Novena of 
the nine First Fridays. I had just finished the eighth Friday 
the week before, so I had the feeling my time had not yet come." 
(Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60. A.H. '64) 

"The play's the thing... " 

f Experiences of the Jesuits in this decade f 5 7 

Ephraim Hindo and his wife Laila Hindo I met very early in 
my years at Baghdad. They were both very beautiful people 
from very devout Syrian Catholic families. I realized very 
quickly that these were very special people. When I met 
Ephraim he was in the service of the Iraqi government, 
eventually promoted to the rank of General, thereby becoming 
the highest ranking Christian in the Iraqi army. His brother 
Joseph was the Syrian Archbishop of Baghdad. The Hindo 
family was very renowned. I used to talk to Ephraim a lot and 
we became very close friends right from the very beginning. 
The thing that impressed me about him was that he would quote 
Scripture, the Old Testament and the New Testament, in a very 
powerful way, nothing ostentatious but I thought a very human 
way of communicating to me what life meant to him. 

Laila would be at Mass at our chapel every morning and 
Ephraim would come as often as he could when he wasn't off on 
maneuvers. Those were the days when people had to fast from 
midnight before they received the Eucharist and one day 
Ephraim came about 5:00 p.m. after fasting all day knowing 
he'd be returning to Baghdad and could receive at our college. 
The whole family received the Eucharist very reverently and 
very profoundly. 

The Hindo house was like Grand Central Station for all of 
Sulaikh; everyone went in and out of there all the time. The 
boys attended Baghdad College and Walid and I became very 
friendly. My support of Walid is, I think, the main reason 
why I became so close to the whole family. In July of 1958, it 
was announced early one morning over the radio that there had 
been a revolution. King Faisal, who had visited my own 
classroom just two months previously, had been assassinated. 
General Hindo was out on maneuvers and was captured by three 
of his own officers who asked him, "Are you with us, or against 
us?" Ephraim raised his arms up under the three guns and 
proclaimed, "I took my oath to the King and I cannot go against 
him." They brought him into Baghdad where he was 

Over the radio they gave a list of who had been killed in the 
uprising. The Hindo family was relieved to hear that Ephraim 
was alive but being detained. To prove this to the family and to 
all Christians, the oldest son Walid was allowed to go down to 
the prison to see his father. He would bring food to him and 
return with Ephraim's clothing so Laila could wash them. 
Ephraim became an inspiration to everyone because while 
imprisoned, he prayed fervently, holding the rosary and 

58 Chapter 3 Jesuits, Iraq and Iraqis all in Their Youth 

crucifix in his hands. His wife Laila was very heroic and 
endured the fact that the people who had flooded her home now 
stayed away. 

Eventually he was released from the jail and came back to the 
college where he prostrated himself before Our Lady. The 
family later gave a beautiful crown for Our Lady in gratitude 
to God for sparing his life. General Ephraim Hindo was a great 
man of God who never gave up faith, hope or love. 

General Hindo was offered to be ambassador of Iraqi 
government for the Vatican. To this offer he said all that I 
want is my wife and family and the Church. Ephraim Hindo 
chose the road less traveled by the way of the Cross and for 
him and for us all who admired and loved him this has made all 
the difference. Each year since 1958 I have been giving the 
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to students of The College of 
the Holy Cross four times each year. Each time I use this man 
as an example of what life is really about. (Fr. LaBran) 

The first student body: 1933 picture taken from the 1990 ReunionYearbook 

Chapter 4 

Against All Odds, 
Coming of Age in the Forties 

Charity 6ears all things, believes all tilings, 

dopes all things, endures all things. 

1 Corinthians XIII: 7 

Summary: Baghdad College during this decade 

After their first hectic decade the Jesuits faced another 
challenge with the Rashid (Rasheed) Ali Coup of Spring 1941 
when World War II spilled over into Iraq. Once the initial danger 
to Baghdad College had passed there was a surprisingly sharp 
increase in enrollment, especially among Muslims, due in some 
part, to the evident persistence of the Jesuits who were not 
frightened away by the war. This increase in the size of the 
student body called for increasing the size of faculty and a greater 
expansion in classroom buildings and the boarding school. Early 
in the forties the Al Iraqi yearbook blossomed and later there were 
some minor changes in the curriculum. During this time there 
were many colorful Jesuit experiences and their influence on the 
Baghdad community became more apparent. 

The superiors of the mission and rector of Baghdad College 
during this decade included Fr. Sarjeant (38-45) and Fr. Madaras 
(45-52). The principals (mudeer) were Fr. Devenny (40-42) 
and Fr. Connell (43-52). Fr. Quinn and Fr. Kelly were the 
assistant principals (muawin). Jesuit officials are not elected by 
any form of ballot and are not allowed to ambition an office, so 
these men were all appointed by the New England Provincial. This 

60 Chapter 4 Against All Odd; Coming of Age in the Forties 

would have been done on the advice of the four province consultors 
in Boston and the four mission consultors who lived on the 
mission. In fact the latter group usually would have the greater 

To a Muslim country in the early forties, plagued by the 
memory of four centuries of Turkish domination, jealous of its 
recent independence and sensitive to its own internal weaknesses, 
the Jesuits constituted a triple threat: being all at once 
Americans, Catholics and Jesuits. There was a wave of propaganda 
current in the Middle East at the time which seemed to justify the 
suspicions of Iraqi officials on all three scores. The war years 
were the turning point. When hostilities reached the 
Mediterranean area, the sons of upper-class Muslims for whom 
education abroad was traditional, were compelled to remain in 
Iraq. Several of the more venturesome families of this class 
registered their boys at Baghdad College as a somewhat desperate 
experiment. The boys became enthusiastic propagandists for the 
school, familiarity bred respect and knowledge which dissipated 
suspicion and the American Jesuit Fathers actually became 
popular. Soon there were Cabinet Ministers, Deputies in 
Parliament and tribal chieftains all wanting to register their sons 
or nephews in the school. A partial list of sons of prominent Iraqi 
citizens is found in Appendix D. 

The Rashid AN Coup of Spring 1941 

Near the beginning of the Second World War old Iraqi political 
rivalries took on an Axis-Ally coloring in World War II. Nouri 
el-Said (Saeed), the Prime Minister, and the Regent were pro- 
English; their opponents turned to the Axis. Turkey had managed 
to remain neutral, and Rashid Ali's visit to Turkey had convinced 
him this was the track to take. In addition, he was housing the 
Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj al-Ameen al-Husayni, who was being 
chased by the English for his anti-British activities in Palestine. 
Neutrality, of course, was impossible. 

In her book The Modern History of Iraq, Phebe Marr narrates 
the story of what led to the "second British occupation". Former 
Prime Minister Rashid (Rasheed) AN was asked by Nouri el-Said 
to form a new cabinet since Nouri was stepping down from that 
post. He did and it became quite clear to the British that his 
interests were more in sympathy with Iraqi nationalism than what 
would be useful for the British. Britain offered the Regent Abdul- 
llah two choices: keep Rashid AN or retain Britain's friendship - 
but not both. The Regent's consequent actions made it necessary 
for Rashid AN to act outside the constitutional system, and this 

f The Rashid AN revolt f 61 

became known as The Rashid Ali Coup. He deposed the Regent, 
appointed another and then formed a new cabinet. Holding out the 
bait of recognition, the British requested permission to land 
troops in Basra. Rashid AN still wished to find a compromise and 
agreed on April 17 to British troops landing in Basra, but then 
found he could not contain them. Soon the British far from 
recognizing the regime moved their troops through Iraq. Rashid 
(Rasheed) Ali replied by surrounding the British air base at 
Habbaniyah. The British reacted, and between their air force at 
Habbaniyah and a column of the Arab Legion from Transjordan, 
they soon took affairs back in hand. By the end of May, Rashid Ali 
was going into exile while the Regent and Nouri el-Said were 
returning. Phebe Marr relates the consequences both immediate 
and long range. 

The rest of the story is soon told. The battle was not fought on 
the ground but in the air. Within hours, the RAF had destroyed 
twenty five of Iraq's forty planes. Taken by surprise, the 
Iraqi army withdrew to Fallujah, destroying the Euphrates 
dams and flooding the area. This delayed the British advance 
but hardly stopped it. In the meantime, British 
reinforcements began to stream in from Jordan, including 
contingents from Glubb Pasha's Arab Legion. Fallujah was 
captured on 19 May and the way lay open to Baghdad. The 
government collapsed shortly. On 29 May, as British columns 
approached Baghdad, the four highest officers escaped to Iran, 
where they were soon joined by Rashid Ali. 

Thus ended the most serious attempt since the 1920 revolt to 
sever the British tie and to unseat the regime they had 
established. The crisis had profound repercussions for the 
future; all the participants paid a price sooner or later. Many 
supporters of Rashid Ali were executed or imprisoned; 
suspected sympathizers were dismissed or confined in camps. 
Retribution to the Regent and Nouri came later, in 1958. The 
British also paid at this later date with the fall of the regime 
they had done so much to foster. Those who were executed for 
precipitating the events of 1941 were regarded as martyrs by 
much of the army and the Iraqi population. The young officers 
who overthrew the regime in 1958 believed they were but 
completing the task left unfinished in 1941. 
(Marr, 1985, pp. 85-86) 

Rashid Ali's home was across the street from the Jesuits which 
has been mentioned earlier regarding his 1936 request of the 
Jesuits to give a section of their newly purchased land to the city 

62 Chapter 4 Against All Odd; Coming of Age in the Forties 

for a police station. In spite of the fact that there was a large 
contingent of Iraqi soldiers in the vicinity during the 60 days the 
Jesuits never endured any harassment. During these dangerous 
two months when British subjects and Americans were being 
evacuated from Iraq, the fact that the Jesuits made no effort to 
depart but went about business as usual impressed the Iraqi 
government officials. It was evident in the noticeable change in 
enrollment the following September. After that sons of prime 
ministers, governors, sheiks, and professional men accepted the 
discipline and the learning imparted by the Jesuits. Nevertheless 
this 60-day war had put the Jesuits in a precarious position and 
Edmund Walsh, S.J., attempted to find out what he could and he 
sent this telegram to concerned Jesuit superiors in Boston. 














There was very little mentioned about the Rashid AN coup in 
the correspondence between the superiors in Iraq and in America. 
The following report of the superior, however, throws some light 
on some of the anxieties caused during these difficult days noting 
their trust lay more in their Iraqi neighbors than any help from 
the American Embassy. 

The American Legation had warned several times that Iraq 
might enter the war at any moment and by urging the return of 
all American subjects to the U.S.A. They had washed their 
hands of us, in strict legality. However plans were made for 
British and American subjects to take refuge in the event of 
trouble in the Legation or the British Embassy. It was decided 
that we would not go but would send chaplains to each place and 
we were to be informed if there was a need of a chaplain at 
Habbaniyah at the outbreak of hostilities. The atmosphere was 
thus charged with apprehension until the fateful day in May 

f The Rashid Ali revolt f 63 

when the storm broke. Fr. Mifsud, as a British subject was 
taken into custody but released after a week at the insistence of 
the Apostolic Delegate. Throughout the month of war there was 
never any question of disorder in our neighborhood. The house 
and headquarters of Rashid Ali were beside us on the north and 
the communications office of his government beside us on the 
south. We were therefore at the heart of his headquarters. 
While we were unmolested by the unruly crowds, it was 
important for us not to come to the notice of our neighbors. 
What had been begun had to be finished and our 1500 foot wall 
all through this nerve-racking month went steadily up. Class 
had stopped in the beginning of May and things were still in too 
great a turmoil at the beginning of June, when the little war 
had finished, to resume class, to have examinations, or to run 
graduation. Boys were passed or failed on their marks of the 
previous months. The government examinations were 
postponed until September. (Letter of Fr. Sarjeant: N.E. 
Province Archives file #510) 

Weekly salute to the flag 

The expansion of Baghdad College during this decade 


The immediate effect of student travel restrictions caused by 
the April-May war and also of the composed Jesuit reaction in the 
face of the risks involved was a sudden increase in the Muslim 
enrollment as well as an increase in the number of boarding 
students. Families who, for want of adequate educational facilities 
at home, had traditionally sent their sons elsewhere, now felt it 
wiser to keep them close at hand while hostilities lasted. These 
increases are evident in the following table. The 1942 entering 
class almost doubled, and between 1938 and 1945 the total 
enrollment quadrupled while the number of boarders tripled. 

64 :0 Chapter 4 Against All Odd; Coming of Age in the Forties 
Baghdad College Enrollment Statistics 1932-1945 

'32 '33 '34 '35 '36 '37 '38 '39 '40 '41 '42 '43 '44 '45 

Chaldean 59 65 54 54 35 29 29 36 50 55 72 90 118 150 

Syrian 17 21 34 33 16 17 25 29 34 35 40 44 48 52 

Other 23 22 29 39 28 38 48 62 72 60 78 87 104 128 

Muslim 4 4 11 6 7 4 3 12 15 29 55 61 72 89 

Total 103 112 128 132 8 6 8 8 105139171179245282342419 

Boarders _ 23 23 37 41 48 60 68 68 

Construction in the forties 

The war had halted the building program but the increased 
enrollment in both the school and in the boarding section led to 
overcrowded conditions, so that the College was obliged to refuse 
some qualified applicants for lack of space. The admissions 
standards were kept high in order to use the precious resources as 
effectively as possible. The conviction prevailed that the work 
was so vitally important for the Church in Iraq and the resources 
so slim that only potential leaders could be chosen. Students' 
competence in two languages was presumed: in English to pass the 
school exams and in Arabic to pass the government exams. This 
was more than some students could handle, so they had to be turned 

Although the school originally was planned to accommodate 
only 200 students (there being 7 classrooms, with 30 students to 
a class), and the dormitory and other facilities only 30 boarders, 
by the fall of 1945 over 425 students were enrolled in the school, 
of whom 70 were boarders. This overcrowding was solved by 
dividing the "assembly hall" into three classrooms, by building a 
one-story annex of six classrooms, and by renting two houses in 
the immediate neighborhood for the overflow of faculty members 
and for boarding students. 

In 1945 Fr. Madaras wrote an account of the Baghdad Mission 
to Cardinal Tisserant in Rome requesting personnel as well as 
financial aid so that the mission could expand and capitalize on its 
current dominant position in education. This request fell on deaf 
ears, but in the letter he mentioned that an anonymous American 
benefactress had given money making possible the classroom and 
administration building, as well as some of the buildings that 
followed. A combined student dormitory and a faculty residence 
had gone up due to the benefaction of this same lady. Benefactors 
could not get over the fact that the first building cost a mere 
$50,000. " 

f The expansion of Baghdad College f 


The architects 

The growth of the physical plant kept pace with the school's 
expanding prestige, but the problem of providing adequate 
laboratory, library, and other necessary facilities for the ever- 
growing upper classes was not easily solved. Even during the 
war, a classroom annex was constructed to bring the number to 
six buildings completed - including two dormitories. Fr. Madaras 
and Fr. Guay were the architects, contractors and clerk-of-the- 
works for the Rice Memorial science building. Fr. Guay 
blueprinted every detail of construction beginning with the 
underground drains to the astronomy observatory that tops the 
central tower. It was built following the Arabic architectural 
pattern begun by Fr. Rice who started constructing the buildings 
in 1937. This science building was second to none in its category 
of secondary science buildings throughout the Middle East, for its 
ample space, its large classrooms and laboratories, its two sloped 
classrooms and its bright cheerful environment. 

Getting the best brick 

1940 graduation ceremony with Dr. Sami Shawkett & Dr. Fadhil Jamali 


& Chapter 4 Against All Odd; Coming of Age in the Forties 



Baghdad College campus: 1934-1969 
(looking west) 

(M house boarders/faculty 

Administration building 

Boarding house 

First dassroom "Annex * "~ 

The circumferential wail 


B.C. Workmen housing 

Jesuit Residence 

Rice Science buiiding 

Sacred Heart Chapel 


Cronin building 

Madaras dassroom Annex 
Pump house and garage 
Hikmat Sulayman house 
Bacose house - minor seminary 
Rachid Afi house 
Police station 

















T T T 

A chronologicaJ record of 
the Baghdad College 
buildings, starting with 
the first "old house" #1 
until the last classroom 
building named after Fr. 
Madaras, #13. The 
workmen's housing #7 
was a large complex since 
24 families of workers 
lived on the property. 



T T T T T 


f The expansion of Baghdad College f 67 

"Mens sana in corpore sano" {a sound mind in a sound body} 

Baghdad College continued to pay special attention to the 
preparation for government intermediate and secondary 
examinations. To this end teachers required that its students 
prepare for the following day's classes by at least 2 hours of 
homework. Underlying all this was taught reverence for God, 
reverence for parents, and reverence for the State. History 
afforded striking confirmation of the need for a God-centered 

Sports were seen as a means of learning self-control as well as 
a school of sociability and cooperation. From his involvement in 
sports, the student learned to respect official decisions, a lesson 
he carried with him in his private and public life. Sports are a 
very useful instrument of training in ethical values. One of the 
many mottoes attributed to Baghdad College concerned athletics: 
"We should pray for a sound mind in a sound body." Mens sana in 
corpore sano. The Roman poet Juvenal had written this in the 
second century in his tenth Satire (Line 80), the Jesuits simply 
borrowed it from him. 

From the beginning the school had followed the policy of 
accepting new students only in the first high class, because 
students who wished to transfer from other schools into the upper 
classes were usually below standard, particularly in the English 
language. This was a very plausible reason for the policy since the 
first year introduced the student to the world of classes in English 
so that the difficult courses which came later would proceed more 
smoothly. All subjects at Baghdad College were taught in English, 
with the exception of history, geography, and the Arabic language, 
which the Government Educational Law of 1940 stated must be 
taught in Arabic by teachers appointed by the Iraq Government. 

The third and fifth year students finished class at the end of 
April, about a month earlier than the others, so that they could 
study for their all-important government exams in early June. 
To facilitate this exercise special classes in Arabic were given in 
the then empty classrooms at Baghdad College, so the students went 
into the exams knowing how to confront the science and 
mathematics problems in Arabic as well as in English. 

Composition of the Student Body 

In the forties the enrollment quadrupled from 139 to 556 and 
then doubled again before the Jesuits were expelled. The chart 
below displays some interesting trends. In its last year, 1968- 
69, the student population of Baghdad College was half Muslim and 
half Christian and the following enrollment table shows the 

68 Chapter 4 Against All Odd; Coming of Age in the Forties 

gradual increase in the proportion of Muslims to Christians 
(while both were increasing in absolute numbers). As has been 
seen already the most dramatic increase for all came in 1941. 

The courageous builders in precarious circumstances 

Baghdad College enrollment data according to religion: 

The following table illustrates the growth of the student body 
over the years distributed according to rite {Chaldean, Syrian, 
Armenian Catholic, Greek Catholic, Latin Catholic} and religion 
[Armenian Orthodox, Other Orthodox, Muslims and Jews]. 
During the years between 1946 and 1952 all Catholics were 
counted together without distinguishing the rite. 

These statistics were gleaned from papers in the Jesuit 
Archives at Campion Center in Weston, MA. Some data were in 
letters, some were in reports to the Provincial, but not all data 
were not available since many papers had been lost after the 

T The expansion of Baghdad College T 69 

Baghdad College Enrollment data according to religion 


Syr AC 










17 5 










21 7 










34 10 









33 9 










16 5 










17 7 










25 6 










29 6 










34 7 










35 11 










40 12 










44 18 









48 19 










52 19 

































not available 
























Syr AC 










54 20 










55 19 










65 16 










59 14 









not available 





70 14 










63 12 










65 10 










81 12 










80 10 










74 8 










83 11 










75 11 










79 9 










68 13 









not available 




Syr AC 



AO 00 




Key: \ 

[Catholic rite} and [Religion' 


; = total number. 

{Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian Catholic, 

Greek Catholic, Latin} 

[Armenian Orthodox, Other Orthodox, Muslims and Jews] 

It is estimated that 

in its 37 years B.C. educated 5,000 students (4,000 graduated) 

70 O Chapter 4 Against All Odd; Coming of Age in the Forties 

From the outset the students at Baghdad College had come from 
all classes of society and from the numerous religions and rites 
prevailing in Iraq, whether Muslim, Jew, or Christian. Most of 
the students were drawn from the middle and upper classes 
because of the fact that Baghdad College, unlike the government 
schools charged tuition. There was a serious but unsuccessful 
attempt to recruit poor Muslims from the environs of Sulaikh 
(Shargawiyn). In the early thirties the fee was ID 4.800 per 
year (at that time equivalent to $16.80) but increased during the 
decade of the forties to ID 25 per year, which included 
transportation. Despite these relatively high rates, applicants for 
admission to the school kept increasing. Provision was made for 
poor boys so that some 11% of the students had free tuition in 
whole or in part. 

In contrast to the initial practice at the American University 
in Beirut which persisted for a good number of years where 
Muslims were required to attend chapel services, at Baghdad 
College there was no attempt to make Muslims into Christians at 
Baghdad College. In fact the non-Christians were not allowed to 
attend religion classes or services. This policy allayed whatever 
suspicions there may have been in the minds of the Muslims at the 
outset, and they enrolled in ever-increasing numbers. There had 
been relatively few applications from Jews because they had their 
own private educational institution of high quality, the Frank Iny 

Fr. Quinn at assembly, about to send scholars to class 

f The El Iraqi - Al Iraqi Yearbook f 71 

The El Iraqi-AI Iraqi Yearbook 

One of the activities which later became a permanent record 
was the yearbook. It was named El Iraqi from 1934 to 1950 and 
Al Iraqi from 1951 to 1969 and from the beginning was 
published by the senior students. Initially the El Iraqi was a 
quarterly magazine with essays by the students. In 1940 it was 
published in book form and became the official record of the 
graduating class, celebrating the students, their teachers and the 
major events of their five-year tenure at Baghdad College. The 
earliest printings were done in Baghdad but in 1947 the work was 
carried out at the Jesuit printing press "Imprimerie Catholique" 
in Lebanon. Each year they were available for the graduates, in 
fact for all students, at graduation time. 

The editors of El Iraqi - Al Iraqi worked during the whole 
school year to prepare the annual yearbook gathering the pictures 
and written material for the book as well as advertisements from 
Iraqi businessmen who were eager to support the school. The 
Arabic teacher for both the students and the Jesuits, Mr. Bechir 
Khadhury, would supervise the Arabic section and Fr. James 
Larkin photographed the groups appearing in the book. Many of 
the students showed their interest by their participating in the 
literary contest, and looking forward to the thrill of seeing their 
prize-winning essay in print, as noted by Waiel Hindo. 

The two year books Al Iraqi and Al-Hikma were two fields 
where students could express their abilities in writing in both 
Arabic and English languages, and also, in photography and 
drawing. During the sixties Fr. Paul Nash played a big role in 
improving and expanding these two publications. 
(Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64) 

Many perceptive and revealing articles appear in the 
annual Al Iraqi . Below a Kurdish student expresses the pride of 
many Baghdad College Kurdish students in their origins and 
describes the Kurdish Tribes in Iraq. 

I am now eighteen years old, and I have spent most of this 
time among the Kurdish Tribes of Iraq. I think I have quite 
enough information about them, for I am one of them. You 
would be surprised if you saw nature's beauty up in the 
northern part of the country. The north is full of rivers, 
mountains, valleys, and forests, which all together form an 
attractive territory. The people live in small, romantic 
villages among high and rocky mountains. All do not live in 

72 0' Chapter 4 Against All Odds, Coming of Age in the Forties 

villages. Some are scattered in small groups among the painted 
hills and along the river banks and in gorgeous green valley, 
each doing his own work separately, but joining with others in 
defense of their territory. Some live in huts made of mud and 
wood. Others, having no stationary home, travel from place to 
place, looking for food for their animals. A third group live in 
big houses, made of white stone. 

The Kurdish people are divided into entirely different 
tribes. Each tribe lives in a certain place, and each tribe has a 
chief of its own. More than that, each tribe performs a 
different kind of labor. All are kind to every stranger that 
enters their village or nest-like home. But there is no 
stranger among them, for they treat each single human being 
gently and with respect. 

When Kurds grow up, they are not educated men. The fault 
is not theirs, for they have no schools to study in. They are 
clever, but they cannot show it, because they do not go to 
school. The few rich boys who study in cities far away from 
their homes are bright enough to stand on equal terms with 
their school companions. When I say the Kurdish lads are 
clever, I do not mean all, but certainly many of them are very 

The majority of the people do not know science, but they 
know one thing that is useful occasionally to every human 
being, and that is, how to fight. The Kurdish people are so 
skillful in fighting that one might think they are born to fight. 
They do whatever their chief tells them to do even if the 
request requires their lives. Most of them are fiery- 
tempered, and I think it is their temper which makes them 

There is one undesirable thing in the character of the 
Kurdish people, and that thing may be called "Feud Blood". 
When something dishonorable is done to them, they never 
forget it, and they must take their revenge. They never 
forgive anyone who has done wrong to them in any way, and 
that is because "feud blood" is in their veins. They never 
realize that fatalism is wrong, but they do what they have 
decided to do, whether the action is right or wrong. 

The Kurdish population in Iraq is not more than one-half 
million, but the Kurdish people speak four different dialects 
and wear four different kinds of costumes. This difference 
makes the Kurdish people lose their unity, because there is no 
relationship among those who speak different dialects and wear 
different costumes. 

Though many wonderful things are to be found in 

The El Iraqi - Al Iraqi Yearbook 


Kurdisdan, one thing is missing, and that one thing is modern 
civilization. But that is approaching nearer and nearer, and 
gradually it will spread over all Kurdisdan. (Tahsin al-Amin, 
Al Iraqi 1952 pp. 77-78) 

The boarding division 

Offering housing for students enabled the Jesuits to reach past 
the outskirts of Baghdad to far away students and this introduced 
Baghdadis to the culture and customs of the rest of Iraq. It lasted 
almost three decades from 1938 to 1965. 

The boarding section during the first decade housed over 200 
individual students who cherished it as their home. In I938 Fr. 
Leo Shea, the first director, welcomed the first group of 23 
boarders to the old Baghdad College building on the banks of the 
Tigris. For the next 27 years the Jesuits bestowed the daily 
attention it demanded with untiring (and sometimes tiring) 
devotion from early morning until far into the night. 

Boarding applicants reached a peak enrollment of 68 in I944. 
But the boarding facilities were never able to keep pace with the 
expanding enrollment so that many applicants could not be 
accepted. In I942 the boarders for the first time were divided into 
junior and senior sections with a nearby residence leased for the 
accommodation of the senior boarders. The seniors profited from 
this arrangement by finding a freedom and fellowship which could 
not be enjoyed when they shared the residence of the younger 

Disarmed boarders 

An armed boarder 

74 CI Chapter 4 Against All Odds, Coming of Age in the Forties 

It was the boarding school which made Baghdad College so 
thoroughly an "Iraqi school for Iraqi boys". While the non- 
boarders, a majority, gave the school its Baghdad character, it was 
the boarders who gave the school its Iraqi spirit. Boarders 
gathered from all corners of the land, from Mosul, Faish-Khabur, 
Basra and Kirkuk, from the desert reaches beyond Hai and 
Diwania to the rugged mountain slopes of Sulaimaniya and 
Halepcha. Sons of sheikhs and doctors, of merchants and 
carpenters; they lived together for five years in a common life. 
They contributed their regional virtues to the school and also 
learned to suppress their differences in order to pursue their 
common interests and to live harmoniously as one family with 
understanding and esteem for each other. Companionship ripened 
into fast friendships that endured through life. The Iraqi boarders 
even found a more broadening influence in contacts with a small 
number of other fellow boarders who had come from Egypt, 
Transjordan, Palestine, Syria, Kuwait, and Iran. 

The order of the day for the boarders tended to develop the 
powers of his body, mind, and will. For the Christian boarder, the 
day began with Mass, and for all there were regular periods of 
study that were supervised by the Jesuit Fathers. During the 
times of recreation, all sports were supervised by the Fathers, 
and ample playing fields were available for getting plenty of 
exercise. There was always zest for spur-of-the-moment games 
from table tennis to tawli (backgammon). 

Boarders did not easily forget the Saturday night soirees with 
varieties of parlor games and prizes for the winners. Fr. Mahan, 
a long-time director, placed great stress on productive use of 
leisure time. The Fathers were always present to encourage the 
boarders to employ their leisure time profitably by taking an 
active interest in dramatics, debating, drawing, photography, 
music, Sodality, scientific society, the school library, etc. 
Certainly, one of the most satisfying thoughts for parents was the 
intimate concern the Fathers had for the welfare of their boys. 

Living in most friendly association, under the same roof as 
their teachers, the boarders enjoyed the advantage not only of 
sympathetic counsel but also good example in courteous ways, good 
manners as well as lofty and noble ideals They exercised a 
fatherly care and kindly supervision of their boys. All money for 
the personal expenses of the boarders was sent directly to the 
college treasurer. The student would then draw out this money in 
small amounts as he needed it, with the approval of the Jesuit 
An increasing faculty 

The active teaching and administrative staff in 1946 numbered 

f The El Iraqi - Al Iraqi Yearbook f 75 

21 Americans, 8 Iraqis, and 2 Egyptians. Of the Americans, 17 
taught classes leaving four in administration. The Iraqis and 
Egyptians were engaged for the most part in teaching Arabic- 
language subjects. 

Curriculum at Baghdad College in the Forties 

This "Iraqi school for Iraqi boys" was really a junior college 
and a high school in American terminology. It offered a five-year 
college-preparatory science curriculum, with three years spent 
on physics, three on chemistry, three on biology, and five years 
on mathematics, all taught in English. Most of the other subjects, 
religion, history, and geography were taught in Arabic. Prior to 
1936 the program of the school had been broader, embracing such 
subjects as French, German, drawing, hygiene, sociology, 
economics, etc. When the military Conscription Law of 1936 
made it necessary to bring the program of the school into 
conformity with that of government schools so that the students 
could take the Government Examinations, it became necessary to 
restrict the program, putting much more emphasis on the natural 
sciences. A forties graduate comments. 

Respect for national curriculum: the college was proud to 
declare that it was an Iraqi school for Iraqi boys. This 
commitment was kept alive in spirit and letter. The national 
curriculum was strictly adhered to, quantitatively and 
qualitatively. The college endeavored to enable its people to 
achieve an increasingly harmonious and positive interaction at 
all levels into their environment. (Farid Oufi, B.C. '48) 

The ordinary class week consisted of 29 class periods and four 
study periods. A period was 45 minutes in length. Thursdays and 
Saturdays were half days, classes ended before noon, and Sunday 
was the day off. Since nearly all the students took the 
comprehensive Iraq Government Examinations in Arabic at the and 
of the third and fifth year, they attended optional science and 
mathematics classes in Arabic offered at Baghdad College to 
prepare for this prucial exam. 

The science program prepared the students for more than these 
comprehensive government exams, it also prepared them for their 
university studies, as many of the students discovered, much to 
their delight. When they came to American colleges to study 
science, for instance, they found that they were much better 
prepared than their American classmates. Also there was formed a 
strong bond among the students that lasted a lifetime, and more 
than a few graduates have commented on this. 

76 -O: Chapter 4 Against All Odds, Coming of Age in the Forties 

I was so lucky to have met and made true and lasting friends 
that to this day are as close to me as my family: Maxin 
Thomas, Nazar Shemdin, Jamal Bushara, Ramzi Hermiz and 
Sargon Rustum. Academically I was so well prepared for 
College (St. Louis University), that I breezed through my first 
year. (Adolf Forage , B.C. '48) 


Except for Religion and English literature all the textbooks 
used were the same textbooks in Arabic which were commonly 
used in the Iraq Government schools. Supplementary texts in 
English were used for the mathematics and science courses. The 
methods and principles of education at Baghdad College reflected 
those of the Jesuit schools throughout the world. The curricula of 
the other Jesuit schools, however, was more humanistic and less 
scientific than that of Baghdad College. 

Influence of Baghdad College on education in this decade 

In 1969, when the Iraqi Government seemed about to take over 
Baghdad College and expel the Jesuits, some Baghdad University 
professors who had become familiar with Baghdad College 
graduates emphasized that the Jesuits had brought many 
innovations to Iraqi education. Only one who knew the country in 
the early thirties could verify this. Baghdad College was in a 
better position to experiment with curriculum, with student 
activities, with athletic events and with boarding facilities to find 
out what worked best for Iraqi students. 

One reason for this was its location, unencumbered by political 
and social unrest in the city. The Catholic hierarchy wanted the 
Jesuits to settle in the city and in the middle of the Christian 
community and thus be close by to help solve the community 
problems as well as to serve the community sacramentally. This 
was not the Jesuit plan because it reflected a ghetto mentality. 
There proved to be many advantages to having the school away 
from the center of the city and having Muslim neighbors, not the 
least of which was constructing a bridge of understanding between 
Islam and Christianity. 

Besides, growth of the city was inevitable. In the early 
thirties when the population of Baghdad was concentrated between 
the areas of North and South Gates, one appreciated the 
venturesome move of purchasing school property so far from the 
heart of the city. At the time, many considered the action 
foolhardy. It was not long, however, before the city began to 
expand northward from North Gate plot by plot getting closer to 

f Influence of Baghdad College on education in Iraq 

Sulaikh. Hundreds of new homes and merchants' shops 
mushroomed. Other Baghdad educators envied the spacious Baghdad 
College grounds, set apart from the diversions and politics of the 
city in a place where students could enjoy an uninterrupted 
campus atmosphere. From the outset Baghdad College had 
attempted to identify itself with the best interests of Iraq. The 
Jesuits, continually evaluating their effectiveness, came up with 
adaptions suited to customs, temperaments, aspirations, and 
language of their charges. This was noted by an Al-Hikma graduate 
Premjit Talwar. 

Another thing that impressed me is the Jesuits' knowledge of 
and sensitivity to local culture and customs which are usually 
ignored by foreign enterprises. It is remarkable that they 
have continuous feedback to correct for the reality they 
perceive. Every business should do this, but a key question is: 
"Why do Jesuits do this? How were they trained to be so 
sensitized to local conditions?" (Premjit Talwar, A.H. '68) 

From the time of the Jesuits arrival they did not escape the 
suspicion that they were agents of imperialistic interests. Their 
actions and methods were subjected to close and constant scrutiny. 
Gradually, though, the Iraqis came to realize that these Fathers 
had no intention of trying to pour Iraqi youth into the mold of an 
American schoolboy. Eventually Iraqis were convinced that the 
Jesuits were devoted to sharing the treasures of 20th century 
American education with this growing country and this ancient 
civilization. Then Iraqis honored the Jesuits with their 

The Jesuits made every effort to be worthy of the trust placed 
in them by making Baghdad College a distinctive Iraqi school for 
Iraqi youth. Once an Iraqi Under-Secretary of State suggested to 
the principal of Baghdad College: "If anyone accuses your school of 
being imperialistic or non-patriotic, simply publish your student 
roster which reads like a complete list of Iraqi patriots. Baghdad 
College is a school of patriots, a school of patriots' sons." 

Among Baghdad College students were found many of the sons of 
Iraqis prominent in government, education, the professions, the 
armed forces and business. For example, during one scholastic 
year sons of four different cabinet members attended Baghdad 
College. In the appendix are listed the names of students' parents 
who were ministers of government along with other prominent 

78 Chapter 4 Against All Odds, Coming of Age in the Forties 
Influence of Jesuits as perceived by some alumni. 

In an account of his days at Baghdad College (1943-48), Farid 
Oufi wrote enthusiastically in the school yearbook Al-lraqi, and 
Ramzi Hermiz wrote of his wonderful background when competing 
with the elite from American schools. Another Baghdad College 
student, Stanley Marrow '47 later became the first Jesuit 
vocation from the school, although not the first priest since Fr. 
Abdul-Ahad Estepahn (who became a diocesan priest) preceded Fr. 
Marrow to the seminary. Fr. Marrow wrote about his 
introduction to the Jesuits and to their school. After this follows a 
translation of an Arabic letter sent by an anonymous Baghdad 
College graduate. The letter expresses the feelings of gratitude and 
appreciation that many alumni shared about the work of the 
Jesuits in Iraq. First though, we hear from Farid Oufi. 

Alumni owe an immense debt to Baghdad College which 
instilled self-confidence in its pupils through its academic 
agenda as well as the human values it imparted. They profited 
from learning a second language as a social necessity while 
maximizing effort to keep the native language fully and very 
much alive; offering to everyone the opportunities of acquiring 
beliefs and concepts that would help meet challenges ahead; 
gaining knowledge of the way to stronger faith in God; learning 
civil duties and the love of homeland; and harmonizing the 
process of learning with physical activities. The school 
landscape was "the fountain of life" to show the way to 
perpetual success and a "lamp which gave us a bright light to 
illuminate our path in times of misfortune and hardship." 

After 45 years of ups and downs of real life I can say with 
confidence that B.C. years are still remembered with respect 
and admiration. I do not think I am making out too idealistic a 
case for the Baghdad College experience, but reminiscences of 
my days at Baghdad College bring forward three major things 
which, I believe, have characterized the school life. Academic 
standards were extremely high as recognized by many people, 
and that is why pupils from different segments of the 
population sought enrollment. The college was to transmit 
moral values together with knowledge, accompanied by the 
traditional discipline which the Jesuits were, and still, known 
to sustain in their educational institutions. 

In spite of the fact that B.C. embraced pupils from different 
social backgrounds, there was much harmony in the school life 
during those days. We lived as a big family. The college 
offered clear, compassionate instructions in civility. 

Influence of Jesuits as perceived by some alumni T 79 

Graduates gained a sense of worth, a sense of being valued. 
They also shared a sense of community spirit. This explains, 
perhaps, why they are tremendously enthusiastic about their 
alumni. (Farid Oufi, '48) 

During the first session of Orientation Week at Princeton 
(School of Engineering) it was then explained to us that 
statistics from recent prior years indicate that one of every 
three of us would not be in the School of Engineering next year. 
We were cautioned to have no comfort from knowing that we 
were at or near the top of wherever we came from . . . because, 
that applied to just about everyone of us. 

We were then 
familiarized with a 
"competitive" grading 
system that divided the 
students of a subject 
class into Seven Groups. 
"Group Seven" and 
"Group Six" failed the 
course subject no 
matter how well they 
did in the exams. 
"Group Two" was needed 
(every year) to retain 
an academic scholarship 
(for the following 
year). "Group One" 
meant that you knew 
just about everything 
that the professor 
expected you to learn 
from the course, 
a professor needed to 
recognize and express that a student had done so well in the subject 
and went beyond what he had personally taught, the grade was 
"Group One Plus". At the end of my first college semester at 
Princeton Fr. Sullivan's teaching in mathematics and Fr. Guay's 
training in chemistry were recognized at "Group One Plus". 
(Ramzi Hermiz, B.C. '48) 

That summer of 1942 the Fathers had extended an invitation 
to the boys in Baghdad to go up to Sulaikh on one or two days of 
the week to use the playgrounds. A bus, actually a partially 

Ramzi Hermiz, '48 later teaching at B.C. 

Sometimes (but not often), when 

80 £$■' Chapter 4 Against All Odds, Coming of Age in the Forties 

converted army lorry, picked up youngsters from the area of 
Karrada and brought them to Sulaikh to play handball and 
volleyball and have lunch in the then minuscule canteen which 
consisted mainly of an area shaded from the heat of the sun by a 
corrugated iron roof. It was my first sight of the school 
where, starting that September, I would spend the next five 
years of my life. 

My mother brought me to the campus for registration. 
When it was finished she held me by the shoulder and said to 
the principal, Father Devenny, "Father, he's your son!" To 
this day, more than fifty years later, Father Devenny 
remembers the incident as the best commentary on the "Behold 
your son!" in the Gospel of John. Father Connell, who replaced 
Father Devenny as principal, recounted many years later an 
identical situation. The father of the boy being registered at 
Baghdad College, said to him, "Father, keep the flesh, just give 
me the bones!" The trust in the Jesuits and, implicitly, in the 
Jesuit system of education was almost instinctive among these 
people who, while the world was going through its Second 
World War of the century, had one thing less to worry about: 
the education of their sons right in their own country. 

Once the Atom Bomb fell on Hiroshima, Father Guay 
explained in chemistry class, in matter of fact and perfectly 
comprehensible terms, how it was done. He went on to say 
that, sooner or later, they would achieve a process, closer in 
its workings to the sun's own powerhouse of energy. Word got 
around and he was then asked to give a public lecture at 
Baghdad University on the as yet unpublicized Hydrogen bomb. 

Father Guay ran summer days for us between our fourth and 
fifth years. I realized later that was one of the best classes 
Baghdad College ever had. The enjoyable mornings were spent 
doing experiments in the laboratory, learning triangulation 
outside, taking meteorological readings on the roof. One 
memorable morning it was 132 F in the shade of the little 
weather station, and the humidity was just 8 %. It alarmed 
Father Guay sufficiently to order all of us home immediately. 
He was right. That afternoon we had one of those unforgettable 
sand storms. (Stanley Marrow, B.C. '47) 

In the 1940's, I was a shy young boy from a conservative 
Muslim family in Baghdad. My father was a judge who, having 
received part of his education at the American College in 
Beirut, was open to western ideas. He suggested that I move 
from the government school in Baghdad. Naturally, it was not 
easy for someone at my age to move because I had friends at the 

f Influence of Jesuits as perceived by some alumni f 81 

government school that I was attending. At that time, a son 
could not argue with his father about anything, so I tried to get 
my mother to intercede with my father on my behalf. 
However, at the end, I had to submit to my father's wishes, and 
on the way to the Boarding House of the Jesuit School, I heard 
my father speak three sentences that I will never forget. 

My son, he said, the Jesuits are religious people 
but are not out to influence others with a different religion. 
However, they will teach you values, self control and 
obedience, and the education you will receive from them will 
help you succeed not only in Iraq but anywhere in the world. 
My father went on to assure me that I would find new friends 
and establish relationships with others who would be 
successful in the future, and that even failure at the Jesuit 
Baghdad College could be a learning experience. 

At the time, I was still a young boy and did not appreciate 
those great utterances of my father. My father died and I am 
now sixty-five years old, and I find that everything he told me 
turned out to be true. All these memories crossed my mind 
when I received your letter inviting me to attend the next 
Jesuit Reunion in Detroit. I especially think of meeting 
friends of more than 50 years, many of whom have been 
successful in life, at work and in upholding good values. This I 
would consider as one of the most important objectives of the 
reunion. How I wish for the Jesuits to return back to Iraq so 
that I could enroll my grandchildren in their school and offer 
them the same advice that my father gave me when I was a 
little boy. (Reunion Yearbook VIII, 1992, p. 8) 

Reactions from the Baghdadi Jesuits 

Life was different from most other Jesuit missionaries. For 
one thing not many of their fellow missionaries spent their 
evenings on the roof, as Fr. Madaras narrates. They along with Fr. 
Ryan were surprised at the facility their charges had in many 


For the benefit of our new readers we mention that we sleep 
out on the roof in summer. This year Father Coffey was the 
first one out, just as last Fall he was the last one in; on this 
latter occasion it took a terrific storm to convince him that the 
natives were right when they said that year-round sleeping on 
the roof was not advisable. This year he stood it inside until 
April 22. We followed him a few days later, all except Father 
Mifsud, who was blown in by a dust storm last year shortly 

82 Chapter 4 Against All Odds, Coming of Age in the Forties 

after he arrived, and has lost all taste for sleeping on roofs. 

The natives were surprised when they heard that we were 
already sleeping outside, and we found out why a few nights 
later. We were awakened by rain in the face. Rain at all, at 
such a time of the year is a rare phenomenon, and we thought it 
wouldn't last long. But somehow, whether in reality or only 
seemingly, it kept sprinkling intermittently all through the 
night. At 3:45 Father Coffey beat a hasty retreat. The rest of 
us, who had experienced this thing once before, stuck to our 
beds, determined to leave only if the rain should come through 
the blankets. (Madaras, 1936, p. 152) 


American Jesuits accustomed to speaking one language have 
always been in awe of their students who spoke a variety of 
languages with great ease; Arabic, English, Armenian, Aramaic and 
Turkish. They thought nothing of it. Fr. Ryan asked a student who 
grew up in the old Turkish city of Kirkuk (where Turkish was the 
common language spoken at home) how he would say a particular 
word in Arabic only to be asked: "which Arabic, classical or 
colloquial?" Fr. Ryan did not give up but asked: "Well, how would 

you say this to your 
brother?" "To my brother 
I would say it in Turkish!" 
The student then revealed 
that Arabic was not his 
first language and when he 
went to primary school he 
had to learn Arabic sounds 
as if he were a foreigner. 
Fr. Ryan who had 
experienced the bloody 
entrance made by learning 
such sounds was even more 
amazed at the young man's 
persistence as well as 
linguistic ability. 

Tanus of Sala'adin cooked for the Jesuits 

Chapter 5 

The Fifties and Sixties 
in the Prime of Life 

Let your tight so shine before men, that they 

may see your good, works and give glory 

to your father who is in heaven. 

Matthew 5:16 

Summary: Baghdad College during these decades 

After its first decade of survival and its second decade of 
phenomenal growth, quadrupling in size, Baghdad College seemed 
quite secure. It seemed impervious to the numerous political 
upheavals surrounding Baghdad, also it survived financial and 
enrollment problems. The fifties then offered a peaceful time to 
consolidate its growth and plan for the future. In the middle of 
Baghdad College's last two decades Iraq changed from a monarchy to 
a republic but this seemed to make little difference in the 
atmosphere of the school. Also in this time occurred the extension 
of Jesuit educational efforts from Baghdad College to Al-Hikma 
University. The Baghdad College Sulaikh campus hosted the 
fledgling university until it had its own buildings on the Zafarania 
campus which the government had given to the Jesuits. 

During these two decades from 1950 to 1969 the American 
segment of the faculty changed from being mostly Jesuit priests to 
a much larger proportion of Jesuit scholastics (not yet ordained) 
and Jesuit lay volunteers. In some years like 1955 there were 19 
Jesuit scholastics and this number of scholastics was not 

84 Cl Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

surpassed by any of the five other high schools in the New England 
Province. The student body became more numerous and more 
buildings were built to accommodate them. One such building was 
Fr. Guay's beautiful creation, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart with 
its wonderful innovations. The curriculum was expanded to 
include a commercial section for students who were not completely 
at home with the sciences but wanted a Jesuit education. All sports 
events of the city schools found Baghdad College in prominent 
positions, and frequently city school coaches would attend the 
Baghdad College games to find out how best to plan their strategies. 
Baghdad College's ample playing fields provided great 
opportunities for young athletes. 

The Arabic House of Studies for Jesuits started and Jesuits 
began to undertake a serious inculturation step by becoming bi- 
ritual (celebrating Mass in two or more rites) as their brother 
Jesuits had done in Lebanon. Jesuit vocations as well as vocations 
to the local clergy started to emerge. The Jesuits spent much 
energy and effort in planning for the future of their school, so 
frequent meetings were held by the Jesuits to plan how to achieve 
their goals in a more effective way. 

These decades had much to build on and much to thank the men 
who prepared the way during the previous 18 building years. The 
superiors of the mission and rector of Baghdad College during this 
decade included Fr. Madaras (1945-52) followed by Fr. Hussey 
(1952-58) then one of the many McCarthys, Fr. Michael 
McCarthy (1958-64) and ended with Fr. Carty (1964-69). The 
principals (mudeer) were Fr. Connell (1943-52), Fr. Sullivan 
(1952-60) and Fr. Powers (1960-69). Fr. Kelly was the 
assistant principal (muawin) until 1963 except for one year's 
absence which was filled by Fr. Mahoney (1955-56). Fr. Kelly 
was followed by Fr. Pelletier who ran a very taut ship until 1969. 

During the last decade, for the first time, the superiors of the 
mission were distinct from the rector of Baghdad College. This 
was a necessary result of the growth of the mission, now boasting 
of two schools, a language house of studies and later a novitiate. 
The superiors were Fr. Williams (1961-67) followed by the 
brief but very important tenure of Fr. John Donohue (1967-69). 

Growth during these last two decades 

The growth of the student body 

When the marks for the government exams were published in 
the Baghdad newspapers, the citizens found another reminder of 
Baghdad College because it would have multiple honorable 
mentions for high marks. Professors found their way to the 
Baghdad College campus as invited lecturers for various clubs and 

f Growth during these last two decades 8 5 

extra curricular activities and as part time lecturers. They found 
the Baghdad College students gracious and charming. Although 
there was no Baghdad College stamp on their foreheads the Baghdad 
College graduates were recognized by their intelligence, their 
manners and their ability to think and express themselves. 

Baghdad College students came from more than 60 different 
primary schools all over Iraq. Certain schools always led the list 
and an example can be found in the entrance data for the scholastic 
year beginning in 1953. Here are the names of such schools 
sending 116 freshman to Baghdad College in 1953-54 

27 from Adil Primary 9 from Armenian United 

7 from Battaween Primary 4 from Ghazi Primary 

3 from Hidad in Basrah 10 from Hikmat Primary 

3 from Kadhimia Primary 13 from Latin Primary 

10 from Mashriq Primary 8 from Najib Pasha 

7 from Nashia Primary 8 from Saadun Primary 

3 from Syrian Primary 4 from Tatbiqat Primary 

After several decades Baghdad College had become a familiar 
landmark. Its students were attracting attention in the 
intellectual, social and athletic life of the city and its graduates 
were making their mark in all phases of society. One of the few 
areas of Baghdad included in the city's bus maps was the Sulaikh 
property of Baghdad College at the northern edge of the map - and 
later Al-Hikma would be included in the southern lower edge of the 
map. Throughout the whole city Baghdad citizens were accustomed 
to seeing the orange Baghdad College buses filled with exuberant 
scholars traveling to and from class. One parent had a plan to 
build bus-stop shelters throughout the city to keep these same 
scholars shaded or dry during the sun or rain. It was said that one 
such was built but a small family moved into it claiming it by 
immanent domain, so the project was abandoned. 

More buildings 

Buildings continued to rise through the fifties and even the 
sixties. The new buildings answered all the needs of the growing 
school. Fr. Guay's glorious chapel was a wonder of beauty and 
practicality, and left in awe not only the students but also the 
many visitors who came to see it. The Rice Science Building had 
better facilities than any of the other schools back in New England, 
as the Jesuits who went to teach in them after the expulsion found 
out, one marvel was the sloped classrooms. The Cronin Building 
was adaptable for many things: large classrooms, a small 
auxiliary chapel, physics lecture rooms and an auxiliary 
residence for Jesuits. 

86 •■Q-' Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

Fr. Madaras and Fr. Guay who had a Ph.D. in chemistry and was 
a naturally gifted scientist, planned and built the nine buildings 
bringing taste as well as practicality to their work. Both adapted 
well to the materials on hand: a good example is a process peculiar 
to places like Iraq who had rapid drying gypsum cement which 
allowed for jack-arching. Two I-beams were placed horizontally 
(or at a slant for a stairway) two feet apart, then the mason would 
start at one end of the support building small arches of four 
bricks set in between the beams. Since the mortar dried so 
rapidly he was able to kneel on the newly laid brick and moved 
across to the other support, thus constructing a section two feet 
wide in a very short time. 

Jack arched sections 

Gregarious by nature Fr. Guay met an interesting man in 1945 
named Buckminster Fuller and spent many hours in conversation 
with him, since they were both aboard the same ship traveling 
from America to the Middle East. The agreement was that in order 
to pass the time on the ship, they would exchange information on 
their respective fields so that when the journey was over 
Buckminster Fuller knew much more about chemistry and Fr. 
Guay knew a great deal about architecture. 

Many people of Baghdad cooled their houses by using a column 
of air flowing over watered brush. Because of the low humidity 
there was little problem with dampness when a continual stream 
of water falling on camel thorn (a'gool) which had been placed at 
the mouth of the air pumps would evaporate, thus cooling the air 
pumped into the ducts. Fr. Guay utilized these principles of a 
simple tropical air-cooling method for individual windows, to 
develop an efficient mechanized centralized system for air cooling 
the rooms of an entire building. After making his walls two feet 
thick, he built large ducts leading throughout the building, 
carrying a continuous stream of cooled air forced in by powerful 
pumps which had been placed at strategic sections of the exterior 
wall. This was not air conditioning as we know it but rather air 
cooling (called "desert cooler" in Arizona) and it worked because 

f Growth during these last two decades f 8 7 

the average humidity of Baghdad was an extremely low 15%. 

Tunnel under the Science building used an air cooling vent 

The New Chapel 

Fr. Guay's work on the chapel was no less remarkable. One of 
his many challenges was to make a rose window which he fashioned 
out of colored glass set in a frame of the local fast drying mortar. 
The exterior dimensions were 164 feet by 84 feet. The cross 
surmounting the tower rises 80 feet above the ground. An 
architect with vision and a mason skilled with the tools of his 
trade can transform brick, a derivative of common clay, into a 
thing of surpassing beauty. 

Fr. Guay was single minded about his buildings. He designed a 
building that would embody the best and most economical 
construction that he could devise with local materials and local 
workmen, keeping in mind the sacred functions for which the 
chapel was primarily designed. The result was a happy and 
harmonious blending of styles, a fusion of East and West. The 
ornamental motifs of the exterior had been developed from ancient 
Babylonian, Assyrian and Arab styles and were characteristic of 
other buildings on the campus. His bricklayers were particularly 
adept at doing this sort of thing. With a special axe-like tool they 
carved the brick like a sculptor manipulating stone or wood. 

Fr. Guay 's chapel 


Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

The dignity and simple beauty of the main altar was 
impressive. The stone was of buff color with a vein of orange and 
was quarried in Lebanon where Hiram, the King of Tyre had cut 
the giant cedars that adorned the Temple built by Solomon in 
Jerusalem. The altar steps, as well as the sanctuary and the 
central aisle of the nave blended nicely with the pastel green of the 
sanctuary walls. 

Interior of the chapel showing Fr, Guay's rose window 

The altar stood in a spacious sanctuary that was raised three 
steps above the floor level of the nave. Flanking the apse were two 
large sacristies furnished with vesting cabinets that provided 
ample space for nine priests vesting simultaneously for Mass at 
each of the chapel's nine altars. One of the neighbors confided to a 
Jesuit: "We were Chaldeans but had decided to become Syrian 
Catholics. Now after seeing this church we have decided to become 

Upon completion of a building a sheep would reluctantly 
provide for a party. 

f New undertakings during these last two decades T 8 9 

New undertakings during these last two decades 

The Secondary Commercial Section 

Not all people are cut out to be scientists and doctors, just as 
not all are cut out to be poets and merchants. Some of the students 
were clearly not at home with the sciences and were still quite 
intelligent and had much to offer. It was decided in the middle of 
this decade that the time had come to start a section for 
commercial studies. 

Here is presented the documentation from the minister of 
education giving permission for the beginning of the Secondary 
Commercial Section. 

DOC # 64 No. 397000 September 25, 1956 

Ministry of Education 

Directorate-General of Education 

Directorate of Higher Studies/Private and Foreign 

Subject: Opening of a Secondary Commercial Section 

To: Baghdad College Administration 

We approve what was contained in your letter # D/M/490 

dated September 7, 1956. 

(signed)For Director-General of Education 

Dr. Mohammed Hamid al-Tai 

The Arabic House of Studies for Jesuits 

A language house was started in the Saadun section of Baghdad 
in 1952. Here the Jesuits were able to concentrate their talents 
and energy to the study of Arabic and the culture of the Arab world. 
The language house was started by Fr. Madaras who named it after 
St. Joseph. It is not clear why but many of the Jesuits were 
partial to Joseph; in fact 14 out of the 60 men in the missions' 
last days were named Joseph. If there is one, the patron saint of 
language schools for Jesuits struggling with a second language, it 
probably is the North American martyr Noel Chabanel, S.J. 
(1613-1649). Noel was born in southern France, entered the 
Jesuits and became a brilliant professor of rhetoric in France. He 
requested to serve in the Huron mission and arrived there in 
1643. There he found that he had no aptitude at all for learning 
the Huron language and each attempt only brought loud laughter 
from the natives. His first sermon was filled with vulgarities 
taught him by a mischievous Huron tutor. Since then, Jesuits who 
have struggled with foreign languages have identified with Noel's 
frustration. In fact more than one Jesuit language school has been 
named Chabanel House in his honor. 

The language school occupied three different houses in as many 
periods in the Saadun area from 1952-1968. Several of the 

90 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 
Jesuit scholars recall their experiences. 

I remember, most fondly, Yusuf Masconi, my mentor in 
Arabic was very faithful in coming to Rawaf St. and sitting 
down with a young scholastic, teaching him the intricacies of 
the language. How young, inexperienced, and ignorant I must 
have seemed to him but he never let on to any of this. I used to 
drive him home after every lesson and we would have tea 
served by Columba his wife. He only asked one thing of me, as 
he turned my Arabic composition from charcoal to pearls and 
this was to visit his grave if ever I came back to Baghdad. 
Maybe, sometime I will be able to do this. (Fr. Hicks) 

The establishment by the Jesuits of a "language house" at 
Saadun meant that superiors were totally serious and expected 
us to stay in Iraq for a very long term. For me it meant that 
now I could enter the culture more deeply. One year of 
classroom teaching at Sulaikh gave me a very strong desire to 
learn the Arabic language in order to get to know Iraqis better 
and to feel more at home in their culture. After two years of 
very difficult study and practice, under the tutelage of Frs. 
Richard McCarthy and John Mahoney and Prof. Faraj Raffouli, 
I felt more and more confident in the language and also felt I 
now wanted to spend the rest of my life in Iraq after 
ordination. Unfortunately, my religious Superiors decided 
otherwise and I did not return to Iraq. But Arabic was of great 
use to me in my later ministries among refugees in Sudan and 
even later when working in Jordan. Praise God! (Fr. Smith) 

Bi-ritual Jesuits 

Priests who were ordained to celebrate Mass in more than one 
rite, "bi-ritual", were very common in the Near East Province. 
In the 1969 Jesuit catalog the Jesuits of this province were listed 
with their rite and most of them had three or four rites after their 
names: Maronite, Byzantine, Coptic, Syrian, Melkite, Chaldean, 
Armenian and Latin. Usually a man celebrates Mass in the rite in 
which he was born, but for Apostolic reasons they would assume 
another rite. 

A number of Baghdadi Jesuits chose to apply for permission 
from the Patriarch of the rite and then they applied themselves in 
earnest to learn the language and the rubrics of that rite. The 
first steps were taken in 1956. Several of the Fathers had 
obtained permission to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in 
another rite in addition to the Latin rite. Fr. Edward Banks in the 
Chaldean rite which he exercised in Baghdad from about 1960 and 

f New undertakings during these last two decades f 9 1 

then later in Beirut for seven years; Fr. Campbell and Fr. Scopp, 
the Chaldean rite; Fr. James McCarthy in the Melkite rite; Fr. 
Young in the Syrian rite; Fr. Como in the Chaldean rite; Fr. Bonian 
in the Maronite rite; Fr. Taft in the Russo-Byzantine rite. Fr. 
Edward Banks recalls his journey into the Chaldean Rite. 

In 1956 Fr. Campbell sent a transcription (the writing of 
the Aramaic words in English letters) of the Nestorian Liturgy 
from the U.S. It occurred to me that the Chaldean Liturgy 
(nearly the same as the Nestorian) could thus be transcribed 
and with a knowledge of the rubrics and a general sense of the 
meaning of the texts one could celebrate the Chaldean Liturgy 
when asked to offer Mass for a Chaldean congregation. 

I proposed this idea to the Rector, Fr. Hussey who agreed and 
so I made an appointment to see the Patriarch, Yusuf Ghanima: 
I never actually saw him; I was interviewed by Bishop Ghanni, 
then secretary to the Patriarch. After I made my proposal, 
Bishop Ghanni excused himself to consult with His Beatitude. 
On his return he gave the response of the Patriarch : "No, let 
the young man learn the Aramaic language". After consultation 
with Khoury Yusuf Tumma, the priest at Gailani Camp, I got in 
touch with a shammas (deacon) in Shaqlawa, northern Iraq and 
arranged to spend some time there learning to read Aramaic. 

Khoury Yusuf took care of rubrics instruction. Shammas 
Yusuf Mairi of Baghdad instructed in Aramaic and Chant. Faraj 
Raffouli took care of Arabic. Finally I was able to say the Mass 
well enough so that i could celebrate public Mass at Gailani 
Camp each Sunday and at Baghdad College once in a while. That 
was the beginning of Jesuit bi-ritualism in Iraq. 

Fr. Walter Young was ordained by Bishop Bakhos, the 
Syrian Bishop of Baghdad, as a priest of the Syrian rite. This 
took place in our chapel at the college. Fr. Dennis Como was 
ordained at Weston for the Chaldean rite and spent some time 
in Baghdad as a Chaldean priest, notably in the minor seminary 
(at the time directed by the Jesuits). (Fr. Edward Banks) 

On April 12, 1965 Fr. Young transferred from the Latin to 
the Syrian rite seeking a closer identity with a large segment 
of his flock. He was ordained by Baghdad's Syrian Archbishop, 
the late Athanasius Bakose, in the chapel of Baghdad College. 
The next day he offered his first Mass in the Syrian Cathedral 
which was located in the Christian quarter of the old city. He 
later elected to do theology studies in Lebanon with Arabic- 
speaking seminarians rather than return to the United States. 
One of his fellow seminarians during this period, was a young 

92 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

Jesuit named Peter Hans Kolvenbach who is now the Superior 
General of all Jesuits. (Fr. Young) 

Vocations (Jesuit and Diocesan) 

The first graduate of Baghdad College who became a priest was 
Fr. Abdul-Ahad Estepahn and he celebrated a Mass at Baghdad 
College chapel in 1956. Others were Raphael Cheiko and Abdul 
Salam Hilwa and the six Jesuits, Frs. Stanley Marrow, Solomon 
Sara, Clarence Burby, Hikmet Emmanuel, Yusuf Seferta and 
Stephen Bonian. 

Stanley Marrow came to Baghdad College, together with almost 
all his classmates from the Carmelites' Saint Joseph "Latin" 
School. In 1947 five students from Baghdad College came to the 
United States to study in Santa Clara (John Mangassarian), U. of 
Arizona (the late Sylvain Serkis), U. of Detroit (Francis Faraje), 
U. of St. Louis (Shakir al-Badir), and Boston College (Stanley 
Marrow). Like the rest of them, Stanley came to study "science". 
Unlike them, he decided to become a Jesuit. When Stanley spoke to 
Father Devenny of his desire, he was asked, "Do you realize that 
this will involve many, many years of study?" "That's what I'm 
coming for." 

Lacking both Latin and Greek made entry into the Jesuits of 
New England very difficult. Messages between Boston and Baghdad 
resorted to the use of "Stanislaus" to conceal this business from 
prying eyes in the Rashid Street post office. Finally, on September 
14, 1949, Father Devenny drove Stanley to the Novitiate in 
Shadowbrook. He was the first Baghdad College Jesuit vocation. 

Syrian Archbishop Bakose conferring on Fr. Marrow minor orders, 3/10/56 

At the end of his study of philosophy, in 1955, he finally 
returned to Baghdad College with one of the largest groups of young 

f New undertakings during these last two decades f 9 3 

Jesuits ever to leave for the mission. All the young Jesuits in that 
group had received Minor Orders at Weston before leaving except 
Stanley, who, being a member of the Syrian Rite, was to be 
ordained by Archbishop Bakose in the new chapel of Baghdad 
College. The very long ceremony took place (on the very day when 
the Novitiate in Shadowbrook burned down) in the presence of a 
chapel full of students, friends, and relatives. He still remembers 
his return to the sacristy to unvest after the ordination, where the 
great (and the adjective is not used idly) Fr. Madaras embraced 
him and, with tears in his eyes, said, "This is what the mission is 
all about!" It was then that he understood the reason for the joy 
that filled him when, at the end of his first year as a novice, he 
was told that a second Jesuit from the Baghdad mission was to join 
him, Shlaimun Issa Sara Shamun, B.C. '50. 

People may think that all the Iraqi vocations to the New 
England Province came from Baghdad. Even though all did join 
from Baghdad, not all of them were Baghdadis. Sam Sara's family 
(the New England Province version of his name) actually came 
from Mangaish, a small town in the Kurdish territory. In 1945 
he came to Baghdad to study at Baghdad College, and upon 
graduation in 1950 he joined the Society. Before leaving town, he 
visited Mrs. Marrow, the mother of Stanley Marrow, the first 
Iraqi to join the New England Province, and it was here he felt that 
he was seriously leaving home. Even though this was their first 
meeting, her maternal care and sadness at the departure made 
leaving Baghdad a melancholy affair. 

After seven years of Jesuit studies he returned to Baghdad for 
his teaching experience from 1957 to 1960. The return home 
was full of expectations, but nothing could have prepared one for 
the richness and the heavy commitments of the Jesuit faculty and 
their lay colleagues, both Christian and Muslim, to the school and 
the city. The multi-ethnic, multi-religious and linguistic 
diversity of the school gave it a cosmopolitan air. He found plenty 
to do and was in great demand by everyone, students, lay faculty 
and other Jesuits. 

Clarence Burby, born in Iraq, often spoke of his happy days at 
Baghdad College and his desire to see other Iraqi youth respond to 
the seeds of grace planted by the Baghdadi Jesuits. Hikmet 
Emmanuel also spoke of his fond memories of Baghdad College. 

It was the week before Christmas, 1 989, when I stopped at 
Baghdad College to reflect with nostalgia on the happy years I 
had spent there. As I looked at the main building, I began to 
think of my education, the good example of the Jesuits, and the 
cherished memories of my former teachers. As I reflect on the 

94 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

sentiments of many Baghdad College Alumni, I sense in them 
similar feelings of gratitude and loyalty consistent with 
members of an extended family of Baghdad College graduates. 
(Hikmet N. Emmanuel) 

Jesuit scholarship 

The Jesuits from the beginning were aware that they had to 
adapt themselves to their new surroundings. They were there 
to educate Iraqis and education in Iraq was not education in New 
England. Early on people were set aside to study Arabic and the 
language opened up unexpected vistas, but there remained a 
desire to go even deeper into culture and the history. Fr. 
Richard McCarthy was set aside for studies in Islamic theology 
and became one of the modern authorities on the theologian al- 
Baqalani. Fr. Hamil and Fr. Campbell were directed towards 
literature. Fr. Hamil's study on Ja'far al-Khalili was 
translated into Arabic, and a Dictionary of Arab authors 
directed by Fr. Campbell came off the press. Fr. John 
Donohue opted for history and studied the 10th century when 
Shiism (Shee'a ism) prevailed in the Middle East. Fr. Martin 
McDermott followed up on Shiite (Shee'a) studies and his work 
on al-Shaikh al-Mufeed had been translated into Persian and 
Arabic which merited him an invitation to Qumm in Iran for 
the millenary of Shaikh al-Mufeed. (Fr. Donohue) 

Jesuit planning during these decades 

As the enrollment increased the problems became more 
intricate and required more formal structures to confront them 
such as committees and sub-committees with decision making 
more delegated and sub-delegated. Life in the Jesuit community 
lent itself very readily to discussions since the meals were in 
common. The men talked a great deal about their interests, the 
school and the students. As a result old customs and approaches 
were called into question and new proposals were put forth. There 
was always the nagging feeling that they could be doing the job 

From the early days, B.C. followed the program prescribed for 
secondary schools by the Iraq Government. There was no desire on 
the part of the Jesuits to transfer American programs of study to 
Iraq. In the framework of the Iraqi program the Jesuits offered 
their students a distinct advantage - bilingualism in Arabic and 
English. The students studied science and mathematics in English 
and in Arabic. Thus they were prepared to take the final 
Government Exams in Arabic and also to pursue further scientific 
study at Baghdad University through the medium of English. Also 

f Influence the Jesuits had during these decades f 9 5 

several were judged competent by the Government to study abroad 
in the U.S.A. and Great Britain. 

From evidence available and from the response of 
Professors in Baghdad University, the Jesuits judged that they 
were making a substantial contribution to education in Iraq 
during a crucial period in its development. Many graduates 
went on in medicine and engineering - the two status 
professions in the developing world. Very few went into 
politics. The Jesuits never considered themselves purveyors 
of political ideology and deliberately refrained from entering 
into the complexities of Iraqi politics and from currying the 
favor of any political faction; this neutral stance was an asset 
for 37 years. (Fr. Donohue) 

To interest graduates staying in Iraq 

One of the real concerns of the Jesuits was the fact that some of 
our students were leaving for Western countries and not returning 
to Iraq. Jesuits came to help the Christians as well as Muslims 
find their way in a Muslim society. They became discouraged to 
find themselves in Iraq and some of their charges in America. 
Their aim was to help build a vibrant and involved Christian 
community and continue the great work that Iraqi Christians had 
been doing for 19 centuries. They did not blame the graduates for 
leaving but they asked if the sacrifices they made to come to 
Baghdad were not backfiring on them. After all, the English that 
the Jesuits taught facilitated migration to America and acceptance 
into foreign schools. Facetiously they asked: "Why not run our 
school over in the U.S. for students as they arrive? It would be 
easier on everyone." Of course it was perfectly understandable for 
some of the graduates to leave; they needed higher degrees and did 
not want to go to the local colleges and jobs were difficult to find. 

The "A" sections 

At Baghdad College in the fifties, much thought was given to the 
special "A" sections which had the best students homogeneously 
grouped. It started perhaps after the model of advanced placement 
programs in America. Teachers knew from experience that bright 
students get bored when the matter is being explained to others at 
a painfully slow pace. Then there is no alternative for the 
smarter students but to raise Cain. The program was meant to 
motivate students to try harder by competing with other smart 
students and emulation was always part of Jesuit education. The 
program was nearly abandoned in 1961 when the 5A class raised 
much more Cain than was aJlowed. 

96 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

Jesuit influence during these last two decades 

There were many expressions by former students of the Jesuit 
influence in their lives. A few alumni are quoted here, one of 
whom is Stanley Marrow, S.J. who had a memorable first teaching 
experience as a Jesuit teacher at Baghdad College 

I would need thousands of words to describe how helpful the 
curriculum was. However, it was even more helpful doing the 
homework assignments which forced us to think on our own, 
and taught us to formulate our ideas. (Yuil Eprim) 

Few moments could compare with the thrill of discovery on 
my first day of class. The second year students trooped into the 
class, uncertain how to react to the new "Father from 
America". Father Fennell had left everything in its proper 
place for the new teacher in the new classroom next to the 
chemistry lab on the second floor. Prayers were said; the 
students sat down. One or two potential clowns made half- 
hearted attempts at reassuring their fellow-students in a 
language they thought the teacher did not know. I explained to 
the students what the course was all about, reminded them of 
the daily routine of the quiz on half a yellow sheet, and urged 
them to buy the Arabic chemistry text book. I picked it up, 
showed it to them, opened it and began reading from one of its 
first pages. Never in my life have I seen such a melange of 
emotions on any group of faces: astonishment, surprise, 
pleasure and perhaps even disappointment that "lek hadha moo 
amrikani !" (Beware! This is not an American.) 

An industrious biology lab 

That year was the year of the Suez Crisis. There was no 
school for weeks on end, and the Jesuit Community had to 

f Influence the Jesuits had during these decades f 9 7 

manage without student tuition. In those financially difficult 
days, the Fathers were given the option between letting the 
school workers go or giving up tea, coffee, sugar, etc., until 
the crisis had passed. 

To a man the Community chose to give up the ordinary 
staples of daily life so that they could keep the workers. The 
bleak breakfast of bread and water stands out as sharply in my 
memory as the day when the crisis finally ended. Never in 
those days did I hear a single complaint from anyone in the 
Jesuit Community. It was, and it will always remain in my 
mind, as one of their finest hours. (Fr. Marrow, B.C. '47) 

Jesuit Influence on other schools 

Educators of elementary, secondary, and college levels showed 
great interest in Baghdad College and visited the school often, 
admitting that they had come to find programs and policies that 
they could use. Examples were the organization of graduation 
exercises, building planning, classroom and laboratory setup, 
teaching methods, dramatics, elocution, library, year book, and 
student poor relief. They were interested in the tiniest details of 
school organization, such as the school seal, format of diplomas, 
pencil sharpeners, and bubblers. Much of what they learned they 
did incorporate, or at least attempted to incorporate, into their 
own schools. There was scarcely a graduate of Higher Teacher and 
Queen Aliya College in the decade of the fifties that had not spent 
some time in a Baghdad College classroom observing classroom 
organization and pedagogical methods. 

Baghdad College's influence in the Baghdad world of sports was 
much greater than one would expect from a small school. The 
Baghdad College varsity teams were the first to wear manufactured 
uniforms with the Arabic insignia. It was not merely that Baghdad 
College had been able to point the way in organization or in 
equipment, it was the deeper lesson of sportsmanship, qualities of 
generosity and fair play which sports encourage. A minister of 
education expressed his gratitude for Baghdad College participating 
in the city's track and field events with an inferior team. In doing 
this they demonstrated more interest in the success of the city's 
sports program than the prestige of personal victory. For many 
years Baghdad College teams in track and field were preeminent in 
Baghdad track meets. Fr. Hussey in a letter related the friendly 
and outgoing behavior that typified Baghdad College students 
which was acknowledged by neighbors. 

Democracy is very much a reality on the Baghdad College 
campus. By precept and example, the students learn the God- 

98 P Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

given dignity of each human being, whatever his accidents of 
birth or position. Rich boy and poor sit side by side in the 
same classroom, strive on equal terms for class leadership, 
win the privilege of wearing the gold and maroon uniforms of 
varsity teams by learning to work together. Day and night in 
the boarding school, they share everything together. A taxi 
driver stops in the city to offer the principal a free lift back to 
the campus. Although his son has just been dismissed from the 
school, he says: We love Baghdad College, because you are not 
afraid to give the same treatment to the son of a Prime f 
Minister that you give to a taxi driver's son. (Fr. Hussey) 

A number of Iraqi citizens noticed that Jesuits stuck to 
education and did not get involved in politics and they admired 
them for this. This had been clear during dangerous times of 
student demonstrations and city tensions. Several times the U.S. 
Information Service buildings had been attacked, the U.S. Embassy 
was protected by heavy guard, but Baghdad College had always 
been unprotected and unmolested. People pointed sharply to the 
facts that although frequently government schools locked their 
students in the school compounds, the students broke down the 
bars and marched away; whereas Baghdad College left the campus 
gates wide open, and the students remained on campus even after 
school hours. During the revolt of May, 1941, the Baghdad 
College faculty did not take refuge with other foreigners in either 
the American or British Embassy, but remained at the College, a 
gesture of confidence which the people of Iraq appreciated. This 

was a constant for the Jesuits 
during their time in Baghdad in 
other similar eruptions which 
seemed dangerous to others but not 
to the Jesuits who had great 
confidence in the civility of Iraqi 
people even when they were 
justifiably angry. 

Frequently Iraqis with no 
connection to the school pointed with 
pride to the beauty of the Baghdad 
College buildings and campus. Aware 
that buildings and campus were 
benefactions of generous Americans, 
they mingle pride of possession with 
gratitude for what these Americans 
were doing for their country. 

The three Ghantus brothers 

f Influence the Jesuits had during these decades T 9 9 

A grateful alumnus wrote a letter on June 8, 1984 to the 
B.J. A. A. (Baghdad Jesuit Alumni Association), to be published in 
its fourth yearbook, and at the time he was Minister and Head of 

the Iraqi Interests Section at the Embassy of India. He expresses 
gratitude for his Baghdad College training. Here is part of his 

Baghdad College has played an important role as a leading 
example looked upon by all levels, both in the educational and 
scientific processes. The influence of the Jesuit Fathers was 
not confined within the physical walls of Baghdad College, on 
the contrary it surpassed that of most of the high schools in 
Baghdad during that period, for Baghdad College and its 
students were the examples to be looked upon due to their high 
scientific levels, great sportsmanship spirit, and the distinct 
intimate relationship between the teacher and student, and 
among the students themselves. Hence, the Jesuit teachers 
were educators of excellent caliber, and undoubtedly ought to 
be proud of what they have accomplished in their educational, 
cultural, and scientific missions. These factors have 
collectively left durable marks on all the students who 
graduated from Baghdad College. 

I have learned so many things, at that school, which have 
been of great benefit in my life later on. One of the most 
important of these things is to respect the other's opinion, and 
truthfully open the ground for discussion based on that 
principle. However, there are many governments, 
organizations, and individuals that, regretfully, still lack this 
principle and instead resort to intransigence, self- 
centeredness, and double standards. This conduct destroys 
societies from inside, as well as international relations in our 
world. {Reunion Yearbook /\/,1984, p. 24) 

Life with Father during these decades 

Crime and punishment 

An imaginative penalty (but of questionable usefulness) 
consisted in raising a number like 6789 to the 12th power. 
Although some knew logarithms they found that this short cut did 
not work since they could never find logarithm tables accurate 
beyond the 7th decimal, but actually accuracy to the 48th decimal 
was needed. In any case penalties were boring, according to Waiel 
Hindo (B.C. '60, A.H. '64): "Discipline at Baghdad College most of 


Ci Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

the time took the form of staying after school to write words from 
the dictionary or cleaning the baseball field from all papers." 

But sometimes 

it was possible to use 

preventative measures. In 

1966 Fr. MacDonnell taught 

mathematics to all 160 

seniors and Fr. Sheehan 

taught the same group 

physics (four classes of 

40). Not far into the 

scholastic year Fr. Sheehan 
Jesuits enjoying the garden fe|| N| and had {Q 

return to the U.S. so Fr. MacDonnell went to the mudeer and 
volunteered to take Fr. Sheehan's class along with his own. It 
meant that he would take 80 students at a time instead of 40 in the 
great sloped classroom of the Rice science building. He got to know 
the 160 students quite well and they him since they met nine 
times a week. So when the time came for the first exam, he waited 
until all 80 students filed into the great sloped room, watching 
each maneuvering for position. He said the prayer before class 
and then made an announcement. "Everyone now, pick up your 
chair, turn it 180 degrees so that you face the back of the room. 
Don't feel insulted, during exams I would not trust my own 
grandmother." There was surprise, followed by laughter, and then 
applause. He had done his homework. If anyone sits in such a 
sloped classroom and has normal vision he can copy from at least 
12 people without moving his head, thereby arousing no suspicion. 
If those 12 sets of answers were not satisfactory, he could read 8 
more with a slight twist of the head. Whereas with the chairs 
facing the back of the room, it would take an obvious 90 degree 
twist of the head to see only one paper. Fr. MacDonnell admitted 
afterward that he exaggerated, he would trust his grandmother. 

Fr. Regan being gregarious by nature was often out at the 
basketball court while the local youngsters were playing and he 
got to know many of them. He was intrigued by what they were 
learning in their school. 

I met Mahmud one day in front of the residence in Sulaikh. 
Like many youngsters he appeared to be studying while 
walking back and forth. Mahmud stopped me on this day and in 
broken but intelligible English asked if I would write a brief 
paragraph to his English teacher praising his use of the 
English language. I did as he requested. Some days passed 

f Life with Father during these decades f 


before I met Mahmud the next time. He was beaming. I 
understood that he submitted my paragraph as his composition 
and received a very high grade. My reaction was mixed but I 
felt that Mahmud had made the most of a situation (our first 
encounter), and so I showed some enthusiasm for his ingenuity 
while at the same time wondering what exactly went on in his 
English classes at the public high school in our area. 
(Fr. Regan) 

Fr. Gerry at his post in the bookstore 

The Fathers were treated with great respect on the public bus 
which traveled back and forth from Baghdad to Sulaikh. After all 
Fr. Guay was called the "mayor of Sulaikh" because he hired so 
many local workers for his buildings. Fr. MacDonnell found 
himself next to a friendly garrulous Arab gentleman who had great 
admiration for the Fathers as well as "that great American, 
General Montgomery". He trained race horses and invited Fr. 
MacDonnell to come to his ranch nearby and take a ride; the 
assumption being that all Americans ride horses. 

Fr. MacDonnell enjoyed his conversation with Hamid but did 
not take the offer seriously. Any man who thought Montgomery 
was American probably did not have horses either. In any case he 
looked forward to riding a horse with as much enthusiasm as he 
would a trip to the dentist. A week later Hamid came to the front 
gate with a horse. He asked for Fr. MacDonnell, who by the way 
had never ridden a horse not to mention this Arabian steed pawing 
the ground. Somehow he managed to get on and with urging from 
Hamid's whip the horse galloped at great speed out into the desert 
with a frantic rider holding both reins and mane without a clue as 
to how to communicate with the beast. Eventually, perhaps due to 
thought of dinner at Hamid's ranch the horse turned around and 
galloped back to Hamid. Fr. MacDonnell has not ridden a horse 

B.C. neighboring refugees from the flood 

102 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

The Floods 

Water for beautiful 
campus gardens came 
from the Tigris through 
an elaborate system of 
dams, tunnels and 
ditches. Eventually, in 
the sixties, Fr. Loeffler 
built a large catch basin 
as an auxiliary water 
well for his many gardens 
on the 25 acre Sulaikh 
property. The money for 
the well was donated by a 
friend of Fr. Leo Shea. 
Sometimes there was too 
much water. 

The well, however, was not always necessary. Torrential 
rains fell in late March of 1952 to add their volume to the rising 
waters of the Tigris, already swollen with the melting snows of the 
mountains of Turkey and Northern Iraq. The result was a flood 
scare beyond anything since Utna Pushteem of the Sumerian 
Gilgamish Epic who had built his ark to escape the deluge. Baghdad 
College had a close call. The dikes burst above and below the city so 
that the surrounding desert became a sea reaching beyond the 
horizon. Our own dikes held so B.C. sustained little damage, but 
many neighbors were forced to flee their homes. The Jesuits spent 
several days raising everything portable off the ground. 
Foodstuffs and household supplies were carried to the second floor. 
The Community was divided into work committees and plans were 
made for any eventuality. When Fr. Sheehan seemed preoccupied 
with saving his notes on Latin poetry, some cynic suggested that 
they should be heaved into the river, being likely dry enough to 
absorb the superfluous water. Brother Parnoff constructed 
seaworthy rafts just in case. We did not have to test them, 

In 1954 the whole City of Baghdad became an island when 
the two rivers flooded. Many people lost their lives and 
possessions. Students from Baghdad College participated in 
carrying sand bags to the rivers banks. (Waiel Hindo, B.C. 
'60, A.H. '64) 

not too curious American visitor 

The Jesuits kept their distance from the American Embassy 

T Life with Father during these decades f 103 

personnel except for an occasional softball game between the 
"Fatheria" and the Embassy Marines. It was not that the 
Jesuits were being haughty and aloof, but rather it was a 
determination that American policies have nothing to do with 
the presence of the Jesuits in Iraq. Jesuits wished, by keeping 
their distance, to emphasize this. On the other hand the 
Embassy personnel, often came from that part of pluralistic 
America who were taught that Catholics and in particular 
Jesuits were up to no good. A case in point is an anecdote 
related by Fr. Anderson who uses an alias for "Senator X". 

A group of American Senators were touring the Middle East to 
study conditions there at first hand. They deplaned at Baghdad 
on a Thursday afternoon and that evening our Ambassador held 
a reception in their honor. Prominent figures from various 
circles of Iraq's public life had been invited to meet them. In 
the course of the evening, the Iraqi Prime Minister was 
talking with Senator - I had better call him - Senator X. They 
were joined by Father Madaras, the Rector of Baghdad College; 
the Prime Minister put a friendly arm about the Rector's 
shoulder and paid this significant tribute to the school saying: 
"Senator X, when you return to the United States, I want you to 
thank the American people for having sent these Fathers to us, 
to help educate our young men. They are conducting the finest 
school in Iraq". It was all the more effective because only a 
few hours before, the worthy Senators had dismissed a 
suggestion that a visit to Baghdad College would be worth their 
while. (Fr. Anderson, Archives file #510) 

Fr. Madaras had many jobs, many of which were 
administrative. When in 1953 he was 'promoted' (as the faculty 
used to say) back into the classroom, he needed to be certified by 
the Iraqi Government as a teacher again. The details of his "sad 
story" are related in the Al Baghdadi newsletter with the sub- 
title What Price Glory? 

What Price Glory? 

Among all the Baghdadis Fr. Madaras was the oldest Jesuit 
in point of service. He together with the late Bishop Rice were 
the real Founding Fathers of the College, the first American 
Jesuits to arrive, back in March, 1932. We mention this, not 
to date Fr. Madaras, nor to give the impression that he was 
around when the postman was still delivering clay tablets to 
Abraham down in Ur of the Chaldees. We just wish to stress 
the fact that Fr. Madaras was no stranger in these parts. 

104 C| Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

He slipped back into the classroom in 1953 after years of 
administrative responsibility including terms as Superior of 
the Iraq Mission, Rector of Baghdad College and first Superior 
of the House of Arabic Studies. His name was accordingly 
submitted to the Government on our list of teachers. That is a 
little precaution required of all Private Schools to insure that 
none but properly qualified teachers will mold the young Iraqi 
mind. You might not believe it, but he was asked to report at 
the Ministry of Education to prove his competence to teach at 
Baghdad College. Of course, he got an unmerciful ribbing from 
the rest of us. But his students were indignant that there 
should be even a minor official in the Ministry who does not 
know Fr. Madaras. For they were very proud of their eminent 
teacher who, by the way, was the founder of this (A I Baghdadi) 
journal at Baghdad and its sole editor and contributor for 
nearly a dozen years. {Al Baghdadi Newsletter, 10/53 p. 3) 

Jesuit guests at a couzzi of Shaikh Famar al-Faisal 3/26/53 

The mysterious American timer 

In 1956, during Al-Hikma's first year (on the Baghdad 
College campus) one of the faculty members was Fr. MacDonnell 
who ran the Thermodynamics and Mechanics laboratories and even 
wrote the manuals. Some of the experiments required large 
chunks of ice. On the lab mornings he would call the home of the 
janitor and ask him to bring a block of ice to work with him that 
day. He had memorized the proper sentence and would carefully 
say; "gib ana rub' calib thelage bil muctaba sar thman u nus, min 
fudlik". He was always disconcerted with the response: "Hello 
Father" and wondered how could they tell it was him. 

Baghdad's electrical supply contrasted with America's not only 
in voltage (220 instead of 110) but also in cycles (50 instead of 
60). As a result in Iraq, motors made in the U.S. ran at five 
sixths the speed they were meant to. Fr. MacDonnell used a timer 
for an electrical spark in an acceleration experiment, and instead 

f Life with Father during these decades f 105 

of sending out 10 sparks per second it sent out 8.33 (five sixths 
of ten) sparks. The students were at a loss as to why Americans 
would use such bewildering numbers. 

The Imposter 

The Baghdad Jesuits enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for 
hospitality. Many visitors, religious as well as lay, were given 
room and board as they journeyed through Iraq, especially during 
vacation periods when groups could sleep in empty classrooms. In 
the Fall of 1957 a gentleman came and took advantage of this 
generosity. He was blind, dressed as a priest and claimed to be of 
the Malabar rite. Fr. LaBran organized his Sodality to help, and 
raised $800 to help this poor man. Bro. Foley was suspicious of 
his request for narcotics from the infirmary, so was less 
generous. A month after he departed a letter from Rome warned 
the Jesuits of this man because he was an impostor. 

A month later a group of Jesuits while on a Christmas 
pilgrimage to Bethlehem saw this same man, but because of the 
crowd were unable to reach him to inquire about his behavior. 
They did the next best thing and informed the Franciscan Custodian 
of the Holy Land who was superior of the hostel where most 
pilgrims stayed. He dealt with the matter immediately and 
brought the culprit to justice. 
The scheduling board 

In 1956, there appeared in the assistant principal's office a 5 
foot by 4 foot wooden frame embedded with 810 small nails from 
which hung numbered and color-coded tags which would be used 
for scheduling classes. Fr. Pelletier relates its origin, and also 
relates a few more items of these decades. 

The Baghdad College scheduling board was way ahead of its 
time. The previous scheduling method required five men 
listening and recording a litany read by a sixth man of all 
possible combinations of possible class assignments according 
to subject, year, class time, teacher and classroom - one man 
for each item. The idea was to avoid missing classes and not 
have two teachers in the same classroom together. The tedious 
and confusing sessions lasted at least 12 hours, thereby 
requiring 60 man-hours of work. Once one arrangement was 
finished it would have to be done over again and again since 
subtle, but serious errors would creep in and a different 
arrangement was needed; e.g. a teacher (or a whole class of 
students) would be in two places at once, or fourth year would 
have 6 (or 3) classes a week instead of 5. 

A simpler solution occurred to Fr. MacDonnell who drove 
810 nails into a board lined up in 27 columns and 30 rows;. 

106 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

the rows matching the number of classes and the columns 
matching the number of teachers. Then distinct colored tags 
were assigned for distinct subjects; e.g. five red (for 
mathematics) tags marked with a 4 represented the 5 classes 
per week the fourth year students would have. Since there 
were only 5 tags and all were used, the fourth year would have 
exactly the required math classes and neither teacher nor 
students would have to bilocate. As with all great inventions, 
he was told that it would never work and the old way was better 
- it worked so well that we eventually made a second one for 
the Mudeer's office. One drawback to the new method involved 
the thin colored paper tags we used. One day, a janitor came to 
clean the room and decided to open a window - that night a wind 
came up and wiped out the schedule. Resourceful as we were, 
however, we quickly got it restored. (Fr. Pelletier) 

A coach's conflict of interest 

In the late sixties football seemed to replace baseball as the 
most popular sport since it was a more natural sport for the 
students and due in part to Fr. Loeffler, who put up the goals. 
We were able to map out four football fields so intramural 
contests were started and championships played. All-star 
teams between years were chosen and I remember one mother 
calling the mudeer (Fr. Powers) saying how utterly distraught 
her son was because he did not make the All-star team. We 
added him to the roster to keep peace in the family. One 
afternoon, we formed a team of first year students and took 
them to play a local school run by the British. During the 
game, one of our opponents hurt his leg and he came over to me 
and said: "Father, take me out." I said that I couldn't because I 
wasn't his coach - perhaps he thought the Fathers had special 
influence. (Fr. Pelletier) 


Our fleet of buses made two shifts everyday - they were 
well maintained and stood out in the city traffic - one parent 
suggested that we erect shelters at the various pick-up points 
around the city so that our students could be protected from the 
weather - needless to say, we did not do this. The penalty for 
misbehavior on the school buses was not being allowed to ride 
the bus for a day or two - each student had an assigned seat 
(three to a seat) - this was a major job for the Assistant 
Mudeer in compiling seat positions and lists. More than once, 
a misbehaving student would hide on the floor to escape notice 
so that he would not have to take the long time-consuming bus 

f Life with Father during these decades f 107 

ride home on the Amana Bus. I'm sure that many got away with 
it, but we also caught our share. (Fr. Pelletier) 

Some spectacular events 

The 1957 Visit of the King 

on Baghdad College's 25th Anniversary 

His Majesty, King Faisal II of Iraq, paid an official visit to 
Baghdad College and Al-Hikma University of Baghdad April 1, 
1957 to congratulate the school on its 25th anniversary. In the 
Royal Suite with His Majesty were the Regent Abdul-llah; Mr. 
Tahsin Qadri, Master of Ceremonies at the Royal Palace; Mr. 
Abdullah Bakar, Assistant Master of Ceremonies at the Royal 

Palace; Mr. Khalil 
Kanna, Minister of 
Education in the Iraq 
Cabinet; Mr. Abdul- 
Hamid Khadhimn, 
f\ J r * L^* ^fl mw Director General of 

W > 1^ v 15^ Education in Iraq; 

) ^k ~ ITr Mr - Ma J' d AI " Douri - 

^k M I y VI SI B Director of Education 

Jll I llf in Baghdad, and 

■ ™^ . ,„, .. „ 7~PHt„ several Aides-de- 

King Faisal lis visit to Baghdad College Camp Qf H js Majesty 

The Royal Party was met at the Jesuit Residence and welcomed 
by Fr. Michael J. McCarthy, S.J., acting superior of the Baghdad 
Mission. After a short reception the guests were led on a conducted 
tour of the campus, beginning with a visit to the Chapel of the 
Sacred Heart. Coming out of the Chapel they were greeted by more 
than 750 students, lined up on the athletic field. His Majesty 
marched through the lines in a colorful procession to the 
administration building, where he was met by Fr. Robert J. 
Sullivan, S.J., principal of Baghdad College, and after a short 
inspection he proceeded to the Rice Science building, where he 
manifested a keen interest in the science laboratories and classes. 
He was then conducted to the Cronin building, temporary home of 
Al-Hikma University, where he was greeted by Fr. Ryan, Dean of 
Al-Hikma University. 

The engineering students were doing thermodynamics 
experiments in the physics lab of the Rice Science building under 
the direction of Fr. MacDonnell, who had previously warned them 
about the danger of repeating experiment #8 on the vapor 
pressure of water. Water boils at room temperature after a 


■0 Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

vacuum pump lowers the pressure over the water. As the 
pressure is allowed to increase more heat is required for it to 
boil. After ten stages the water is 100 degrees C. If the 
experiment was started again (by turning the vacuum pump on 
again) before the apparatus had cooled down, the apparatus would 

King Faisal II enjoyed the labs of Baghdad College 

Needless to say, as King Faisal came to the laboratory the 
student assigned to #8, had just finished his experiment and had 
nothing to show the guest. As King Faisal approached his station 
the student, more eager than prudent, turned on the pump - alas, 
too soon - there followed a loud explosion accompanied by flying 
glass and debris. No one was injured except for the bruised ego of 
an embarrassed student, but all present came away with great 
respect for the alacrity of the Palace Guard who surrounded the 
King with drawn weapons that seemed to come from nowhere. 


* i 

For the visit of the King, the students assembled on the chapel lawn 

*f Some Spectacular events f 109 

At the conclusion of his visit King Faisal appeared before the 
entire student body. Mr. Khalil Kanna, Minister of Education, 
addressed the students, and showing that he understood Jesuit 
education, declared the following day a holiday - a venerable 
Jesuit custom on the occasion of visiting dignitaries. 

The July 14 Revolution 

The Revolution came unexpectedly for the scholars at Baghdad 
College, most of whom apparently were not effected. Among those 
who were effected deeply was Waiel Hindo who described how he 
spent his day. 

It was about 6:30 on a Monday morning of the fourteenth of 
July, 1958. I had just finished serving a six o'clock Mass at 
the Sacred Heart Church of Baghdad College and was returning 
home to Sulaikh, a few blocks away from the college. As I 
approached the house of a class mate of mine, Fikrat Al- 
Khouri, I heard the loud rumblings of martial music and 
nationalistic songs. He was cleaning his car, and he told me 
that during the early hours of the morning the army had staged 
a coup d'etat, the King [Faisal II] had been killed, and my 
father, Brigadier General of the Third Division, had been 
arrested. I bolted home where my mother confirmed the 
rumor, and listened to the news broadcasts on the radio. The 
units of the Third Division had orchestrated the coup, which 
would come to be called the July Fourteenth Revolution, led by 
Brigadier Abdul Karim (Kareem) Qasim. Brigadier Qasim, the 
Leader of the Revolution would become Prime Minister 
(though he never became President). 

What effect did this have on Baghdad College? Baghdad 
College students had from the start been a diverse lot. 
Practically every religion practiced in Iraq and every income 
group - wealthy, poor, middle class - were to be found. There 
were students whose fathers were in positions of power in the 
country as well as students whose fathers and who themselves 
counted themselves in the opposition to the monarchy. Thus 
when the dust of the Revolution had settled, only the internal 
relationships among students had changed, and the composition 
of the student body remained the same. Those who had opposed 
the government came to the fore, while those previously 
privileged fell into disfavor. Moreover, the rapid recognition 
of the Revolution by the United States that very August, 
prevented a backlash against the American Jesuits who 
established and administered the school, so life at B.C. 
continued smoothly for some years after this first upheaval. 
During the first year after the RevoJution (1958-59), the 



Chapter 5 The Fifties and Sixties in the Prime of Life 

school year was marked by two seminal events. The first was 
the formation of the first student union at Baghdad College. It 
was this same student union which would play a significant 
role in future coups and the eventual Iraqization of B.C. and 
Al-Hikma (1968-69). The second was a series of decrees 
announced by the new-formed government, universally 
promoting all students to the next grade, regardless of failure 
in the examinations. Baghdad College quietly refused to honor 
these decrees and did not promote failing students. 
(Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64) 

The graduates of 1957 

Chapter 6 

Learning with Imagination: 
Iraqi Style 


"The world is charged with the Qrandeur of Qodl" 
QerardManUyttopkins, SJ. (1844-1889) 

Summary: 37 years of Baghdad College programs 

There was a wide variety of interests among the faculty as well 
as the student body which was evident in the Baghdad College 
programs. There were scholarly projects such as the science, the 
debating and the elocution clubs. The English language labs opened 
the door for continuing education of the city's many English 
teachers. The spiritual programs included service to the poor, the 
Apostolate of Prayer, the annual Novenas of Grace and Sodalities 
who were especially zealous in Catechetical work and religious 
celebrations, for example, the unique event called "Petroleum 
Sunday". A much needed Christian Center was founded for 
Baghdad's youth and the Minor Seminary was entrusted to the 
Jesuits at Sulaikh. Ever present were Iraqi laity like Iraq's 
saintly Sit Ameana (introduced later in this chapter) who 
inspired both students as well as Jesuits. 

Among the social programs, Parents' Day and June graduations 
ranked rather high. Other social events which were less organized 
included Jesuit visits to wakes and to Christian and Muslim 
families during their feasts. There were also efforts to form a 
caring community so that the lay faculty would not feel left out of 
things. The athletic programs were probably the most organized 
and predictable of all the Baghdad College events. 

The Jesuits spent much of their time planning for the future 

112 &£ 

Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination Iraqi Style 

and were called upon to investigate plans for other educational 
efforts in the Middle East. Busy as the men were there had always 
been the emphasis on Jesuit scholarship. There was an increase in 
momentum for planned improvements and new programs in the 
last decade since there were more Jesuits and therefore more 
time to consider questions and problems which arose during this 
engrossing era. Like the annual rings of a tree, the growth stages 
of Baghdad College were marked starting with the small school in 
cramped, rented quarters off Rashid Street to the 25 acre 
beautiful, well-kept, suburban campus with many striking 
buildings in Sulaikh, but the growth was measured by more than 
increased enrollments and the buildings. To the remarkable 
material progress of Baghdad College must be added the numerous 
activities, athletic and scholastic that have been included in the 
school program as guides for the varied interests of the ever- 
expanding student body. 

pit*** ■ ft 9 

1957 assembly of the whole student body 

f Academic Programs f 

Academic programs 

1 13 

Of prime importance in any Jesuit school is the intellectual 
life. The first President of any Jesuit university was Peter 
Canisius, S.J. (who was later canonized). He had been elected 
President of the University of Ingolstadt, Germany in 1550 and St. 
Ignatius told him to accept the position. He founded 18 colleges in 
as many cities with strong emphasis on academic excellence, 
insisting: "better a college without a chapel than a college without 
a library." His intellectual spirit was emulated at Baghdad College 
which could also boast of a superb chapel. 

The Scientific Society 

The Scientific Society met each week during the school year. 
Lectures were delivered by members of the science faculty and by 
students, and one meeting each month was devoted to the discussion 
of business affairs and guest speakers frequently from Baghdad 
University. Projects such as weather observation, mapping sun 
spots, geological surveying, semi-conductors as a source of energy 
and short films on astronomy, biology, chemistry, radio and 
television. During the year the members of the Society enjoyed 
several holiday picnics. A small bulletin was issued at regular 
intervals to the student body concerning these topics. 

On the campus it was one of the most popular societies 
numbering about 40 students who had maintained an average above 
75 in the sciences. The purpose of such a Society was (a) to 
increase knowledge and to foster interest in science, (b) to bring 
to the attention of those interested recent developments in 

scientific fields, and (c) to 
offer to the individual 
members of the Society an 
opportunity to express their 
own thoughts on scientific 
subjects by delivering papers 
written by themselves. There 
were four officers: president, 
vice president, secretary and 
treasurer. All meetings were 
held in one of Fr. Guay's 
beautifully designed sloped 
classrooms "S-28" located in 
the Rice Science building. 

Fairfield University donation: 
a Newtonian reflector telescope 


Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

Baghdad's first TV science program 

Television came to Baghdad earlier than most countries (in 
1956) and the early programming relied on old American movies. 
In an effort to diversify, the station directors asked Fr. Sullivan 
for some ideas. Fr. MacDonnell of the physics department was 
invited to present the first science program on Iraqi TV in 1957. 
It was an hour long program of physics demonstrations and the 
school had recently acquired some wonderful equipment. Fr. 
MacDonnell got together five senior students who would not get 
rattled and who understood and could explain the physics 
principles involved. 

The Baghdad television tower was visible from a generous 
distance, but finding an entrance to the barn-like studio in the 
unpretentious surroundings of Karkh (a section of Baghdad across 
the Tigris River from Baghdad College) presented a difficult 
challenge. A dust storm was threatening when a troupe of five 
B.C. seniors, eager to display their lab technique, arrived for 
their hour long program in which they would demonstrate the 
principles of electrostatics. Inside the studio was an air of great 
mobility which was to be the keynote of the evenings performance; 
curtain backdrops were being rolled and unrolled for the best 
effect, three new 'Pye' TV cameras were being maneuvered about 
with great abandon, while carpenters were carefully nailing 
planks to saw-horses to provide a demonstration table. 

Fr. McCarthy describes the Testla coil 

f Academic Programs f 115 

Baghdad College's physics experiments made up the first item 
on the evening program of "Telifizion al Baghdad". Sameer Busha 
asked for a ground wire to protect both the equipment and the 
studio, but the electrician insisted that there was 'mu ground' (no 
ground wire) - which only meant that this merited more 
discussion than a simple request. All hands in the studio proved to 
be a very amiable lot to work with, especially the camera crew, 
who reflected the degree of enthusiasm and interest expected of the 
TV audience. 

The Wimshurst machine discharging sparks or lighting neon 
tubes had its own fascination, but when Nabeel Khurdachi used it 
as a source of charge to make the "dolls" of pith dance between 
aluminum plates, it provided so much activity, camera #1 was 
reluctant to leave it for a demonstration so prosaic as charging an 
electroscope. "Electrostatic wind" returned motion to the program 
but interest so lagged during Faraday's ice pail experiment that 
the view suddenly changed to the blackboard where there was at 
least some activity; Zaki Jamil was diagramming his explanation 
of the demonstration. 

The management apprehensively expected some sort of 
religious commercial with the appearance of incense smoke but 
were relieved to see the Cottrell precipitator which deposits 
charged particles on an oppositely charged plate. Next Nazih 
Muhammad demonstrated the principles of the Geiger counter 
privately to those fortunate enough to be in the studio, because at 
the time cameraman #1 was treating the general TV audience to 
some fine action shots of Harith Rassam erasing the blackboard, 
which apparently seemed more interesting than the Geiger 

As is true in most electricity demonstrations the climax came 
with old faithful - the Testla coil. The snap of lightning was loud 
enough and the flash sharp enough to jar cameraman #3 back to a 
respectable distance, but he didn't miss the burning paper 
"house" and Zaki Jamil's final explanation of the principle of the 
lightning rod. With the last flash of homemade lightning, the 
program ended for two reasons: first, quite by coincidence, it was 
planned to end there, and second, the electricity in the studio 
suddenly went off. Under the circumstances the only deterrent to a 
sly and rapid retreat was the phantom of the alert cameraman #1 
with an eye for action covering the exit in case the current was 
restored. It was a relief to find that it was not the equipment but a 
dust storm that was responsible for the electrical difficulty. All 
departed with the cordial invitation to return again with more 
fascinating demonstrations. 

116 Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

Mathematics Contest 

Fr. MacDonnell started a mathematics club with frequent guest 
speakers from Baghdad University and Al-Hikma and had 
mathematics projects for the members to research and present. 
He also designed a mathematics classroom on the first floor east 
end of the Rice Science building. In the room were many 
mathematical artifacts and along the wall was a giant IBM scroll 
concerning the history of mathematics. 

During one of the Parents' Days he was rather taken aback 
when a parent pointed out that the scroll did not give the proper 
credit to the ancient Arab mathematicians. The parent was right. 
It was embarrassing since the Arabs had contributed so much to 
mathematics, not least of which was that zero is not merely a place 
holder but a genuine number. Fr. MacDonnell did not point out on 
the scroll this one item:"The Arab mathematicians contributed 
ZERO to mathematics", since somehow this did not seem 
appropriate at the moment. 

Each year, after 1964, all fourth and fifth year students were 
invited to compete with each other for two hours of solving 
problems in algebra, trigonometry and geometry. About 30 
courageous students would come to the mathematics classroom in 
the Rice Building and Fr. MacDonnell would administer the exam of 
15 questions, then later correct the answers and choose the three 
students who showed the best grasp of mathematics. 

On the occasion of the 1966 contest a remarkable thing 
occurred. After sitting for the contest, one of the students went 
home to find that his father had been killed by an intruder. 
Unaccountably the boy was arrested as a suspect and was brought 
to trial a month later. It so happened that he had just finished a 
two hour physics lab just before the math contest with, of all 
people, Fr. MacDonnell. 

The murder had taken place about noon so Fr. MacDonnell was 
the key witness at the trial. He convinced the judge that the 
student could not have committed the crime because he was with 
him from 11:30 to 3:30 doing experiments in a physics lab and 
then right after this taking the mathematics exam. The student 
was immediately released, but only after Fr. MacDonnell was able 
to convince the judge that it was a reasonable thing to believe that 
a student would voluntarily take a mathematics exam. The 
headlines of an Arabic newspaper read: "Jesuit resolves the 
conscience of accused slayer." (el-Emel, January 30, 1967, pp. 
1,4) Later the real murderer was found. The student was very 
grateful but did not win the contest. 

f Academic Programs f 

1 17 


An eloquent elocution 

The Debating Society 

The Debating Society's membership was restricted to students 
in fourth and fifth years. Bi-weekly debates were held in the 
library reading room and were attended by many students and 
faculty. Topics chosen from daily school life as well as world 
events were debated in both English and Arabic. They were 
warmly contested and it was always the conclusion of the audience 
that excellent speakers were emerging. The goals of the Debating 
Society were: to develop a young man's power of expression and 
offer him fundamental training in public speaking; to familiarize 
him with the apt reason and rules of logic, with cogent replies, 
with forceful attacks and to inculcate, through its meetings, the 
principles and practices of parliamentary law and at the same 
time to broaden his outlook on all questions of a debatable nature. 
The enthusiasm of the Baghdad College students for debating was 
always impressive and augured well for their futures as 
professional men. In 1948 the first prize debate was held, and its 
evident success assured its continuance as an annual event in the 
school activities program. A graduate recalls the debating 

One big advantage of this activity was to train senior students 
to take part in open discussions amongst a group of interested 
individuals in that particular topic, as attendance was 
voluntary. In the process, if the discussions got too hot to 
handle, it was the duty of the vice president/chairman to steer 
the conversations into a useful outlet, hence avoiding hurling 
chairs, and stationery at each other! 
(Luay Zebouni, B.C. '67) 

The Language laboratory 

The Language laboratory of Mr. Comille Tebsherany and Fr. 
Robert Sullivan proved to be a remarkable and pioneer adventure 

118 £}• 

Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

for Baghdad College. It proved very effective in helping the 
language teachers do their job. Both men realized that learning a 
language is primarily learning to distinguish, understand and 
reproduce accurately the sound system and not merely the 
grammatical elements. Language skills included not only reading, 
and writing but also understanding and speaking. Both men made 
significant contributions to the field of teaching English 
throughout the Arab world by experimentation with different 
types of laboratory equipment. Comille Tebsherany explained the 
program and its goals: to develop aural perception and familiarity; 
to inculcate mastery of the basic and troublesome structures; to 
assist in the ability to read rapidly and accurately; to develop 
aural-oral ability; to specialize in pronunciation drills (for 
multi-lingual areas) and to begin work on advanced literature. 

Fr. Sullivan 's language lab 
Mr. Tebsherany warned that: "A language laboratory in and of 
itself is not a universal panacea, it is not a substitute for a good 
teacher. But effectively used, it can be instrumental in aiding the 
language teacher and in accelerating the rate of progress in 
learning. It can reduce the teaching load. It can ensure that the 
beginning students are exposed to the sound system of a language as 
it comes from native speakers". Fr Decker recalls how satisfying 
the work was. 

Fr. Sullivan, Comille Tebsherany and I took care of the 
language program at the intermediate level. My knowledge of 
Arabic really helped a lot in this. It was wonderful to see how 
the boys improved so much in using the language. We also 
were able to conduct a program for the native teachers of 
English in the government schools, to enable them to be better 
models for their students. All of this was extremely fulfilling 
and I still miss it very much. The happiest years of my Jesuit 
life were the years I spent in Baghdad and I will always be 
grateful for this opportunity. (Fr. Decker) 

f Academic Programs f 119 

Teachers education by Baghdad College 

During the summer of 1964, at the request of the Ministry of 
Education, seminar courses in English were given at Baghdad 
College to Iraqi teachers of English. The announcement sent out by 
the Ministry of Education stated that the Baghdad College facilities 
would permit us to accept 140 candidates and over 300 
applications were received from every section of the country. 
After a preliminary proficiency examination, two groups were 
formed, of primary school teachers, and of intermediate and 
secondary school teachers, with men and women in each group and 
a total starting enrollment of 91. The two separate courses ran 
for six weeks, with a three-hour session five days a week. 

On August 22, 1966, Fr. Sullivan set to work installing six 
passive laboratories (labs used only for hearing, not for 
speaking) in schools of the Baghdad Ministry of Education. These 
labs were to be part of an experiment in the teaching of English 
according to modern methods. The installations were made 
possible through a grant of the Ford Foundation to the Ministry. 
The teachers in this experimental program were selected by the 
Ministry from the large number of those who had been trained in 
the seminars given at Baghdad College. The texts had been 
specially written for Arabic speaking students by Mr. Comille 
Tebsherany of the Baghdad College staff, and were successfully 
tried out at the College. If this worked, the program would be 
extended to all government schools throughout Iraq. Of the six 
schools chosen two were for girls and four for boys, in widely 
separated parts of Baghdad. The program actually got under way at 
the beginning of the 1966 academic year and the initial reaction 
had been very favorable. (More is found about this in the New 
England Province Newsletter, Sept-Oct '66 p. 23.) 

At the request of the Ministry of Education, Baghdad College 
would conduct another seminar for the training of Iraqi teachers of 
English. This six-month session had been scheduled to start in 
November, 1966, and this would have been the fifth seminar to be 
conducted at the College. All indications pointed to an increasing 

In September, 1965, at the request of the Ford Foundation, 
Baghdad College inaugurated an English Language Program in 
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to provide training in English to the civil 
servants of the Saudi Government. The program was centered in 
the Institute of Public Administration and was financed by the 
Saudi Government. The complete course consisted of nine levels, 
each running for 13 weeks, for a total of 130 hours. A passive 
language laboratory was installed at the Institute, and formal 
instruction began September 11, 1966. Fr. Robert Sullivan made 


Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

periodic visits to Riyadh to supervise the execution of the 
program. More information about this program is found in the 
New England Province Newsletter, Jan-Feb '66 p. 16. This 
Riyadh Program ended its third session July 16, 1966, with 106 

candidates success- 
fully completing the 
requirements of the 
various courses in 
which they were 
enrolled. On August 
6, the fourth session 
began with 176 
candidates enrolled in 
the five levels of 
instruction being 

A reception for the English teachers' seminar 

Experimental mathematical program 

During the year 1967-68 a modest start was made in an 
experimental "2A" section of more gifted second year students 
using the UNESCO research material which had been developed for 
the improvement of mathematical instruction. It was taught by 
Fr. MacDonnell and differed sufficiently from the regular 
curriculum to require a separate section that could stay together 
for the rest of their time at Baghdad College - 3A, 4A and 5A. 

The matter covered in this initiation into modern mathematics 
included set theory, group theory, Venn diagrams, complex 
numbers, properties of numbers and properties of operators. The 
rules for logic, syllogisms, sorites and truth table took a good 
portion of time. A geometrical analysis of symmetries was also 

It was also necessary to make sure that the students did not 
ignore the government exam syllabus (containing only traditional 
(though easier) mathematics) or else they would be unfairly 
judged in these all-important exams. It was important that they 
not be incorrectly classified and thus unable to enter the higher 
school of their choice if they knew the wrong mathematics. Only 
volunteer students who could manage both new and old 
mathematical approaches were accepted into this section. The 
program was discontinued after the Jesuits left Iraq. 

T Religious Programs f 121 

Religious programs 

Distrust between Christians and Muslims resulted from many 
centuries of conquest and massacres, but on the Baghdad College 
campus Christians and Muslims found a place where real 
friendships could develop as well as a deeper understanding of each 
other's religion. An example of this appreciation is found in a 
moving letter sent by a Muslim parent to Fr. John Owens, S.J., 
after he had given a homily to the student body about death, 
knowing that he himself was dying of cancer and had only a few 
months to live. 

Rarely have I encountered in my life a faith as deep as yours. 
In Islam, a basic essential in Faith is a complete acceptance of 
God's will. To accept it in the peace and serenity that you have 
shown, Father, is rare indeed. I want you to know your spirit 
in accepting God's will is an inspiring and enriching 
experience not only to your boys but to us parents, too. To 
know that in the turmoil of our modern times there still exist 
people like you, gives us hope for a better world. 
(A Muslim Parent) 

Another example comes from the reports made by Raymond 
Etteldorf in his book The Catholic Church in the Middle East. 

The non-Christians are not allowed to attend the classes in 
religion, but for the Christian students a thorough grounding 
in religion is, of course, given its due emphasis. An example 
of the results of this training was portrayed to me while I was 
there. I was told the story of Sabah Jadun, one of the students 
who earlier in the year had died a saintly death at the age of 

Sabah was very popular with his fellow students, a star on 
the basketball team; he was a daily communicant, a zealous 
member of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin, and an honor 
student. He told the members of his family that he had bound 
himself to a manner of life so dedicated to God they were to 
regard him in the future as "a priest with a necktie." Stricken 
with a brain tumor and learning that his illness might bring 
blindness, more intensive suffering, or death, he said simply, 
"Whatever God wants is all right with me." 
(Etteldorf, 1959 p. 132) 

In fact the story does not end there. Sabah's close friend, 
Usam Ismael, a Muslim, spent much of his time and energy that 


Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

semester collecting money from the other students to send Sabah to 
England for an operation. This operation was unsuccessful, but it 
underscores the friendship and loyalty that existed between 
Muslim and Christian classmates. The campus brought together 
Christians and Muslims on an equal footing, expressing in a way 
the spirit of the new constitution of Iraq, breaking away from the 
classical mold in which Christians were considered inferior in 
status. A case in point was Sabah who had a lasting effect on his 
classmates who left this memento of him in their 1956 Al Iraqi 

In picture after picture of school activities Sabah was seen 
taking part. Because of his prominent role in athletics and in 
the Sociality he captured the imagination of many boys in the 
lower classes and was their ideal and inspiration. His 
classmates of the graduating class learned to know him through 
the years they shared failure and triumph together, but did not 

realize how precious his 
friendship had become until 
he was threatened with the 
illness that proved fatal. 
"Being made perfect in a 
short space he fulfilled a long 
time" is the comment from 
the Book of Wisdom which we 
apply to Sabah to reconcile 
ourselves to the loss we have 
suffered in his untimely 
death. Teachers and fellow 
students are all better men 
for having known him and 
hope to find him again in 
eternal peace that is rest in 
God. {Al Iraqi, 1956, p. 12) 

Sabah Jadun, 1937-1956 

All members of the Baghdad College community, both Jesuit 
and alumni have their own edifying stories of Faith. Fr. Crowley 
celebrated Mass in the various Baghdad churches occasionally, as 
did the other Fathers. He writes about an event that impressed 
him. This story is followed by lasting spiritual lessons treasured 
by two of Baghdad College's early graduates. 

During my first month in Iraq in 1953 I was standing 
outside St. Raphael's Chapel after Sunday Mass waiting for my 

T Religious Programs f 123 

ride back to Baghdad College. No one else was around and all 
the congregation had left. Two veiled Moslem women came 
along and asked "Wain Miriam?" [Where is Mary?] First I 
thought they were looking for one of the Christian women but 
soon realized they were trying to find the statute of the Virgin 
Mary. My ride came and I left them there praying before the 
statue. Before this I had heard of Muslim expectant mothers 
who wanted to have their babies at St. Raphael's Clinic. 
(Fr. Crowley) 

I graduated from medical College in 1970 and qualified as a 
surgeon in 1977. In 1979 I finished my training in Urology 
and in addition to this I have been doing Kidney Transplant 
operations since 1989. I am a hard working surgeon working 
no less than 12 hours a day and six days in the week. I mention 
these things about myself since they have a direct relation to 
what I have learned from my years at Baghdad College. 

Fr. Loeffler and Fr. Gerry taught me how to work hard. Fr. 
Loeffler used to spend a long time gardening while Fr. Gerry 
used to spend a lot of his extra time in teaching us in the 
Biology Lab. This helped to shift my mind towards live objects 
and then medicine. To be a good surgeon, you need to be a 
faithful man. Although I attended all the Catechism and 
religion studies in Baghdad College in addition to all the 
spiritual events, I believe that my faith became stronger when 
I met (bless his soul) Fr. Owens a few days before he died. He 
was suffering from cancer in 1965. He said to me: "Shawgi, I 
feel very happy that I am going to meet Jesus and his mother 
Mary, and I hope if you keep on like this we will meet one day 
altogether." I felt his strength in his faith and this helped me 
since then when I was a medical student till now to fight all 
the way and keep my faith as strong as possible. (Shawgi 
George Gazala, B.C. '64) 

A.M.D.G. [Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam - For the Greater Glory of 
God] was a motto which I and many others wrote on top of 
every project and even exam papers. I have taken part in 
every spiritual event that took place at the College and also 
other places when they were run by one of the Fathers in 
either the Chaldean or Syrian Church. There were only a few 
that were selected from every class to join the Sodality. We 
used to have an open retreat at the beginning of every 
scholastic year and I can never forget the sermons given to us 
by Fr. Merrick. He gave them with great enthusiasm and 
passion deep from his heart. After our graduation we used to 

124 C| Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

join Fr. Merrick in a weekend retreat somewhere in a convent 
or church and spend two or three days in full meditation and 
prayer away from the hassle of home and the city. We used to 
regard Fr. Merrick as a model of sanctity and holiness and I 
have never forgotten him throughout my life. (George Rahim, 
B.C. '37) 

Service to the poor 

Baghdad College students were quite generous and this was 
evident in many ways, one of which was the annual play put on 
to raise money for the poor. Sometimes the boys were able to 
realize I.D. 200 dinars from the proceeds. Also every 
Saturday boys were assigned to take up a collection in every 
class and by Christmas they had brought in the sum of 120 
dinars which amounted to approximately I.D. 10 dinars per 
week. During a typical spring these boys really showed their 
stuff in the "grand drive for the poor" when they gathered 
1000 pieces of clothing, 25 dinars in the jar which was placed 
outside the Mudeer's office, and three sheep. "There were 
always competitions among the classes about who would top the 
list in the missions and poor collections." 

(Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64) 

Collectors for the poor 

Ameena Hermiz Jammo led an exemplary Christian life and 
was an inspiration to the Jesuits who worked with her. 
During the summer she would travel the mountainous remote 
areas of Northern Iraq to the little Chaldean villages to 
prepare the children for First Communion. She would spend 
her modest teaching salary helping poor families, purchasing 
bolts of cloth from which she and the local women would hand 
sew the clothes for children's First Communion. 

After she was transferred to teach in Baghdad, she began to 
spend most of her time after school assisting the local pastors 

f Religious Programs f 125 

and nuns of the suburban churches in religious education and 
caring for the sick in their homes or in hospitals. She also 
visited the less-religious families to persuade them to 
participate in religious functions, and urged them to send their 
children to the Catholic religious education classes in the local 

"Sit Ameena" as she was called by associates and friends 
("Sit" is a respectful title roughly translated as "Teacher") 
was the director and spiritual leader of the Sodality of the 
Army of Mary of Baghdad. 

Despite her advanced years during the 60's and 70's 
(calendar years exactly matched her age - being born in 
1900- ) and regardless of the weather (winter's cold and rain 
or summer's burning heat), she would still go to Baghdad's 
remotest suburbs (riding several buses and walking) to 
participate in religious functions. (Ramzi Hermiz, B.C. '48) 

Br. Foley answered the needs of the poor neighbors and Fr. 
Fennell had a very creative way of collecting money to give to the 
poor. He sent out to American Jesuit schools asking for used 
Christmas cards which would be thrown out. 

Collections for the poor, taken up regularly in all classes 
once a week, have always been the custom at Baghdad College. 
During a war-time, in 1942, an appeal was made to relatives 
and friends in America, to send us old Christmas cards of every 
kind. When they arrived, Fr. Fennell, who ran the bookstore, 
and some of the students went to work with scissors, cutting 
off the names signed on the bottom of the cards. The cards were 
given new envelopes, and were put up for sale in the bookstore. 
As there were no cards for sale in Baghdad during that war- 
year, the cards went fast, and at a good price! 

Some cards had the names still on them of American donors 
on the bottom of the card. It did not matter, the boys bought 
them anyway, signed their own name under these names and 
sent them to their teachers. So the greeting at the end changed 

(signed) Abdullah 
Enough money was collected to buy 22 chicken dinners for the 
poor that Christmas. (Fr. Fennell) 

Aside from the educational and religious effects we had at 
Baghdad College, also our social commitment to the local poor 
were effective on having a good impression of our Mission. The 

126 C| Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

backyard clinic that I ran for the poor I think had a very 
positive effect on the neighborhood. The treatments and 
medicines were as primitive as could be, yet it meant much to 
people who needed that attention. (Br. Foley) 

Fr. Morgan's Apos folate of Prayer 

Apostleship of Prayer 

Baghdad College students had always been strong in their 
participation in the Apostleship of Prayer, a world-wide 
organization of prayer and good works. The weekly meetings were 
held each Monday in which the members arranged devotional 
programs for every occasion. Several interesting talks on the 
Sacred Heart, the Twelve Promises, the Monthly Intention, and 
related subjects were presented by the members of the group. 
First Friday Mass celebrated each month in Saint Joseph's Church 
was part of the regular program and hundreds of families had been 
consecrated to the Sacred Heart. Each member was a promoter in 
the League and by his fidelity to the ideals of this devotion he 
endeavored to improve his own religious life and to influence 
others by his good example. The work is here described by Fr. 
Morgan and Luay, one of his charges. 

Our work used to cover periods after school and included 
useful discussions, preparation of spiritual material and an 
opportunity to make new friends. There were discussions of 
Catechism and I found Fr. Morgan a true Spiritual Scholar. We 
used to prepare and distribute the monthly prayer cards which 
I still keep a few, as treasured collections. (Luay Zebouni, 
B.C. '67) 

By the end of our stay in Iraq, we were distributing as I 

T Religious Programs f 127 

recall, some 6000 cards each month, as well as thirty silk 
screen posters "hand made" on the top floor of the Cronin 
building, with the help of students, who also helped in the 
mailing and delivery of the cards. It was sometimes difficult 
even with our Arabic experts to come out with the exact nuance 
the English I submitted intended. I recall one month when the 
intention to be prayed for was the "proper use of 
communications media" and one student asked me why we were 
praying for "buses and trains". With the help of Fr. Dick 
McCarthy and Faraj Raffouli for Arabic translations, we began 
printing (at Thomas Press) and circulating to various 
churches and schools in Iraq these "morning offering" cards of 
prayer, with a bit of doctrine on the back - quoting from 
Church sources, and after 1963 from the Second Vatican 
Council then in session. (Fr. Morgan) 

Novena of Grace 

Following a long Jesuit tradition, the Novena of Grace is held 
between March 4th to the 12th - nine days of prayer in honor of 
St. Francis Xavier whose feast day was March 12th. The Baghdad 
Jesuits preached this Novena at various churches and they were 
very popular. Sometimes the Jesuits would take turns preaching 
but the favorite of all was Fr. Richard McCarthy. By the Spring of 
1968 Fr. Richard McCarthy had preached his eighth consecutive 
Novena of Grace at St. Joseph's Chaldean Church. That year the 
Chaldean Patriarch attended the Novena daily, and on the last day 
Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Maurice Perrin, Apostolic 
Delegate in Iraq. But the novenas did not start with Fr. McCarthy 
as Augustine Shamas reminds us. 

Fr. LaBran had a generous heart and we shared together his 
many plans in a humble spirit motivated by a good cause. In 
the fifties, our churches were not living stones, just buildings 
visited by some few old people but then Fr. LaBran was the 
originator of the Novena to St. Francis Xavier. He started in 
the Armenian Church of the Sacred Heart in Karrada. He would 
say at the end of his homily, "come and get two other friends to 
come with you tomorrow" and his faith in St. Francis did the 
job. The church got so crowded that two services had to be held 
each day. The next year it was in a more spacious Church, the 
Chaldean Mar Yussef. As the years passed the crowds increased 
like the multiplication of the loaves and later other Jesuits did 
the preaching. I still hear the voice of the late Fr. McCarthy 
ringing in my ears, his homilies in Arabic made us think 
deeply. No one in Baghdad had ever heard of St. Francis Xavier 

128 ££ Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

until Father LaBran started the Novena and then the faith 
became so alive that people still make the Novena in 
thanksgiving for favours received. (Augustine Shamas) 


Extra-curricular activities were not limited to sports and 
debating. There was also a spiritual dimension which was best 
exemplified by the Sodalities of Our Lady, an institution found 
wherever Jesuits operated, the Jesuit organization known as the 
"Sodality" which in some form was active from the earliest days of 
Baghdad College. Regular meetings were held which focused on the 
spiritual formation of the Christian student including his social 
obligation to those around him. The students regularly came up 
with projects to aid the poor, neglected, and the sick. There were 
summer sessions not only for catechetical instruction but for 
remedial class work. In the fifties under Fr. Joseph LaBran with 
the aid of Alumni Sodalists, these programs took on the air of a 
summer school which ended with a Novena preparing for the 
celebration of First Communions on August 15. There were many 
Fathers who directed the Sodality and contributed to its growth and 
popularity among the students, but special mention must be made 
of Frs. LaBran, Shea, Donohue and O'Connor. 

The year 1954 was 
declared worldwide Marian 
Year and 116 countries 
sent representatives to 
Rome. Our Baghdad College 
contingent boasted of 18 
Iraqis. We took a bus 
across the Syrian desert to 
Beirut and boarded a 
Turkish boat to Naples. We 
had to sleep on the deck 
using our baggage for 
pillows. Once 

in Rome, however, the 
colorful blue sashes of the 
Sodality became a big hit. 
The students never forgot 
their Roman experience. 
(Fr. LaBran) 

Religious instruction 

T Religious Programs T 129 

Way of the Cross on the roof of the classroom building 

The Sodality was meant to enliven the spiritual lives of the 
Christian members as well as instilling in them the principles of 
the Gospel, especially the lesson of reaching out and serving 
others. The Sodalities had a large number of service projects, 
instructing children in their catechism and collecting food and 
money for the poor. Fr. Mahoney described his succeeding the 
great Fr. LaBran. 

It was not an easy assignment to be the successor to Fr. 
LaBran. But the first thing I remember about the assignment 
was the wonderful group of students who offered themselves to 
this spiritual endeavor. It certainly was not easy to emulate 
Fr. LaBran with his grand extravagances like the dances he 
organized and above all: the Petroleum Sunday celebrations. 
When those affairs occurred, I was in the confessional hearing 
confessions, since there were not many Fathers who could hear 
confessions in Arabic. The groups I worked with were very 
active and their major work was to teach the children of our 
workmen the fundamentals of the Catechism. 

The Sodalists were just like ordinary boys of their age. 
During the St. Francis Xavier Novena ushers were needed for 
the daily exercises at the Chaldean Church. When at a meeting 
I asked who wanted to be ushers (wearing a glamorous blue 
sash of the Sodality) there was a great rush to the sign-up list 
and the table was almost toppled. They wanted their relatives 
and friends to see that they belonged to the elite Christian 
organization at Baghdad college. Another event which the 
Sodalists enjoyed was their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The 
lads were certainly impressed. We boarded in the Franciscan 
hostel, Casa Nova, and the boys thought they were treated like 
kings. (Fr. Mahoney) 

130 Ci Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

My three brothers graduated from Baghdad College and so my 
friendship with the Jesuits was enduring. "I shall always 
treasure those precious fruitful years working with the 
Jesuits in Baghdad as a special inspiration that added direction 
and meaningfulness to my life." Each year a special World 
Sodality Day was held inviting all Sodalities of the city to 
Baghdad College grounds for a huge procession and Mass in the 
open air. The crowds were unbelievable. Fr. LaBran had a 
fascinating way in drawing people to worship by his generosity 
of heart and his great enthusiasm in doing the job for the 
greater glory of God. We all helped and felt so happy and 
grateful. (Augustine Shamas) 

The apostolic effects of the Sodality lasted long after the 
Jesuits left as is reported in a 1991 letter relating a recent 
conversation with the Carmelite Fr. Raymond, already mentioned, 
who worked with the Jesuits in the Sodalities many years ago. 

Fr. Raymond spoke eloquently about the Sodality of Baghdad 
College and Al-Hikma. He said the bonding in faith which 
occurred in those groups has been a mainstay of the Christians 
ever since. Even after our schools ceased to function under 
Jesuits, the Sodality members and the movement itself 
survived in various parishes (and rites) and continues to 
provide support, solace and hope for many. Fr. LaBran as well 
as Fr. Fred Kelly was mentioned by Fr. Raymond as the 
principal inspiration of this reality. (Letter from Amman) 

One of the Sodality activities focused on Petroleum Sunday 
which was a religious celebration held on the last Sunday of May 
on the Baghdad College campus. A Marian float was carried in a 
lengthy procession around the campus and this was followed by a 
Eucharistic Benediction. The celebrations lasted from 1952 to 
1958 and was due to the zeal of an American oil worker, a daily 
communicant and friend of Fr. LaBran, George Ehrhard from 
Elizabeth, New Jersey. He wanted to thank God for the gift of oil 
and to pray for all those who worked in the oil industry. Organized 
by the members of the Sodality, it was a very colorful pageant and 
attracted hundreds of people. 

Religious instruction 

The project of Catechetics adapted to Baghdad caught the 
interest of several Fathers such as Fr. Marrow who visited 
centers of instruction each Friday and later Fr. Scopp who saw 
Catechetics not only for the early religious formation of Baghdad 

f Religious Programs T 131 

College students but also for the other schools and parishes. 
Summer, in the context of the Sodality, was a very practical 
workshop for several Jesuits working with the alumni. 

Helped by Sodalists and other volunteers the Fathers 
organized and directed catechism courses for many Christian 
children in the neighborhood. They were prepared for First 
Communion, which was usually held in the summer. 
(Fr. Morgan) 

The Christian Center 

Summer activity finally motivated some close Iraqi friends to 
finance a Christian Center where young people could meet for 
social, intellectual, and religious exchange and development. The 
Carmelite Fr. Raymond worked closely with Fr. LaBran, whose 
dream it was to make the Center an important place for Christian 
encounter attracting not only Baghdad College and Al-Hikma people 
but also Baghdad University students and alumni. Later Fr. Young 
was assigned to this work. The participants came initially from 
Baghdad College and Al-Hikma for regular gatherings and 
discussions. The Carmelites kept the Center going after the 
Jesuits were dismissed, and attracted students from Baghdad 
University who started a program of adult education in Christian 
Doctrine. The Carmelites had nothing but praise for the members 
of the Jesuit Alumni Sodality who worked with them to keep the 
Center active through difficult years. One of the most important 
people in this was Augustine Shamas who together with Walter 
Young told the following history of the Center. 

Fr. LaBran had great insights into the needs of the church in 
Baghdad and so he saw the need for a Christian Cultural Youth 
Center. A major concern of his was a center which would not 
only be social but educational as well, where young people and 
their families could gather on holidays and in the evenings. 
"We want a Center, we need a Center" was his constant 
enthusiastic refrain. Not a man to give up easily, nor to sit 
passively on the sidelines, he pushed and persuaded until most 
obstacles and restrictions were eliminated: obstacles and 
restrictions emanating from both the government and Church 
authorities as well. He did his best to realize it, but at the 
time there were many obstacles, and unfortunately his dream 
came true only after he left Baghdad. 

Eventually though it happened and the corner stone of the 
"Center" was laid in 1959 in the Karrada section of Baghdad on 
land owned by the Carmelite Fathers within walking distance of 

132 Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

a hundred homes of Baghdad College students. Many activities 
and celebrations were held in a part of the city which was 
already marked by the presence of such popular clubs as the 
Chaldean Hindia Club, the Assyrian Sports Club, El Meshriq 
Club and El-Alwiiya Club. The Center's great success testifies 
to the seriousness of purpose, common sense and genuine 
Christian faith of the Iraqi students who frequented it. 

Approval from both the government and the Church was 
difficult to obtain. The building site and its lay out had to be 
agreed on and the composition of the participating groups had 
to be determined. Since the purpose of the "Center" was to 
bring together many different groups in order to share their 
Faith, to grow in a caring manner, and to act with justice and 
compassion, the building had to be big enough to accommodate 
large numbers of people. Well-established groups of adults 
who were to monitor the youth of the Center included the 
Catholic Ladies Benevolent Association and the Sodality of Our 
Lady of Banncuse, under the spiritual direction of Fr. Merrick. 

Large numbers of Iraqi students began to frequent the Center 
to participate in its varied activities almost as soon as the 
doors opened, the immediate success of the Center with its 
outdoor cinema and gardens, its attractive auditorium and 
modern, comfortable meeting rooms was a surprise especially 
to those who had expressed anxiety over the project. Much of 
the credit was due to the generous efforts of the Jesuit Fathers 
Kelly, O'Connor and Young, and of the Carmelite Fathers Rene, 
Robert, and Raymond. The work of the Center's mixed team of 
advisors testifies to a remarkable spirit of collegiality among 
priests of diverse religious orders sent to Iraq from separate 
countries. The advisors worked together in harmony sharing 
with Iraqi students their collective wisdom and skills. Most 
advisors conducted their work in Arabic. 

Because of the zeal and talents of these men a spirit of 
cooperation spread into local churches which were divided into 
different rites such as Chaldean and Syrian, both Catholic, but 
unable to work closely together. A catechetical school for 
primary and secondary government school students was 
established. The program brought religious instruction to 
scores of Christian youngsters every Friday. Weekly classes 
(along with movies) were held alternately in Chaldean and 
Syrian locations. Buses supplied by Baghdad Coiiege, the 
Chaldean Sisters, the Carmelite Fathers and the Sisters of the 
Presentation picked up students from the four corners of the 
city and transported them to and from the University sites of 
the classrooms. Five hundred young girls and boys were 

f Religious Programs f 133 

involved, many of whom were from families which had 
emigrated from the North of Iraq to Baghdad. Iraqi clergy and 
laymen of both rites served as teachers in this program. 

The story of the Center is not only about clergy but also of 
talented faithful lay people as well. The Center's survival 
after Jesuit educators and advisors were expelled is the 
ultimate proof of its success. For the years following, the 
takeover of Baghdad College, the Center continued to thrive and 
eventually evolved into an adult school of continuing education 
where courses in theology and Church history were taught. 

The Center's advisors in particular had expert advisors 
themselves. These experts emerged in the persons of two 
gifted and patriotic families, Razoog Shammas was a respected 
international lawyer; his devoted wife, Augustine Shamas, was 
a devout member of Fr. Merrick's Sodality. Their door was 
always open, their home became an office for frequent 
consultation and on many occasions dinner was served in the 

General Ephram Hindo, one of the most respected Christian 
public figures in Iraq, his wife Laila Hindo, and their large 
family were always available for advice and support. The good 
council they offered to anyone who sought it was not only 
perceptive and beneficial but seasoned with Christian charity. 

The Center encompassed the following four groups. 

1 . The Catholic Ladies' Benevolent Association and the Sodality 
of Our Lady of Banncuse cared for Iraq's poor. 

2. The Legion of Mary, founded by the Dominican Fathers was 
an enthusiastic group who visited the sick and prisoners and 
brought their clients both spiritual and material help. 

3. The Christian Cultural Club, by far the group with the 
highest profile in the Center, was composed of students from 
Al-Hikma and Baghdad University. One of the organization's 
purposes was to create a good social environment for male and 
female university students. 

4. Fr. Young's Youth Sodality for boys who had failed out of 
Baghdad College were gathered together in a program in which 
they could appreciate the care the Jesuits had for them. The 
group assembled once a week to ask questions, to pray, to 
prepare slide lectures for catechism, to socialize and to 
recreate. They formed a football team and once took a summer 
trip to Northern Iraq during the Kurdish up-rising. The rebel 
Kurds sent escorts to meet the group when it reached the 
limits of government-held territory since the Kurds had heard 
that the boys were somewhat affiliated with Baghdad College. 
(Augustine Shamas and Fr. Walter Young) 

1 34 

Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

The Minor Seminary (1963-1969) 

The formation of the clergy for the Chaldean, Syrian, and 
Greek Catholic communities was a concern of Church 
authorities and the Jesuits were anxious to find ways to 
cooperate. Minor seminaries were a regular institution in the 
formation of the clergy and it was thought that joining the 
seminary with a good secondary education at Baghdad College 
might be the answer. The Chaldean Patriarch had taken the 
initiative and asked the Jesuits to train the high school age 
candidates who would like to later enter the Major seminary at 
Dora. They lived in the rented house opposite the Boarding 
school and were prefected by Fr. Regan who made occasional 
trips to the north of Iraq to visit the families of seminarians. 

i .ii 






A living rosary 



Other Jesuits, Frs. Como and 
Mulcahy, were later assigned 
to the task. The Jesuits, 
however, never had the 
chance to follow through to a 
Major seminary, and as 
Jesuits look back, nothing 
they could have done would 
have equaled the work done 
by the multi-ritual 
seminary of the Dominicans 
at Mosul whose graduates are 
the mainstay of the Church in 
Baghdad. (Fr. Donohue) 

I » 

B.C. 's green grass was due to Fr. Loeffler's ingenious irrigation system 

f Social Activities f 135 

Social Activities 

The canteen was the center of much of the social activity at 
Baghdad College because of its location surrounded by the 
athletic fields. In the sixties it was run by "Adam" who served 
special meals for the faculty. It was not exactly the Stage Door 
Canteen, but it was a place the students could get a good samun 
sandwich and a bottle of Fanta or Kawthar or something wet. 
And like all places where high school students gather, it was 
always on the verge of turning into bedlam. The Jesuit 
scholastics had to patrol the Canteen just to keep order. Many 
still have clear memories of the poor scholastic who had duty 
on Mondays, Sunday evening he would develop a fever. But it 
was not only at noon, for lunch, that the canteen was a place of 
encounter. It was also the place Muslim students used to while 
away the time until the Christians finished their religion 
classes. Several of the upper classmen were always playing 
cat and mouse with the poor scholastic assigned to prefect. 
(Fr. Donohue) 

Parents 1 Day 

In 1965 Baghdad College adopted a new custom called Parents' 
Day. Each semester all students' parents were invited to see the 
school, parade around the beautiful campus, walk through the 
laboratories with their proud son, and meet the teachers with a 
sometimes humbled son. The Jesuits and the "Misteria" were 
stationed at strategic places to greet the parents, make sure that 
they found their way along a predetermined route and offered them 
some modest repast. Students were instructed to show off how 
smart they were to their attentive parents and disgruntled 
siblings by taking it upon themselves to demonstrate the 
laboratory apparatus. The invitations were sent out in Arabic five 
days before the event and entrusted to the student. During each 
semester Fr. Sullivan busily collected campus action scenes on 
film which were shown at the next Parents' Day. These were the 
same films put onto cassettes and sold at past reunions. The 
Parents' Days became very popular for the families who seemed to 
enjoy them as much as a picnic. Oddly enough not much was said 
about the students' marks, even though the teachers were ready 
for questions. 

An illustration of the pressures put on the students during 
these Parents' Days follows from a daring and trusting student who 
took a chance and lived to write about his experience. 

In the middle of my third year, our parents were invited to 

136 C£ Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

come to the school and take a look on almost everything at the 
school facilities. I was afraid to invite my parents, because I 
was not doing well that year and I was afraid of what would 
happen to me if my father would ask "How is my son doing at 
school?" I asked one of my Jesuit friends: "Do you plan to give 
my parents a status report on how I am doing?" He said "No, 
this is merely an opportunity to meet them and have fun with 
them." There was still doubt in my mind whether they would 
reveal my poor performance - just like St. Thomas when he 
said "I do not believe that Jesus is risen from the dead till I see 
him and touch his wounds". When the time came my father 
asked the question I was expecting: "How is my son doing this 
year?" The answer was that I was doing well and suddenly the 
subject was changed to something quite different by my Jesuit 
friend. I still believe that he saved me from a punishment that 
I would have gotten from my father. 
(Kamal Youkhanna Rayes, B.C. '66) 

Visiting Wakes and Funerals 

One of the regular practices of the Jesuits as members of Iraqi 
society was to attend wakes and when possible, funerals. Funerals 
did not allow much notice but there was plenty of time to attend 
wakes since they were held often both in the Muslim and in the 
Christian homes. In a traditional society with strong family ties, 
wakes and funerals are social occasions. This posed no problem, so 
many of the Jesuits were of Irish background from New England 
where wakes and funerals have the same sort of standing - or they 
did until someone invented the Funeral Parlor. Actually, attending 
wakes, both Muslim and Christian, was an initiation into society. 
To see the way people accepted death and the purging that 
accompanied the rite was instructive. 

Since burials In Baghdad took place the same day as the death, 
funerals were difficult to attend, but Jesuits had a very strong 
presence among the bereaved. Many would attend the wakes 
during the first three days, the seventh day, the fortieth and the 
day following major feasts (be it Easter or Christmas) which was 
a day of mourning for the family of the deceased. 

Celebrities were not ignored: for instance in 1966 the schools 
were closed for two days on the occasion of the death of the 
President of Iraq, Abdul Salam Arif. Jesuits attended the funeral 
service. A wreath from the Jesuit Fathers was placed at the coffin 
where the body lay in state at the Presidential Palace. 

Visiting families during the feasts 

On important national feast days Jesuit officials would go to the 
palace for the "signing of the book", a v ceremony at which 

f Social Activities f 137 

government protocol officials would welcome those coming to sign. 
But most of the Jesuit visiting concerned ordinary people, the 
rich, the poor and the very poor families of the Baghdad College 
students. On major feast days (Christmas, Easter, Id al Fitr) the 
Jesuits had the practice of visiting the families of the students in 
order to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Iraq. 

Fr. MacDonnell visited a home at the urging of an Armenian 
student to find that he was away on an errand and that his mother 
did not understand any English. While having tea, which was 
offered to guests, Fr. MacDonnell made what small talk he could. 
"The winter is cold, the river is deep and the brown cows are 
eating the green grass on the high meadow." After having used up 
the only three sentences he had learned in his five months in 
Baghdad, and not hearing much of a response, he thought it was 
about time to say good-bye. So he left a charming but puzzled host. 
At mathematics class on the following Monday a conversation went 
something like this. "Where were you when I came to visit your 
house?" "On an errand. What language were you speaking to my 
mother?" "Arabic." "She does not know any Arabic, she only 
knows Armenian. What were you saying?" "It was nothing you 
would be interested in. It was grown-up talk." Students were 
merciless in dealing with their teachers who were trying to learn 
Arabic, especially if he was a beginner. 

During the vacation times some of the Jesuits went to Basra in 
the South or to Mosul in the North, visiting families of the 
students. All were extremely hospitable but one of the most 
welcoming families was the Shemdin family, a prominent Kurdish 
Muslim family who owned property in Zakho in Northern Iraq, and 
many of the 13 children (two sets of twins) attended Baghdad 
College and/or Al-Hikma. The family was accustomed to offering 
sanctuary to those in need and on more than one occasion protected 
large groups of beleaguered Christians. Hazim Shemdin, born in 
1901, was the name of the father. Yusuf Shemdin, the 
grandfather of these many Shemdin alumni of Baghdad College and 
Al-Hikma received an award from Pope Leo XIII for his protection 
of Christians who took refuge from hostile marauding armies near 
the Shemdin home. The armies would not dare attack the Shemdin 

The all time champion visitors were Frs. LaBran and Donohue 
who visited no less than 36 families in two days. During his visits 
Fr. Sara was asked by some of his relatives about the motivation 
of the Jesuits which he kept to himself lest he seem to flatter his 
colleagues. "Why are these handsome young men here? They could 
have had anything they wanted so what are they doing in Baghdad?" 

138 £2 ; Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

Living and teaching for three years (1945-1948) at 
Baghdad College was a wonderful experience and rare 
opportunity for an American Jesuit for many reasons. Baghdad 
was part of one of the great non-Western cultures, a culture 
profoundly different. Baghdad is a historic ancient - and 
modern - capital of the Arab and Muslim world, a world 
distinctly "other" than the United States or Europe in history, 
languages, religious peoples and cultures. Further, around 
Baghdad lay a countryside of extraordinary archeological 
riches. Religiously, Iraqis are overwhelmingly Muslim, 
Sunni and Shiites, but the Christian minority is a mosaic of 
different churches, each with colorful histories and customs. 
The Arab-Israeli conflict, centered on the problem of 
Palestine, that would explode in May 1948 with the 
establishment of the State of Israel, an event which profoundly 
affected everyone living in the Middle East. I and other 
Baghdad College Jesuits lived for two months in Bethlehem 
during the Summer of 1947 and, visiting by bus all of 
Palestine, we grew sensibly aware of the incredible growing 
tension, and sensitive to the fears of Palestinians regarding 
their future. 

If I had come to Baghdad to work in the U.S. Embassy or some 
American firm, I would not have had much contact with Iraqis. 
But as a teacher and boarding school prefect, I had daily living 
contact with Iraqis of various backgrounds, religions and 
languages, sons of poor and rich families alike. Teaching 
students is an extraordinary way to get to really know people. 
Further, we entered into the lives of the families of Iraqi 
teachers and students in diverse ways, by visits to Muslim and 
Christian homes on their feast days, by attendance at wakes, 
funerals and weddings, by invitations to dinners and 
celebrations in Iraqi homes where we found a hospitality that 
was overwhelming. At Baghdad City track and field meets we 
watched with pride as Baghdad College students performed with 
great success. We traveled around the country during vacation 
time and met students' families in Basra, Mosul, and Kirkuk. 
In Faish Khabur, which in 1994 is the only entrance/exit 
between Northern Kurdisdan and Turkey, we were guests of the 
Agha, the head man of the area, who sent his sons to Baghdad 

All these experiences gave us a special, intimate contact 
with our students and their families and, like a key, opened 
our minds and hearts to a profound understanding of our 
vocation as teachers, as well as learners. From what I have 
been describing, it is clear that I myself learned at least as 

f Social Activities f 

1 39 

much as I taught. For me, the people of Iraq had become part of 
my heart and spirit. (Fr. Ryan) 

A young Jesuit had promised to visit a Christian student's 
home at Christmas. Although armed with exact directions on 
how to get there, the Arabic street signs failed him. He came to 
what he thought was his student's home and received a royal 
welcome. His student was nowhere to be found so he thought he 
was out visiting another Christian family. After the vacation 
the student expressed regret the Jesuit didn't keep his 
promise. Then he found out that it was the home of a Muslim 
neighbor that he had visited. They received him like a long- 
lost brother, although they had no idea why he was visiting 
them. (Fr. Crowley) 



First "5-year" graduation class: 1937 

The June Graduations 

The 1937 Baghdad College graduating class was the first class 
to have finished five years and also the smallest in the history of 
Baghdad College. It consisted of only 7 student-graduates: Tariq 
Munir Abbass, Louis Boutros, Antoine Tabib, Sayed Hussein, 
George Rahim, Abboudi Talia, and Edward Thomas Zoma. 

Graduation exercises at King Faisal Gardens sometime in the 
middle of June officially brought the school year to an end. Tickets 
were always difficult to get since many people wanted to be 
included among the 2000 guests. Sharing the platform with our 
50 to 80 graduates would be an impressive host of dignitaries 
representing Church and State: the Apostolic Delegate, Bishops 
and Archbishops of the Oriental Communities, a Member of the 
King's Council (or later of the Republic), the Cabinet Ministers of 
Education, Social Affairs and Finance, the Lord Mayor of Baghdad 
and members of the Diplomatic Corps. Our young graduates 
certainly did not lack surrounding brilliance to light their exit 
from the stage. All families of the graduating fifth class looked 
forward to the spectacle of the graduation held in June at the Royal 
Gardens, one of the most impressive events of the year. 

140 £$■' Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

Lay Faculty 

The Jesuits were very concerned that the lay faculty were a bit 
removed from many school activities so there was always the 
danger that they might not feel included in the life of the school. 
They had their own faculty room where they met each other in 
between classes. Rarely would they meet the Jesuits and Misteria 
who were usually mingling with the students in sports events and 
conversations between classes. Jesuits wondered how the students 
interpreted this distance between the laity and the Jesuits. 

A gathering of the faculty 
Since many of the teachers had heavy teaching loads in other 
schools, lunch was the only time they would be free to socialize 
with the Jesuits and with each other. Plans were in the works to 
make them members of the school's decision making committees 
but these were thwarted by the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1969. 
During the last few years the Jesuits established a custom of 
inviting them to lunch at the Jesuit house, and this made a 
wonderful difference and improved greatly the interaction between 
the two groups. Of course there was always an annual end of the 
year faculty gathering where Jesuits would socialize with the lay 
faculty. Fr. Donohue comments on one such party and the courtly 
Mahmud Yusuf. 

It was at these meetings that many Jesuits learned what real 
politesse meant. Some of us recall Ustadh Mahmud Yusuf, 
Egyptian professor of Arabic, telling us that all families in 
Baghdad were beseeching God that a son be born to them so they 
could send him to Baghdad College. (Fr. Donohue) 

Fr. Sara asked a Muslim teacher why he came to the Sulaikh 

f Social Activities f 


campus every Friday, his day of rest, to teach Arabic. He 
answered; "I want to come and look forward to coming. When I 
come here I am in a different world. It is a green place of 
friendship and peace." 

Jesuit exodus to villa 

The vacation exodus from Baghdad occurred a few weeks after 
graduation when some Jesuit Superior, cast in the role of Moses, 
led the community out of the desert into the mountains of Lebanon 
at Ghazir. The vacation spot in the north of Iraq, Inishk which was 
mentioned earlier, had proved unsuitable so the Lebanese Jesuits 
invited the Baghdadis to come and spend the summer in their 
minor seminary which was vacated by the seminarians. They went 
back to their families for the summer for their own vacation. 
Some Jesuits stayed behind in Baghdad to staff the offices and 
carry on with various works of the ministry. They in turn would 
be replaced in the course of the summer so that all might have 
some respite from the Baghdad heat. 

Boarding students for the year 1949-50 

142 Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

Athletic programs 

A large portion of each Al-lraqi Yearbook is dedicated to the 
athletic events of the previous year and it is surprising to see how 
many students participate in some sport. Some senior classes 
were very good in helping the younger students get their games 
started. But usually from year to year much depended on what 
games the Jesuits and the lay volunteers preferred since they 
would organize the events if the senior students did not take the 
lead. Boxing, for example, flourished when Fr. James Larkin 
was on the campus; otherwise the gloves were put away for the 
year. American football was played occasionally but it could not 
compete with "Iraqi football" (soccer). Waiel Hindo comments on 
the central place of sports and Hamid recalls how the Jesuits got 
after students to play sports. 

Fr. Quinn wanted to make an athlete out of me but I could not 
take sports seriously. He would point his finger at me and 
yell; "Shinoo binoo minoo?" I showed him I could do something 
and gave the 1963 BC graduation speech at King Faisal 
Gardens. (Hamid Attisha, B.C. '63) 

In sports the Baghdad College teams were so good, that many 
members of these teams became stars in the Iraqi official 
teams or the sport clubs in Iraq. In the 1948 Olympics in 
London two of Baghdad College students represented Iraq. In 
1952 more students represented Iraq at the athletics 
competitions in Egypt. Frs. Quinn and Sheehan were known to 
be creators of heroes in track and field. In basketball Fathers 
Egan and Regan - the brothers as we called them - contributed 
tremendously to the improvement of the basketball game in 
Iraq. Two sports events that were also very popular with the 
students were the yearly Baghdad College track meet day and 
the All-Star baseball team which played against the Father's 
team on thanksgiving day. (Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64) 

Softball was a game that 
everyone liked and was played on 
every available field. 
Basketball was probably tied 
with baseball in popularity. 
More than one of the Jesuits have 
happy memories of the informal 
games played on the softball 
diamond and basketball courts. Fr. Quinn in charge of the game 

f Athletic Programs f 143 

Looking back at Baghdad College I remember most vividly 
playing basketball as a young scholastic with a contingent of 
Kurdish scholars. I remember especially Sirbest and Salah. 
What wonderful friends they were. The thing I can't 
remember is who won all those games? However, I remember 
those kids clearly. There was a small pool by the basketball 
court where, after the games, we would sit in the cool waters 
and be refreshed - like the waters of Babylon! 
(Fr. Hicks) 

Soccer Football 

There is something about football that is universally attractive 
in every country that can produce a level field. Perhaps it is the 
fact that everyone is in the game and no one can slack off. Baghdad 
College students had an agility lacked by their American teachers 
who envied the way they could use their foot with a ball as if the 
foot were a hand, causing the ball to do exactly what they wanted it 
to do. They could put as much spin on the ball as they wished. As a 
result the Fathers were not very successful in coaching this sport. 
Nevertheless the students would come back with victories and 
trophies from the Baghdad inter-school tournaments most of the 


Winning a trophy in the city tournaments was not unusual for 
Baghdad College, but occasionally the newspapers would describe 
Baghdad College victories with unusual eloquence. In 1958 the 
Arabic newspapers complimented Baghdad College in using Fr. 
MacDonnell's "al man to man" defense as "new". It must have 
puzzled Arabic readers to see "man" spelled out in Arabic letters. 
From the 1958 Al-lraqi Yearbook comes the description of a 
successful basketball season. 

The keynote of our victorious season was harmonious 
teamwork; it was very clear early in the season when we 
surprised the A'adhamiah Club with a "new" brand of 
basketball called "al man-to-man" defense (only as old as Dr. 
Naithsmith - the inventor of basketball in 1891); apparent 
even when an unpublicized Mansur Club came up to beat us at 
our own game: and finally no less evident when we snatched the 
City League trophy from Tajara with a smooth display of 
screening and passing. Nonetheless, mention must be made of 
Manuel Jurgis's shrewd defensive tactics; of Muhanned al 
Durrah's fast breaking prowess, of Sameer Vincent's agile 
tapping which helped earn for him an average of 19 points per 

144 ££ 

Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

game, of Ibrahim's pivot work and ball handling; of Wayil 
Kubba's play-making and 'heads-up' driving; of Sudad al- 
Jaobaji's defensive rebounding and 'floating' skill. These were 
the united efforts of our favorite competitors. 
{Al-lraqi Yearbook, 1958) 

Fr. Mahoney inherited this team the following year and would 
reach the court for practice and find all players waiting to go to 
work which made it an easy job for a coach. In an effort to keep 
them busy and still preserve some strength for himself, he 
borrowed a clock to speed up their passing in a ten second pattern. 

He had in fact set it for 
eight seconds and his 
players became very 
good ball handlers. Fr. 
Mahoney describes his 
season and was pleased 
and felt that our sports 
program was recognized 
and appreciated more 
than we thought. 

An informal basketball game 

It was a long season. The first game was played in October and 
the final game for 'the cup' was played in May. This was a very 
exciting game. Down by eleven at the half our lads noticed the 
TV cameras and they came back against the older and better 
players. Since it was our third successive cup victory we 
gained permanent possession of the trophy. A few months after 
the great game while I was walking along Rashid Street, a 
young man crossed the street and congratulated me on our 
victory, saying that he enjoyed the game very much. (Fr. 

Two notable events happened during the season. We went to 
Markaziya Secondary school where the basketball court was 
the courtyard of the school with classrooms and balconies all 
around. During the game, the referee called a technical foul on 
Baghdad College and pointed to the balcony - there were two or 
three of the Fathers who had come to watch the game - Fr. 
Thomas Kelly got a little carried away in protesting the 
referee's call and that's why the "man in the balcony" got a 
technical. The coach, Fr. MacDonnell objected to the referee: 
"This is the first time I ever heard of a foul called on the 
audience." He heard the referee point at him and say; "Two 

T Athletic Programs f 


technical fouls on Baghdad College." We won anyway. 

The other event was winning the city championship - 
Baghdad College played Technical or Commercial school - Falah 
Akram, who left Baghdad College after third year, was a 
natural athlete and the best of the opposition - Baghdad College 
had Sawa Ishu, small but effective shooter; Sameer Vincent, 
Nazad Uthman, etc. at half time, Baghdad College was behind - 
in the second half, when Nazad was moved to center from his 
guard position, the game changed as Nazad could challenge Falah 
Akram under the boards - Baghdad College won. 
(Fr. Pelletier) 

At the age of 12 to 15, basketball was one of the most 
important things in my life back in 1961-1964. I wanted to 
be on the "second bus" going home, just to enjoy another 45 
minutes or so of basketball. Owning a basketball was a real 
privilege. You never have to leave the court even if your team 
lost - you would quickly declare "Ani Abu Atoba" [Its my ball] 
and everyone would understand and accept your special status 
with respect so you would play again and again. 
(Ghassan Jamil Hami, B.C. '66) 

Baghdad College marches in the government track meet 


As ordinary growing youngsters, Baghdad College students 
were interested in playing games. At first baseball was a 
mystery to them but it did not take long for them to catch on. 
Once they caught on to the game they relished the playing 
against other classes and finally for the championship of the 
whole school. How fast did the youngsters catch on to the 
game? Very quickly: one year one of the reading assignments 
was from the life of Helen Keller. During one of the games 

146 Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

when one of the Jesuit umpires made an unpopular call, the 
cry came from the bench "Helen Keller is the umpire." 

Games were played during a double lunch period and a Jesuit 
had to be present so that the students would not wander in the 
path of a swinging bat. Fr. Mahoney found he had only one of 
these periods free so when his class implored him to be at 
their midday game for the semester he protested that he would 
miss his lunch. The students solved the problem, after that 
each day they brought him a sandwich: "come on Father, eat 
your lunch so we can play ball." (Fr. Mahoney) 

In the Fall of 1968 the Baghdad College Jesuits discovered that 
the good old days were gone when they could field three baseball 
teams at a time against the student body. Gray hair and expanding 
paunches took their toll, and so the boys took the faculty of Fathers 
and Misters in the annual November baseball game, to the tune of 
9 to 3. Mr. Belcher was their fading batting star, but he was 
very, very tired the following day. Fr. Loeffler was seen training 
for the game by cutting down old eucalyptus trees on the property 
with his hefty axe. His hard training paid off: he was the only 
Jesuit to cross the plate. 

For this Jesuit-student baseball game in November classes 
ended early. The students rooted for (or against - depending on 
how the studies were going) their Jesuit teachers pitted against 
the student all star team. With no bleachers a short person was at 
a distinct disadvantage since close to 800 students were crowded 
along the first and third base lines. Fr. MacDonnell noticed a 
rather enterprising but short student from his own physics class 
arrive with a beautifully designed periscope, with the letters O- 
P-E-N arranged vertically along the side. It did the trick. He saw 
the whole game including all of Fr. MacDonnell's runs, hits and 
errors. When asked where he got the idea and what the letters 
meant the enterprising young man produced the golf section of an 
American sports page showing a crowd of spectators using similar 
devices. He did not know what the significance of the letters O-P- 
E-N meant but considered it an integral part of the mechanism and 
unlike most of those spectators was able to create a wonderful 
optical instrument to get the job done. 


Track events included hurdles, shot-put, high jump, 
broad jump, hop-step-jump, pole vault, 50 meters, 100 
meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 
relay teams, discus, and javelin. Some of the early stars in 

f Athletic Programs f 


these events included: in the pole vault Joseph Jurji '45 and 
George Azzo '47; in the high jump George Naum '47; high 
hurdles Claude LeMerle '46 and 200 meters Albert Atchoo '39. 

(Peter Atchoo, B.C. '47) 
In 1951 two students 
from Baghdad College, 
Kamal Tereza and Sarkis 
Garibian were selected by 
the Iraqi Olympics 
Committee to represent 
the Iraqi basketball team 
in the 1951 Pan-Arabian 
Olympics in Cairo, Egypt. 
I believe that was the 
first time a Baghdad 
College student was 
selected to play on an 
past, Baghdad College 

FallahAkram receives the BB cup from 
his father who is Minister of Athletics 


all-Iraqi team. Although, in 
noticeably influenced high school sports, especially basketball. 
Our basketball teams and individual players had tremendous 
influence on the style and caliber of the basketball played in 
the major high schools, but they were never selected for the 
national teams. (Sarkis Garibian, B.C. '52) 


It was difficult to get a court for handball, and teachers were 
aware of the students who had a game on a given day by the alacrity 
with which they left class after the prayer. The courts were on 
the far side of the canteen and were always crowded with players 
as well as spectators, students as well as teachers. The Fathers 
were fascinated by the skill the students showed with their feet. 
They were able to place the ball in the corner with little effort. 
When a Jesuit objected to a student that it should not be called 
handball because players use their feet also, he got the answer: 
"Your football should not be called football since you throw it most 
of the time. In fact it is not even a ball; at least handball is a 
genuine ball." The Father retreated to think that answer over. 

Three tennis courts were lined up side by side with the usual 
tennis problem of balls going in every direction, and amateurs 
hitting a ball from another game. It was referred to as a "three 
ring circus." The solution in the early forties was to erect wire 
fences, separating the courts. It was an immediate success. As in 
other sports there were continuous tournaments and award 
ceremonies. Arguing from year to year statistics it seemed that 


Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination: Iraqi Style 

the Armenian students excelled in this sport. Since the maximum 
was two players for a team, mixed languages would not be a 
problem. Fr. MacDonnell noticed that Armenians tended to speak 
Armenian to each other when they got excited, for instance in a 
tight game - a very natural reaction. So when he coached the 

basketball team he would either have 
five Armenians or one on the court at 
the same time because any other 
combination would mean that in the 
heat of battle there was a serious lack 
of communication - one language too 
many, Arabic and Armenian. This 
was not a problem in tennis. 

Tennis enthusiasts had center court 

There were so many different sports played at Baghdad 

College that it was difficult to find space and time for everything, 

so the volleyball team entering the inter-city tournaments faced a 

real challenge. Nonetheless these valiant volleyball teams had 

nothing to be ashamed of and brought home a fair share of honors. 


Boxing was introduced to Baghdad College by Fr. James 
Larkin in the late forties and quickly became one of the most 
popular pastimes of the school activities. It became a full fledged 
intramural sport in 1948 since so many students were holding 
informal bouts at the entrance to 
the main classroom building, a 
very central location. Crowds 
would gather, watch and then 
decide to try it themselves. Under 
the careful eye of Fr. Larkin the 
serious contests prepared the 
participants for the government 
tournaments. In fact he had a 
difficult time choosing a team since 
so many had become proficient at J 
the "manly art of self defense." It ■ 
was clear that Fr. Miff did not have 
a clear idea of the game as Bishop 
Jolson recalls. 

Fr. Larkin: boxing coach 

At one period boxing was a sport at Baghdad College. Once 
Fr. Miff was asked to bring the boxing gloves to a picnic. When 
the moment came for the sport, Fr. Kelly asked Fr. Miff to 

f Athletic Programs f 149 

bring out the gloves. He did as he was asked: - one set - two 
gloves - one for each boy. (Bp. Jolson) 


Baghdad College tuition was very low by American standards, 
but raising it always created the worry that some talented students 
might not be able to come. An example of how the tuition was 
decided might be taken from one of the academic years. During the 
scholastic year 1952-53 the total income from the 760 students 
(tuition plus fees) was ID 16,114 and their total expenses came 
to ID 32,984. The student body was 670 during the year (having 
started at 683) so after some arithmetic these figures indicated 
the extent to which the students' education was being subsidized. 
For 670 students average income for each was ID 24, while the 
average expense for each was ID 49. It was decided to increase the 
tuition in gradual increments according to class. 
Students fees in ID dinars {not including lab fee, graduation etc.} 


'54-55 {fresh} 

'54-55 {soph} 

'54-55 {3,4,5} 


1 6 



















Planning for the future 

Jesuits are notorious planners and the Jesuit planning for the 
future of the Baghdad Mission was far from haphazard, but quite 
deliberate and far reaching. The Baghdad Jesuits discussed among 
themselves their goals and continually re-evaluated the long-term 
objectives of the mission. An example was the following analysis 
started in the fifties through the sixties concerning the needs of 
the country and of the Church. Both are found in the Province 
Archives on the Baghdad Mission. The earlier (fifties) document 
is found in the correspondence between the Superiors and the 
Provincial and was referred to as Our Primary Apostolate. The 
conclusions to this study included the following. 

1 . We could be asked to do other things in Iraq besides 
teaching school; e.g. entrusted with a press, with a parish, 
with the direction of Catholic Action throughout Iraq, etc. 

2 . The Holy See expects us to be aware of the changing needs of 
the Church and to take the initiative in meeting these needs. 

3. We should not assume works which are outside our own 

150 -O Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination Iraqi Style 

proper field of activity and it is safe to say that there is no 
other project of the Jesuit Iraq Mission which rivals this 
primary aim, that of educating Iraqi youth, and it should not 
be compromised. 

4. Surely the study of the Oriental rites, Catholic or 
Orthodox, would be in line with the directive of Fr. General. 

5. It is necessary for us always to be most circumspect. Our 
zeal can easily cause offense. Thus, we should always 
remember that our public Novena of Grace, Petroleum Sunday, 
the annual "Mission" generally preached in the fall to the 
general public are extraneous to our primary work. They 
should neither interfere with school work nor should they 
interfere with the work of the local secular clergy. 

The second item of planning listed here was presented during 
the Province-wide planning in the late sixties. The study 
concerned three distinct needs. 

1 . The needs of Iraqi society 

a. Education at all levels which will instill an openness of mind. 

b. Technical education to prepare the technicians so badly needed. 

c. Teacher training programs which attract intelligent students. 

d. Cultural enrichment programs for poor children. 

e. Education to patriotism which should replace other loyalties. 

f. Education of all citizens to an understanding of social change. 

g. Cooperation between Christians and Muslims in preservation 
of religious values and in creating a true social consciousness. 

h. Sociological and anthropological studies of urban/rural areas. 

2. The needs of the Church in Iraq 

a. A much broader education for the clergy and religious women 
as well as a system of continued education for the clergy, 
aiming at the development of an open, critical mind. 

b. Basic but modern religious instruction for poor Christians. 

c. A theological orientation for Christian university students. 

d. An understanding and appreciation of Muslims. 

e. Education of hierarchy and adult Christian laymen. 

f. Social services for the urban Christian poor. 

g. Professional groups of Christians leading to social action, 
h. Joint projects with Muslims for rendering social services. 

3. Working for the underprivileged 

a. At Baghdad College each year we should admit a small group of 
students from deprived backgrounds who will receive special 
help and tutoring to make up for their educational deficiencies. 

b. We should enlarge the summer tutoring program already 
established which is conducted by our lay apostles for poor 

f Planning for the future 7 151 

students who are preparing to re-take the Government 
Baccalaureate examinations: especially English course: 
c. We should open a special summer school at Baghdad College for 
the graduates of government schools who are about to enter the 
Medical, Engineering or Science Colleges. An intensive course in 
English would prepare them to attend lectures given in English. 

Another item started around this time was the Academic 
Council in the Fall of 1968 to discuss difficulties, programs and 
policies of the school. Members were Frs. Raymond Powers, 
Pelletier, Gibbons, Loeffler, MacDonnell, McCarthy, and Regan. 
Some of the topics covered included: communication among all the 
faculty, Jesuit and lay. overly long punishments and Mass 
attendance. In the course of planning for the future the following 
recommendations were submitted in January 1955 concerning 
Baghca: "-: e:e 

a. Need of a committee to study the organization of the five-year 
English course to effect greater unity in grammar 

b. Need of explicit arrangements for coordination in teaching of 
science in English and Arabic. 

c. The need to encourage the idea (both with students and faculty) 
of the value of literary English study, once grammar is grasped, 
as an excellent mental preparation for all college work. 

d. English teachers might be encouraged to visit the public 
secondary schools to see how the English language is taught by 
Iraqi teachers to Iraqi students and how drill work is done. 

As if this was not enough planning, in 1968 a Jesuit principle 
of one of the New England Province schools was invited over to 
inspect Baghdad College and offer whatever suggestions he 
considered warranted. He had sound advice on the governance of 
the school as weil as ideas on involving local Iraqi faculty, but 
admitted that most of what he had to say had already been set hi 
motion by Fr. Carry, the rector and his ac. sons 

Baghdad College groatub 


152 :0' Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination Iraqi Style 

Rome's effort to create new Middle Eastern schools 

Fr. James Burke in his history of the New England Province 
spends several pages describing the many burdens assigned to the 
Baghdad Jesuits which were really distractions from their work 
in Iraq. These included possible schools in Basra, Haifa, 
Transjordan and Teheran. It consumed the energies and the time of 
some very talented men, such as Fr. Madaras, Fr. Sarjeant and Fr. 
Anderson. The problem was in part due to the success of Baghdad 
College. Because of their experience there was great demand for 
their sage advice as well as actual involvement in other 
educational projects. 

Over the years (1932-1945) the fame of Baghdad College 
had come so often and so loudly to the attention of Roman 
officials that the apostolic value of the school was very evident. 
The mission itself, seemingly unaware of the contretemps 
concerning school or hostel, always insisted that it was founded 
to conduct a school in Baghdad. (Burke, 1986, pp. 201-211) 

Basra In 1940 Baghdad College staff was raided in 

response to a request of the Sacred Congregation, to have Baghdad 
Jesuits replace Carmelite Fathers in the supervision of a 
grammar school in Basra. The school was first supervised by Fr. 
Leo J. Shea from 1940-1942. Fr. Michael J. McCarthy took over 
this task when Fr. Shea returned to the college to replace Fr. 
Madaras as Minister and Procurator. Likewise, Fr. Merrick had 
gone there in 1942 for apostolic work including armed forces 
chaplaincy work. Eventually the experiment was canceled. 

Haifa Earlier in 1937 they were asked to examine the 

possibility of establishing an equivalent of Baghdad College in 
Haifa. This plan, if carried, out, would call on some veterans from 
Baghdad or draw on the same reservoir of men who were trying to 
cope with an increase in Baghdad College commitments. Fr. 
Madaras had made the survey and recommended against it. His 
conclusions were accepted by the Roman authorities that had 
requested the study. So this possible leakage of manpower was 

Transjordan and Teheran When Fr. Anderson was 

dispatched in 1939 to investigate Transjordan, his assignment 
was viewed as a further diminution of the principle work which 
Pope Pius XI requested of the Jesuits in 1929 - Baghdad College. 
In 1949 Fr. Anderson was sent to Teheran to investigate the 
possibility of starting another school. He knew the Chaldean 
Archbishop who had formerly worked in Baghdad and he knew the 

T Rome's requests to create new schools in the Middle East T 153 

apostolic delegate from his days in Cairo. In spite of this the 
decision for the Jesuits to start a school there was negative. It was 
still negative when Fr. James Burke was sent on the same errand 
in 1956. 

Fr. Vincent M. Burns, S.J. noticed other evidence of this 
success: men were sent to other Middle East Jesuit schools, not 
only from Baghdad but directly from the Province. 

After the remarkable success of the New England Jesuits 
teaching in Baghdad other New England Jesuits were sent to 
Beirut to teach English in the French Jesuit College and 
University there. They taught all levels in the College through 
the Baccalaureate and in the University: in the Engineering 
School, School of Medicine, and School of Oriental Letters. In 
September of 1953, they moved with the College to the newly 
opened facilities at Jamhour, but continued to teach as well in 
downtown Beirut at the University. Their contact and rapport 
with Baghdad College was extensive and very helpful - for 
knowledge of the Arab temperament and more, for the 
relationship between the Christian and Islamic cultures in the 
Middle East. They spent Christmas and Easter with the Baghdad 
Community where the spirit of New England Jesuits was 
imbibed. (Fr. Burns) 

Faces of eager students at assembly anxious to get to class 


Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination Iraqi Style 

The influence of the Jesuits in these decades 

Fifteen priests from the Sulaikh Community traveled around 
to Baghdad parishes each Sunday. Masses were celebrated in 
churches, convents and an orphanage. Confessions were heard in 
all these places. The Jesuits would usually celebrate the Latin rite 
Mass in Arabic, and in most of the parishes there would be Baghdad 
College students who would serve the Mass. 

The Sodality inarches in the Petroleum Sunday procession 

There follows a few quotations as examples of the influence the 
Jesuits had on Baghdad College graduates. Also Fr. Belcher recalls 
a renowned Baghdad track coach philosophizing. 

Majid Samarrai, the father of two students at Baghdad 
College, was the Olympic track team coach. One day I was 
watching them work out and Majid and I were talking. Then, 
quite beautifully, he said to me, "Father, I remember when the 
Fathers first came to Baghdad. There was nothing but desert 
here. Now, look at all the grounds, buildings and students here 
at Baghdad College. It is as if God put this hand over Baghdad 
College and protected it from all danger." (Fr. Belcher) 

The Jesuits had a profound effect on my life and career. The 
fact that a group of Jesuit priests would leave their native 
lands and settle in a totally foreign country for the sake of 
providing a level of education second to none in the Middle East 
overwhelms me with admiration. 

Their dedication to their mission was a lesson in 

T* The influence of the Jesuits in these decades 

• ~z 

perseverance against all odds, and their deep sense of 
commitment. Their departure marked a turning point in my 
life and left its indelible mark on my psyche. I always lament 
the fact that what this superb educational experience afforded 
to me was forever gone for those who came later. The spiritual 
and educational vacuum left behind by the departure of the 
Jesuits was never filled again. 

Graduation day 

I believe that the Jesuits' story In Baghdad should be written, 
chronicled and documented for all Alumni to read, preset G a KJ 
pass on to their successors to enjo\ and be proud of. The 
Jesuits' story was a labor of love and kindness and should a SC 
be communicated to the American and Iraqi governments. It 
could bridge the wide gap of distrust and mis communication 
which have been prevalent since the Gulf War ^Jjicn .jose;?" 
George. B.C. '67) 

When I first started at Baghdad College there was only one 
student, Scott, in my class who was good in English. Our Jesuit 
teacher said that "till everyone understands ever) word I say 
to you, Scott will translate it to Arabic. This procedure lasted 
only a month and after that every one was on his own. This was 
completely different from the way things were taught in other 
schools where the students who did not understand would be 
punished in a severe and embarrassing way. 

The other interesting and challenging thing was the wa\ the 
students were punished when they disobeyed the rules. Thes 
would write about 500 sentences 01 pick up all the leaves or 
papers from one of the baseball fields. No other schools used 
this new procedure. 

Everything was like a revolution, whether it was in the way 

156 : a 

Chapter 6 Learning with Imagination Iraqi Style 

classes were taught, or the way sports were played, or the 
students' relations with the teachers. The students and 
teachers were real friends and when I say friends it actually 
meant what the word is. Speaking of sports, students were not 
allowed to join a team or play sports if their average was 
below 60%. 

One last thing I want to add which I learned from the 
Jesuits, it was to understand things which only make sense and 
are logical. One time in a catechism class, our teacher was 
asking a simple question so that we could realize how things 
are put together. He said "Can God make a square circle?" At 
that time I had a real hard time understanding what that meant, 
but the more I think about it today, the more I realize that if 
things do not make sense then they do not mean anything. 
(Kamal A [Rayes] Youkhanna, B.C. '66) 

Set up for the hurdles on track day 

The decathlon champion Bob Mathias visits Baghdad College in 1957 

Chapter 7 

Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 
1956 to 1968 

'(Teach me to tabor and. not to asf^for reward, 

e?(ce-pt to Sqwzu that I am doing your will. ' 

■prayer for generosity of St. Ignatius 

The beginnings of Al-Hikma 

Because of their successful efforts in secondary education the 
Jesuits had long considered an extension to the inviting field of 
higher education. Their motive was not to compete with very 
competent and modern existing colleges in Iraq, but rather to 
encourage their Baghdad College alumni to remain in Iraq. 

Responding to a need 

The attempt to provide higher education by sending the 
undergraduate abroad was not an adequate substitute for 
undergraduate education at home. Iraqi parents objected to 
uprooting an immature person from their Iraq environment, and 
planting him in the strange environment of an American or other 
foreign college only to have them uprooted again to return to their 
native land. Some young people thrived on such an experience, but 
these changes to and from life in America and elsewhere were 
altogether too abrupt for the ordinary youth. So the Jesuits at 
Baghdad College were often importuned, by Muslim and Christian 
Iraqis to open an institution of higher learning. 

Starting Al-Hikma was not immediately approved by all Jesuits 
in the New England Province because of the province problem 
caused by over-extension. A Jesuit committee discussed the 
project and some members of the committee thought that the 
project was neither desirable nor feasible. The reasons pro and 

158 Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

con were carefully weighed. The majority, however, regarded the 
foundation of Al-Hikma University as one of the most significant 
and far-reaching steps ever taken by the New England Province 
and its existence was seen as tremendously important. 
Request sent to the Iraqi Government 

It was decided, then to approach the Iraqi Government on this 
matter, requesting permission to start a university and requesting 
land for it. With no objections the Ministry of Education, on May 
5, 1955, gave permission for the opening of Al-Hikma University 
with two four-year courses, one in Engineering Physics, and the 
other in Business Administration. These two courses were chosen 
because of Iraq's urgent need of engineers and administrators. 
Using two separate decrees, in 1955 and 1956, the Government of 
Iraq granted to the University the free gift of 272 donums (about 
168 acres) of land in Zafarania, a suburb in the southernmost 
part of Baghdad. It was about 14 miles by road from Baghdad 
College, which was in the northernmost part of the city. This gift 
was a striking testimony to the high esteem in which the Jesuit 
work at Baghdad College was held. 
Grants making Al-Hikma possible 

The confidence which the Iraqi Government had in the Baghdad 
College Jesuits is dramatically shown in a sequence of efforts 
supporting them in their new venture. Fr. Hussey requested land 
and without delay a 544 donum piece of government land (one 
donum is 2,500 square meters) in Zafarania was designated to be 
divided up. It was on the Diyala River 2.4 miles east of the Tigris, 
3 miles north of the confluence of the Tigris and Diyala Rivers and 
14 miles south of Baghdad College in Sulaikh. In the first grant the 
Jesuits were to receive 200 donums (500,000 square meters or 
125 acres). Not only that, the Iraq Government let the Jesuits 
choose which part of this site they preferred. The Jesuits chose a 
plot so that most of their property would lie close to the main 
highway and would have a narrow (20 meter wide and 2 miles 
long) corridor running down to the Diyala River. The property 
widened out at the river so that they could install a pumping 
station. On 2/18/56 the title deed was finally drawn up by their 
lawyer Khalid Isa Taha. This first land grant, Royal Decree #785 
was dated 9/10/55. Later another adjoining 72 donum plot (44 
acres) was requested and later received according to Royal Decree 
#230 which was dated 3/19/56. This brought the total area to 
272 donums (168 acres). This was a remarkable subsidy for the 
Jesuits when one considers that the Sulaikh property which they 
purchased in 1934 consisted of only 25 acres. At the time the 
land was worth about a half million dollars. Detailed documents 
(28, 31, 36, 37, 57, 63) for the grants are found in Appendix D. 

f The beginnings of Al-Hikma T 

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160 £?■' Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

Later when Fr. Hussey asked the government to assist him in 
acquiring financial aid from United States agencies he received full 
government cooperation. It was an impressive acknowledgment of 
the Iraqi's high esteem for the work of the Jesuits in Iraq. The 
earliest and most crucial gift, these two generous land grants 
which the Jesuits requested were mentioned in the official 
government publication: The Iraqi Gazette. It was signed by Prince 
Zaid "Acting in place of the King". 

Sept. 19, 1955 

Translation of No. 37: - Royal Decree # 785 granting to 
the Iraq American Educational Association in Baghdad 200 
donums of government land as a free gift for the purpose of 
erecting a building for higher education. This Royal Decree 
appears in the official government publications, The Iraqi 
Gazette (Jareedet el-Waqa'i el-lraqia), # 3695, of Sept. 
19, 1955. Royal Decree (Erada Malakia) #785 After a 
study of the first paragraph of the twenty-third article of 
the ASASI Law (basic constitutions of Iraq laws), and in 
virtue of the third article which regulates the transference 
of ownership of government buildings and arasat, and in 
accordance with the authority conferred on us, we have 
issued this royal decree on behalf of His Majesty, King 
Faisal the Second. 

Following the recommendation of the Minister of Finance 
and the approval of the Council of Ministers, we give to the 
[Jesuit] Iraq American Association in Baghdad ownership 
without fee of an area of 200 donums from the Treasury's 
share in the piece of Miri Land Granted In Lezma (number 
4, section 2 - Zafarania) for the purpose of erecting 
buildings for higher studies and for expansion. 

The Minister of Finance will execute this decree. 
Written in Baghdad on the 22nd day of the month of 
Muharram, 1375, which corresponds to Sept. 10, 1955. 
Acting in place of the King 
[Prince] Zaid [brother of King Faisal I who was 
grandfather of King Faisal II ] 

Khalil Kanna Muhammad Ali Mahmud 

Acting Minister of Finance Acting Prime Minister 

After granting the land to the Jesuits the prime minister, Nouri 
el-Said (es-Saeed), used his influence to acquire money from 
foundations for the school by sending letters such as the following 
to the Ford Foundation. After this (2/3/56) letter was received 
by the Ford Foundation, their Near East representative, Mr. 

f The beginnings of Al-Hikma f 161 

Rowland Egger responded favorably and with great speed 
(2/28/56) to Fr. Hussey. The Iraqi Government and in 
particular the prime minister could not have been more 
supportive in helping the Jesuits acquire the money needed to 
start their new university. Here is the letter of the prime 
minister Nouri el-Said. 

Document #43 Letter of H.E. Nouri el-Said, 

Prime Minister of Iraq, to the Near East representative of 
the Ford Foundation, recommending aid for the university 
project of Baghdad College. 

Council of Ministers' Office, Baghdad 2/23/56. 
Mr. Bowland Egger, Near East Representative, 
The Ford Foundation, P.O. Box 2379, Beirut, Lebanon. 
Dear Sir, 

On May 5th, 1955 the Iraq Minister of Education gave 
Baghdad College permission to begin courses of higher 
education in business, science, and engineering. On 
September 10th, 1955 a Royal Irada was signed which 
granted Baghdad College 500,000 square meters (about 
124 acres) of land to be used for educational purposes. 
Thus the Government of Iraq has shown its interest in the 
part played by Baghdad College in the education of Iraqi 

We understand that Baghdad College has presented the Ford 
Foundation with a request for financial help. It is a request 
for 431,100.00 Dollars to enable Baghdad College to build 
on the above-mentioned property and to hire suitable 
professors for the education of their Iraqi students. 
We take this occasion to recommend their request for your 
consideration. We feel sure that whatever help you give to 
Baghdad college will be used for the welfare of our nation 
through the proper education of our youth. 

% Yours Sincerely 

Nouri el Said 

Fr. J. Larkin inspects a new wall 

162 O - 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

Fr, McDonough's enchanted and crowded calculus class 

As a result of this intervention the Ford Foundation Overseas 
Division gave $400,000 for four buildings: the Business 
Administration Building, the Faculty Residence, the Cafeteria and 
the Library. Also for the erection of these buildings on the new 
Zafarania campus Al-Hikma University received generous 
assistance from other sources. The Calouste Gulbenkian 
Foundation of Lisbon provided $140,000 for the Engineering 
Building. Complementing the Ford Foundation grant was a grant of 
$200,000 from the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church 
through the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Another 
important grant included $110,000 from the U.S. Department of 
State in conjunction with the Point-Four Program, for the 
purchase of equipment. 

The Jesuits sent letters asking for financial help from other 
Jesuit schools. Here is a letter (2/10/56) from Fr. Hussey 
asking for help from a sister Jesuit college, Fairfield University 
in_ Fairfield, Connecticut (where some outstanding Jesuit 
Baghdadis later went to teach after their dismissal from Iraq). 

Our first steps met with remarkable cooperation. The 
Government of Iraq did not balk at granting us permission 
for such an institution. Point-4 helped us out with a 
donation of $110,000 for educational equipment. Then the 
Iraq Government let us choose a site of 124 acres which 
they gave us for the asking. 

There will be obstacles and among these is the fact that 
Iraqi youth go to Government colleges free of charge. We 

f The beginnings of Al-Hikma f 163 

shall have to charge something like $450.00 a year for 
tuition. To attract students, especially the worthy poor, to 
an institution that has yet to prove itself will be difficult 
in the face of the Government competition. 

It should be obvious to your practiced eye that this is a 
request from Fairfield for $450 each year for the next 
four years to finance one free tuition scholarship. 

Our venture is not without grave and timely importance. 
It is this which made the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem 
say that he thought it would be far wiser to spend on 
Baghdad College the money now being collected for the 
Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. 
(Fr. Hussey to the president of Fairfield University) 

Objectives of Al-Hikma 

The goals and objectives were clearly stated in the first 
brochures and early literature about Al-Hikma. No one ever 
accused Fr. Hussey and Fr. Anderson who wrote many of the 
proposals of being vague. 

The name Al-Hikma 

The naming of Al-Hikma was not done precipitously as is seen 
from Fr. Hussey's letter to the N.E. Provincial, Fr. FitzGerald. 

I put aside any purely religious names on the 
recommendation of our sympathetic Muslim friends. This 
included the rejection of Jesuit University. I do not think 
that the Government would allow us the name Iraq 
University when their own is to be called Baghdad 
University, it would look as though we were above them. I 
did hesitate over the name Babylon University but there is 
that difficulty that Babylon has not a savory reputation in 
history and, especially in the Exercises of St. Ignatius. If 
it appeals to you over in the U.S., I would be very willing 
to reconsider it. We searched around for other names, 
traditional names of Baghdad like "Zawra"' or "Dar al-Sa- 
laam" (now the name of an Adventist hospital here) but 
each had its own difficulties. 

"Al-Hikma" can serve as the basis of our putting the 
university under the patronage of the Spirit of Wisdom or 
of Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom. It had these religious 
associations for us and yet for the Muslim it is still 
appropriate for a center of learning. 
(Fr. Hussey to Fr. FitzGerald, 4/7/56) 

164 O 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

Baghdad between 
two Jesuit 



This letter refers to a ninth 
century (830) Caliph 
Ma'mun of Baghdad, who 
sponsored the establishment 
of an institution known as 
Bait Al-Hikma (The House of 
Wisdom). It was there that 
Muslim and Christian 
scholars worked together in 
translating into Arabic many 
of the classic works of Greek 
philosophy, medicine, 
science, and mathematics. 
Their translations (done in 
Baghdad) of Greek literature, philosophy, medicine and physics 
were passed on to Alexandria then to Andalusia (Spain) and finally 
reached Europe. So their work had a considerable influence on 
medieval European thinkers and writers and thus was a factor in 
the formation and transmission of Western culture and 
civilization. All this is relevant to the role of Al-Hikma in both 
its immediate and broader contexts. "Al-Hikma" also recalls to 
many as "The Seat of Wisdom," so long and so intensely venerated 
by the ancient and still vibrant Oriental Churches. Most of all it 
reminds us of Incarnate Wisdom. This is why the University 
motto was: "All wisdom is from God." The ideal of wisdom is the 
ideal of a true university. This ideal was expressed by the 
medieval Arabic philosopher Al-Kindi in his famous definition of 
wisdom as: "Knowledge of the truth and action in accord with the 
exigencies of the truth." 
The goals of Al-Hikma 

The objectives of the new university were stated in the Al- 
Hikma catalogs. An example is the following selection from the 
1960 catalog. 

Al-Hikma University aims to promote the intellectual, 
moral and professional development of its students. The 
curricula contain a balanced program of liberal studies and 
professional courses which together contribute to the 
mature development of the students' advancement into 
scholarly or professional studies and work. 

In both the liberal and professional studies, a special 
effort is made to follow the fundamental principle of the 
Jesuit plan of studies. "The student should be induced to 
work at his studies and develop himself by self activity 

f Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania f 

1 -, •: 

rather than by passive listening; apart from the mere 
acquisition of information, the natural powers and talents 
of the students receive training and development." 

The professional studies are designed to provide the 
student with a solid undergraduate foundation in business 
or in physics and the engineering sciences. The integrated 
program of liberal studies aims at developing habits of 
clear, logical and accurate thinking through such courses 
as logic, mathematics and the natural sciences; the mastery 
of clear and forceful self-expression through such courses 
as composition, language and public speaking; a knowledge 
of human nature through courses in literature; a knowledge 
of the present, the past, a contemporary social 
consciousness, and an attitude of social and civic 
responsibility through courses in history and social 
sciences; a clear knowledge and appreciation of ultimate 
values through courses in philosophy and, for Christian 
students, in theology. 

Al-Hikma University strives to supplement the formal 
curriculum with extracurricular activities. It aims to 
educate a true and finished man of character not only 
through its courses but through the campus atmosphere, 
through an interest in music, in reading and speaking, and 
in other cultural activities, and by a program of 
intramural sports. 

The training at Al-Hikma is individual and academic, but 
it is also social and civic. It seeks to develop the talents of 
the student so that he will be prepared to employ these in 
the service of his country, the Iraqi Republic. The historic 
Revolution of July 14, 1958 has stressed the obligation 
which all men have to contribute to the uplifting of their 
fellow citizens. Al-Hikma University 

aims to promote in each 
student along with formation 
in studies, a spirit of 
responsibility, obedience to 
properly constituted 
authority, a sense of social 
justice, initiative and 
cooperation. (Al-Hikma 
Catalog, 1960, p. 10) 

Ideals Embodied in the Seal of Al-Hikma 

The seal of Al-Hikma University consists of a very 
simplified arabesque on a round shield bearing the name, and 

166 : Q- 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

the date of founding, of the University. Within the arabesque 
are the fiame-crested "IHS", which is the seal of the Jesuit 
Fathers, and the jar overflowing in two streams, a symbol of 
widespread popularity in ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, 
recalling the rivers that flowed out of Paradise in the ancient 
narrative of creation (see Genesis 2:10). Superimposed on 
the arabesque are three inscriptions. The central one is the 
name of the University in modified Kufic script. The other two 
are the Arabic and English versions of a theme prominent in 

the ancient sapiential 
books, All Wisdom Is 
From God. Thus, the 
seal well sums up Al- 
Hikma: a University 
conducted by the 
Fathers of the Society 
of Jesus in the Land of 
the Two Rivers 
where, from the dawn 
of civilization, the 
scholar's ideal was 
pursuit of Wisdom 
whose source is God. 
(Al-Hikma Handbook, 
1967, p. 2) 

Fr. Guay 's beautiful arches 

A 1954 gathering of sisters at Al-Hikma 

f Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania f 167 

Personnel at Al-Hikma 

The student enrollment steadily increased to almost 700 
students in 1968 when about one-fifth of the students were 
women. The graduates were getting jobs at a time when jobs were 
scarce. The number of good applicants to Al-Hikma was steadily 
increasing in spite of the fact that Al-Hikma had to charge tuition 
while the University of Baghdad charged nothing. Fr. Joseph 
Ryan, S.J., the Dean (1956-1966), gathered together an 
impressive faculty from different parts of the globe. Among the 
Arab faculty were Al-Hikma graduates of the earlier years, who 
had received their doctorates in America. Also two of the 
professors were involved in UNESCO's revision of secondary 
mathematics education for all the Arab states. 

The Al-Hikma faculty 

It was not until 1956 that the Jesuits actually began classes, 
with a total enrollment of 45 in the two courses. From 1956 to 
1959 the classes were held in the Cronin Building of Baghdad 
College, and the small Al-Hikma Jesuit staff lived with the 
Baghdad College community. 

The regular faculty was composed of Jesuits and Iraqi 
professors, while each year a certain number of visiting 
professors, on special grants from abroad, supplemented the 
regular staff. So, for example, at the opening of the academic year 
1964-65, the active teaching faculty consisted of 48 members. 
Of this number, 12 were American Jesuit Fathers, 8 were 
visiting professors from America, 24 were Iraqi professors, and 
the other 4 came, respectively, from Iran, India, Holland, and the 

Many were the talented teachers at Al-Hikma during its 12 
years and through the efforts of Jesuit friends in the U.S. Congress 
like Thomas (Tip) O'Neil, Fulbright Grants were made available. 
An illustration of the variety of backgrounds can be seen from the 
following list of American Professors at Al-Hikma University 
during the years 1956-1967, arranged according to their years 
of service, their name, their home university and their field. 
The following priests and religious have taught at Al-Hikma: 

Sister Blanche Marie, St. Elizabeth's College, Convent, N.J. 

Sister Mary Liguori, Mundelein College, Chicago. 

Sister Edward Cecelia, St. Rose College, Albany. 

Sister Mary Columbai Monroe, Michigan. 

Rev. Andrew Maloney, C.S.B., St. Mark's Col., Vancouver, B.C. 

Rev. Charles Rust, S.J., Loyola University, Chicago. 

Bro. Alfred Welch, F.S.C., Manhattan College, N.Y. 

Bro. Germain Faddoul, C.S.C., St. Edward's U., Austin, Texas. 

168 &£ 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Ai-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

American Professors at A!-Hikma University during the years 
1 956-1 967, arranged according to their years of service, their 
name, their home university and their field. 
Four were funded by foundation grants: 

year name home college field 


Dr. Walter Zukowski 


Business Admin. 


Pf. John Fitzpatrick 

Catholic U 


Pf. Louis Volse 

San Diego State 



Dr. Naser Bodiya 

U. of Detroit 


nty-seven were in the Fulbright-Hays Program: 


Pf. Charles McKinley 

Hiram, Ohio 



Pf. Richard Stewart 

U. Colorado 



Dr. Francis Worrell 

Beloit, Wise. 


Dr. David MacAlpine 

Oklahoma State 



Dr. Alvin Pierson 

Fresno State 

Business Admin. 


Pf. Clarke Louden 

Georgetown (D.C.) 

Business Admin. 

Dr. Fred. Wilhelmsen 

Santa Clara 



Pf. Clarke Louden 

Georgetown (D.C.) 

Business Admin. 

Pf. Roy Bremer 

U. of Detroit 


Dr. Vin. Vitagliano 

Manhattan College 



Pf. Kenneth Lenzen 

U. of Kansas 


Dr. Daniel Lloyd 

D.C. Teachers Col. 


Pf. Franklin 0. Rose 

Colorado State 



Pf. Clarke Louden 

Georgetown (D.C.) 

Business Admin. 

Bro. Alfred Welch 

Manhattan College 



Dr. William Ferrante 

Rhode Island State 


Mr. Radwan Bekowich 


Structural Design 


Pf. Clarke Louden 

Georgetown (D.C.) 

Business Admin. 

Pf. Walter Jennings 




Pf. Clarke B. Louden 

Georgetown (D.C.) 

Business Admin. 

Pf. William Beck 

Chatham (Pitts.) 


Pf. Frank de Falco 

Worcester Poly. 


Dr. Clement J. Nouri 

Oklahoma City U. 



Mr. Frank de Falco 

Worcester Poly. 


Dr. Lucien Curtis 


Dr. Samuel Fox 


Dr. Lewis Wagner 


f Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania f 


The Students 

The Student Body is remembered by Fr. Ryan with whom 
students had many an encounter. He planned it that way. 

I was very impressed by the experience of Al-Hikma students 
adapting to an academic system that was new and threatening to 
them. A small percentage of Al-Hikma students had been to 
Baghdad College, which they entered very young - after six 
years of Primary school - and where they adjusted 
remarkably to the discipline of studies. They did so rather 
willingly, because, apart from primary school, they knew no 
other, they were young, and because Baghdad College was for 
them a truly exciting and enjoyable experience. 
But what of the overwhelming majority of the other students 
who came to Al-Hikma from government schools? They faced 
many serious difficulties. For example, instruction in English 
at Al-Hikma was a formidable obstacle for them, especially in 
freshman year. They came knowing some English but often not 
very much; and in any case they had never grappled with 
English as a language of instruction before. 

Fr. F. Kelly's engineering drawing class 

A second difficulty was that these students were five years or 
more older (than they would have been if they entered Baghdad 
College). Not only were they older, they were already 
partially "formed" adults; they had strong convictions already 
about themselves, about life and about study. They did not 
naturally relish being put into an academic system far more 

170 Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

disciplined than what they had experienced in the government 
schools which they had attended, and also far more disciplined 
than what they would be exposed to if they were at the state 
University of Baghdad. 

In Baghdad University at that time, some courses ran for the 
whole year, with the only examination coming at the very end 
of the year. Why study seriously and consistently early in the 
year? Why not wait until the exam was imminent and then 
cram? At Al-Hikma all courses were one-semester. More 
than that - and this was particularly shocking for these 
freshmen - each course usually had three monthly 
examinations. Iraqi students had a found anxiety about exams, 
and with good reason. They all had to take three national 
exams; at the end of Primary, Intermediate and Secondary 
school. Unless a student passed each of these, he could not go 
further. If he did not eventually pass the Secondary exam, he 
had no possibility whatever of going on to college in Iraq. 

Further, the emphasis on memorizing was a serious obstacle. 
My own experience (teaching chemistry at Baghdad College) 
was that students would much prefer memorizing many 
applications of a scientific principle than thoroughly learning 
the principle itself first and then learning to apply it. Of 
course, once they were obliged to master the principle first 
and got used to much application, they were liberated from the 
tyranny of memorizing. 

Thus freshmen entering Al-Hikma, unless they had been to 
Baghdad College, faced tremendous frustration, humiliation, 
anger, anxiety and fear. To help them face all these negative 
emotions, which are deadly to serious study, I conducted the 
famous and memorable Dean's Hours, once a week throughout 
first semester. Here together we probed the problems of 
freshman year. I would point out the differences in the 
academic discipline at Al-Hikma and explain the reasons. I 
tried to show how the Al-Hikma program was good for them, 
even though painful, how it would, if accepted, by them 
contribute to their growth and development in studies and to 
their freedom and general happiness. 

What was their reaction? First, they listened. Then they 
wrestled with my comments; they objected; we discussed these 
objections. In all this, I sensed that there was a curiosity on 
their part to understand the strange new ways of teaching 
peculiar to Al-Hikma. More than that - and this was crucial - 
there was a willingness, mixed with fear, to try out my 

And the results? They discovered for themselves much truth 

f Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania f 171 

in what I had to say. As time dragged slowly and painfully on, 
they began to see some good effects of Al-Hikma's academic 
discipline in their own lives. Students whose marks in the 
national Secondary exams had not been brilliant - and there 
were many of these - discovered that Al-Hikma's system was 
good for them, precisely as slow learners, and brought out the 
best in them. 

Dr. Louden 's business class 

Further, they compared themselves to some of their friends 
at Baghdad University, a huge institution trying to grapple 
with enormous problems arising out of increasing student 
enrollments. One such friend at Baghdad University might, for 
example, in his accounting course, have no textbook but only a 
small pile of teacher's notes, and this for the whole year. 
After all, textbooks in most cases had to be imported and were 
very expensive. The Al-Hikma student, on the other hand, had 
a big standard U.S. textbook for one semester which the 
professor led him through, section by section, often painfully. 
But the end result was accomplishment. The student 
experienced in himself a new feeling, a transformation, a 
sense of mastery. This sense made all the academic suffering 
worth while. 

One Al-Hikma engineering graduate who was an excellent 
student at Al-Hikma, tells of how, when he was applying for 
graduate studies at MIT, he was asked since Al-Hikma was not 
widely known, how MIT could judge the academic quality of its 
program. The student ticked off the engineering textbooks he 
had used at Al-Hikma, the same as were used at MIT. And he 
was ready to be examined in them. MIT was satisfied. 

This transformation I have been describing, which I saw 
happen each year, was a wonderful source of happiness and 
satisfaction for myself. It readily explained to me why so 
many Al-Hikma alumni, as they moved on to graduate studies 
and into the professions, where they could compare themselves 
with graduates of other universities, were so successful. And 

172 &$' Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

why they look back with deep gratitude and satisfaction and 
happiness on their Al-Hikma years. (Fr. Ryan) 

Some Sisters at Al-Hikma were not teachers but students. One 
was a remarkable woman, Sister Joseph, who has fond 
recollections of her years at Al-Hikma. Another was Miss Najla 
Thomas, a student in the Sophomore Engineering class, who had 
joined the Sisters of the Presentation in France. Her father 
graduated from Baghdad College and she was the first vocation from 

I joined Al-Hikma because some Jesuits had told me that 
without a university degree, I would not be able to go much 
further in teaching. I had entered the Congregation of the 
Dominican Sisters of the Presentation at 18 years of age, and 
my parents were too poor to afford a higher education for me 
after High School. After taking my vows at our Mother House in 
Tours, France, I was sent to Baghdad to teach English! There 
were children of all nationalities, rich and poor alike - some 
paid tuition, many did not! I replaced a British Sister who 
disliked my American accent, so she trained me by having me 
read to her in a "British" accent for an hour every day, for a 

Many of my former pupils joined me. Fr. Mulvehill held me 
responsible, in a certain way, for the girls at this Co-ed 
University since most of them had been my pupils at our Bab- 
el-Shargy Presentation School. (Sr. Joseph Pelletier A.H. '66) 

The student body was composed almost entirely of Iraqis, 
although there are a few students from such countries as 
Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, as well as occasional 
students from Europe and America. Facility in English was 
important since instruction is almost entirely in English. The 
University became coeducational in September 1962; in 1964 
there were 94 women students enrolled. There were no 
boarding facilities on the campus but a residence hall for 
women students had been opened a short distance from the 
University campus. 40 of the 98 graduates in the first five 
graduating classes were accepted for graduate studies in their 
specialties by such universities as the University of Illinois, 
Oklahoma State University, the University of Kansas, Ohio 
State University, Boston College, DePaul University, Brown 
University, Syracuse University, Clark University, and the 
University of California at Berkeley. 

f Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania f 


174 Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania 

In November, 1957, ground was broken at Zafarania for the 
first building. By September, 1959, the Engineering and 
Business Buildings were completed. In the course of Al-Hikma's 
first three years at Sulaikh the Jesuit architect, Fr. Leo Guay, was 
busy with the construction of the buildings which he had designed 
for the permanent Zafarania campus. In the summer of 1958 the 
historic July 14th Revolution toppled the Monarchy, and Iraq 
became a republic. Anxious days followed. The country 
underwent sudden and violent changes. 

But Al-Hikma went serenely on, and Fr. Guay quietly continued 
his construction work, so that by 1959 the campus moved from 
Sulaikh to Zafarania. For nearly a year, the pioneering Jesuit 
Community occupied interim quarters on the second floor of the 
Business Building, temporarily slept in class rooms, ate their 
meals in an unfinished laboratory, and depended on solar heating 
for their hot water. The following year they finally settled down 
in the spacious residence, Spellman Hall, designed and built by 
Fr. Guay. 

This new campus, with assistance from Fr. Loeffler and his Iraqi 
gardeners, became one of the most attractive sights in the city. 
The enrollment, slow in the beginning, made rapid strides, and the 
facilities were taxed to the limit. As in Baghdad College, the 
athletic program and the wide and varied offering of activities 
made for a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. Al-Hikma alumni 
who entered business or pursued graduate studies testified to the 
academic excellence of the University. 


At the Zafarania campus the first graduation was held in June 
1960. Major General Abdul Karim Qasim, the Prime Minister of 
the Republic delivered a talk and presented the diplomas. More 
than 1000 people attended and among those present were the chief 
officers of the new revolutionary government and members of the 
Diplomatic Corps. 

When Al-Hikma began operating in September, 1956, its total 
(Freshman) enrollment was 45 and in a short eight years the 
enrollment had grown to 530. By the time the Jesuits were 
expelled the enrollment had grown to 656. The student 
enrollment steadily increased, but the number of Jesuits actively 
engaged in administration and teaching did not grow as rapidly. 
The distribution is shown according to the beginning of the 
scholastic year. 

f Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania T 175 




Admin. L. 






1 6 





1 7 








1 19 








1 1 

'61 - 




1 3 





1 4 





1 5 






1 7 






1 6 






1 8 




21 1 


1 8 



not available 

1 9 

Apart from some Jewish students Al-Hikma's population was about 
half Christian and half Muslim. Here follows Al-Hikma 
University Enrollment Statistics for all four years according to 
Religion: (data for years '58-, '65- and '66- were not 
available). It illustrates the growth of the student body over the 
years distributed according to: {Catholic rite} and freliaion}. 

Chal Syr AC Gr Lat AO 00 Mus J Tot 





1 5 








3 6 





not available 







9 10 








2 2 

10 11 








1 3 

14 15 








4 6 

29 25 








5 8 

40 43 








3 13 

44 54 





not available 








8 20 

51 67 








6 22 

59 72 




Key: {Catholic rite} and [Religion]: Tot = total number. 
{Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian Catholic, Greek Catholic, Latin: 
[Armenian Orthodox, Other Orthodox, Muslims and Jews] 

176 r0 Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 


The issue of co-education was given much consideration. An 
illustration of how serious a step Jesuits considered it is reflected 
in a 1955 questionnaire circulated among the Jesuits, just a few 
months before Al-Hikma started. Their answers are not available 
in the archives, but the fact is that Al-Hikma became co- 
educational long before other Jesuit schools (9/62). 

1 . Does Iraq need of Catholic higher education for women? 

2. In Iraq is there a lack of this for women? 

3. If so, should we accept women students? 

4. Would coed be acceptable to local hierarchy? 

5. Would the Ministry of Education expect it? 

6. Should we provide a course more appealing to women? 

7. Can we handle problems of inter-student relations? 

8. Start coeducation now or later? 

9. Do you favor meeting the problem the first year? 
(Al-Hikma Questionnaire on Coeducation. 

12/2/55, Province Archives #510) 

A game oftawli (backgammon) 

Al-Hikma quickly attained a certain academic, moral and 
social stature which made it a positive influence for good in 
many ways. It enjoyed a high reputation in both governmental 
and non-governmental circles, for academic excellence, 
integrity, and service. If this were not so, Al-Hikma would not 
have survived the situation which resulted from the June 
1967 war between Israel and the Arab states. At that time 
emotions ran high and a singularly bitter wave of anti- 
American feeling swept the Arab world and filled the Arab 

T Move from Sulaikh to Zafarania 


media. Because of American support of Israel, Al-Hikma 
became the special object of attack by certain "concerned" 
writers in some of the Baghdad Arabic newspapers, and was 
accused of being an enemy of the Arabs and a nest of spies and 
agents of the CIA. The Iraqi Government was called upon to 

take over Al-Hikma and Baghdad College. Throughout that 
anxious summer Al-Hikma enjoyed the support and 
encouragement of many friends among responsible Iraqis in 
official as well as unofficial quarters. Applicants for 
registration were as numerous as ever, and in fact Al-Hikma 
began the 1967 academic year with a substantial enrollment 
increase with 66 students over the previous year. 

■A I 

The solar heaters 


178 # Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

The curricula of Al-Hikma's three schools 

Some of the alumni wrote of their opinion concerning the Al- 
Hikma curricula and their appreciation for what they learned in 
the programs of studies. 

The only graduation I attended was my own in 1966 at 
Al-Hikma. All the Jesuits present were at the back of the 
audience, applauding as each one received his/her diploma. 
The President of Iraq, on presenting me my diploma, kept 
shaking my hand for quite a while, and the more the Jesuits 
and the audience applauded, the more he tightened the 
hand-shake. It was rather embarrassing. Yet it made me 
feel wonderful, as a token of appreciation for my being 
dedicated to God, to the University which had been so 
generous to me and to the Iraqi people I loved and still love. 
I was the first religious woman to receive a Degree at Al- 
Hikma. The following year a Chaldean and then a Dominican 
sister, each of a different all-Iraqi Congregation - attended 
Al-Hikma and graduated the last year of the Jesuits' 
presence in Baghdad. (Sister Joseph Pelletier, A.H. '66) 

For two years I have been in charge of the design of the 
mobile barriers foreseen to defend the city of Venice 
(Italy) and its hinterland from high tides and storm 
surges, a multi billion dollar project. Occasionally in 
meetings or conferences, someone asks "how come an ex- 
Iraqi is in charge of such an important project?". The 
conversation usually ends up not by referring to my post- 
graduate work at Berkeley but by someone saying "mind 
you he is a Jesuit boy". (Yuil Eprim, B.C. '57, A.H. '61) 

Business Administration 

The aim of the business administration curriculum was to 
combine liberal subjects, basic business and economic studies and 
specialization in the professional training of prospective business 
executives. The course list for 1966 is found in Appendix D. 

The curriculum was not considered a substitute for actual 
business experience nor an educational shortcut to lucrative 
administrative positions. The graduate was not expected to enter 
immediately into the realm of top management, but was expected to 
be able, as a well educated person, to move forward in business 
with greater rapidity and assurance than one of equal personal 
talents who had not received such training. 

Programs at Al-Hikma f 179 

Studies in Arabic and English aim at the progressive 
development of the students' ability to express themselves in 
clear and accurate language. The progressive refinement of the 
student's sensibility, intelligence and conscience through 
contact with great ideas which were revealed in poems, plays, 
novels, biographies and other literary forms which embody 
the experience of mankind. A study of the social sciences, 
particularly economics, history and sociology, should provide 
the student with intellectual perspective and balance by 
showing the interplay of the various forces, social, economic, 
and philosophic, that have helped shape the affairs of man in 
the past and present. The study of philosophy leads the 
students into the realm of analysis and speculative thought and 
provides them with the principles and norms by which they 
can find order and meaning in the world in which they live. 
(Al-Hikma General Catalog, 1965, p. 35) 

Fr. Guay's strength of materials lab 


Al-Hikma housed no less than eight science laboratories: 
a Chemistry laboratory, a soil laboratory, an hydraulic 
laboratory, a materials laboratory, a drawing laboratory, a 
surveying laboratory and two physics laboratories. 

The curriculum in civil engineering aims at training 
professionally, students who have the ambition and 
qualifications for engineering work that requires a thorough 
grounding in pure science and the engineering sciences, or for 
advanced studies in civil engineering. The curriculum in civil 
engineering is in line with the latest thought in engineering 
education, which emphasize the basic sciences of physics, 
mathematics, and chemistry, as well as the fundamental 

180 a 

Chapter 7 

Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

engineering sciences. With the advancement of technology, 
even new instruments and machines are constantly being 
replaced by newer and better ones. 
(Al-Hikma General Catalog, 1965, p. 38) 

Liberal Arts 

Studies in Arabic and English aim at the progressive 
development of the students' ability to express themselves in 
clear and accurate language as well as the progressive 
refinement of the student's sensibility, intelligence and 
conscience through contact with the great ideas which are 
revealed in poems, plays, novels, biographies and other 
literary forms which embody the experience of mankind. A 
study of the social sciences, particularly economics, history 
and sociology, provides the student with intellectual 
perspective and balance by showing the interplay of the 
various forces, social, economic, and philosophic, that have 
helped shape the affairs of men in the past and present. The 
study of philosophy leads the students into the realm of 
speculative thought and provides them with the principles and 
norms by which they can find meaning in the world in which 
they live. From the study of theology, students receive a 
knowledge of the solution provided by God's revelation to the 
problems of human existence. 
(Al-Hikma General Catalog, 1965, p. 42) 

Finances of Al-Hikma 

Al-Hikma financial history was much simpler than that of 
today's universities because there were fewer complicated costs 
such as computer networks, recreation centers and media 
equipment and also there were fewer sources of revenue. The 
figures must appear absurdly low to a modern school treasurer, 
but in the fifties it was possible to buy much more with a dinar 

(or even with a dollar) 
especially in Iraq. The 
annual living expenses for 
7 Jesuits computed to 
2,977 ID is an example of 
meager sustenance. One 
can get an idea of the first 
four years (1956-1960) 
from the following table. 
The figures are in Iraqi 
Dinars with an exchange 
rate of 1 ID = $2.80. 


Programs at Al-Hikma 











































Jesuit living 1,61 8 









± surplus 



+ 366 




+ 366 

+ 2,449 

Programs at Al-Hikma 

At University convocations honor certificates were awarded to 
the highest ranking students of the previous semester and also for 
progress in scholarship, leadership, and for general contribution 
to the University. Student life in the University included 
academic, social and religious activities which develop and 
supplement the formal studies. Initiative and cooperation on the 
part of the students under faculty direction not only contributed 
generally to the student welfare, but developed in participants that 
rounded training which would be of great advantage in later life. 

Scholarly programs 

Many intellectual movements were stirring at Al-Hikma as at 
most universities and frequently they go unnoticed: for instance 
the fact that in the Summer of 1967 Fr. Campbell was appointed to 
the Pro-Nuncio's Committee for the Study of Islam. Also the 
programs for faculty development were taking shape and plans 
were being made for promising young Baghdad College graduates to 
get higher degrees so that they could take their place teaching at 
Al-Hikma. Scientific research was constantly increasing, 
although some of it may appear slightly overstated. 

I think Baghdad College and Al-Hikma were among the first 
Institutions in the world to conduct scientific experiments 
on the use of solar energy. Both Baghdad College and Al- 
Hikma had free hot water all the time. (Waiel Hindo) 

From the beginning Al-Hikma was careful to build up its library. 
The Al-Hikma University Library, begun in 1956, at 

182 0' Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

present contains approximately 35,000 volumes housed in 
the spacious new library building that can accommodate 
more than 200,000 volumes. The Library has 
subscriptions to more than 150 periodicals. It contains a 
selection of reference works and a good concentration of 
books in business and science. The University has access 
by inter-library loan to the 30,000 books of the Jesuit 
Library of Baghdad College. 

One of the features of the Al-Hikma Library is the famous 
Yaqub Sarkis Collection, comprising more than 4,500 
valuable books and manuscripts on the history, geography, 
and monuments of the area now known as Iraq. The period 
covered by the collection extends from the seventeenth to 
the twentieth century. This collection, which has long been 
known as one of the best private collections in Iraq, was 
given to the University by the family of the late Yaqub N. 
Serkis, who devoted more than half a century to building it 
up. (Al-Hikma General Catalog, 1965) 

The Philosophy Discussion Group aimed to provide the students 
with an opportunity to express their opinions on philosophical 
questions of special interest. At each of the weekly meetings, one 
member of the group read a short paper on a chosen subject, 
setting forth issues to be discussed and proposing his tentative 
answer. This was followed by a free informal discussion in which 
other members expressed their opinions on the subject under 

Fr. O'Connor's Regis discussion group 

The Science Club gave students opportunities to develop special 
projects and hear lectures on topics of interest, while the 
Mathematics Club provided an opportunity for those students who 
had a special interest in mathematics to delve deeper into some of 
the fascinating problems of pure and applied mathematics. 

f Programs at Al-Hikma T 183 

The Dramatic Society offered opportunities to those who were 
interested in the appreciation and study of dramatic pieces. As 
opportunity and the available facilities allow, dramatic works 
were presented by the students on a modest scale. The Debating 
Societies were dedicated to giving the student opportunity to 
develop facility in oral expression. Topics of student interest were 
discussed and debated by these student academies. 

The Music Appreciation group was made up of the students 
interested in studying and hearing classical music. The group 
usually met once a week to hear a selected program of works, and 
also encouraged attendance at the concerts that were sometimes 
held in Baghdad. 

In 1961 the student literary magazine Al- Jami'i began which 
gave students an opportunity to try out their writing skills in 
either language, Arabic or English. The very first issue featured a 
short story by Iraj Ishaq, Bassam Anastas' article on pre-stressed 
concrete, drawings and cartoons by Shibib Halabu and an 
interview with President Banks, S.J. by Thamir al-Gailani and 
Yuil Sarkis. 

The Spiritual programs 

Al-Hikma became a favorite 
place for Jesuits to make their 
annual eight day retreat. In fact, 
Fr. Bennett from Baghdad College 
found the secret of surviving 
short wars in the Near East with 
little consternation. He would 
start his retreat a day before 
war broke out, then he managed 
to finish just after a cease-fire 
was declared, thereby avoiding 
all the tensions of war, and 
hiding away at the same time. At 
Al-Hikma, where he made his 
retreat close to the airfield, all 
had been warned to stay off the 
university roofs. 
The Sodality 

The Sodality, the leading spiritual organization for Catholics, was 
composed of those students who sought first the personal 
sanctification of their own lives and secondly active participation 
in apostolic work. The activities, carried out under the patronage 
of Our Lady, were spiritual, intellectual, social and apostolic. 
During the summer months, Fr. Kelly's Al-Hikma Sodality took 

Fr. Campbell answers questions 

184 C2- Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

no vacation from their spiritual activities. For example, one of 
their projects during the summer of 1965 was the painting of a 
small Chaldean church in the city. The pastor provided the paint, 
and the Sodalists finished the job in one week. They also tutored 
poor Christian students who had the status of "conditioned" in 
their studies and were preparing for new exams. The Sodalists 
conducted a weekly collection for the poor families of the city. 
(N.E. Province News, July/Aug., '67 p. 19) 

The League of the Sacred Heart 

The League of the Sacred Heart and the Apostleship of Prayer 
were devotions for Catholic students which aim at fostering 
devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The First Friday of the 
month was set aside for special services. The Catholic Woman's 
Club, open to all Catholic women students of Al-Hikma, sought to 
further the personal sanctification of its members and to develop 
in them an apostolic spirit, through various activities that are of a 
spiritual, intellectual and social import. 

The Social programs 

The cafeteria was central for many of the social gatherings 
during the semester, but it was not meant only for students and the 
faculty. During the summer Fr. O'Kane would run a special dinner 
in the school cafeteria for the 170 workmen and their families. 
Also the indefatigable Fr. Guay would invite his orphan children, 
120 at a time. They played games, attended a movie, received 
individual gifts, and were given a banquet in the brightly decorated 
cafeteria. The Sisters and the girls in the Liberal Arts course 
chaperoned them. Organized student social programs were also in 

The Photography Club members had manifested a serious 
interest in the art of taking photographs and in the technique of 
developing pictures. The club also helped to provide a photographic 
record of the various activities of the University. 

The Student Union 

Student Union got its impetus during the academic year 1958. 
Already a Student Council was active at Al-Hikma but this was 
superseded by the Student Union whose members were elected on 
11/22/58 after a 11/4/58 decree of the Council of Ministers 
establishing the General Student Union of all Iraqi students 
throughout the country. It called for the formation of Student 
Unions in individual schools and colleges. Thus the Student Union 
Committee in Al-Hikma University took part in the work of the 
Preparatory Committee, the Student Union Convention and the 

f Programs at Al-Hikma f 185 

Student Union Central Committee. 

The aim of the Union, according to the decree of the Council of 
Ministers, was to have the students fulfill their obligations in the 
service of the Republic, apart from any specific political party, 
and to be organized for cultural and social activities. The world of 
the Student Union Committee, as defined by the decision of the 
Council of Education of the Ministry of Education, was to cooperate 
with the administration, in accordance with its laws and 
regulations, in organizing athletic, cultural and social activities. 
(Al-Hikma General Catalog, 1960) 

The Athletic program 

Since many students were accustomed to the Jesuit 
emphasis on athletic events at Baghdad College it was not 
difficult to field a team for any of the usual sports events 
such as football, basketball, softball and volleyball. The 
latter was more popular than the rest since it was a game 
that the women could play while preserving their dignity. 
Though the intensity of gamesmanship was less than at 
Baghdad College there was still plenty of enthusiasm. Frs. 
Ibach, Kelley and McDonough were often visible coaching 
or playing these sports with the students. Fr. McDonough 

A place for every sport 

was in charge of the intramural leagues of all sports. The 
inter-collegiate league was also laid back and a loss was taken 
with equanimity, not to mention a tie. "The largest crowd to 
watch an athletic event at Al-Hikma saw our football team 
fight to a draw, 0-0, with Mosul University." 
(Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64) 

Visiting dignitaries 

We were honored to have Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the 28th Superior 
General of the Jesuits visit his fellow Jesuits at Baghdad College 
and Al-Hikma University on December 21-22, 1965. He had the 
remarkable ability to sleep when he wished, so his 26 hours there 
were spent very effectively, holding five major meetings and 
sleeping in whatever vehicle drove him from one location to 

186 C£ 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

Fr. Arrupe's visit to Al-Hikma 

another. Although he met all 60 Jesuits in this short space of 
time, he should have been tired, but scarcely showed it; he walked 
with a brisk step and greeted people easily and warmly. During 
the first part of the evening he sat with a group and talked 
informally. Later, he stood up and spoke to all the Jesuits briefly 

but inspiringly on a wide 
range of subjects that touch 
Jesuits closely. He spoke 
about the Church, the Vatican 
Council II, the Holy Father, 
and about the work of the 
Jesuit Society in connection 
with each of these. He threw 
light on the difficulties that 
arose about his intervention 
in the Council on the subject 
of atheism. He 

placed special emphasis on the primary importance of the Work of 
the Society in carrying out the decrees of the Vatican Council. The 
circumstances of Fr. General's talk, his manner of speaking, the 
topics themselves - all combined to make the meeting impressive 
and memorable. 

The next morning, Fr. Arrupe addressed all the Al-Hikma 
Jesuits in the recreation room, speaking chiefly about the first 
session of the General Congregation. In answer to questions he 
touched on the study of Arabic and on the factors to be considered 
in making a possible choice of an oriental rite. After 
concelebrated Mass all the Jesuits from both houses attended an 
informal buffet at Baghdad College. The General began by chatting 
with the small group at his table. But as the meal proceeded the 
group around his table grew larger and larger as he spoke chiefly 
about his experiences in Japan, which gave all an insight into his 
ideas on adaptation and his optimism in the apostolate. He left in 
the afternoon on an Iraqi Airways Trident, piloted by Joseph 

1960 Al-Hikma graduation with Abdul Karim Kassim 

f Programs at Al-Hikma f 187 

Yonan, a Baghdad College graduate enroute to Beirut and thence to 
Cairo and Ethiopia. 

A meeting of educators from the Arab countries met in Baghdad, 
under UNESCO sponsorship. Many of the delegates visited Al- 
Hikma, including the Presidents of Universities in Saudi Arabia, 
Sudan, Jordan and Libya. 

The Al-Hikma grounds were very attractive thanks to Fr. 
Loeffler and his assistants and it was frequently visited by 
Baghdad visitors who had a common interest in higher 
education. During the Fall of 1962 for example Baghdad 
celebrated the 1100th anniversary of the death of Al-Kindi, 
the Arab philosopher. Naturally Fr. McCarthy was involved, 
appointed by the Ministry of Guidance to the Committee of 
Publications. With frequent appearances on TV he attended the 
dawn-to-dusk activities for the whole week. Many of the 
visitors from all over the world found their way to the Ai- 
Hikma campus. For instance, the visitors included Fr. Alban de 
Jerphanion, Rector of St. Joseph University in Beirut, Fr. 
Felix Pareja, Jesuit Orientalist from Madrid, Dr. Abel of 
Holland, Mile. Simone van Riet of the University of Louvain, 
Mr. Abdul Wahab Dokori of Mali, Dr. Gabrieli of the 
University of Rome; Mile. Maria Nallino, editor of Oriente 
Moderno and Dr. Fuad Bustani, President of the University of 
Lebanon. Fr. Paul Nwyia, of the Vice Province of the Middle 
East, who has been working with Chaldean monks in the north 
of Iraq, joined the community for a short time. (N.E. Province 
News, Oct. '62, p. 18) 

At other times visitors came for no particular occasion but 
merely to experience this "oasis of learning". The Belgian 
Ambassador and Mrs. Marcel Dupret, Mr. Paul Jones of the 
Philadelphia Bulletin and Fr. John Huesman (California) were 
among the guests. (N.E. Province News, May/June '67 p. 17) 

The President of the Republic of Iraq, Field Marshall Abdul- 
Salam Muhammad Arif, presided at the Fifth Annual 
Commencement of Al-Hikma University of Baghdad on June 9, 
1964 at the University Campus. Also present were the Prime 
Minister, Gen. Tahir Yahya; the Minister of Education, Dr. 
Muhammad Nasir; the Minister of the Interior and Military 
Governor General, Brig. Rashid Musleh; and the Minister of 
Municipal and Village Affairs, Major General Mahmud Sheet 
Khattab. Among others present were the President of Baghdad 
University, and the Vice President; the Under-Secretary of the 
Ministry of Education; Deans of the various colleges of Baghdad 
University; the Governor of Baghdad. Among the religious leaders 

188 C£ 

Chapter 7 Chronicles of Al-Hikma: 1956 to 1968 

present were: the Apostolic 

Delegate, the Chaldean 

Patriarch, the Syrian 

Catholic Archbishop of 

Baghdad, the Armenian 

Catholic Archbishop of 

Baghdad, the Head of the 

Greek Catholic Community, 

the Greek Orthodox 

Archbishop of Baghdad, the 

Head of the Armenian 

Orthodox Community, the 
President Arif at Al-Hikma graduation Re | igious Head of the Jewjsh 

Community, two Chaldean Bishops, and practically all the clergy 
of Baghdad, as well as the Sisters of the Chaldean, Dominican, 
Presentation, Armenian and de Foucauld Congregations. The 
audience attending the ceremony in the University Gardens totaled 
about 2,000. 

The welcoming and inviting oasis 

These chronicles of Al-Hikma which covered the 12 years from 
1956 to 1968 briefly described a campus so vibrant that it was 
referred to an oasis on the outskirts of Baghdad on the edge of the 
desert. It not only resembled an oasis because of its beautiful 
gardens and buildings but it was a place of intellectual and 
spiritual refreshment. It was a place that nurtured scholarship 
and made learning quite accessible. Most of all it was a place of 
varied and lively activities; intellectual, spiritual, athletic and 
social which attracted many visitors as well many students who 
wished to study, play and grow there. Its popularity was evident 
from the steadily increasing enrollment and amazingly rapid 

*-"•*• f ' BBS!; JHHhB 

Al-Hikma 's last building, The Oriental Institute, nears completion 

Chapter 8 

Personalities Who Shaped 

Baghdad College and 



What apiece of worf^is a man! how noble in reason 1 . 

how infinite in faculty! in action how like an angel! 

in apprehension how like a god! 

Shakespeare: 9-Camlet. &ct II, Sc. 2, Line 31 7 

Campus characters 

The first four young Jesuits to arrive in Baghdad in 1932 as 
well as their successors were energetic, intelligent and fun loving 
and so were the young Iraqis they came to instruct. The most 
interesting aspect of the two Jesuit schools involved the 
fascinating characters who taught and learned there. One of the 
alumni describes some of his teachers who, he claimed, "would 
send him into orbit". 

The small booklet of Aesop's Fables was the introduction for 
many of us to the Jesuits. We were told to read Aesop's Fables 
in preparation for the admission interview with Fr. Thomas 
Kelly of Baghdad College. After this interview I thought this is 
one tough priest, but then I met Fr. Decker who specialized in 
making 12-year old boys into men of quality and discipline. 
During that first year at Baghdad College when my father was 

190 .0' Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

asked by his friends: where I was going to school he would 
answer; "with the Jesuits". Their inevitable reply would be: 
They are good at teaching discipline. At the age of 12 I did not 
know what the word meant and cataloged it as something 
important that grownups have. That was 40 years ago. Little 
did I know that one day I would have three children to tell that 
we had discipline before going to college. 

In the later years of my career and my community life, I 
often pondered the origin of the forces that launched us into 
success. Every year we had new teachers who provided the 
booster power to guide us into discipline. Mathematics taught 
by Fr. MacDonnell, English grammar by Fr. Jolson. A fine of 
50 fils from Fr. Fennel for exploding hydrogen in a chemistry 
test-tube. Cell biology and genetics from Frs. Gerry and 
Owens. A powerful booster for personal ethics and religion 
was Fr. LaBran. Middle Eastern history came from Ustadh 
George Abbosh. Neither Fr. Quinn's encouragement in sports 
nor Fr. Sullivan's urging me to engage in public speaking were 
as memorable as the booster rockets of discussions with Fr. 
Taft about Tolstoy and the Russian psyche and religions. When 
all failed, there was the dreaded specter of detention after class 
and taking the public bus home. 

And so, we rocketed through five years of controlled 
trajectory to escape into individual free orbits. We discovered 
that there was much more to life than we expected and we were 
prepared with discipline - that "grownup" word again. Our 
time with the Baghdad Jesuits was a rite of passage. I can hear 
them whispering "Our Baghdad boys are men of quality". 
(Allen Svoboda, B.C. '58) 

Another earlier graduate states this appreciation more briefly. 
"What influence some Baghdad Jesuits had on me? In the process 
of my growth and development as a youth, they emphasized the 
highest spiritual, scholastic and temporal ideals. Those ideals 
conceived and applied in yesteryear are today still bearing fruit in 
my everyday life." (Ed Zoma, B.C. '37) In that spirit this 
chapter gives more details of some of the faculty, both Jesuit and 
lay, who taught at the two schools and who were often mentioned by 
the alumni. The names are arranged in alphabetical order and rely 
on information sent in by alumni and Jesuits who responded to a 
request for such information. This latter fact may explain why 
some "personalities" are missing; its just that no respondents 
mentioned them. 

Some Campus Characters 


Mr. George Abbosh who earlier in his life had been a 
Jesuit seminarian in the Middle East vice-province. After 
leaving the Jesuits he began teaching at Baghdad College the 
very first year of its existence in 1932 and continued until 
its last in 1969. He was a pillar of the school, devoted to his 
students, fellow teachers and to the Fathers with a warmth and 
dedication that could not fail to impress anyone who met him. 
He had a politeness and courtesy that were charming, arising 
out of the depth of his being. If the Fathers had questions about 
decisions they had to make Mr. George Abbosh was a wise and 
prudent counselor. (Fr. Ryan) 

Part of the 1936 faculty 

Fr. Francis Anderson was born 6/4/00 and worked in 
Baghdad from 1936-40, and 1947. He was my 4th year 
English teacher and also a Shakespeare drama scholar and an 
actor. Because of his influence, today I am active in the local 
Columbia College drama department and have played character 
roles in 15 Columbia Actors Repertory productions on the 
historic Fallon House Theater. (Edward Zoma, B.C. '37) 

In those pre-television days the community recreation room 
after meals was the scene of many a roaring argument between 
verbal warriors like Fr. Madaras and Fr. Anderson. When one 
of these warriors, weary of the battle would say: "I rest my 
case," the other would reply: "It needs a rest!" Since the 
recreation room was the library, there was a huge Funk and 
Wagnalls dictionary and an encyclopedia which were handy to 
settle the arguments. Later Fr. Anderson became the Director 
of the Jesuit Mission Bureau in Boston. (Fr. Fennell) 

Mr. Bashir Khudhary taught Arabic through the forties 
until 1952. He was also the Arabic teacher for the Fathers. I 
was approached by Mr. Bashir to tutor him in basic 
mathematics. This I did by visiting him weekly at his home for 

192 ££ Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

several months. During those private visits our roles were 
reversed; he the student and I the teacher which was 
embarrassing and confusing for a 14 year old boy. 
Surprisingly and happily, however, this temporary role 
reversal had no effect on our respective roles in school. When 
I look back at this stage in my life, I cannot help but sense the 
humor and innocence of those events. 
(Elwin G. Kennedy, B.C. '42) 

Fr. Robert B. Campbell was born 5/26/26 and worked 
in Baghdad from 1951-54, and 1962-69. After ordination he 
studied at Harvard where he earned a Master's degree in Middle 
East studies. He returned to Al-Hikma until the expulsion, 
after which he obtained his Ph.D. in Arabic literature from the 
University of Michigan. 

As a teacher at Al-Hikma, Fr. Campbell was special. 
Although he knew math and physics, his great interest was in 
teaching students to think in areas of philosophy and (for 
Christian students) theology. For many students this was a 
new and very formative experience. They were used to 
studying the sciences, engineering or business administration. 
To be challenged to consider their values and to defend them not 
emotionally but rationally was something different, something 
deeper, to understand who you are and why. It was a challenge 
which many students later looked back on as a new and 
important stage of their adult growth. (Fr. Ryan) 

Fr. Edward Coffey was born in 1897 and worked in 
Baghdad from 1932-35. With characteristic energy and 
enthusiasm he coached and encouraged the Baghdad College 
soccer team as it competed with other high schools. Because of 
my steady participation in this popular game under his 
guidance and supervision, today at 76 I am a long distance 
runner averaging 5 or more miles a day 4 days a week and 
have been coaching a local running club for the past 13 years. 
(Edward Zoma, B.C. '37) 

Fr. Joseph Connell was born 8/20/08 in Brockton, MA. 
and worked in Baghdad during the years 1935-36,44-53, 
55-61,64-69. He was the mudeer (principal) from 1943 to 
1952, during many of the expanding years. He was very well 
known among the alumni and in fact organized the first Al- 
Hikma reunion of graduates which took place in Baghdad in 
November of 1964. He came to Baghdad in 1936 and was the 
first Jesuit scholastic to arrive. An inveterate missionary, 

** Some Campus Characters f 193 

he went to Jamaica after his expulsion from Baghdad and there 
became the principal of the evening school for aduft education. 
(Fr. MacDonnell) 

Francis X. Cronin was born 6 29 12 and worked in 
Baghdad from 1940-43. & 1949-53. He arrived in Baghdad 
in September 1939. just as World War II started in Europe. 
He taught chemistry and also was assigned to study Arabic 
which did with such skill that after his ordination he could 
deliver short sermons in Arabic in a competent and confident 
manner. During his time at Baghdad College he won a host of 
friends and was greatly admired for his charity, humility and 
devotion to work. 

All went well with him until the winter of 1953. 
when he developed a deep rash and became very ill. After a 
week, doctors in Baghdad were uncertain of their diagnosis. He 
was carried west to the British air base at Habbaniyah in the 
desert, where doctors diagnosed his illness as leukemia. He 
died a holy death on January 30, 1953 at the air base, and 
after an extremely long funeral procession on Rashid Street in 
Baghdad, he was buried behind the church in Sulaikh. the first 
Jesuit to die on the mission. Many students and alumni attended 
his funeral and Baghdad lost a great preacher. His favorite 
story was about an elderly Irishman near his home in 
Connecticut. When asked if he'd like a drink, the Irishman 
would always reply: "I seldom drink, but when I do. it's 
usually about this time of the day!" (Fr. Fennell) 

fV " : v !f **-#& 

»-* ^ 

Fr. Cronin preaching in Arabic ai Padre Pierre s church 

Fr. Augustine Devenny was born 10 1708 and worked 
in Baghdad during the years 1939-49. He volunteered to help 
out when Fr. Madras needed a verbal sparring partner during 
evening recreation. After many a long-winded argument by 

194 ;0 

Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

Fr. Madaras on some point of theology, Fr. Devenny would say 
quietly "I accept your apology!" In 1939, on his arrival at 
the College, he was given the difficult assignment of mudir, 
with no previous experience of life in Baghdad, or its language, 
but he did the job with admirable aplomb. (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. Devenny took personal interest over half a century in the 
affairs and well being of our family and readily gave his advice 
to me when requested. He visited our humble home in 1939 
when I was ill. He paid us a special visit in 1942 to persuade 
my father to discourage me from leaving school after 3rd year. 
He was distressed when I had to leave school and to start work 
due to very poor family financial situation. He impressed upon 
me the lasting value of education. His influence led me to 
complete higher education attending evening classes leading to 
a masters' degree in business from Toronto University. 
(Elwin G. Kennedy, B.C. '42) 

Fr. John J. Donohue was born 1/12/26 in Worcester, MA. 
and worked in Baghdad during the years 1953-56, 66-69. 
He taught homeroom 4B mathematics and English during his 
first year in Iraq, then he went to the language house to study 
Arabic. After ordination he received a doctorate in Arabic 
Studies at Harvard (on the Buyid Dynasty in Iraq), then 
returned to Baghdad in 1966 to teach at Al-Hikma. He was 
made superior of the whole mission in 1967 and threw his 
impressive energies into that demanding job, encouraging the 
Jesuits to discuss thoroughly every aspect of their Baghdad 
work and to plan for the future. After the Iraqi government 
took over Al-Hikma he spent most of his waking hours trying 
to convince members of the government (at all levels) that 
expulsion of the Jesuits was neither deserved nor in the best 
interest of the Iraqi people. The government, however, had 
other preoccupations, especially that of maintaining itself in 
power. The Jesuits were expendable. 

Fr. Donahue and friends 

Some Campus Characters f 


Fr. Donohue's name was on the list of those to be expelled 
25 November, 1968 so he protested that he should be allowed 
to stay since he was the superior of all the Jesuits. 
Government officials concurred and he was able to stay until 
the expulsion of the Baghdad College Jesuits was complete in 
August 1969. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

The B.C. Community in 1956 

Fr. Joseph Fennell was born 3/23/11 in Springfield, 
MA. and worked in Baghdad during the years 1939-43,50-69. 
During all this time he taught chemistry and is remembered in 
connection with his lab experiments. He had a naturally 
disciplined way of teaching, steady, predictable focused; and 
this sense of discipline was formative for his students, 
although some of them initially found it not in accord with 
their tastes. Reflecting on this quality, one of his students told 
him: "Father, you are good for us Iraqis." He felt he and his 
friends needed Fr. Fennell's discipline. Fr. Fennell often 
recalled this encomium with a warm chuckle. 

In studying Arabic, Fr. Fennell applied the same discipline to 
himself. Knowing that a foreigner could easily provoke an 
uproar among his students if he used an English word which 
sounded like an Arabic word with an unsavory implication, Fr. 
Fennell made up lists of English words to be avoided which he 
shared with the other Fathers. (Fr. Ryan) 

Fr. Stanislaus Gerry was born 3/7/12 in Brockton, MA. 
and worked in Baghdad during the years 1946-57, 58-69. 
He taught biology (and theology) at Baghdad College and after 
his dismissal from Baghdad he went to teach in Campion College 

What do bookstore, biology and classical music have in 
common? Fr. Stanislaus T. Gerry at Baghdad College. Fr. 
Gerry used to scare the daylights out of me as a freshman 
every time I walked into the bookstore (for a classic example 
of such a moment - see a picture of Fr. Gerry in the college of 

1 96 & 

Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

"First Day of School" in the '68 Al-lraqi). I used to hate 
classical music. Then one day, Fr. Gerry asked me to get him a 
blank reel to reel tape, he recorded a beginners selection for 
me. Ever since, he got me hooked on Beethoven, Bach and the 
rest. Today, thanks to Fr. Gerry that man with the "gruff" 
exterior and soft heart classical music is a lifetime passion for 
me! How's that for good education. May God bless his soui him 
and all the "Baghdad" Jesuits everlasting happiness. 
(Raad Habib, B.C. '68) 

Fr. Vincent Gookin was born 3/1/91 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1935-47. He was a practicing 
dentist when he changed the course of his life and applied for 
the Jesuits. He disliked being called "Doc", and refused to do 
any dental work on the rest of the community. He delighted 
listeners with softly-played, old-time songs on the piano. 
When teaching chemistry to the juniors, he would astound the 
class by writing a sentence on the blackboard with his left 
hand, then switching the chalk to his right hand, and continue 
writing the sentence! On one occasion, the class had to do a 
laboratory experiment making a small amount of chlorine gas. 
Typical of generous Iraqi youth, they used a too generous 
proportion of ingredients. As the resulting green poison filled 
the room and seeped out the windows, the whole class rushed 
out in front of the school, coughing and rubbing their eyes! 
The experiment was deemed a success. (Fr. Ryan) 

\ Fr. Guay's last building: the unfinished Oriental Institute / 

Fr. Leo Guay was born 3/3/08 and worked in Baghdad 
during the years 1945-56, 58-68. As the last Jesuit 
scholastic to teach at Al-Hikma University I always felt 
blessed to have such fine Jesuit role models because they 
brought out the scholarly, administrative, missionary and 
pastoral dimensions of the Jesuit vocation. One such Jesuit 
was Fr. Leo Guay. I was always struck by this biologically old 
man who was so full of life and enthusiasm and I wondered 
about the secret of his success. I think it was because he 

T Some Campus Characters f 197 

genuinely loved children and had a great rapport with them. 
His regular routine included frequent visits to the orphanages 
in Baghdad, and on such occasions he would tell his favorite 
children's stories and jokes. He seemed to have an endless 
supply of them. Sheep grazed on the campus lawn to be 
fattened up for the orphans. When sufficiently plump, off they 
went to the delighted orphans. If any strayed off the campus, 
neighbors were kind enough to return them for the orphans. 

He was also a self taught architect who sent away for books 
on architecture when he first came to Baghdad College. His 
skills were quite developed by the time he got to Al-Hikma 
University and each new building seemed even better than the 
previous one. His last unfinished building was the Oriental 
Institute. It had a distinctively Arab and Middle Eastern 
flavor, and when the beautiful blue dome was finished it had a 
startlingly beautiful optical illusion. As people drove by on 
the road to Basra it seemed as if an image of a cross reflecting 
sunlight off the dome followed them as they sped along the road. 
He used the principle of the geodesic dome which he learned 
from Buckminster Fuller to construct workmen's housing. 

In addition to a nice sense of humor, he had a very scientific 
mind and was always learning and teaching. He knew the 
names of many stars and emphasized that often the Arabs had 
named them. He was not afraid to make mistakes because we 
usually learn from our mistakes and most successful people 
have had their share of failures. (Fr. James Spillane) 

Fr. Thomas Hussey was born 5/29/09 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1937-40, 44-46,47-59. 66-69. 
After Fr. Hussey finished his early teaching years ('37-'40) 
he went to India to study theology for ordination, since trans- 
Atlantic travel was too difficult for Americans during the war. 
When he returned in 1944 he quickly became a very popular 
teacher of first year students, Then in 1952 he became the 
superior of the mission until 1958. During these years the 
expansion of Baghdad College and the extension to Al-Hikma 
was due in great part to him. He requested land from the Iraqi 
government and they gave the Jesuits an enormous 168 acres. 
He requested money from foundations and they also were quite 
generous. He had asked the prime minister to intercede for the 
Jesuits with the foundations and he did. Perhaps due to his 
success in getting needed donations for Baghdad College, he was 
called to Boston to work in a similar job at the Jesuit Missions 
office. He returned to Iraq in 1966. Ever since the expulsion 
he has worked as librarian at the Cathedral Elementary School 

198 # Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

in Boston. In 1993 the library was named in his honor when 
he was honored as a much loved friend and teacher: "... well 
educated, forever patient and committed to giving the next 
generation a boost they will not find anywhere else." At the 
ceremony the children put on a play acting out his life and 
included a scene of his expulsion from Iraq. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

Fr. Frederick Kelly was born 12/4/22 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1949-52, 59-68. He taught 
physics at Baghdad College during his first stint and returned 
as Dean of Al-Hikma's Engineering school in 1959 and 
continued at this post until November 1968. Fr. Fred was 
always doing interesting things, like teaching, preaching, 
coaching, motivating, counseling, consoling, administering the 
sacraments and a myriad of other marvelous things. 


Fr. F. Kelly running a physics lab in 1951 

Students called him el-Spanner (spanner wrench) because 
he could fit into any science course and could teach any 
mathematics, physics or engineering subject. Whenever a 
teacher called in sick and the students thought they had a 
holiday Fr. Fred would show up and take the teacher's place. 
When asked how he could do this since it required so much 
habitual knowledge, he confided with his impish grin: "Its just 
that I can read faster than the students can." 

In a similar way he was called el chibar, the lion, because 
this kind and gentle man tolerated no nonsense. He faced down 
armed men who came onto the campus to disrupt classes at the 
beginning of the 1968 Fall semester. A while later when the 
decree of dismissal arrived, listing 8 Jesuit names to be 
dismissed from the country, two of the names listed referred 
to Fr. Kelly: Frederick William Kelly and Kelly Frederick 
William. Mystified by American organization of names and 
surnames the authorities were not sure what el chibar's name 
was but it was clear that they wanted to get this tough 

Some Campus Characters 


adversary out of their hair. 

The most common Arabic nick-name was Amu-Fred - uncle 
Fred - and this was the title that meant the most to him and to 
his fellow Jesuits. It was a term of endearment and respect 
which his Jesuit friends still use. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

Fr. Thomas Kelly was born 4/18/12 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1945-55, 56-69. Fr. Kelly was a 
skilled disciplinarian which job he filled at Baghdad College 
for many years and his favorite saying seemed to be "Let the 
punishment fit the crime." Of many examples one stands out. 
A lad was carving his name on a date tree, perhaps thinking 
who is going to mind since there were over 200 date trees on 
the campus. Fr. Kelly minded and had him stay after school 
until he had memorized the poem "Woodsman Spare that Tree". 

Occasionally he would have a tough case and call the student's 
father. One such time he sent a boy home for the harmless 
prank of approaching another from behind and poking them in 

the leg causing them to lose their 
balance and fall over. All they lost 
was their dignity. When the father 
arrived with his son in tow, it was 
clear that he was not in a mood for 
jokes and when the poor lad was told 
to demonstrate on his father what 
he was doing he pleaded: "He'll kill 
me." It seemed that Fr. Kelly 
believed the boy since he dismissed 
the case on the spot and never called 
the father again. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

The renowned scheduling 
board invented in 1956 

Fr. Joseph LaBran was born 8/19/15 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1949-58. In his literature courses 
Fr. LaBran had his students memorize many passages not only 
to help them appreciate the author at the time but to store 
away passages that they would savor later in life. He 
accomplished both. At the biennial reunions, even before 
saying hello, his former students approach him reciting 
passages from Shakespeare's plays or Tennyson's Idylls of the 
King which they have treasured for 40 years. Fr. LaBran was 
very proud of the fact that during his visit to Baghdad College 
King Faisal lingered longer in his literature class than in any 
of the other classes. Students recited their assigned memory 
from Julius Caesar. "He would be king, that he might change 

200 Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

his nation". Three months later King Faisal was dead. 

One of the summers I visited the Jesuit house in Saadun 
where Father LaBran was staying and I met some of his 
Sodalists. It took true dedication for Fr. LaBran to live at the 
place and under such primitive conditions. Once he was bitten 
by a wild dog and had to be taken to the hospital for stitches 
and rabies shots. Fr. LaBran came in to tell me that they had 
an alcoholic living alone and in a hallucinated state. He got him 
to the house and had his Sodalists taking turns watching the 
man. The boys were frightened facing such a situation for the 
first time, but I encouraged them. After Fr. LaBran had 
convinced him to receive the sacraments he died peacefully. 

My father-in-law who was vice president of the high court 
of Iraq had a stroke and was in a coma at the hospital. During 
martial law following a revolution Father LaBran was with us 
and was a great support. He gave the last blessings and was the 
only friend who came to our home at this time of our sorrow. 
At the time there was a very dangerous atmosphere in Baghdad, 
with the city reserve oil tanks on fire. He got home safely but 
Fr. LaBran gave the Holy Spirit a difficult time. 

When Fr. LaBran had to leave us to go back to the States we 
had broken hearts and missed him very much. His dedication 
and service to the people of Iraq can never be forgotten. For us 
he was the new 20th century St. Paul spreading the word of 
God. He did great good with his great heart and simple ways 
open with charity to all. We pray that our future church will 
be blessed by men like him to spread the love and faith that 
conquers the world. (Augustine Shamas) 

Fr. James P. Larkin was born 2/15/10 and worked in 
Baghdad from 1944-54, 57-69. He was tall, stocky and in 
fine physical condition. When students at Baghdad College 
learned that he had been a boxer, they were not surprised 
since he looked the part. But big as he was, he was a gentle 
person, very fond of his students. Some of them were 
courageous enough to take boxing lessons from him. When Fr. 
James' younger brother William, the physicist, arrived in 
Baghdad they were naturally named Big Larkin and Small 
Larkin. Fr. James' interest in photography resulted in some of 
the best pictures of Baghdad College and Al-Hikma, many of 
which are shown in these pages due to the kindness of his 
sister Helen who owns them. When he was taking the 
photographs he was anxious about every detail so his photos 
were outstanding. (Fr. Ryan) 


f Some Campus Characters f 

Fr. Charles M. Loeffler was 

born 2/19/12 in Mattapan, MA. 
and worked in Baghdad during the 
years 1943-50, 51-61, 62-69. 
He taught French at Holy Cross 
and, after ordination in 1941, he 
taught English, math, and theology 
at Baghdad College until the 
expulsion of 1969, and then he did 
pastoral work in the south end of 
Boston until retirement in 1992. 
He loved to help keep up the 
Baghdad College grounds and was 
known for his cheerful and wry 
humor. (Fr. MacDonnell) Fr. MacDonnell: Al-Hikma 

physics lab in 1956 

Fr. Joseph MacDonnell was born 5/4/29 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1955-58, 64-69. During June 
after his first year of teaching he gathered together ten of his 
Christian students and gave them a three-day closed retreat. It 
was so successful that during the next two years he gave four 
more of these retreats. Later in the sixties he took charge of 
the retreat program which grew rapidly so that by 1968 no 
less than 15 closed retreats were held, one of which 
accommodated 48 alumni. In Detroit, at the request of the 
alumni, he revived the retreat movement because of the 
insistence of the alumni and initiated the very meaningful 
retreats and days of recollection now held at the Manresa 
Retreat House in Bloomfield. 

Fr. MacDonnell sometimes filled in for teachers who fell 
ill. His good friend Alfred Nasri was overtaken by an extended 
two month sickness and Fr. MacDonnell went to the mudir to 
point out that students needed that instruction for their third 
year government exam so he would take all seven physics 
classes whenever he had a free period in his own schedule. For 
two months he taught each of the seven periods each day and his 
students did quite well in their government exam. (Fr. Ryan) 

Fr. Sidney MacNeil was born 9/14/09 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1937-39, 43-56, 57-69. He was 
one of the pillars of Baghdad College, and much later at Al- 
Hikma. He seemed to know everyone and all the members of 
their families. More important, he always was available and 
happy that people would ask his advice or his help. For those 

202 CJ Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

who, on graduating from Baghdad College, were desirous of 
going on to further studies abroad, he was particularly 
encouraging. He had a very positive attitude, noticing the good 
qualities in students. Jesuits used to joke with him about his 
enthusiasm for students who were particularly bright and 
talented, especially if they were hard workers. He had a list of 
the 10 best students as well as the best - best and even the 
best - best - best students. (Fr. Ryan) 

Father Sidney MacNeil worked hard and long attempting to 
obtain academic scholarships for the graduates of Baghdad 
College. He was frequently successful, as in my own case, and 
several others of my own class of B.C. '48. To his time 
consuming and knowledgeable handling of my applications to 
and communications with various American institutions, and to 
his continuous patient efforts and counseling, I "owe" having 
the privilege of attending (tuition-free) two of the most 
prestigious (and expensive) universities (Yale and 
Princeton). Father MacNeil, also, looked for and found other 
ways to help B.C. graduates: as in my case. While waiting for 
the finalization of his efforts to obtain a scholarship for me 
(which took a full year) he also managed to arrange to provide 
me with the opportunity to work at a company. 
(Ramzi Hermiz, B.C. '48) 

Fr. Edward Madaras was born 1/30/97 in Defiance, Ohio 
and worked in Baghdad during the years 1932-44, 46-67. 
Fr. Madaras had been in Baghdad for 35 years doing 
magnificent work. During which time only once did he return 
for a few weeks to visit his brothers, Joseph Madaras of 
Birmingham, Michigan, and Arthur Madaras of Indianapolis, 
Indiana. He devoted his many and exceptional talents and all 
his strength to Baghdad College, and is rightly regarded by all 
as not only the co-founder of the school but also as one of its 
principal pillars and personalities. For seven years Father 
was President of the College; and for the other 28 years he 
labored as administrator, architect, builder and teacher. 

For all who knew him Fr. Madaras was surely one who would 
stand high on any list of "Great Characters I Have Met." It is 
out of the question in such a brief sketch to do this many- 
faceted character justice. Two features only can be mentioned. 
The first was his tireless and amazing industry. 

He was a very talented, very exact and very argumentative 
Jesuit from Defiance, Ohio. During the Community meals 
Jesuit scholastics took their turns reading to the community 
while an older Father was assigned to correct their mistakes in 

Some Campus Characters 


pronunciation. No one ever got away with a mispronunciation 
when Fr. Madaras was the prefect of reading. He was the type 
of person who, instead of taking snacks, devoured Webster's 
dictionary during his spare time. 

Frs. Guay and Madaras 

He brooked no shoddy work either, and once refused to pay a 
company for 20 chairs he had ordered because they were made 
of inferior wood from packing cases. He told scholastics: "I am 
here to train you to do things properly." In later years he was 
very popular with these scholastics. He taught mathematics 
classes until the year he died in 1967. He was buried in the 
cemetery in back of the Baghdad College chapel. (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. Charles Mahan was born 3/29/99 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1934-46, 47-57, 58-69. The 
boarding school near the Tigris River, with mostly Iraqi 
boarders from Baghdad itself, from Basra in the south and 
from Mosul in the north, was well-disciplined under the stern 
command of Fr. Mahan. He also cared for the spiritual well 
being of his charges and made sure that the Christian boarders 
went to Mass each morning before breakfast. 

He was no one to fool with. One day a young Shaikh named 
Ahmed of the Shammar tribe in north Iraq confessed: "There 
are 50,000 Arabs in my tribe afraid of me, and I'm afraid of 
Fr. Mahan!" Logically, we may assume that made 50,001 
Arabs in Iraq afraid of Fr. Mahan (5 ft. 4 in.)! Shaikh Ahmed 
had 3 younger brothers with him in the boarding school, all 
crowded together in one room. They brought fearsome-looking 
handguns and ammunition, which Fr. Mahan locked up in his 
safe. On Thursday afternoon, on the way to see a movie in 
Baghdad, they demanded to carry their guns with them. "We 
have enemies in Baghdad!" Fortunately, they never had to use 
them: on return from the movie, the guns were locked up for 
the week. They had a giant body-guard, who was a walking 
arsenal of weapons! When asked: "Is he your servant?", 

204 C?: : Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

Ahmed replied: "No, he is our slave!" (Fr. Fennell) 

In the school year 48-49, I was in 2-C with Fr. Mahan. In 
religion classes Fr. Mahan was fond of telling us not to seek the 
Cadillac and mansion, that many who become rich tend to 
acquire, and to be satisfied with the simple pleasures of life. 
At that time I had no idea what a Cadillac was. But little did I 
know, that just a few years later, I would be implanted in the 
city where all the Cadillacs in the world are made. And as fate 
would have it, I became fast friends with the St. Aubin family, 
direct descendants of a Lieutenant in the Mission, Captain Siur 
Antoine DeLaMothe Cadillac. (Saib Shunia, B.C. '52) 

Fr. John Mahoney was born 1/2/19 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1945-48,- 53-69. In 1946 Fr. 
Madaras informed Fr. John Mahoney, just finishing his first 
year in Baghdad, that he would be studying the language full 
time beginning right away. He was surprised since he never 
was mistaken for a linguist in any of the languages a Jesuit has 
to study in his career and besides he enjoyed teaching his 
freshman section. Fr. Superior said "right away" and he meant 
it, so he boarded the bus to Karrada to the home of the Arabic 
teacher Mu'allim Bashir. 

The high point of his Arabic career came when he preached a 
few of the ceremonies in place of the eloquent Fr. Richard 
McCarthy. That accomplishment was his diploma for Arabic 
studies in Baghdad even though he claimed that he was just 
beginning to get the hand of the language and the thinking that 
goes with it. In his later years he spent much of his time with 
the families of the Baghdad College workers. 

He worried about the children of the men who worked at the 
college - bus drivers, kitchen workers, and workers in the 
various residences (about 25 families in all). These children 
attended school at Jesuit expense, to the Chaldean Sisters' 
Primary in the center of Baghdad to whom the Jesuits paid 
tuition and bus transportation. He noticed that their grades 
were very low and when Fr. Mahoney visited their homes, he 
could see why. They had no place to study so Fr. Mahoney 
volunteered to gather the students for a two-hour study period 
from 5 to 7 five days a week in one of the school classrooms. 
So the children came in big numbers. On Sundays Fr. Mahoney 
said Mass for all and had the youngsters sing the appropriate 
hymns. Quite a few of them were good athletes. This was 
shown when the girls beat the boys in soccer. The girls beat 
their brothers and this in front of a group of neighboring 
Iraqis who were completely amazed. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

f Some Campus Characters f 20 5 

Fr. Stanley Marrow was born 2/1/31 in Baghdad, Iraq 
and worked in Baghdad during the years 1955-58, 66-67. He 
has been mentioned in Chapter 5 in the discussion of Jesuit 
vocations and the influence Jesuits had. After his graduation in 
1947 he became the first Jesuit vocation. He returned to 
Baghdad College in 1955 to teach chemistry. He surprised his 
first class of students who expected another American Jesuit. 
They found that they had to be more circumspect about their 
language since he was one of them. He enjoyed being with the 
students and they with him. 

After studying theology (1958-62) and being ordained in 
the Syrian rite he returned once again to Iraq in 1967, this 
time as a theology teacher at Al-Hikma. After the expulsion 
Fr. Marrow went to the Weston School of Theology where he 
still teaches and does scholarly work in the field of New 
Testament studies. He has authored a few books and gained a 
wonderful reputation in the field of sacred scripture. 
(Fr. MacDonnell) 

Fr. Richard McCarthy was born 3/7/12 in Chicopee, 
MA. He worked in Baghdad during the years 1938-41, 51-68. 
Fr. McCarthy became Rector of the University in 1965. He 
had done graduate studies in Rome and Oxford University in 
England. An outstanding scholar, he became fluent in Arabic 
and oriental languages and was an authority on Islamic 
philosophy and theology. The House of Studies was under his 
supervision and he was a dedicated teacher of Arabic to his 
Jesuit colleagues. His sermons in Churches and at public 
events won wide acclaim and the admiration of his Iraqi 
friends. He had a dream, and during his term of office he 
supervised the construction of an Oriental Institute on the 
campus of Al-Hikma University. The building was a modest 
endeavor with classrooms, a library, and accommodations for 
seminars. Here he hoped to draw students and scholars from all 
over the world to create a better understanding and friendship 
among those of diverse cultural backgrounds. (Fr. Donohue) 

I am sending you, through my uncle Ramzi [Hermiz], two 
mementos of Fr. Richard McCarthy: a photocopy of a small 
pamphlet he had written on The Morning Offering and an audio 
cassette containing a homily he had given on a Holy Friday in 
the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, located in one of the 
suburbs of Baghdad [near Baghdad-al-Jadida]. To the best of 
my estimation, the original undated tape was made in the early 
sixties. I remember how my father had taken the 

206 Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

comparatively large, and very heavy, recording machine (the 
old reel type) with us to that church because Fr. McCarthy was 
celebrating Mass there and how my father wanted to record the 
homily, and so he did. I ask you to share the cassette and the 
"pamphlet" with the Fathers who would like to remember 
their friend and colleague, or with those who would just like to 
listen to his voice again. You may also want to make copies of 
the materials to be kept wherever the "permanent records" of 
the Jesuits' work are kept - if there is such a place. Perhaps, 
however, the Jesuits as people of God don't care much for 
permanent "records" as such, but believe mainly in the 
records of their work that are left in the hearts and minds of 
the people whose lives they touch. [Ed. Jesuits are 
incorrigible record keepers.] (This is a letter to Fr. Campbell 
from Su'dad N. Sesi, graduate of Al-Hikma and niece of Ramzi 

Fr. Leo McDonough was born 7/25/23 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1948-51, 59-68. Fr. "Chet" 
McDonough taught first at B.C. and later at A.H. after doing 
graduate studies in mathematics at Catholic University. He 
was also director of athletics, Dean of Students and Dean of the 
School of Business Administration. He was very much at home 
with people and had a wonderful sense of humor. A stranger, 
upon meeting him, felt at ease immediately. He had a uncanny 
knack of reading a person's mood. In talking with a student, he 
could quickly surmise if something was bothering the student. 
This empathy with a person's feelings applied to groups as 
well. At certain times of the year he would tell the dean: 

"Everyone is ready for a 

party. What do you 

say?" In difficult 


especially when the 

politics of the country 

made its presence felt on 

the campus, he was 

quick to notice and quick 

to take action. He was 

then an ideal Dean of 

_,. . Fr. McDonough s borrowed costume 

Students. a 

If a person was in trouble, whether it be someone on campus 

or a complete stranger, they were lucky to run into Fr. 

McDonough. One can still picture him taking students out of 

f Some Campus Characters f 207 

the city by bus for a picnic. He would clap his hands merrily 
while students sang to the accompaniment of the beat of the 
dumbuk. Or when at a party he would stroll around playing his 
accordion. (Fr. Ryan) 

Fr. Joseph Merrick was born 8/13/1895 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1933-69. He was the ultimate 
missionary. On a hot summer afternoon, 120 degrees in the 
shade, while most of the citizens were napping I went out to 
visit the family of one of my students and congratulated myself 
on my selflessness. At that moment Fr. Merrick got off the 
bus. He had been out in the worst of the heat visiting the poor 
and was just now coming home. (Mr. Michael Toner) 

Jesuits have always been my best friends throughout my 30 
years of teaching at a girls' school, directed by our 
Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, and 
called "Presentation School", situated at Bab-el-Shargy, 
Baghdad, Iraq, in the central part of the city where all city 
events (good and bad) converged. Without the Jesuits' 
spiritual and material support, I wondered how I could have 
surmounted all the disappointments, hardships and 
discouragement which I had to endure. I would often see and 
talk with Fr. Merrick who used to celebrate Mass at our 
convent on most every Sunday for several years. After his 
Sunday Mass, I would serve him breakfast in the sacristy. 
There was no American food but there was always butter and 
cheese. This cheese was wrapped in foil or wax-paper. After 
the meal, in cleaning up, I often noticed that the two or three 
triangular pieces were gone, but so was their wrapper. I 
later learned that he had stuck them into his pocket to give to 
the poor he met on his way home to Baghdad College - a 40 
minute walk. (Sister Joseph Pelletier, A.H. '66) 

Fr. Merrick taught me by his words and deeds of kindness 
how to care for the needs of the poor and suffering. Many a 
time he took me with him to the "Armenian Camp" outside of 
Baghdad - a camp for Armenian war refugees from the turn of 
the century - to visit and to instruct in catechism. Today, 
because of his influence and example, I serve as a deacon at All 
Saints Parish in the foothills town of Twain Harte. I was 
ordained in the Chaldean rite in 1973 by the late Patriarch 
Paul Sheiko at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Turlock, 
California. (Edward Thomas Zoma) 

One day, after school, I sat on a bench astride the field and 
watched Fr. Merrick as he stood motionless in the field, as if 
transfixed in one spot, in deep meditation. This lasted what 

:;5 C Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

seemed to me then like an eternity. Little did I know that he 
was reaching for the hand of God. (Saib Shunia, B.C. '52) 

When Fr. Merrick was attempting to visit a sick person at 
the Dar Es Salam Adventist Hospital he was stopped near the 
front door and told all the patients' spiritual needs were taken 
care of; there was no need for him to visit there. He replied as 
long as there was a patient in the hospital whom he knew about 
he would visit as often as he felt needed and no one on the staff 
would ever prevent him. (Br. Foley) 

The New York Times carried an enthusiastic article 
recently concerning Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's last 
theorem on the 60th anniversary of another article (N.Y. 
Times 7/4/33) concerning Fr. Joseph Merrick's proof of the 
same theorem. Fr. Merrick was justifiably more modest "it is 
unlikely that I have succeeded since so many have tried - but 
where is the mistake?" His modesty was on target, because 
he had made a mistake and failed to prove it. But Fr. Merrick 
was a recidivist, he kept trying and could not let go of this 
elusive problem. He would corner all mathematics teachers 
who understood how mathematics works so that they would go 
over his revision of the flawed proof. They all gradually came 
to hate Mr. Fermat and his theorem. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

Fr. Merrick was a religious who made do with little sleep. 
But he did fall asleep between his physics classes! He was 
known far and wide to be Father Deaf, although that was not the 
reason for his popularity as a confessor. He was kind. 
understanding, with great love of the poor. He opened a little 
office on Rashid St., where people could drop in for free 
counseling. He ended his days, well over 90 years, in the 
Campion Health Center in Weston, MA. (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. John A. Mifsud was born 12/7/1895 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1932-46, 47-64. The earliest 
Jesuits arriving in Baghdad came from several American 
Provinces. The California Province sent Fr. Mifsud, born on 
the Island of Malta. Because his name had a slightly ignoble 
meaning locally, he adopted the title of "Fr. Miff". Maltese 
language has many similarities to Arabic, so when Fr. Miff had 
a year off to study Arabic, he was accused of spending a year on 
his native tongue! He was extremely talented in languages, 
fluent in Maltese, Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic and 
English. He loved Lebanon in the summer: it gave him a 
chance to meet Europeans for a change. He would miss 
American expressions. One evening at recreation after 
listening to baseball talk, he had a question for Fr. Sheehan 

Some Campus Characters f 209 

about the infield: "What is this short stuff you're talking 
about?" He left Baghdad in the mid-sixties, retired to Malta, 
where he spent his final years. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

Mr. Muhammad Serour taught me Arabic. My classmates 
and I were pleasantly surprised at how well we did in the 
government exam in Arabic literature, and realized that it was 
because of this genteel Egyptian teacher with the dower half- 
smiling face - poetry of the pre-lslamic Jahiliya, speeches of 
the Prophet and the Imam AN, poetry of the Memlukes 
dynasties, and methods of sentence parsing. With his matter- 
of-fact monotone voice he made the time and place of the Arabic 
subject he was teaching reappear in every class period. 

In the middle of the fourth year, I fought to get a coveted 
front row seat in class, near John Melcon who moved down 
there earlier, to be nearer that teacher. The current emotions 
of the Suez war did not disrupt the scenes of the poets. The 
lessons continued. The appreciation for Arabic literature 
which I learned at Baghdad College is still enjoyable. After 
thirty years of worldwide engineering, I chuckle to myself 
while driving in tiny Holland, and recall the rules for Arabic 
diminutive nouns. Or composing poetry in the Arabic meter 
while on a long drive in Texas. Not to shortchange the values of 
English lessons by Fr. LaBran of Lancelot and Guinevere in 
their mime of devotion, still for Arabic literature, Mohammed 
Serour got top marks. (Allen Svoboda, B.C. '58) 

Fr. Joseph O'Connor was born 12/8/23 in Worcester, 
MA. and worked in Baghdad during the years 1953-56, 61- 
69. He was my idea of what the ideal missionary should be. 
His energy level was unbelievable, he was indefatigable always 
on the go. His warmth, his ready smile and his ebullient good 
humor was available to everyone. It seemed as if he knew 

everyone in Baghdad and 
they all loved him and 
when he entered a home, it 
lit up. His enthusiasm 
was contagious. He had a 
personal magnetism that 
drew others to him. His 

sincere concern for others Fr ^ ns ad j ress £ g the assembly 
was quite apparent. (Mr. f students just before his death 
Michael Toner) 

Fr. John V. Owens was born 1/13/24 and worked in 

210 CI Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

Baghdad during the years 1957-67. Fr. Owens has been 
mentioned elsewhere in connection with his courageous death 
from cancer. It was then that he gave a moving talk on the 
meaning of death and made a profound impact on the students 
gathered at a special noon assembly in front of the 
Administration building. In order to get there he had to be 
driven over by car because he did not have much stamina. He 
had enough though to push the car away from the residence 
where it was parked. A Father (who wishes to be nameless) 
volunteered to drive him to his appointment at the assembly, 
but had never driven this German automobile before with its 
strange shifts. He could find everything except the reverse 
gear and time was getting short. Fr. Owens took matters into 
his own hands, jumped out of the car and proceeded to push the 
vehicle away from the wall so that the novice driver could "get 
him to the church on time". 

Unlike Fr. Gerry, Fr. Owens did not have his own classroom 
so he was kidded by the other Jesuits whenever he was seen 
carrying his "box of bones" to his biology class. Most Jesuits 
did not know anything about biology and could only guess what 
he used the bones for. He had a very prayerful spirit but was 
very outgoing and friendly, liked people and had a finely tuned 
sense of humor. He enjoyed using his wit on other Jesuits who 
took themselves too seriously. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

Fr. Walter Pelletier was born 12/19/29 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1954-57, 63-69. During his years 
at Baghdad College he was a very popular geometry teacher 
among the students and considered a very dependable and 
responsible worker by the faculty. He was a successful 
basketball coach as well as player and instilled in his team a 
desire to win, not just to "wear out a uniform." He had a 
wonderful sense of humor which helped him in his job as 
disciplinarian. At his first noon assembly of the first, second 
and third year students, he was introduced to this job by Fr. 
Kelly with the words: "Here is the new muawin, you won't see 
me here any more." Fr. Kelly then stepped back and fell off the 
narrow porch out of sight into the bushes below. Fr. Pelletier 
had a immediate challenge to his ability to maintain composure 
and to send some 700 delighted students to their classes in a 
dignified and orderly fashion. 

Fr. William Rice worked in Baghdad during the years 
1932-39. He knew French quite well but nothing of "Arabic 
when he arrived. With his little community of Jesuits he had 
to find living quarters, a school building or one to be made into 

f Some Campus Characters f 211 

a school, learn the local education system, establish good 
relations with the Ministry of Education, be accepted by the 
local clergy, and the Catholic hierarchy, consisting of a 
Chaldean Patriarch, Syrian Archbishop, Armenian Archbishop 
and a Latin Archbishop who was also the Apostolic Delegate not 
to mention their Orthodox counterparts. That was the 
problem, roughly sketched for Fr. Rice by the Jesuits in 

Yet Fr. "Bill" survived it all and won the hearts of many 
people. Years later I was at one of the Government offices, 
perhaps the Customs; one of the younger clerks called me over 
to ask me about Fr. Rice. It seems that Fr. Bill used to "work" 
the neighborhood on his afternoon break. He practiced the few 
words of Arabic he had found time to learn by chatting with the 
neighborhood kids. The customs clerk had been one of those 
youngsters. He asked for news of Fr. Rice and indicated he had 
fond memories of their meetings, as proof he pulled from his 
wallet a picture of Fr. Rice, a picture he carried around with 
him. It must have been more than his personality that 
impressed Iraqis. Since he talked French fluently as did the 
local clergy, they both got to know each other quite well. When 
the Apostolic Delegate had to leave Iraq, Fr. Rice was readily 
accepted as temporary Apostolic Delegate. (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. Joseph Ryan was born 12/4/20 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1945-47, 54-68. He taught at 
Baghdad College from 1945-48. He then returned to the 
United States for four years of theology and ordination, after 
which he obtained a M.S. degree in chemistry at Boston College. 
He returned to Baghdad in January of 1955, expecting to 
resume teaching at Baghdad College. But on his arrival he 
learned that, in view of the preparations for the opening of Al- 
Hikma University, he would become Dean. From 1956 to 
1966 he was Dean and from 1966-68 he was Academic Vice- 
President. In 1962-63, while he studied Arabic at the Jesuit 
residence on Rawaf St. near the White House, Fr. Frederick 
Kelly was acting Dean in his place. 

When the Al-Hikma Jesuits left Baghdad in November 1968, 
Fr. Ryan returned to the United States and became a Fellow of 
the Cambridge Center for Social Studies in Cambridge, 
Massachusetts. From 1971 to 1975 he was a member of the 
Center for the Study of the Modern Arab World at St. Joseph's 
University in Beirut. He returned to the United States and was 
Rector of the Jesuit Community at Holy Cross College from 
1977-83. In January 1984 he went to Amman, Jordan as the 

212 Cl' Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A. H. 

Director of the office of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine. 
After seven years in Amman, he returned to the United States. 
He is now a spiritual director and retreat director at Fairfield 
University in Fairfield, Connecticut. 

In the early seventies Fr. Ryan conducted six extensive 
national speaking tours in the United States, each tour lasting 
two months. In public lectures, in interviews for newspapers 
and on TV and radio, he spoke about the problem of Palestine, 
the city of Jerusalem, the Catholic Church and the Middle East, 
the responsibility of Americans regarding peace in the Middle 
East, and anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

All the Jesuits at Al-Hikma positively influenced my life. 
They made me understand the joys of the Catholic faith. Their 
dedication, grace, and values were worthy of imitation. By 
far, Rev. Joseph L. Ryan remains at the top of my list. 
Without him I would not have been able to go to college, a 
dream I always cherished. When I lost my business and all of 
my money 20 years after graduation, he was there for me. He 
gave me a job and helped me pick up the pieces. To me, he is a 
true saint to whom I shall always be grateful. Rev. Robert B. 
Campbell and Rev. Joseph F. MacDonnell also are particularly 
dear to my heart. (Edward Butros, A.H. '68) 

Fr. Solomon Sara was born 5/1/30 in Mangaish, Iraq and 
worked in Baghdad during the years 1957-60. He has been 
mentioned in Chapter 5 during the discussion of Jesuit 
Vocations. When he returned to Iraq in 1947 for his teaching 
experience, he found he had plenty to do. Besides his teaching 
duties he had plenty to do such as running the school library, 
directing the junior section of the boarding school, running 
seven catechetical centers for Baghdad public school children 
and being the secretary to the Chaldean Patriarch for 
ecumenical affairs. 

Fr. Sara visiting the homes of workmen 

In 1960 he returned to Weston College for theology, then to 
Georgetown University to study linguistics for the express 

f Some Campus Characters f 213 

purpose of joining the proposed center at Al-Hikma for 
graduate work. Unfortunately these plans were never realized 
because of the expulsion of the Jesuits. He has been a member 
of the Linguistic Department at Georgetown University since 
1969. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

Fr. Francis Sarjeant was born 7/21/00 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1934-48. He succeeded Fr. Rice as 
Superior, and one evening counted the objects he carried to the 
roof to prepare for sleep. He carried a loaded flit gun to kill 
off any sand flies that had managed to get inside the net, brush 
to remove the dead flies from the pillow, a woolen belly-band 
to ward off cramps when the temperature dropped 40 degrees, 
a small alarm clock, just in case the scholastic appointed to 
ring the bell at 4 a.m. failed to fulfill his appointed duty! On 
Rogation Days, the litanies were recited by all gathered in 
chapel at 4:20 a.m., so the first Mass could begin at 4:30! Fr. 
Sarjeant's favorite expressions were: "Come in, Father, and 
take your shoes off!" When leaving his room, he would 
encourage us to "Keep rushing forward on your white 
charger!" Like Fr. Rice, he spoke fluent French to handle all 
clerical and Episcopal visitors, and he was the confessor of the 
Apostolic Delegate. He later joined the community at Holy 
Cross College in Worcester, MA. (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. Leo J. Shea was born 12/28/03 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1938-47, 48-69. If one had a bad 
cold, he would advise going to bed and forget class. He called 
himself "an old man but a young priest". People would come to 
him looking for a donation of blood, but a bout of malaria 
prevented him donating his, so he would ask other Fathers to 
donate theirs. One pointed out that those seeking blood would 
refuse to give blood to their close relatives! After leaving 
Baghdad, he began a ministry in Egypt to help Christians in 
family planning. He died October 1993. (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. William Sheehan was born 9/1/02 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1936-47, 48-66. He taught math 
and physics: his laboratory on the second floor of the Science 
Building was always kept in perfect order. During the 
marvelous Baghdad weather of the Christmas holidays, he 
loved to bat out long fly balls to the scholastics on the empty 
baseball field. 

Students of Baghdad College loved handball, played using 
hands and also using the feet to kick the ball after the first 
bounce. The handball courts never had a moment's rest before 

214 Q 

Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

and after school, and during lunch periods. The surface was 
made of yellow brick: when the bricks developed deep holes 
worn out by so many feet, workmen turned them over to use 
the smooth side on the bottom! The basketball and volleyball 
courts were made the same way. The battle cry of our players 
was the expression: "Never give up!" This brave phrase 
originated with the athlete of the early Fathers, Fr. Sheehan of 
Somerville "on the wrong side of the tracks", who modestly 
dubbed himself: "The Champ". (Fr. Fennell) 

Fr. Sheehan 's physics class 

Fr. Robert Sullivan was born 5/5/12 and worked in 
Baghdad during the years 1943-51, 52-69. He taught 
algebra and trigonometry and then was asked to coach the 
school basketball team and regularly worked out with his boys. 
In time he got a Debating Society going, and each year coached 
contestants in the Elocution Contest. Then he became mudeer 
for nine years where he realized that the English teaching 
needed to be strengthened so he and Camille Tebsherany 
through the generous support of the Ford Foundation were able 
to set up a modern English Lab, and this program did much to 
increase the ability of the students to handle English with 
facility. At the request of the Ministry of Education a program 
was set up for teachers of English in government schools, to 
help them increase their skills by using modern methods. He 
was also instrumental in getting passive language labs set up 
in several government schools in Baghdad. 

Along with these developments, directors of the Ford 
Foundation asked his assistance with a program they had in 
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. They were attempting to train young 
men in Public Administration and asked us to help the English 
language skills of the students. Mr. Tebsherany wrote the 
materials and I assisted teachers for this task. While engaged 
in this he was approached by the University of Petroleum and 

Some Campus Characters f 215 

Minerals with the request to assist them in an English language 
program for their students. When he was expelled from 
Baghdad he was assigned to this work and spent the next three 
years at the University, directing the program and doing some 
teaching. (Fr. MacDonnell) 

The Lay Volunteer Program ("Misteria") 

During the last decade of the mission a Lay Volunteer 
program had developed, partly due to the zeal of people like Fr. 
LaBran who by this time was a chaplain at Holy Cross College. 
This program was the precursor of today's "Jesuit International 
Volunteer Corps" (J.I.V.C.) and on a smaller scale the five "Jesuit 
Volunteer Corps" (JVC) programs: East, Midwest, Northwest, 
Southwest and South. College graduates - mostly American - came 
and lived in the Jesuit Community for two years and taught their 
specialty in the schools - mostly English and mathematics. They 
received their room and board as well as a modest stipend (ID 20 
or $56 per month) to cover their expenses for the year so that 
they left Baghdad neither richer nor poorer than when they 
arrived. Each year the number of these altruistic young 
volunteers increased. From one single courageous man, Richard T. 
Wotruba of Holy Cross '60, who came for the 1960-61 year the 
program rapidly grew to about 13 volunteers a year. Some spent 
two years and some spent one. By 1969 there had been a total of 
90 Lay Volunteer who had at some time participated in the 
educational work of the Jesuits. 

Some lay volunteers on their way to class 


Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

Jesuit Lay Volunteers at Baghdad College 
44 came and 1 7* stayed for 2 years 

Jesuit Lay Volunteers at AI-Hikma 
35 came and 1 0* stayed for 2 years 



Richard T. Wotruba 

Holy Cross 


John Dempsey 

Boston College 



Joseph Flibbert 

B. C. '63 MA 

Michael L Hanley* 

Holy Cross 


Albert Wheeler 

Boston College 


William C. Joern 

Holy Cross 



William Johnson, Jr. 

Holy Cross 


Bernard Bebel 

Boston College 


Richard E. Zulkey 

Holy Cross 


Charles Faucher 

Boston College 



Eugene Mulcahy, RIP 

B.C. '61 & 


Richard Appleyard 


Harold R. Farmer* 

Boston College 


Hubert Howard 

Boston College 


Joseph F. Finn, Jr. 

Holy Cross 


John E. Jordan, Jr.* 

Boston College 


Thomas P. Hennessey 

Holy Cross 


Seamus O'CIeireacan 

Edward Reynolds 

Boston College 


Dr. William Ferrante 

Paul T. Sullivan 

Holy Cross 



Michael J. Toner* 

Holy Cross 


Vincent Amabile 

Holy Cross 



Timothy G. Hayes 

Holy Cross 


Gerald Colbert 

Holy Cross 


Daniel Jamros, S.J.** 

H. C. '63 & B.C. 


Michael W. Costello 

Boston College 


Atherton Lowry* 



Robert J. Dumouchel 

Holy Cross 


John Dempsey 

Boston College 


Michael Ford (SJ.) 

Boston College 


Paul Murdock* 

Boston College 


(Maj.) James Kealey 

Boston College 


(Asuncion & Joseph van Arendonk)** 

Daniel Keleher* 

Boston College 



Dr. Robert Nist 

Holy Cross 


Paul Belford 

Boston College 


Eugene Palumbo 



Nicholas Cafarelli* 


John T. Cummings* 

William Ahmuty* 

Holy Cross 


Stephen Griffin* 

Boston College 


John J. Carroll, Jr. 

Boston College 


Sr. M. Ligouri 

John J. Feeney 

Boston College 


Sr. Blanche Marie 

John Houston* 


A. Michael Hutchins* 

Holy Cross 


Joseph Aieta 

Holy Cross 


Diarmid M. Lucey 

Boston College 


John Rossetti 

Boston College 


Michael McDermott* 

Holy Cross 


Sr. Edward Ceceilia, CS, 


Thomas O'Meara 

Fairfield Univ. 


Sr. Mary Columba, IHM* 

John P. Quinn 

Boston College 


Bro. Germain Fadhoul, CSC 


Jochen Langer* 

John Bruch, Jr.* 

Holy Cross 


(Frank DeFalco) 


Carmen Fucillo* 

Boston College 



Richard Hoefling 

John Dodig* 

Fairfield Univ. 


Dr. Stephen Kramer* 

Holy Cross 


Edward Giegengack* 

Villanova & F.U. 


Edward McNamara* 

Holy Cross 


Dirk Jan van Lottum* 

Edward Scanlan* 

Holy Cross 


Mary Rose Sidhari 

Frank A. Sikora, MD* 

Boston College 


Jeanne Brennan 

Joseph Trainer 

Holy Cross 


Sr. Sheila Gainey, IHM 

E. Denis Walsh 

Boston College 


Sr. Mary Louise, S.L 


Sr. Aurelia Altenhcfern, 


James Callahan* 

Holy Cross 


Philipp & Helga Muller 

Edward M. Cooney* 

Holy Cross 


David Traverso 

Boston College 



David Traverso 

Robert Finiay, Jr. 

Holy Cross 


Roger Raslavsky 

Boston College 


John R. Robbert 

Holy Cross 


f The Lay Volunteer Program f 217 

These young teachers had a marvelous effect on the student 
body as well as on the Jesuit community. All were quite different 
individuals from different backgrounds - and even different 
countries and this broadened the vision of the students they taught. 
Students learned from them a great deal about the dedication of 
Catholic laymen. The Baghdad Jesuits, on the other hand became 
well attuned to the attitudes of modern Catholic college graduates. 

A tremendous benefit of the Jesuit educational contribution 
in Baghdad came from the volunteered assistance of young lay 
men and women from several countries who offered their 
talents and gifts to Baghdad College and Al-Hikma University. 

These Jesuit volunteers were very generous, lively people, 
reflecting a dedication to the same goals and aspirations of the 
Jesuits in Baghdad. They were generous well beyond their 
teaching assignments. Many remained involved in Middle 
Eastern and international affairs. Four became Jesuits. 

Especially noticeable were the groups of graduates from 
American Jesuit Colleges. Forty-four graduates from Boston 
College, Holy Cross College and Fairfield University during the 
years 1961 through 1969 taught at Baghdad College. 
Seventeen of these young men remained a second year. 

Moderator Mr. Eugene Mulcahy 

At Al-Hikma approximately the same number of volunteers 
came, principally from the United States but also from 
Ireland, Germany, Holland and the Philippines. This included 
fifteen scholars on sabbaticals, including seven Nuns. Their 
generous services indeed added an international flavor to the 
faculty. Their influence continues as a number of these men 
and women later welcomed their former Baghdad students into 
graduate work in their own institutions. (Fr. O'Connor) 

Lay Volunteers 

The memories of their experiences in Baghdad were very 
vivid in the minds of these volunteers and some of them expressed 
their opinions about the people that meant most to them. 

218 C* Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

As a young and young-looking teacher, I think I was an 
inviting target for certain students who would take 
advantage of my inexperience. The mudeer, Fr. Powers 
became my mentor, and many times helped me to maneuver 
out of difficult situations. I admired his coolness under 
fire, as did many other Misteria, and a favorite story 
involved the arrival of Iraqi soldiers at the front door of 
the administration building, whereupon Fr. Powers agreed 
to talk with them . . ."Just send them in one at a time." I 
don't like to focus on one Jesuit however because the entire 
Community was something to behold in its dedication to God, 
to the school and to each other. My father had always told 
me that the Jesuits were "quite hospitable", and they more 
than filled that description. The Jesuits I knew were 
giants, and I am grateful for having known them early in 
my life. (Mr. Ed Reynolds) 

it .S 3i 1,4 c . M '4^ 

& I* *** i? «■ Si {*•> & if '■. » &i£ »T ' n 8 

m ,5f Ac . . "« fc, ,£' n Au h, j, - !>-, ' ! 

■ "W ,„„ Nd Pm Sm fe - « „ * •« I » W 

Chemist, Mr. John Dempsey 1962 

My fellow Misteria were a fun-loving group who were 
also very dedicated to their students and they were quite 
adventuresome. More importantly, I think we encouraged 
each other when things were difficult. The Misteria 
community made many things possible. 

I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity of 
participating in medical relief efforts to Haiti in the past 
couple of years. We do cleft lip repairs and other surgery 
in the field and at a clinic in Jeremy, which is on the north 
shore of the southern tip, about 8 hours by truck from 

f The Lay Volunteer Program f 219 

Port aux Prince. The clinic is run by an order of medical 
missionary sisters, and I confess to taking pleasure in an 
atmosphere which is terribly reminiscent of Baghdad. 
(Mr. Ed Reynolds) 

My students at Baghdad College taught me how to study. 
Prior to my teaching experience I had placed tremendous 
emphasis on my own originality and creativity, and much 
less emphasis on retaining and understanding the work of 
others. When I corrected their exams - I tried to reward 
"originality" but quickly found that it was sometimes used 
to mask a lack of familiarity with the material. The 
students who succeeded were the "grinds", in spite of my 
prejudice in favor of the flamboyant. More important, 
when I saw how thoroughly my students would learn 
material in a second language, I knew that I would never 
again feel comfortable with a sloppy approach to learning 
myself. My students were earnest and gentle, with a 
reverence for learning which I had not appreciated before 
coming to Baghdad. Both Christian and Muslim students 
valued their faith, and felt no embarrassment about it. I 
liked that. (Mr. Ed Reynolds) 

I think all the Baghdadis must worry about what the Gulf 
War did to the Iraqi people. I know that I have great 
difficulty reconciling my knowledge of the gentle people I 
knew with the terrible violence which was unleashed. 

The children of the workmen were a special project of 
mine and I taught them to speak English. At Christmas time 
I taught them to sing Christmas carols and we performed 
for the "Fatheria" as well as at the Chaldean seminary. 
When we were at the seminary and while we were singing 
"We Wish you A Merry Christmas" two of the children 
spontaneously jumped up on the stage and started shaking 
hands, wishing each other a "Merry Christmas". The 
smiles on their faces and the spontaneity of it all just 
knocked me out. It was one of the greatest feelings I have 
ever experienced. It was pure joy and showed me that I was 
having an impact. (Mr. Mike Toner) 

220 Si- 

Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

The Jesuit Superior General, Fr. Arrupe visiting the lay volunteers 

On a trip to Ur of the Chaldees, Fr. John McCarthy and Mr. 
Kerry Holland with a group of lay volunteers got lost at night in 
the desert to the west of the Euphrates. As they were driving in 
circles, a light started to flash from a Bedouin camp in the 
distance to attract their attention. Apparently the Arabs knew 
they were in difficulty. So they went to the Bedouin camp, 
accepted their hospitality; then proceeded in the correct direction. 

Misters who taught them. The ones with John Robert's 
New Orleans accent were the best. By Thanksgiving and 
Christmas the first year Baghdad College students 
understanding of English was incredibly good. As a teacher 
I learned something: that motivated kids can do anything 
including learning math with different numbers from men 
who do not even speak their language. (Mr. Finlay) 

The lay volunteers not only gave a great deal but gained very much 
in their own personal lives. This was quite apparent at a lay 
volunteer-Jesuit reunion weekend held at Fairfield University in 
1974 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of expulsion. Some 
37 lay volunteers and 23 Jesuits participated. By this time all 
volunteers had done many interesting things, such as gotten 
married, had children, earned higher degrees, moved ahead in 
industry or taken teaching positions. But the remarkable thing 
about this reunion was that the conversations and discussions 
never seemed to veer away from their experiences teaching the 
youth of Iraq. One of the lay volunteers, Mr. Joseph Flibbert, 
mentions his own reaction. 

The Lay Volunteer Program f 221 

I'm currently Professor of English at Salem State 
College, where I've been teaching for the past 24 years. I 
have my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and have 
written a book on Herman Melville. I am widowed, 
remarried, and the father of three sons. One of them is 
fluent in Arabic, having studied it at Georgetown, the 
University of Virginia, and the American University in 
Cairo. He is working on a Ph.D. in Political Science at 
Columbia, with a concentration on Arabic Studies. Another 
son is working on a law degree in Washington. The third is 
fluent in Japanese and is currently working as an 
international relations coordinator for a small city in 
Japan. So as you can see, my experiences as a lay 
volunteer in Iraq have had some influence on my children's 
professional interests. 

I came to Al-Hikma University in September. 1961 as a 
lay volunteer, ready for adventure and left a year later 
with a deep appreciation for the good things the Jesuits 
were doing in Iraq, a strong affection for the Iraqi people 
and their culture, and a better understanding of myself and 
my own culture. I learned a whole lot more than I taught, 
thanks to the patience, experience, and insights of my 
Jesuit colleagues, and to the hospitality, friendship, and 
generosity of my students. I have especially fond memories 
of Fr. Leo McDonough, who loaned me his American music 
when he sensed I was homesick, Fr. Kelly, who let me help 
out with the basketball team and who bailed me out when I 
got over my head with the Drama Society I started, and Fr. 
Joe Ryan, whose tips on how to behave kept me from many 
social blunders. My deepest depth is to Fr. Walter Young, 
friend and confidant, a great "street" priest who took me 
with him into the city and introduced me to some of the 
best experiences I had in Iraq. More than 30 years later, I 
still have vivid memories of the basketball exploits of 
Shamuel "Shumi" Yusuf and Hikmat Basmaji. of the 
leadership skills of Waiel Hindu and Wilson Benjamin, of 
the acting talent of Kamal Dinkha, of the academic 
brilliance of Fawzi (Habib) Hermes, Sami Madros. and 
Sami al-Banna and of the fun-loving nature of Adil Wadi 
and Sirbest Qazzaz. It was a good time. It was the best of 
times. (Mr. Joseph Flibbert) 

When Dr. Bill Ferrante had to return to the States in 
mid-second semester due to illness, a remarkable 
testimony was paid to him from all his students who sadly 
crowded the airport on the morning of his departure. A 


Chapter 8 Personalities Who Shaped B.C. and A.H. 

small group of them stood with one of the Fathers sad and 
silent. The students had raised a question among themselves 
and then posed it to the Jesuit. "Father, why does God allow 
such a thing to happen?" God gave us a tough, demanding 
but very fair teacher for a few months. Dr. Ferrante liked 
us very much and worked hard for us. We realize that. But 
now he has been taken from us, even before we finish the 
school year. Why? The Jesuit Father agreed that the 
question is an important one and suggested that they think 
about it, ponder it for a few days, and see what response 
they might come up with. A few days later, the small group 
approached the Jesuit on the campus at Al-Hikma and asked 
to talk. "We have an answer, we think! We've decided that 
perhaps God gives us such a fine man for a short time to 
show us that such goodness and generosity is possible. It is 
real. It can be done. We've experienced that. Maybe God is 
telling us that now it is up to us to choose to become equally 
good men." (Fr. O'Connor) 

: A 

Aerial view of Baghdad College 

Chapter 9 

An Auspicious 
35th Anniversary: 
Great Expectations 

blessed are those who hunger and 

thirst for righteousness, 

for they shall he satisfied. 

'Matthew 5:6 

An auspicious year of academic promise 

The year 1967 preceding the dismissal was the most 
promising year for the Baghdad Jesuits. The pioneering years 
dedicated to survival were over and previous suspicions had 
dissipated. Wonderful opportunities indicated a promising future, 
not only for the two schools which had grown beyond expectation, 
but also for the ecumenical work with the varied Christian 
Churches, the spiritual direction of alumni, the Lay Volunteer 
program, and the opening of a Jesuit novitiate. 

Baghdad College was proud of its slogan: "an Iraqi school for 
Iraqi boys". Offering five years of English, mathematics, history 
and Arabic as well as three years of physics, chemistry and 
biology for the science section, it also boasted of a commercial 
section. With an enrollment of about 1100 it accepted very 
capable applicants from the top 10% of the primary schools. 
Tuition was only ID 50 and more than 20% of the students 
received financial aid. The graduates had wonderful success in the 
government-run baccalaureate exams which determined a 

224 ;0" Chapter 9 An Auspicious 35th Anniversary 

student's future and which college would take them; Medical, 
Engineering, Business or Law. In 1967 while only 45% of the 
30,000 Iraqi students taking these exams passed, 96% of the 
Baghdad College students passed, and seven out of the top ten in the 
country came from Baghdad College. When the local newspapers 
reported that the first six highest marks were scored by 
government school graduates, General Rashid Mukhlis who had 
been a Minister in several past government Cabinets wrote in to a 
leading newspaper protesting this false propaganda. He wrote: 
"The top three students in Iraq were from Baghdad College. The 
second of them just graduated from there. I know him. He is my 
son." This notice appeared a few days before the 7/17/68 

Some of the learned scholars who did so well in the government exams 

All firearms had to be surrendered 

f A year of self confidence and academic promise f 22 5 

Al-Hikma was in its 11th year and was one of the earliest 
Jesuit Universities to became co-educational. In 1962; already 
one fifth of its 700 students were women. The number of good 
applicants was steadily increasing and alumni were getting 
impressive jobs after graduation. Some Al-Hikma professors 
were involved in the UNESCO revision of mathematical education 
for all the Arab states. Another favorable sign was the growth of 
the Jesuit Lay Volunteer program bringing annually about a dozen 
young American and European college graduates to work on the 
mission for a few years. 

Of all the previous 36 years of the mission, perhaps the most 
encouraging was this school year 1966-67. The pioneering years 
dedicated to survival seemed to be over because earlier Muslim 
suspicions of proselytizing efforts had generally disappeared. The 
promise of future opportunities (more than the absence of past 
dangers) made that year very encouraging: opportunities for 
Baghdad College, Al-Hikma University, Islamic studies, 
ecumenical work with the various Christians of Iraq and the 
spiritual direction of alumni. 

Even misunderstandings were taken care of with more dispatch 
than any other time in the previous 35 years. An example 
concerned Fr. Nash's photography for the Al-Hikma Yearbook. 

I had just admitted to the University the son of an Iraqi 
General who thanked me and was about to leave the office when 
three white shirts (C.I.D.) burst into the room to arrest me 
for interrogation at Rashid Military Camp. The general did not 
like this intrusion and spoke to the white shirts, slapping the 
swagger stick against his thighs. They convinced him there 
was no mistake and that "those were their orders". He left the 
room, I went with the white shirts and we arrived at Rashid 
Camp to be ushered into the office of the Camp Commander, Abu 
Jibben. Present also were two civilian judges and another 
military officer. Abu Jibben started the interrogation in a 
very intimidating manner "Why are you taking pictures of my 
airfield?" I denied that I was, acknowledging that I took 
pictures of our campus from the roof of the building on Al- 
Hikma property. His airfield happened to be in the distant 
background and when the photo was printed in the yearbook I 
had replaced the airfield with a false sky. He had the Yearbook 
on his desk along with the false sky. 

Just then the phone rang. Abu Jibben kept saying "Yes 
Sir!" "Yes Sir!" and as he hung up the phone his manner 
softened and he let me leave. I learned afterwards that the 
Field General had gone to the Minister of Defense and demanded 

226 r0 Chapter 9 An Auspicious 35th Anniversary 

to know "Why are you interrogating that Father who just 
admitted my son to his University?" (Fr. Nash) 

1967: Baghdad College's 35th anniversary 

Things looked so promising during the year of 1967 that 
staging was purchased for the graduation exercises. Henceforth, 
for the first time the graduations would be held on the Baghdad 
College campus instead of in the rented Gardens of Baghdad. So all 
the equipment necessary was purchased and the stage was set up on 
the great lawn between the administration building and the chapel. 

During its 11 years Al-Hikma had impressed many Iraqis. 
Since 1960 under General Abdul Karim Qasim, Prime Minister 
and Leader of the Revolution, it had become the custom for a high 
Iraqi Government official to be present at Al-Hikma graduations. 
Al-Hikma had so impressed the Baghdad bishops that they wanted 
an inter-ritual major seminary under the auspices of Al-Hikma. 
During that same Spring of 1967 the possibilities in the Islamic 
apostolate were quite encouraging. Fr. Richard McCarthy, S.J., 
was well known to Muslim scholars for his books in Arabic on the 
theologians of Islam, al Ashari and al Baqillani. Fr. John 
Donohue, S.J., was becoming a familiar figure to the leaders of the 
Shiite (Shee'a) sect of Muslims and was a welcome visitor to 
their holy places in Karbala and Najaf. In 1967 construction of 
the Oriental Institute began on the campus of Al-Hikma. It was to 
be a place for pursuing research into Islamics, oriental languages 
and the many manuscripts on early Christianity buried in the 
museums and religious houses of the northern parts of Iraq and 
Syria and southern part of Turkey. 

Al-Hikma Jesuits enjoying Christmas 

f 1967: Baghdad College's 35th anniversary 


■ anii 

^viiljSSl!*? *!■" "-^»*» 

## T 


Aerial view ofAl-Hikma looking west towards the Tigris River 

Apostolic work in the Christian community also was quite 
hopeful in the Spring of 1967. Seven of the Baghdad Jesuits were 
bi-ritual; members of the Latin rite as well as of one of the 
various oriental rites of the Catholic Church. Some Jesuit were 
now available to celebrate Mass in the Chaldean, Syrian, Melkite 
and Maronite rites. A larger number of Jesuits went to some of 
the Baghdad parishes to celebrate Sunday Mass, although not many 
were able to preach in Arabic. A big event for Baghdad Christians 
was the annual Novena of Grace run by the Jesuits in the Chaldean 
Cathedral, where the services seemed to be more crowded than at 
any other time of the year. The retreat movement (open and 
closed) among Christians in Iraq was flourishing. Apart from the 
regular retreats for the students, about 10 smaller closed 

228 ;Qi Chapter 9 An Auspicious 35th Anniversary 

retreats a year were given to alumni and adults on the two 

During the spring of that year, 1967, the lay volunteers had 
sorted out all the details for a summer camp for the Baghdad 
College students to work with the youth of Iraq, combining athletic 
events and studies. For many students it would have been the first 
time the hot summer months were put to good use. 

Some imaginative and creative undertakings 

That same spring (1968) there was much optimism in the air 
and plans were being made by so many for a very busy summer. 
Other proposals are mentioned in Appendix D but here are listed 
some specific projects. 

In addition to their academic camp, the lay volunteers were 
preparing a soccer football league on Baghdad College campus for 
the poor boys of the city. Plans were being formed for reunions 
of various classes of alumni with discussion groups for the 
Muslims and retreats for the Christians. Candidates were being 
examined for the entrance into the new Jesuit novitiate. Fr. Guay 
constructed two geodesic dome houses for the families of our 
watchmen who patrolled the Al-Hikma campus night and day and 
had given years of faithful service since the University opened. 
Fr. Guay also submitted plans for a small chapel with a unique 
design that featured three geodesic domes. 

A synod of Chaldean Bishops held at Baghdad College 

f Some imaginative and creative undertakings 22 9 

Increase in alumni activities 

In the late sixties, on their return visits to the Fathers, the 
alumni spoke of the hardships and setbacks in facing the many 
difficulties and problems of everyday life in Iraq. They spoke of a 
need not only of Jesuit encouragement but that of their former 
classmates to fill the lack of intellectual and spiritual stimulation. 
The students felt that they left school at an age too immature to 
carry out the principles and ideals they learned by themselves but 
would be helped greatly by continual contact with the Fathers and 
older alumni. They organized a program at regular intervals of 
meetings and activities for alumni. They would be broken down 
into groups according to age and profession and whatever Jesuits 
were familiar with a certain group would devote their time and 
energy to that group, be it medical or engineering students, or 
graduates of a certain class. 

Opening the Novitiate 

Each year several of our graduates expressed the desire to 
become Jesuits, but parental opposition proved to be too much for 
the young men. Their desires were frustrated by parents who 
were justifiably apprehensive about their sons being moved to 
another country 8000 miles away and foreign to their own. There 
had been no Iraqi Jesuit vocation since 1956 and only six Jesuit 
vocations in the 37 years of the mission. Part of this parental 
opposition arose from the parents' desire that their son add to the 
prestige of the family by becoming a doctor or engineer. 

More often, however, a genuine concern for the welfare of the 
boy prevented consent. Parents feared they would not see him for 
seven years; that he was not old enough for such a sudden change of 
culture and environment so different from their own; that if he 
left the Jesuit Order in America, he would be too ashamed to 
return to his family in Iraq; that seminarians have a subnormal 
and arduous life. 

To confront these objections the Fathers decided that same 
year, 1967, to start a Jesuit Novitiate in Baghdad. It began the 
following year in September 1968 at the Superior's residence of 
St. Joseph in the middle of Baghdad. The idea was that the novices 
would be separated, but not distant from their parents; that they 
could receive their early training amid the environment in which 
they would later work and in accordance with the decrees worked 
out by the Thirty-First Jesuit General Congregation (held in 
1965-1966). [A General Congregation is a deliberative body of 
Jesuits chosen as representatives of all the Jesuit provinces 
throughout the world.] 

Jesuit Novices could keep up social contact with their 

230 Q Chapter 9 An Auspicious 35th Anniversary 

contemporaries and at the same time study Arabic and take on 
Novitiate programs more suited for their future apostolate in this 
country. Most especially their life would be seen as a dignified and 
happy life and so might well act as a catalyst for future vocations. 
In its first year when one novice had plunged himself into the 
program with enthusiasm, many of the objections voiced before 
the project was undertaken evaporated. Anti-American feelings 
had hampered such efforts so it was remarkable to get the 
Novitiate started at all in those trying times. 

Fr. John McCarthy directing the choir 

On January 5, 1968 a decision was made to open a Novitiate 
and Fr. Morgan was sent to explore oriental Jesuit Novitiates in 
Bombay, Hong Hong, Taiwan and Japan. On September 5, 1968 at 
the age of 18 Steve Bonian came accompanied by his father and 
sister to start his novitiate (the superior's residence) at Rawaf 
St. in Bettaween. Steve was Chaldean and was born in Iran while 
his two sisters, Svetlana and Maristella were born in Iraq. He 
began his long retreat the next day at Sulaikh. During the 
Novitiate he studied Arabic and theology at Al-Hikma, took 
Chaldean lessons and did pastoral work at the Cathedral in 

On June 26, 1969 Steve Bonian left Baghdad with Fr. Morgan 
and went to Bikfiah to finish his first year. In September it was 
decided that he go to Ireland to finish his other year of the 
novitiate. He pronounced his vows a year later and was ordained 

f Some imaginative and creative undertakings f 


February 27, 1982 in the Chaldean, Maronite and Latin rites at 
the Maronite church in Jamaica Plain, MA. He is now doing 
pastoral and catechetical work in Jerusalem where he lives at the 
Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem. 


^™ ,^W HP ©»»^^^. ■&**!! mJL jJKSSK 

Opening day of school began with Mass for all Christians 

Oriental Institute 

On July 4,1968 in a quiet ceremony, Fr. Richard McCarthy 
laid the corner stone for the Oriental Institute. It was to be built 
by Fr. Guay with funds donated by the Gulbenkian Foundation and 
was expected to be completed by the end of the 1 969 Summer. 

The Oriental Institute was the dream of Fr. McCarthy who 
planned each detail, composed a convincing rationale for it and 
found a way to make it happen. It was meant to be an integral part 
of Al-Hikma University with the same general objectives proper 
to every true university: the communication, diffusion, and 
enrichment of human knowledge with a view to equipping the 
student to live as rich and fruitful a life as possible, both as an 
individual human person and as a member of a particular society 
which has a definite role to play in the perfecting of the larger 
society which embraces the whole human person. 

The Oriental Institute had for its principal objective the 
promotion of inter-cultural understanding, esteem, and 
cooperation. East and west can meet on cultural and intellectual 
levels for mutual enrichment and profit. The entire work of the 
Institute would help to achieve this through the medium of special 
lectures, conferences, seminars, and meetings both local and 


Chapter 9 An Auspicious 35th Anniversary 

regional. It would work toward undergraduate and graduate 
training in the various fields of study; training in methods of 
research and finally publications of the results of research 

This year gave all the Jesuits and their colleagues a warm 
sense of self confidence because of all the reasons noted above: the 
struggle for survival and disruptive suspicions seemed to be a 
thing of the past. Both schools had grown beyond expectation and 
wonderful opportunities in a spiritual and scholarly direction, 
ecumenical work especially with the varied Christian Churches, 
religious vocations and the lay volunteer program were all 
tremendously encouraging. 

As it turned out this year was merely the calm before the 

The last building started by the Jesuits: the Oriental Institute shown 
on a postcard sent by Fr. James Larkin to his sister Helen 


Chapter 10 

Expulsion and Dispersion 

'Every sincere person ought to be more ready to give a favorable 

interpretation to an other's obscure position than to condemn it. 

from: The 'Presupposition of St. Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual 'Exercises 


On November 25, 1968, the 28 Jesuits working at Al-Hikma 
University were expelled from Baghdad after being given only five 
days to get out of the country. In spite of threats, hundreds of 
students came to the airport to bid farewell to the Fathers in a 
tearful departure. Nine months later the other 33 American 
Jesuits were expelled from Baghdad College. Both schools were 
"Iraqized". This was a new word for the Jesuits and indicated that 
the Iraqi Government took control of the schools without 
compensation and without claiming ownership. The Jesuits' 
property of 193 [168 + 25] acres with 14 major buildings 
including the contents of two libraries and seven very modern 
laboratories were taken over by the new Baath Socialist 
Government whose ideology prohibits private education. 

Still, Muslim professors from Baghdad University pleaded, 
although in vain, with Iraq's new President "You cannot treat the 
Jesuits this way: they have brought many innovations to Iraqi 
education, and have enriched Iraq by their presence." The closing 
of these two celebrated landmarks ended the 37-year Jesuit 
Mission in Iraq, an effort of 61 Jesuits, 14 lay volunteers, 70 
Iraqi educators and many American benefactors. 
Two things happened in the previous year that led to the expulsion 

234 Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

of the Jesuits: the 1967 June War between the Arab states and 
Israel and the coup d'etat that brought the Baath Socialist Party 
into power in July, 1968. The Arab states were aware of 
American aid to Israel during the war which included air cover as 
well as very advanced technology and so they justifiably placed 
much of the blame for their humiliation on the American 
Government who provided so much of the modern weaponry and 
technical training. Many vituperative statements against the 
United States were made by the media in Iraq as in other Arab 

The American Embassy personnel, perhaps a little jittery 
recalling the '58 coup in which four Americans died, gathered 
together most American residents, probably about 800, and left 
Baghdad for Teheran in a convoy of cars and trucks about 3:00 a.m. 
on June 9th, while the war was still going on. Six days later, as if 
to put the best face on the American exodus, the Iraqi Government 
issued a decree ordering all Americans expelled. It is interesting 
to speculate on the direction the Government of Iraq might have 
taken if the Americans had not fled. 

The Jesuits continued to operate their two schools but many of 
the ambitious plans mentioned earlier had to be abandoned and for 
the following year the Jesuits kept a low profile. The number of 
applicants for Baghdad College, however, increased rather than 
decreased, indicating that the people saw no incongruity in these 
American Jesuits continuing to run schools in Iraq. 

About this time a concern over spies arose due in part to an 
elaborate plot which resulted in Israel receiving an Iraqi MIG- 
21, thereby embarrassing Iraq in the eyes of Russia. A more 
telling reason for this concern, however, were the activities of 
Kol Israel, "The Voice of Israel", a daily radio broadcast beamed to 
Iraq in Arabic and heard by many Iraqis. 

Each night Iraqis would hear their government ridiculed. 
Scattered among the news items were many taunts directed at Iraqi 
Government officials indicating an elaborate spy operation in 
Iraq. "We know your helicopters are along the Army canal." "We 
won't bomb you until you get a decent air raid warning system." 
This referred to Iraq's calamitous attempts at blackouts which 
were abandoned because they had caused considerable damage. 
"You should be careful about elevator capacities" referred to an 
attempt by the army to mount an anti-aircraft gun on top of a 
20-story building at the University of Baghdad. As soon as it was 
placed on the elevator, the gun and the elevator plunged into the 

Once Kol Israel broadcast the answers to the government 
secondary school exams the night before the exams were to be 

f Preliminaries f 235 

administered. How, reasoned the Iraqis, are the Israelis getting 
this information? The Iraqi Jews could see no humor in the Kol 
Israel's mischievous broadcasts because they became the victims 
of an extensive spy hunt and almost all Jewish students were 
denied access to the government-run University. Al-Hikma, 
however, admitted qualified Jewish students as long as they were 
Iraqi citizens, since all citizens, Muslim, Christian, or Jew, by 
law were entitled to education, public or private. 

The two 1968 July Revolutions and the events 
that followed them 

After a relatively peaceful school year in 1967-68, things 
had begun to look better in the Summer of 1968 when the second 
decisive event took place. On July 17 a coup d'etat succeeded, 
bringing to power a regime considered to be moderate. Nasir Al 
Hani became the Foreign Minister of this new regime. He was a 
good friend of Fr. Richard McCarthy who had previously invited 
him to give the principal address at the Holy Cross Convocation in 
Worcester, MA. on March 20, 1967 when Fr. McCarthy received 
an honorary Doctorate. (Nasir was assassinated in Baghdad on 
November 11, 1968.) 

But this new government was ousted when it was only a few 
weeks old on July 30 by another revolution which brought the 
Baath Party to power. The Baath were part of the 17 July coup, 
but seized control once the coup succeeded. They had been in power 
in 1963 for nine months, only to be overthrown in a bloody coup. 
The Baath Party was opposed to private education in any form - 
including Muslim private education. Article 45 of the Constitution 
of the Baath Party concerns the Party's policy on education stated: 
"Teaching is one of the exclusive functions of the state. Therefore, 
all foreign and private educational institutions are abolished." 
From the outset the Iraqi Government promised to "neutralize 
Israeli aggression and rid Iraq of spies". So the pace of the spy- 
hunt picked up. Meanwhile, the Teachers' Union, a small 
organization of secondary school teachers, attacked Al-Hikma on 
TV and in the press, requesting the government to get rid of 
vestiges of imperialism like Coca Cola, miniskirts, the Beatles 
and Al-Hikma, but not necessarily in that order. 

It did not take the government long to act. On September 19th 
a special committee representing the government came to the Al- 
Hikma property and announced to the Dean Fr. Joseph Ryan and to 
the Superior of the Jesuit Mission, Fr. John Donohue, that Al- 
Hikma had been "Iraqized". At the time, Al-Hikma's President Fr. 
Mc Carthy was attending an international conference of Catholic 
Universities at Kinshasa in Africa. 

236 r0' Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

The text of the September, 1968 decree which the committee 
presented follows, translated from the original Arabic. 

1. In view of the fact that those in charge of the Administration 
of Al-Hikma University are aiming at things which are not 
consonant with the patriotic and national interests, and since 
necessity enjoins the Iraqization of this institution and giving 
it a sound educational orientation, the Council of the Command 
of the Revolution has decreed that the responsible quarters 
take the steps necessary for Iraqizing it and placing it under 
the supervision of the Government directly in all respects. 

2. Doctor Sa'ad Abdul Baqi Er-Rawi is appointed Acting 
President of the aforementioned University. 

(signed) The Council of the Command of the Revolution 

No names were signed but this council ostensibly had the 
supreme power in the country. It consisted of five military men: 
Ahmed Hasan Al-Bakr (President of the Republic and Prime 
Minister), Salih Mahdi Ammash (Minister of the Interior), 
Hardan Al-Tikriti (Minister of Defense), Sadoon Al-Ghaidan 
(Commander of the Republican Guard), and another general who 
was the Commander of the Baghdad Garrison. 

During their visit this special committee indicated that the 
government would administer the school, and no compensation 
would be given since it would still belong to the Iraq-American 
Educational Association (the name of the Jesuits' legal 
association). The only reason given for this action was that Al- 
Hikma had "deviated from the aims of the revolution," but no one 
would explain how Al-Hikma "deviated". Safes and filing cabinets 
were all sealed and guards were placed. The Jesuits, they said, 
could stay and teach if they wished, but the government would 
appoint a new Iraqi president and a new Dean for Al-Hikma. 

The newly appointed Acting President of Al-Hikma, Dr. Saad 
Abdul Baqi Er-Rawi, reflecting the Baathi credo, spoke in an 
interview published in the weekly Alif-Ba (#15 October 2, 
1968, pp. 3-4). Although inside the front cover of this issue was 
a photo of the Jesuit residence with a cartoon of an armed Uncle 
Sam in an academic robe pulling strings of a turbaned Arab holding 
a diploma, the words of the designated president, Dr. Sa'ad 
indicated the very opposite viewpoint. Here is a section of his 
remarks in translation. 

Please know that Iraqization is not nationalization, because 
nationalization means the transfer of ownership from the 
private sector to the public sector. But Iraqization is a purely 

f The 1968 July Revolutions and events that followed f 237 

administrative measure which has for its aim the placing of 
the institution under direct Iraqi administration and 
supervision. This means that Al-Hikma University will 
remain the property of the Iraq - American Association, and so 
the ownership of it will not be transferred to the Iraqi 
Government as the result of Iraqization. 

I would like it to be understood that the intention was not to 
direct any accusation, especially against the religious men 
working in the University. The whole matter is confined to the 
fact of their being foreigners. Because of this they are unable 
to understand the stage at which our nation is living, nor can 
they comprehend our national problems and our struggle with 
imperialism and Zionism, nor are they favorable to our 
strivings and aspirations. Instruction is one of the most 
important factors which form the personality of the 
individual. Hence to leave it in their hands was something 
undesirable, (from the N. E. Province archives, file #510) 

He went on to claim that more poor students would be able to 
attend this "rich man's school" which charged ID 120 (S420) 
annual tuition. He insisted that Al-Hikma as well as the state 
University had been deficient in the matter of national studies but 
that this would be remedied. 

Of course the Fathers formally protested the decree as well as 
the reasons given for the "Iraqization" of Al-Hikma. But they 
decided to try to cooperate with the new Acting Fresident and to 
open the scholastic year according to schedule. 

After the war of the previous year. Fr. John Donohue. 
anticipating problems of survival, had requested a Jesuit visitor 
from the Curia in Rome to help search for reasonable options in 
order to keep the Jesuit Mission open. One plan, for instance, was 
to exchange the men in the Baghdad Mission for men in another 
mission run by a nationality not considered hostile to Iraq. 
Another was to bring as many Arab Jesuits to the Baghdad Mission 
as possible from Lebanon. Egypt and Syria. As it turned out. the 
Baath Government was determined to "Iraqize" all private schools. 
no matter who was running them. And the government did the 
same to the other private schools in Iraq including Muslim private 
schools whether they were owned by foreigners or Iraqis just as 
the Syrian Baath had done in Syria. 

The Jesuit Community conducted frequent meetings trying to 
work out the best way to live with the Baath Regime and also to 
determine how best to handle the harassment by hooligans sent to 
the campus by the National Student Union. This harassment lasted 
from the time of the "Iraqization" to the time of the Jesuit 

238 Cl Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

departure later on. For instance, on one occasion 15 bus loads of 
students were brought to the campus to hold an anti-American 
demonstration. In the face of Jesuit objections the new Iraqi Dean 
re-admitted 15 students who had been dismissed the previous year 
for disciplinary reasons. They formed a cadre which would 
intimidate the other students into joining rowdy behavior meant to 
disrupt classes on the campus. One member of the Baath Party 
came to the school and attempted to get his friend registered - at 
gun point. During this time the atmosphere was very tense, but 
the Jesuits, lay faculty and students, did not suffer bodily harm, 
just indignities. 

Fr. Crowley recounts an incident indicating how well the Al- 
Hikma students behaved in this stressful situation. 

One day many Baghdad youth invaded the Al-Hikma campus, 
disrupting classes and shouting anti-Israeli and anti- 
American slogans. The Jewish students were especially 
apprehensive and most managed to escape over the back wall. A 
group of Al-Hikma Muslim students made themselves 
responsible for the remaining Jewish women. They escorted 
them all into the women's' lounge and posted themselves guards 
at the doors, assuring the women that they would allow no 
demonstrator to bother them. "They'll have to fight us before 
they reach you." Fortunately the demonstrators by-passed the 
lounge, but the incident speaks volumes about the courage and 
loyalty of the Al-Hikma students. (Fr. Charles G. Crowley) 

On October 10 a new "President-Delegate" of Al-Hikma had 
been named, Dr. Fadhil Husain Al Ansari, with a Ph.D. from 
Indiana University who taught history at Baghdad University. Dr. 
Khalil Hammash, Ph.D., from the University of Chicago was named 
Secretary-General of Al-Hikma. These appointments were 
announced over Baghdad Radio and published in the newspapers but 
nothing was officially communicated to the Jesuits. The Jesuits 
had many conversations with the new President and the 
Secretary-General. Two things were at the top of their agenda: 
the case of the student expelled for disciplinary reasons who was 
using every means to gain re-admission and the project of the new 
Al-Hikma statutes which were being prepared for the approval of 
the Council of Ministers. The Jesuits were excluded from any 
discussions in preparing these statutes. 

On October 24, 1968 Fr. McCarthy addressed a letter to the 
members of the Revolutionary Council to assure them that the 
Jesuit intentions had always focused on the best interests of Iraq 

T The 1968 July Revolutions and events that followed f 239 

and to challenge the government's takeover of the university. Here 
follows Fr. McCarthy's English translation from his original 
letter in Arabic. 

To: The Esteemed Council of the Commands of the Revolution 
Subject: The Situation in Al-Hikma University 
Greetings and salutations: I am sending this memorandum to 
you in my own name and in the name of all the Jesuit Fathers 
working in Al-Hikma University, of whom I have the honor to 
be the ecclesiastical and spiritual Superior. I am doing this, 
because we do not wish that you should be unaware of our 
present situation, which is the consequence of the events 
related to Al-Hikma University that have transpired during 
the past month and a half. 

1. On last Sept. 12th, the esteemed Council of the Command of 
the Revolution issued a Decree Iraqicizing Al-Hikma 
University and appointing Dr. Saad Abd al-Baqi al-Rawi as the 
Acting President of Al-Hikma University. This Decree took us 
by surprise, since it was issued without any previous 
knowledge on our part, and without its being preceded by any 
discussions between us and the authorities. Moreover, this 
Decree grieved us, since it ordered the Iraqization of Al-Hikma 
University "because those in charge of the administration of 
Al-Hikma University are aiming at things not consonant with 
the national and patriotic interests", and because "necessity 
requires the Iraqization of this institution and giving it a sound 
educational orientation". These words contain an aspersion on 
our personal integrity, our professional competence, and the 
sincerity of our intentions. 

2. On Sept. 12th a Committee composed of Dr. Saad Abd al- 
Baqi al-Rawi and others came to Al-Hikma University to carry 
out the Administrative Order, DG 1950, of Sept. 12, 1968. 
We took advantage of the opportunity to ask for certain 
necessary clarifications. They informed us orally that the 
Decree would not affect our legal Association, and that the 
Government was desirous that the Fathers remain in the 
University and that the school year be begun as usual. 

3. On the same day we indicated several points, of which the 
following are the most important: 

a) We protested first of all against the Decree's being a 
complete surprise, without any previous warning or 
discussions - a fact which surprised us then, and which 
continues to amaze us. We also protested against the charge 
asserting that we were aiming at things not consonant with the 
national and patriotic interests. If such were the case, logic 

240 O Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

would require of the Government that it should not allow the 
Fathers to remain in the University, but that it should expel 
them from the country. On the other hand, if the Government 
was desirous that the Fathers remain in the University, this 
desire would indicate that the Government did not really 
believe that the Fathers were aiming at things not consonant 
with the interests of the nation. In this case, the charge would 
be meaningless, and it ought to have been annulled according to 
the dictates of truth and respect. 

b) We explained that the Fathers had always wished to work 
for the good of Iraq, and that they would never cease desiring 
that, so long as it remained possible. And we called attention to 
the fact that we did not come to Iraq as individuals, but as a 
religious group subject to our Superiors here and in Rome. 
Therefore, our attitude towards the Decree Iraqicizing our 
University would be formed in accordance with the wishes of 
our Superiors. And their wishes would depend on their 
knowledge of the conditions defining our university work, and 
the legal expression of these conditions, and the guarantees 
which would be given by the Government of Iraq. In the 
meantime, we would be prepared to continue the university 
work asked of us. 

c) We requested an appointment with the President of the 
Republic of Iraq, and an interview with the Minister of the 
Interior. Our regret has increased, since we have thus far been 
unable to obtain the appointment or the interview, and it 
seems to us that the hope of doing so is very slender indeed. 

d) We called the Committee's attention to the fact that the 
Jesuit Fathers came to Iraq in 1932, not on their own 
initiative, and not to found a foreign institution independent of 
the will of the people and the control of the Government, but 
simply because they had been sent by the Pope in answer to the 
repeated request made to the Vatican by the Iraqi Catholic 
Patriarch and Bishops. The fact that the Fathers were of 
American nationality had no special meaning other than that 
the need was for Fathers who knew English, and that some of 
the Fathers of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus 
were able at the time to undertake the educational work 
requested. And what admits no doubt whatever is that the 
Fathers, from the day of their coming to Iraq to this very day, 
have never meddled in political party or sectarian matters. 
Moreover they have always been supporters of just Arab 
causes, and in particular, they have defended, and continue to 
defend, the Arabs' position and rights regarding the question of 
Palestine. As for Al-Hikma University, we set about founding 

f The 1968 July Revolutions and events that followed f 241 

it only after we had obtained the approval of the Ministry of 
Education, expressly stated in the official letter, No. 15020, 
dated May 5th, 1955. 

e) It was inevitable that we should mention the lying 
statements and ugly slanders which have appeared in some of 
the local newspapers during the past year, and which contained 
disgraceful attacks and disgusting insults directed against Al- 
Hikma University - its Administration, Faculty, and student 
body. And we seize this occasion to deny completely what had 
been said and written against us. At the same time we place on 
record our astonishment at the fact that such false statements 
and baseless accusations were published in newspapers subject 
to the Government's supervision and censorship. 

f) With reference to the Government's natural desire to 
supervise university instruction, we reminded the Committee 
that we had always acknowledged it in word and deed. You must 
be aware that we agreed to the principle of supervision more 
than a year ago in our meetings with representatives of the 
Supreme Council for Universities and in the letters which we 
addressed to that Council. 

We put into effect in our University a number of suggestions 
given to us by the Council, and we have always been ready to 
cooperate with the Council and with responsible authorities. 
Hence we were surprised that the Decree Iraqicizing our 
University was issued without our being informed ahead of 
time, and without previous consultations about the matter. 

g) We explained in detail the case of two students who were 
dismissed from our University seven months ago because of 
their numerous grave violations of the University, not for 
scholastic reasons, and not for political reasons, but solely for 
disciplinary reasons having to do with their unbecoming 
conduct, which we set forth in detail to the representatives of 
the Supreme Council for Universities, and to Inspectors from 
the Ministry of Education, and to the two Iraqi Presidents, past 
and present, of the University. 

We declared that we could not consent to the return of the two 
students to the University, because their presence in the 
University would stand in the way of teaching, learning, order 
and peace, and create an atmosphere opposed to the best 
interests of the University and its Faculty and its male and 
female students. This has been confirmed by what the two 
students did after their dismissal, and especially by the 
conduct of one of them during the past five weeks. We have 
repeatedly urged the authorities to help these two students to 
continue their studies in another College, for their own good 

242 Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

and for the good of Al-Hikma University. 

4. Since the issuing of the Decree Iraqicizing Al-Hikma 

University two events have taken place, each of them very 


a) On the ninth of this month (October) one of the two students 
dismissed last year for disciplinary reasons came to our 
University. He entered the Office of the Registrar of our 
University, accompanied by two persons representing the 
National Union of Iraqi Students. The dismissed student asked 
the Registrar to register him as a student in Al-Hikma 
University. The Registrar answered him, saying (and what he 
said was true) that he did not have the power to admit and 
register students, but that this power belonged to the 
Presidency of the University. Thereupon one of the previously 
mentioned two representatives took out a revolver, cocked it, 
and brought it close to the Registrar's face and threatened that 
he would shoot him if he did not register the dismissed student. 
The Registrar continued to refuse. This event was witnessed 
by the Registrar, and his Assistant, and one of the Jesuit 
Fathers, who was standing near the armed representative. The 
revolver was seen by other persons, a few minutes later, in 
the office of the Secretary. This threat to a member of the 
University's Administration in his own Office by a 
representative of the National Union of Iraqi Students is an 
exceedingly grave matter in our opinion. 

We took the matter up with the Professor who was then the 
Acting President of Al-Hikma University, and we asked him to 
take the necessary measures to prevent those threatening and 
armed persons from entering the University campus. 
Otherwise, we could not be responsible for the safety of our 
students, and our professors, and the members of our 
Administration. We also informed the Directors of the 
Security and the Police in Zafarania about the event and the 
grave threat. We are very much surprised that, judging from 
appearances, those measures were not taken. The three 
persons mentioned have returned to the University a number 
of times, and the dismissed student has continued to come to the 
University almost daily. 

b) The second event is that which took place on Saturday, Oct. 
I9th. On Friday the 18th, the newspaper The Voice of the 
Peasant published an announcement about a celebration to be 
held by the National Union of Iraqi Students, in the building of 
the University of Al-Hikma, on the occasion of the passage of 
one month (actually it was 38 days) since the Iraqization of 
Al-Hikma University. No one had previously informed the 

f The 1968 July Revolutions and events that followed T 243 

Acting President of Al-Hikma University about the holding of 
this celebration. Had it not been for our learning by chance of 
the previously mentioned announcement, we would have known 
nothing about the celebration. 

On Saturday, Oct. I9th, at least 15 buses came to Al-Hikma 
University, some of them Baghdad University buses, and some 
of them double-decker public buses. In the buses were 
persons, some of whom were university students, and some 
secondary school students. Among this throng, and also 
actively participating in the celebration, were the three 
students who had played their parts in the event of the 
revolver, previously mentioned. It has also been said that a 
number of those taking part in the celebration, from outside 
our University, were armed. It was clear that a large number 
of the students of Al-Hikma University had no desire to 
participate in a celebration run in their University by 
outsiders who had not consulted them about the affair. 

We believe that these points may have escaped the notice of 
the Member of your Council who addressed the gathering and of 
the Minister of Youth, who was also present. We were happy to 
have these two persons present, since we feel that their 
presence was an important factor in assuring that the progress 
of the celebration would not be marked by violent, and even 
bloody, incidents. As for the demands presented by the 
representative of the Student Union in his speech, and printed 
in the issue of The Revolution for October 22, I single out for 
special mention the second, which reads: "The restoration of 
our comrades who were dismissed for political reasons to their 
scholastic benches". Was this, I wonder, the real reason for 
holding the celebration? In any case, I repeat once more, with 
the utmost insistence and emphasis: There is no student who 
has been dismissed from Al-Hikma University for political 
reasons; whoever claims such a thing, claims what is 
completely and absolutely contrary to the truth. With all 
respect and frankness, we submit to you our opinion that it is 
very strange that those responsible for the celebration did not 
consult the academic authorities to whom the matter was of 

5. There is another matter which gives rise to astonishment 
and concern. The dismissed student, referred to above, has 
come back to the University several times during the past 
week, and he has bragged to some of our students that the 
Council of the Command of the Revolution will issue a decree 
ordering his re-admission to our University. We can only 
regret intensely the conduct of this student and his use of the 

244 C£ Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

name of the respected Council of the Command of the Revolution 
to exert pressure on the authorities in our University, in 
order to obtain something which he in no way deserves. 
On Wednesday, Oct. 23rd, this student showed one of our 
students a paper, claiming that it was a copy of a draft decree 
which the Council of the Command of the Revolution was 
intending to pass. 

The Fathers have explained to the Acting President of Al- 
Hikma University that the returning of this student to Al- 
Hikma University would render their position very difficult, 
and that, consequently, they could not see how they would be 
able to continue their work in Al-Hikma University. 
6. In view of all that has happened in and concerning Al-Hikma 
University since the issuing of the Decree Iraqicizing our 
University, and inasmuch as we have been unable to contact the 
highest authorities, we have been forced to reconsider our 
position and attitude. We were, and still are, desirous of 
continuing our work in Al-Hikma University, a work with no 
other goal than that of serving Iraq and its sons. 

But the events mentioned, and our present circumstances, 
have led us to doubt that the Government of Iraq firmly wishes 
that the Jesuit Fathers remain in Al-Hikma University. We 
have not noted, on the part of the Government, any positive 
sign indicating such a wish, but all the signs have, up to now, 
been negative. The difficulties which we are experiencing 
disturb us profoundly. And in the light of the events 
mentioned, we do not believe that the Administration of the 
University, so long as the present state of things continues, 
will be able to maintain order and to keep up the scholastic 
level which must exist in any university worthy of the name. 

In conclusion, I assure you that the Fathers wish this noble 
country nothing but good. If I have spoken to you frankly, it 
was because of my belief that you would welcome the honest 
expression of the views of men of religion and learning who 
have consecrated their lives to carrying on the lofty mission of 
education. We respect you, as we respect all sincere citizens. 
And we respect ourselves and our profession - and this is the 
right and duty of every man. 

Yes, we love this country and its people, and we appreciate 
what we have encountered here of kindness, friendship, and 
hospitality, which we shall never forget. We ask God Most 
High to bless our dear Iraq and its dear sons with the best of 
His favors and blessings in this world and the next. He is the 
One Who hears and answers. 

Please accept my sincere thanks and genuine respect. 

T The 1968 July Revolutions and events that followed f 245 

Sincerely yours, 
Rev. Richard J. McCarthy, S.J. 
Superior of the Jesuit Fathers in Al-Hikma University 
Copy to each member of the Revolutionary Council 

November 25, 1968 dismissal of Al-Hikma Jesuits 

On Saturday the expelled student mentioned previously started 
attending classes again. So on the following Monday, October 28 
the Jesuits after careful planning and intense discussion, decided 
to stop teaching and administering until the Iraqi Government and 
Al-Hikma's Acting President could give them some assurance that 
order would be restored sufficiently so that the academic year 
could continue. They went "on strike" in their own school. The 
Jesuit statement follows. 

Notice To: The Faculty of Al-Hikma University 

The Students of Al-Hikma University and their parents 
Those working in the Administration 
From this day (Monday, October 28, 1968), and until further 
notice, the Jesuit Fathers are discontinuing their 
administrative and teaching work in Al-Hikma University, 
until they can consult the highest authorities and arrive at a 
just solution of certain problems which are obstructing the 
normal university life consonant with the best interests of Al- 
Hikma University and the safety of its students. 

(signed) The Jesuit Fathers of Al-Hikma University. 

Their notice was posted around the school and was later torn down 
by members of the Student Union. The Jesuits resumed their work 
in the University after they had been assured that the problem 
student would cause no more trouble because he had been officially 
transferred to a government institution of higher learning. 
On October 30 the security police of the government came to the 
school with the names of "nine" Jesuits (actually eight since Fr. 
Kelly's name had two versions) who were to be expelled from the 
country. They were Frs. R. McCarthy, Kelly Frederick William, 
Frederick William Kelly, Banks, Cote, MacWade, McLeod, J. 
Larkin and Nash. No reason was given for the selection of these 

This action was protested vigorously. The safety and well- 
being of the students was a serious Jesuit concern. On November 
1, Fr. Joseph L. Ryan, S.J., the Academic Vice-President 
presented the following letter to Dr. Fadhil Husain al-Ansari, 
President Delegate of Al-Hikma University: 

246 Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

Dear Dr. Fadhil: 

A member of the preparatory committee of the Student 
Union came to the Al-Hikma campus on 9 October, 1968, and 
in the office of the university registrar pulled out a gun, held 
it up to the head of the registrar and threatened to shoot him if 
he did not register a student who had previously been dismissed 
for academic reasons. The mere carrying of arms has been 
forbidden by the civil authorities under severe penalties. We 
wish to insist as strongly as possible that neither of these two 
men should come to the campus of Al-Hikma University again. 
We realize that you want the University to operate as smoothly 
as possible. Therefore, you must share our deep concern over 
the recent letter from the Residence Bureau notifying you that 
nine Fathers are to terminate their residence in Iraq. How can 
a professor, and especially a Dean, operate efficiently if he 
expects that he may be sent out of the country in two weeks' 
time? If you expect our cooperation, then you must be ready to 
assure the psychological well-being of the faculty. It should, 
of course, be clear to you that if these Fathers were to leave, 
we could not continue our cooperation as a group. 
Therefore, this matter should be investigated and cleared up as 
soon as possible. We should like some clarification about the 
reasons for the action of the Residence Bureau or at least an 
assurance that the residence of these nine Fathers is definitely 
restored and no longer in doubt. 

We feel that unless these requests are met we cannot be sure of 
the safety of the students on campus. Since parents send their 
sons and daughters here because of their confidence in us we 
feel that we must tell them when the campus in not safe and 
allow the parents to act accordingly. We insist on this point 
because we have the responsibility in this matter which we 
cannot pass off to any one else. 

We feel that it is your responsibility, as president, to call to 
the attention of higher authorities the state of affairs which 
has existed on the campus recently and to outline strongly and 
courteously the conditions which are necessary for the proper 
operation of the University. 

We are confident that higher authorities who are responsible 
for the Student Union will not accept that members of the 
Union be allowed to bring shame on the Union by threatening to 
shoot a member of the University staff who is carrying out his 
duties in his own office. 

We are confident that higher authorities responsible for 
higher education are gravely concerned for the good order and 

T The dismissal of the Al-Hikma Jesuits 11/25/68 f 247 

discipline in their institutions, and for the respect and dignity 
of the faculty and staff. 

In view of all this, we feel that our attitude is a reasonable one 
and that we can expect the full cooperation of all responsible 
persons. In frankness, we should add that if the necessary 
conditions cannot be provided, then we must reserve the right 
to take whatever action we deem appropriate. It would be a 
shame to have the school year further interrupted because of 
non-academic problems which could easily be prevented. 

Sincerely yours, 
(Rev.) Joseph L. Ryan, S.J. 

The next few weeks were spent in furious activity. Fr. 
Donohue requested and received a hearing on November 20 with 
the President of the country, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and 
presented a request that the order be rescinded for lack of charges. 
At the meeting Fr. Donohue together with Fr. McCarthy pointed 
out that President Bakr had earlier stated that he wanted the 
Jesuits to stay and work in the university. They insisted that the 
Jesuits had no other desire than to serve this country as they had 
done for 36 years, but their protestations of the innocence and of 
the innocent intentions of the Jesuits were to no avail. They left a 
written statement of their position with President Bakr. 

Mr. President, I would like to assure Your Excellency that we, 
the Jesuit Fathers, desire most sincerely to serve this beloved 
country in the future as we have tried to do ever since we came 
to Iraq 36 years ago. We shall always be ready to cooperate 
with the authorities in carrying out the educational mission 
entrusted to us by our Superiors in the Vatican in response to 
what had been requested by the Iraqi Christian hierarchy and 
approved of by the chief Muslim authorities. 

(signed) Rev. John J. Donohue, S.J., 

Superior of the Jesuits in Iraq 

Rev. Richard J. McCarthy, S.J., 

President of Al-Hikma University 

The President replied that his hands were tied because the 
whole matter was the affair of the Minister of Interior General 
'Ammash who was responsible for the security of the country. 
General 'Ammash had given the expulsion order but was now out of 
the country. Some of the educators at the Government University 
tried to intervene, but to no avail. All possible efforts were made 
to get the order of expulsion rescinded but these were in vain since 
no one was able to obtain an appointment with the Minister of the 

248 :0' Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

Interior. After much discussion and deliberation, and after 
weighing all the possible consequences, the Jesuit Community 
presented the following memorandum to Dr. Fadhil Husain al- 
Ansari, President Delegate of Al-Hikma University, on the 
morning of November 21. It once again stated that the Jesuits 
would not work in an environment that they considered dangerous 
for their students and so disruptive that learning was impossible. 

MEMORANDUM: To: Dr. Fadhil Hussein Al-Ansari 
President-Delegate of Al-Hikma University 

Dear Doctor Fadhil: 

The day-to-day operation of Al-Hikma University has depended 
on the Jesuit staff. They have worked very hard and very 
conscientiously at their jobs, in spite of the mounting 
difficulties they have encountered during the past two months. 
Now, however, the order commanding the expulsion of eight 
Jesuit Fathers from Iraq, among them two Deans, renders it 
practically impossible for the Jesuit Fathers to assure the 
efficient functioning of Al-Hikma University. Therefore, we 
are compelled, with much regret, to suspend our academic 
work in Al-Hikma University until some reasonable and 
acceptable solution can be found, not only to this problem, but 
also to the other major unresolved problems. 
We have tried unsuccessfully to find a solution. But the real 
responsibility for finding a solution rests primarily and ex 
officio on you, as the President of Al-Hikma University. If 
you can find a solution, we shall be happy to discuss with you 
the conditions under which we shall be able to resume our 
work in the University. 

We think that by this time you understand our position. We 
are a group dedicated to educational work, and we have no 
political ties. The expulsion of eight Jesuit Fathers for 
undisclosed reasons places all of us Jesuits in jeopardy and 
immediately creates an intolerable climate of doubt, suspicion, 
and anxiety, which makes it psychologically impossible to do 
efficient and fruitful academic work. We know that no serious 
charges can be proved against the eight Jesuit Fathers who 
have been ordered to leave Iraq. Hence we have no assurance 
that the remaining Fathers will not be expelled next week, or 
next month. This uncertainty and this fear of arbitrary and 
unjust expulsion are major and insurmountable deterrents to 
worthwhile educational work. 

We have consistently expressed by word, and proven by action, 
our sincere desire to cooperate with the responsible 

f The dismissal of the Al-Hikma Jesuits 11/25/68 f 249 

authorities and to render service to this country and its young 
men and women. Yesterday the President of the Republic of 
Iraq told Fathers Donohue and McCarthy that he desired and 
welcomed our cooperation. 

On our part we can do no more. We respectfully submit that it 
is now up to you, as President of Al-Hikma University, and to 
the higher quarters concerned, to take those measures which 
will make it possible for us to cooperate with you in the noble 
work of higher education. 

Very sincerely yours, 
The Jesuit Fathers of Al-Hikma University 

This memorandum produced an immediate reaction. On the 
campus neither the faculty nor the students went to class, out of 
solidarity with the Fathers. It was, after all unusual for the 
Jesuit Fathers to go on strike in their own school, but they had no 
other option. On the other hand the Minister of the Interior 
(previously unavailable) was contacted by phone within a quarter 
of an hour. Dr. Fadhil explained the situation to him. It was 
reported that the Minister became angry and forthwith ordered the 
expulsion of all the Al-Hikma Jesuits from Iraq. Within a half- 
hour the Director of the Residence Department came in person to 
the University. Those not already under order of expulsion were 
informed that they too would have to leave the country by 
November 25. The Papal Nuncio and the Belgian Ambassador, 
representing the U.S. interests, tried to make representations, but 
their efforts were unavailing. 

A list of the names of the Al-Hikma Jesuits was sent to the 
Jesuit Community with orders for all Jesuits to leave the country. 
It is curious that the lay volunteers were never mentioned then or 
after. The Baghdad College Jesuits, 15 miles away, were not 
mentioned in the expulsion order except for Fr. MacDonnell who 
taught in both schools. When Fr. Donohue pointed this out to the 
government officials he was allowed to stay and teach at Baghdad 
College for the coming year. Fr. Donohue found his own name on 
the dismissal list but insisted that it be taken off since he was the 
Superior of the Jesuits in Iraq. Dr. Fadhil removed his name and 
he remained in Iraq. 

A hurried inventory was made by the Jesuits of their 
equipment, furniture, books and other belongings in all five 
University buildings. This was signed by the newly appointed 
Iraqi President of Al-Hikma University, Dr. Fadhil Husain Al 
Ansari, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, to make clear that 
the property, books, equipment and furnishings were being taken 
from the Jesuits against their will. No recompense of any kind 

250 Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

was ever given for the buildings which they built, the equipment 
which they bought or whatever personal belongings which they 
could not take with them and had to leave behind. 

The day of departure was November 25th. There were 23 
Jesuit leaving that day and 5 had already departed. The Al-Hikma 
students had been warned by the Student Union that any student 
who went to the airport to see the Fathers off would be physically 
harmed. In spite of this threat about one third of the student body 
did come and some were physically harmed afterwards. The scene 
in the air terminal from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. was like a wake, 
in spite of the large number of people there. One of the students 
gave a speech to the Fathers expressing the gratitude of the student 
body and their sorrow at the turn of events. Lufthansa held up a 
plane for 20 minutes to give the students and teachers time to bid 
each of the Fathers farewell. 

Thus the 28 Jesuits, 2 other religious and 6 foreign lay 
volunteers left Al-Hikma and Iraq. 

In January 1969, Fr. Donohue wrote from Baghdad to the "Al- 
Hikma Jesuit exiles". 

No matter what happens, we will all have the consolation of 
having tried our utmost to cooperate with a difficult situation 
in order to continue our service here. On the Wednesday after 
you left, Dr. Fadhil sent me a letter thanking the Jesuits for 
the outstanding educational work they had done for the sons and 
daughters of the Iraqi people. That was very gratifying to know. 
Christmas was pleasant enough. People visited us as usual and 
everywhere I visited the conversation was on Al-Hikma. None 
of the Christians can put it out of their minds. Of course, many 
hope that somehow you could all come back. But I think there 
is very little foundation for their hopes. I think that the Jesuit 
Al-Hikma they knew is now consigned to its own Camelot. By 
the way, the ending of Camelot is hauntingly appropriate: 

Each evening from December to December 
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot 

Think back on all the tales that you remember of Camelot. 

Ask every person if he's heard the story 
and tell it strong and clear, if he has not, 

That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory, called Camelot. 

There are many people here telling the Al-Hikma story "strong 
and clear". It seems that many regard me as the remnant of 
Al-Hikma and when I was down there after your departure, 
working on the inventory, many would come running up to talk 
and to inform me that I was a symbol of what had been. At first 

The dismissal of the Al-Hikma Jesuits 11/25/68 T 251 

they were hoping that all the Jesuits were standing on the 
border of Lebanon, waiting for a signal to return. Now they 
take a more realistic view. (Fr. Donohue) 

Last picture of the Al-Hikma Jesuit Community taken 11/22/68 

'68-'69 school year at Baghdad College 

The Jesuits at Baghdad College were subjected to attacks in the 
press similar to those of Al-Hikma, with about the same absence 
of subtlety. As is evident in the following quotation, the 
accusations reflect an understandable frustration with the 
American Government's uneven policies toward the Arab countries 
and in lieu of American politicians the American Jesuits were 
singled out. They were after all the only Americans left in Iraq 
and they were very visible. A few years previously there were 
almost a thousand Americans. 

Translation from THAWRA 12/21/68 

Al-Hikma University and its sister institution, Baghdad 
College continued to be institutions of cultural imperialistic 
radiation that reflected imperialistic notions. They also 
continued to be spying networks working for the C.I. A. and 
Israel. Now that the Revolution has accomplished much 
through revolutionary constructiveness and alert 
destructiveness, Baghdad College still stands in the way of the 
immortal revolution as a stumbling block and an imperialistic 
foothold in which minds that try to thwart the course of this 
revolution and call for the return of imperialism have made 

252 C5; Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

nests for themselves. It is your duty to carry the shovels of 
destruction to shatter the foothold of cultural imperialism 
represented by Baghdad College. 

The Jesuit Fathers' involvement in politics ranged from 
minimal to non-existent as is illustrated in the story of Fr. Guay's 
introduction to Nouri es Said at a party in the early days of 
Baghdad College. Nouri es Said, of course served as Iraqi Prime 
Minister in many governments over many years. "And what do you 
do for a living?" asked Fr. Guay. "I work for the government" 
replied Nouri es Said. In January of 1969 Fr. Belcher had a 
similar encounter. 

I was the Minister of Baghdad College. I had to bring the widow 
and children of one of our cooks who died of tuberculosis to the 
hospital for precautionary x-rays. As I was sitting in the 
Doctor's office, three men came in, two of whom I recognized. 
One was a Palestinian psychologist and the other a Baghdad 
College graduate who was a prominent neurologist. The third 
man I failed to recognize but this third man was the center of 
attention. He looked at me and asked the doctor who I was. The 
doctor identified me as a Jesuit from Baghdad College. The man 
asked if I were American and I said I was. He then told me that 
all teachers at Baghdad College would be Iraqis next year 
because all Jesuits would be traveling like the Jesuits from 
Al-Hikma. At this the three went out to another room and then 
I asked the Doctor who the man was. I was told that this was 
Salah Mehdi Ammash, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of 
Interior who expelled the Jesuits from Al-Hikma University. 
From then on I knew our time was short lived. (Fr. Belcher) 

September 30, 1969 

The 28 Jesuits were expelled from Al-Hikma on November 
25, 1968. It was not until August 24, 1969, nine months later, 
that the 33 Jesuits of Baghdad College were dismissed. The 
Minister of Education sent his gratitude to the Baghdad College 
Jesuits saying, "Baghdad College has rendered outstanding service 
to the youth of Iraq for forty years." As in the case of Al-Hikma, 
very little publicity was given. Some thought that the two schools 
were closed at different times to minimize adverse publicity for 
the regime. 

An article appeared shortly after the dismissal in the Jesuit 
Mission Magazine, written by the editor, Winter 1969, pp.. 7-8. 
This is an abbreviated version of the original article. 

f The dismissal of the Baghdad College Jesuits 2 53 

Baghdad Diary -- Last Entries 

In late August 1969 the Iraq Government summarily took 
possession of Baghdad College giving the Jesuits no explanation. 
The 33 Fathers were ordered to leave Iraq within three days. 
This followed, by nine months, the expropriation of Al-Hikma 
University and the expulsion of the 28 Jesuits there. The 
following are excerpts from the record of the final days of the 
Baghdad Mission. 

August 18 -Fr. Yusuf Seferta, S.J., the Iraqi Principal of the 
school, was formally summoned to the Intelligence Bureau for 
questioning by an assistant officer. The atmosphere was quite 
cordial. The basic question was: "Why can't Iraqi teachers be 
substituted for the American Jesuit Fathers?" Before the 
questioning began the interviewer told Fr. Seferta, "Baghdad 
College is an excellent school; but the government intends to 
Iraqicize it." 

August 24 --Seven security officers and police officers came 
to the Jesuit residence to inform the Rector, Fr. Carty, that 
they had been sent by order of the Minister of the Interior to 
seal the school buildings and to take the keys. When Fr. Carty 
asked for an official paper or documents, they refused and 
merely reiterated that they were an official committee sent to 
close the school. After the departure of the officers, we 
immediately notified the Papal Nuncio, the Chaldean Patriarch 
and the Belgian Ambassador (who represented U.S. interests) 
about what had happened. The next day all three went 
separately to the Ministry of Interior, but in vain. 

One of the last photographs taken of the Baghdad Jesuit Community 

254 CI Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

August 25 --An officer from the Residence Department came 
with an order from the Director General of Nationality which 
stated that all the American Jesuits were to leave the country 
within three days. The following day both the Belgian 
Ambassador and the Papal Nuncio visited the Foreign Office to 
protest against this sudden forced exodus. 

August 27 --The extension request was approved, which 
means the American Fathers can remain in Iraq until about the 
7th of September. The Chaldean Patriarch, visited the 
Assistant Minister of Interior (the Minister is in the North) to 
ask for an explanation of the closure of the school and the 
expulsion of the American Jesuits. When His Beatitude asked 
about the status of the two Iraqi Jesuits, Fr. Seferta, Principal 
of the School and Fr. Burby, Assistant Principal, the Assistant 
Minister expressed surprise. He was not aware of any Iraqi 
Jesuits. When the Patriarch inquired about the disposition of 
the Fathers' property and the possibility of turning it over to 
another all Iraqi Christian Association, the Acting Minister 
said this would not be possible. There has been absolutely no 
mention of any of this in the news media. 

August 30 --Fr. Seferta had an appointment with the 
Minister of Education. The Minister, who seemed quite 
embarrassed, knew nothing about the closing of the school and 
the forced exodus of the American Fathers. Fr. Seferta 
submitted two requests: that he and Fr. Burby be allowed to 
remain as Principal and Assistant Principal of Baghdad College 
and that they be allowed to keep the piece of land on which is 
located the Fathers' residence, the church and the cemetery. 

August 31 -One of the local newspapers carried an article 
announcing that a committee would be formed to replace the 
foreign administration of Baghdad College. In every other 
aspect the school would remain the same. 

September 1 -During the first week of September most of 
the American Jesuits left Iraq while two Jesuits of the Near 
East Vice Province arrived to help out. The school is still 

September 3 --His Beatitude, the Chaldean Patriarch, and 
Fr. Yusuf Seferta had a meeting with the Minister of Education. 
The Minister mentioned he had visited both the President of the 
Republic and the Director General of Security to complain 
about the seizure of Baghdad College. He added that he was doing 
everything possible to help us, but because of the American 
policy of supporting Israel that this was not so easy. When the 
Patriarch brought up the possibility of some of the older 

f The dismissal of the Baghdad College Jesuits 255 

Fathers remaining in the country, the Minister seemed quite 

We have learned from reliable sources that a group of Iraqi 
educators well-disposed toward the Jesuit Fathers and aware of 
the high level of education given at Baghdad College are 
requesting that it be made a "model" school under the 
supervision of the College of Education. They are also making 
efforts to have Fr. Powers and Fr. Carty remain on for some 
time to assist in the transition. 

September 4 --A letter sent from the Ministry of Interior to 
the Mutasarrafiya (governor's office) states: 1) that the 
Fathers' legal association had been dissolved; 2) that the 
property would be disposed of by the government, and 3) that a 
committee had been formed to take over the school. 

The Papal Nuncio arranged with the Acting Minister of 
Interior that: 1) Fr. Powers and Fr. Carty would be given an 
extension of residence; 2) it is very probable the Jesuit 
residence, the church and the cemetery would be left in the 
hands of the Fathers; 3) the possibility of the Iraqi Jesuits, 
participating in the school administration would have to be 
discussed further. Later in the morning an officer from the 
Residence Department came to get the passports of Fathers 
Powers and Carty. 

September 9 --An official committee appointed by the 
Minister of Education came to open the school. The committee 
is composed of five professional educators. The head of the 
committee. Dr. Suad [el-Bustani], Director of the Educational 
Research Center, explained that their work is merely to 
supervise the running of the school - and that they want the 
school to continue as it was in the past. Fr. Seferta will 
continue as the Principal and Fr. Burby as his assistant. To 
replace the American Jesuit Fathers, Dr. Suad plans to bring 
teachers from Baghdad University to teach the sciences and 
mathematics in English. She is most anxious that the Christian 
students continue to receive religious instruction. 

Fr. Powers and Fr. Carty have received an extension of 
residence to the end of this month. It seems doubtful that they 
will be allowed to remain beyond this date, but in the Orient 
one never knows. 

September 29 --Situation still unclear. Fr. Powers and Fr. 
Carty leave tomorrow. We have decided that Fathers Seferta 
and Burby will not continue in the school administration. 

The diary ends as did the work of 143 American Jesuits. 

256 &£ Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

Reasons for the dismissal 

No explanation was ever given by the Iraqi Government for the 
expulsion of the Jesuits. They were simply told they had to be out 
of the country in five days. We can only surmise, then, what the 
real causes for dismissals were. One cause could be a popular 
nationalistic spirit, or an anti-American spirit. There certainly 
were nationalistic enthusiasm as well as signs of justified 
resentment toward American pro-Israel policy, but there were 
also signs of friendship toward the few Americans still living in 
Iraq. In fact, Americans, as Americans, seemed liked in the Arab 

Finally another reason suggested was an anti-Christian 
sentiment; but there was no evidence that the expulsion was 
directed against Christians and there was no reason to believe that 
the government had any quarrel with the Jesuits either as Jesuits 
or as Christians. Religious preference was not a high priority for 
the Iraqi Government at that time. Whatever the rationale for the 
dismissal it was carried out with no physical harm to the Jesuits, 
indeed they were treated with respect and courtesy at several 
different levels of government. 

Perhaps the best explanation for the dismissal can be found in 
the Baath ideology which is opposed to private and especially 
foreign-run schools. In Syria, for example, the Syrian Baath 
Government took over all Catholic schools in 1967. In fact, after 
the Jesuits left Iraq, other Iraqi private schools, Muslim as well 
as Christian, were taken over by the Iraqi Baath Government. 
Some members of the Baath Party were more serious than others 
about implementing this policy of opposition to private education. 

These members used two small but vocal groups to influence 
government officials who were reluctant to dismiss the Jesuits, 
but who felt themselves in too precarious a state to withstand 
concerted opposition. These two groups were the National Student 
Union and the Teachers' Union, mentioned earlier. 

In any case it is safe to say that the actions of the National 
Student Union and the Teachers' Union, coupled with a small but 
powerful clique within the party itself go a long way to explain 
the seizure of the Jesuit institutions and the expulsion of the 
Jesuits. If most educated Iraqis had their say, Al-Hikma and 
Baghdad College would have gone on under the direction of the 

Waiel Hindo had his own theory on the Iraqization of Baghdad 
College and Al-Hikma. 

The revolutionary command council that issued the order of 

f The dismissal of the Baghdad College Jesuits 2 57 

Iraqization of Baghdad College and Al-Hikma was run by young 
men just graduated or about to graduate from College. Their 
ages ranged between 24 to 29 years old, and it is these young 
men who were the driving force of the revolution. They were 
mostly members of the Iraqi Student Union, labor unions, 
teachers' union, and other minor unions. These young people 
lacked the political maturity and the experience to govern. 
Compounded to these difficulties of inexperience, the openly 
anti-Arab policies of the United States in the Middle East, 
after 1967, were factors in the Iraqization of Al-Hikma, and 
the expulsion of the Jesuits. 
(Waiel Hindo, B.C. '68, A.H. '64) 

In a January 3, 1969 letter from Boston, Fr. McCarthy 
commented on possible reasons for the dismissal of the Al-Hikma 
Jesuits, not being certain at the time of writing that Baghdad 
College would also be closed. From that perspective while Al- 
Hikma was in its last academic year f68-'69) and without any 
Jesuits teaching there, his words are rather poignant. 

The full story of the events leading to our final expulsion is 
very involved and complicated. Why did it all happen? The 
principal factors involved were: 

a) The Baath Party is in control of Iraq and its Government. 
One of the declared tenets of this Party is that education, on all 
levels, must be entirely in the hands of the State. Therefore, 
the Baath Party in Iraq can be expected to get rid of private 
educational institutions systematically (as the Syrian wing of 
the Party has done in Syria). 

b) Certain members of the revived Student Union in Iraq were 
very antagonistic to the presence of the Jesuit Fathers, and 
that for a variety of motives. 

c) There was a good deal of anti-American feeling as a result of 
the humiliating military defeat of the Arabs in June, 1967, 
and the support given to Israel by many American quarters. 
This feeling was exploited by those hostile to our presence for 
different reasons. There was also the fact that Al-Hikma had, 
and has, a relatively large number of Jewish students, all of 
them Iraqi citizens. 

d) Certain students who had been expelled or dropped from Al- 
Hikma for scholastic or disciplinary reasons were naturally 
disgruntled and were able to exercise a certain pressure on 
some members of the Government through the Student Union 
and through slanderous articles published in some Baghdad 
newspapers and magazines. Such articles could not be 

258 Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

answered publicly, and they undoubtedly helped to create a 
false impression of Al-Hikma in the minds of many. 
There were doubtless other factors, personal and political. We 
shall probably never really know the whole story. As against 
those factors, it is worth mentioning that many Iraqis, in all 
walks of life, held us, and continue to hold us in high regard. 
The Iraqization of Al-Hikma University was not a "popular" 
measure in the best educated and academic circles. 
(Fr. Richard McCarthy) 

The Baghdad Jesuit diaspora: where did they go? 

What do 60 men do after being shut out of their apostolate 
after many years of experience and specialized training, leaving 
the apostolate behind them. The Baghdad Jesuits held meetings 
after their dismissal trying to answer this question. They felt that 
they had worked well as a team; also that they had developed 
certain skills, corporate and individual, which might be needed in 
some part of the Arab world. None of the places suggested, 
however, proved feasible. 

A meeting held December 17, 1968 was one of a series trying 
to discover how best to use these skills. Some are listed here and 
indicate imaginative and inventive alternatives to abandoning their 
favorite apostolate - working in the Arab world. The ideas 
included attempts to return to Baghdad to work at Baghdad College 
or in the Chaldean seminary or with other religious orders; to 
work in some other Arab country; to start a research institute in 
Beirut connected with the Jesuit St. Joseph University; to do 
Newman Club and chaplain work at the American University of 
Beirut; to teach at A.U.B.; to become involved in Lebanon's 
secondary education; to help in schools of other Middle Eastern 
religious orders; to teach in the Jesuit College de la Sainte Famille 
in Cairo with 1200 students; to work in the student center in 
Cairo; to teach in the American University of Cairo; to work in Fr. 
Sullivan's Teachers' program in Saudi Arabia; to move on to other 
countries such as Indonesia. 

Many of the Baghdad Jesuits did some of the above but most 
were then absorbed into the works of the New England Province. 
Fifteen remained in the Middle East; five in Egypt, ten in Lebanon, 
and one in Indonesia. Four were doing scholarly work at St. 
Joseph's University in Beirut at CEMAM, the Center for the Study 
of the Modern Arab World. CEMAM has already published a 
bibliography Arab Culture and Society in Change. Fr. Ryan, 
former Dean of Al-Hikma worked at CEMAM in Beirut. Later he 
conducted lecture tours in which he spoke on the Arab-Israeli 
conflict, Jerusalem and the role of the U.S. in the Middle East. 

T The Baghdad Jesuit diaspora 2 59 

Some went to work in Egypt, one of whom was Fr. Carty. 

After leaving Iraq in April, 1970, I joined the Jesuit 
community at the Holy Family Secondary School in Cairo, 
Egypt. There, using experience acquired at Baghdad College, I 
helped set up a new language lab and a new English program 
and taught English there. Then in July 1978 I was appointed 
to the Jesuit Residence in Alexandria, Egypt, where, in 
addition to administrative duties (Superior, Minister, 
Treasurer), I directed the University Students Library. In 
1985, I was sent to the Jesuit Residence in Minia, Egypt, a 
small town 240 km south of Cairo to teach English to adults. I 
also assisted in the formation of the young Jesuits in the 
novitiate and am now coordinating the English teaching 
program at the Jesuit secondary school in Cairo. (Fr. Carty) 

Perhaps this narrative of the last few years of the mission in 
Iraq might offer some idea of what was lost and the events that led 
up to the dismissal of the Jesuits. The greatest loss, of course, 
was not in terms of property, but in terms of human relations and 
opportunities for Jesuits to work with Iraqis, Oriental Christians 
and Muslims. The real reasons are hidden in the mystery of 
Divine Providence: why such a work that was so promising be 
suddenly struck down. In any case, this "fleeting wisp of glory" 
did exist for 37 years and who can predict what significance it 
might have for any future service to the Baghdad community by 
Jesuits and their colleagues and what it could mean for better 
dialogue between Muslims and Christians in the future? 

Jesuit - lay volunteer reunion 

In August of 1974 to 
commemorate five years after 
the sudden expulsion of the 
Jesuits and their colleagues 
from Baghdad a reunion was 
held at Fairfield University 
with 23 Jesuits and 37 lay 
volunteers present. Since 
their expulsion all had done 
many interesting and exciting 
things, but the topic that no 
one could forget was their 
experience in Baghdad. 

Fr. Merrick at the picnic 

260 £| Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

Older and wiser lay volunteers 

Realizing that the B.C. students would win the annual baseball game 

The Jesuit cemetery, residence and B.C. today 

Today, the buildings at Al-Hikma are used by the Iraqi 
Government as a technical institute, part of the University of 
Baghdad. The equipment and the library were given to the 
University of Baghdad. Baghdad College was originally intended to 
be made a local neighborhood school, but a committee from the 
University of Baghdad was formed and it convinced the government 
to keep the school running as a model college preparatory school. 
The University of Baghdad thus would supply the teachers so that 
the standards of the school would be maintained. Baghdad College is 
still operating under this arrangement. After the American 
Jesuits left in 1969, two Iraqi Jesuits stayed in the residence and 
taught religion at Baghdad College. They chose to leave the 
following year, 1970. 

Five Jesuits were buried in the Jesuit cemetery and their 
average age when they died was less than a youthful 45. We still 
remember them as young men, especially the oldest 

f The Jesuit cemetery and B.C. today 


chronologically, Fr. Madaras, who enlivened every gathering with 
his wit and youthful joy of life. The men were, according to date of 
birth, entrance into the Society of Jesus, death and age at the time 
of death: 

Francis Cronin 1912 
Roger O'Callaghan 1912 
Thomas Manning 1932 
John Owens 1924 

Edward Madaras 1897 



@ 41 



@ 42 



@ 28 



@ 43 


1 0/2/67 

@ 70 

The five Jesuit gravestones near the chapel at Baghdad College 

One of the major Baghdad College buildings was named to honor 
Fr. Cronin who was a well loved teacher. In January of 1953 he 
developed a rash which puzzled the Baghdad doctor so he was 
brought to the British air base at Habbaniyah where he was found 
to have leukemia. He died on January 30, 1953 at the air base 
and was buried behind the Baghdad College church in Sulaikh, the 
first Jesuit to die on the mission. 

Fr. O'Callahan was a scholar of Sacred Scripture and was 
visiting the archeological sites of Iraq when he was killed in an 
automobile accident. Fr. Fennell remembers him. 

During the winter of 1954, the Fathers had a visitor, a Jesuit 
scholar of the New York Province. Fr. O'Callaghan was reputed 
to know a dozen languages, most of the common European 
tongues, and a few languages known only to students of ancient 
peoples. In spite of his brilliance and reputation, he never 
could learn how to play well the simple card game of "pitch", a 
popular game during the Fathers' evening recreation. 
On the evening of March 5, 1954, while returning with some 
scientists from a day of exploration of some ancient diggings, 

262 :d- 

Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

he was sitting on the front passenger side of the car. In the 
dark, they ran into a truck, parked in the road with no 
headlights on. The truck's tailboard smashed the windshield 
and hit Fr. O'Callaghan's brow. Death must have been 
instantaneous. Fr. Fennell and another Father had to identify 
the body at the morgue the next morning. Fr. O'Callaghan was 
the second Jesuit to be buried in the cemetery behind our 
church in Sulaikh. (Fr. Fennell) 

Rev. Thomas Manning, S.J. The Manning funeral 6/22/60 

The youngest to die there was Fr. Manning who died of 
hepatitis. He was one of the most popular members of the Jesuit 
community and his death was particularly difficult for the 
Jesuits, partly because it came so quickly. Fr. Owens died of 
cancer after a prolonged illness during which he gave considerable 
edification and encouragement to both students and his fellow 
Jesuits. The Jesuit last to die was one of the co-founders, Fr. 
Madaras about which much has already been written. He showed 
himself a genius with many talents and a heroic figure in the 
community, larger than life. 

Funeral of Edward Madaras, S.J. 10/3/67 

T The Jesuit cemetery and B.C. today f 26 3 

The church, the Jesuit graveyard, the Jesuit residence and the 
former boarding school were entrusted to the Chaldean Patriarch. 
For a while the Patriarch used the old boarding school as an 
orphanage. The sequence of events leading to this is as follows. 
After the Baghdad College Jesuits were ordered to leave the 
country, Fr. Powers and Fr. Carty were allowed to stay for a few 
weeks to take care of details. The disposition of the property was 
followed carefully by the Belgian Ambassador who was taking care 
of American interests. His information was sent to the New 
England Jesuit Provincial in Boston by way of the U.S. Embassy in 

Different rumors are being circulated about future operation 
of the school, to the effect that the school may be run by the 
Ministry of Education or by the Iraqi Jesuit Fathers. 
However, the newspaper Al-Nur in its issue of September 4, 
carried a statement by an official of the Ministry of the 
Interior who declared that a committee has been formed to run 
the school and that students should call within a week for new 
instructions. The Ministry spokesman added that the college 
will maintain the same academic standards. The Belgian 
Embassy believes the Iraqi government will take possession of 
the school property. The Belgian Embassy is keeping in touch 
with the Apostolic Delegate Msgr. Perrin and Father Carty on 
this matter and will keep us informed of developments. 
"Mr. Taha al-Qaissy, Director General of Cultural Affairs at 
the Ministry of Education, declared to Al-Nur yesterday that a 
committee shall be formed to administer Baghdad college in 
place of the present foreign administration. Mr. Al-Qaissy 
confirmed that studies shall continue in the said College as 
before and at the same standards and system and all that will be 
changed is the foreign administration. (USINT comment: 
Baghdad College is a high school run by American Jesuit 
Fathers.) Al-Nur, August 31, 1969" (Letter to Fr. Guindon 
from John Eisenhower of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels) 
The Iraqi Government had sealed the buildings and originally 
had intended to take over all the buildings and all the property. 
Fr. Carty pointed out that part of the property had a cemetery, a 
church and a religious house. Eventually this question was 
confronted and again the Belgian Ambassador reported the latest 
news to his embassy which was then sent to the Jesuit superior in 

Brussels A-698 of December 3, 1969 reported the likelihood 
that the church, cemetery and residence properties of Baghdad 
College would be turned over to the Latin Catholic Community 

264 Cl Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

in Iraq. This would have put these properties at the disposal of 
the Arab Jesuit Fathers who continue to teach religion in the 
College. Indeed, according to information received by the 
Belgian Embassy, a definite decision has been taken by the 
Minister of the Interior, General Ammash, to transfer these 
properties to the Latin Catholic Episcopate. The registration 
procedure was following its normal course and the Papal Pro- 
Nuncio, who is also Bishop of the Latin Church, had received an 
official request for documents needed for the registration. 

It therefore came as a surprise to both the Belgian Embassy 
and the Papal Pro-Nuncio when the semi-official newspaper 
Al-Jumhuriyeh in its issue of January 12 published a 
decision of the Revolutionary Command Council giving the 
church, cemetery and residence to the Roman Catholic Chaldean 
Patriarchate. A translation of the Al-Jumhuriyeh 
announcement is enclosed. It will be noted that the boarding 
house of the college, which had not been a part of the earlier 
decision of the Minister of the Interior, is donated to the 
Chaldean Daughters of Mary. (Letter to Fr. Guindon from John 
Eisenhower of the U S. Embassy in Brussels) 

The New England Provincial, Fr. Guindon, decided that the 
Jesuits should not be communicating with the Chaldean Patriarch 
through the Belgian Ambassador. He then consulted with officials 
in Rome and requested them to communicate to the Chaldean 
Patriarch the Jesuits' gratitude for his willingness to care for 
this property of the Jesuits and of the Latin Christian Community. 
This message was received, its meaning was understood and both 
were acknowledged by the Chaldean Patriarch. 
As far as any recompense for the property little effort was made 
lest the Christian Community be harmed in retaliation. Fr. 
McCarthy did ask the Gulbenkian foundation for their opinion on 
the matter, however, and received the following reply. 
Fundacao Calousle Gulbenkian 

Servico do Medio Oriente Lisboa ME.E/AG/1 #9278 
Dear Reverend McCarthy, 
I thank you for your letter of December 10th [1968] 

[written from Rome] 
Regarding Al-Hikma, you may have to arm your soul in 
patience and resist for the time being any temptation to make 
your grievances the object of public debate and/or wishing to 
make official representation. It seems to me that it is in any 
case too early to indulge in too pessimistic speculations 
regarding the future of Al-Hikma and I feel that only time may 
solve your problem. This is admittedly a big set-back in a 

f The Jesuit cemetery and B.C. today T 26 5 

lifetime but there have been precedents in the Jesuits' history 
which have invariably been overcome with patience and 
perseverance in the course of time. I have no doubt that one 
day again the importance of the service you were rendering in 
Iraq to higher education will be recognized and recent events 
will only remain as a bad memory. 

It is with this fervent hope that I send best wishes for 
Christmas and a happier New Year from Mrs. Gulbenkian and 
myself. Yours sincerely, 

Robert Gulbenkian 

Memories of happier times 

In my first year in 1961 at B.C., I was on the second bus 
going home. When the bus went around the circle in front of 
the Administration building and parked to pick up the students, 
I noticed a lot of wet mud on the side of the bus. I very casually 
walked to the bus and sort of practiced my newly acquired 
English writing skills and wrote my full name on the side of 
the bus. Actually I etched it in the wet mud. I then went up and 
took my designated seat on the bus (not by the window by the 
way, but by the aisle since I was in my first year). The bus 
was about to move, when Fr. Thomas Kelley was doing his 
customary head count; then suddenly said Ghassan Jamil come 
with me!?! We both de-bused. He asked me if that was my 
inscription on the side of the bus. I thought he was admiring 
my skills and said "yes." At that point he waived Ama, the 
driver to proceed. He further instructed me to go to room 
(2D) detention room and write Ghasson Jamil 2000 times in a 
legible way. When my work was checked and approved then I 
went home by public Amana bus. It was very late in the 
evening when I got home, having learned my lesson very well. 

Thirty-two years later in December 1993, I stood in front of 
the Administration building where the bus made the turn and 
remembered that incident. This was in my most recent trip 
back to Baghdad. I made a point of going to Baghdad College with 
my friend and colleague Sami Tobchi. It was a very moving 
experience to spend a couple of hours on campus. Many things 
have changed and aged a lot, but certain things are still 
probably as the Jesuits left them. There still are many palm 
tree skins laying on the ground used as benches. The beautiful 
wood railings in the Rice memorial building are intact, 
although needing a layer of varnish. Even the hefty hardware 
of the doors seemed to be operable. We spent some time in 

266 O 

Chapter 10 Expulsion and Dispersion 

Father Gerry's biology lab. Except for pipe smoke and 
classical music, not much has changed. The brick paved yards 
and walkways have been redone with asphalt and the wooden 
handball courts are gone. I could have easily spent an entire 
day just walking around but unfortunately my stay was very 
short. Sami and I ended our trip with a prayer by the Graves 
of the five Jesuits buried near the church. God rest their 
souls. (Ghassan Jamil Hami, B.C. '66) 

5,000 color postcards of this picture arrived for sale in the 
B.C. bookstore two months after the Jesuits were expelled. 

Chapter 11 

The Biennial Celebrations: 
the Living Legacy of Alumni 

Love shows itself in deeds, not just in words 

Love consists in mutual sharing of goods 

9{pte (Preliminary to the Contemplation of St. Ignatius 


Early reunions of alumni were held in Baghdad both for 
Baghdad College and for Al-Hikma and were so successful that 
annual meetings were planned. 

The first [Baghdad College] reunion was held on 12 January 
1957, at the Hindia Club in Karrada. It was attended by a huge 
gathering where the Jesuits welcomed the participants. The 
food was delicious with Iraqi hot dishes and qouzies with the 
usual oriental stuffing. Bingo Band played the whole night. 
The place was so crowded that one could hardly breathe. The 
party ended in the early hours of the morning. The party was 
such a success that it became the talk of the town for weeks. 
This gave us an idea for future reunions once a year. 
In 1958 Fr. Connell was at Al-Hikma University. The group 
decided that the second reunion be at the Hindia Club too while 
the third was held at Al Mansur Club. The sole reason was to 
change to a larger hall as the hall of the previous reunion was 

268 CI Chapter 11 The Living Heritage of alumni 

too small. (Carlo Tonietti) 

"Fr. Connell ran the first reunion of the Graduates of Al- 

Hikma on 11/2/64. 49 of the 52 known to be in Baghdad at 

the time attended. The evening consisted of a dinner and a 

discussion concerning starting an alumni association." 

(Fr. McDonough letter 11/2/64) 

The phenomenon of biennial reunions in this country, far from the 
two Baghdad campuses and decades after the two schools had ceased 
to exist, baffles alumni from other schools. So far there have been 
8 reunions and the 9th is set in everyone's calendar. The date, 
location and attendance of alumni (estimated) and Jesuits are 
listed here. 

# year date place city alum SJ 

1 1977 8/5,6,7 Mundlein College Chicago 150 33 

2 1979 7/20,21,22 Mercy College Detroit 300 31 

3 1982 7/23,24,25 Boston College Boston 300 33 

4 1984 7/27,28,29 Southfield Man. Detroit 400 27 

5 1986 8/1,2,3 San Diego 300 24 

6 1988 8/5,6,7 Southfield Man. Detroit 400 25 

7 1990 7/12,13,14,15 Woodfield Hyatt Chicago 300 33 

8 1992 7/30,31,8/1,2 Dearborn Hyatt Detroit 400 31 

9 1994 7/28, 29, 30, 31 San Fran. Hyatt San Fran, (scheduled) 

How and why the reunions started 

No Jesuit schools in the world can boast of alumni as loyal as those 
of Baghdad College and Al-Hikma University. Both teachers and 
alumni had a much deeper impact on each other and formed much 
stronger attachments than they ever thought possible when they 
were in the same classrooms long ago. Other Jesuits express their 
astonishment at the large numbers attending these reunions and 
wonder what on earth one could possibly do at a reunion of schools 
that ceased to function 25 years ago? Although the Baghdad 
Mission no longer exists many "tales told by the Tigris" were 
retold at these eight extraordinary reunions of the Baghdad Jesuits 
and their former students. 

One would have to experience Iraqi and in particular Chaldean 
enthusiasm to believe it is real. The alumni come from all four 
corners of the United States: from Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, 
New York Muslims and Christians come, engineers, doctors and 
grocers come, graduates of the class of 1938 through to the class 
of 1969 come. Finally, about 30 Jesuits come. In 1986 one even 

Y How and why reunions started 269 

arrived in his khaki cassock. 

The weekends are spent in a favorite Baghdad pastime - in 
conversation. Evident was the obvious delight of the alumni at 
seeing their old teachers and visa versa. Sixty-year old anecdotes 
are told and an elderly graduate produced from his wallet a Sacred 
Heart badge given him in 1947 - carried there ever since. The 
highlight of the weekend is a six hour dinner-dance with Iraqi 
music and Baghdad College comedians mimicking the idiosyncrasies 
of their favorite Jesuit teachers. 

The Saturday night dinner/dance party 

Further evidence of the warm affection for and gratitude to the 
"Fatheria" came in a spontaneous outburst in the very first 
meeting when a graduate placed some money on the central table 
and asked others to join him in contributing to the Jesuit 
retirement fund. In a very short time a large sum was pledged. 
Apparently the Jesuits did not look as fit as they looked when they 
were last seen in Baghdad. Since that first meeting every reunion 
has raised in excess of $20,000 for the retired New England 
Jesuits. Most of the money comes from the ads in the yearbook 
paid for not only by alumni but also by American/Iraqi admirers 
of the Jesuit schools but who themselves did not have a chance to 
attend the Jesuit schools. 

The efforts of the 143 Jesuits (and their colleagues) who for 
37 years served Iraqi youth and demonstrated their deep concern 
for them and their families led to a strong and lasting bond of 
mutual respect and affection. In celebrating this fact our alumni 
are expressing their gratitude for what they have learned, 
something more than the periodic chart, the quadratic equation and 
how to play baseball. They learned a set of values and a way to 
implement them in their daily lives. They appreciate the fact that 

270 : ;Q: : Chapter 1 1 The Living Heritage of alumni 

the quality of their lives has been enriched, that compassion for 
others has been deepened, and that they understand the spiritual 
dimension of life. Now they ask of what service they can be to 

The Saturday morning business meeting 

It is true that we do not hold these celebrations in Sulaikh or 
Zafarania, but in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and San Diego far from 
Baghdad. Who would have guessed that 25 years after the 
expulsion the spirit of service would still be so vigorous among 
alumni, which is the precise point of the discussions at the 
celebration! How can we be of service to others? 

As with many other Jesuit alumni they found one another, 
reflected on a common experience and decided to have a reunion 
honoring their former teachers. Jesuits and Iraqis have perhaps 
been somewhat surprised at how useful and practical these 
meetings have been. Unlike many school reunions, which are 
merely exercises in nostalgia we do not just retell (and re-enact) 
student pranks of the past, but quite seriously face the question of 
what can we contribute to our societies both here and in Iraq. 
Jesuits for their part, play an unaccustomed role. Now, they are 
unable to direct things, and disinclined to tell others what to do, 
but their presence at the reunions accentuates their continued 
support of their alumni of whom they are justifiably proud. 

Over 300 alumni plus hundreds of family members and 
friends participate in each of these reunions. Shirts and jackets 
marked with Baghdad College and Al-Hikma emblems - much more 
elaborate than could be afforded during the days in Baghdad - are 

f How and why reunions started 271 

displayed and sold to raise money for Jesuit Missions. To 
underline the joy of these weekend reunions, plans are always 
made for future reunions. Even more significant, however, are 
the remarks made more than once that the spiritual direction of 
the "Fatheria" was still needed for these Iraqis in the "Diaspora" - 
if such a word can be used for Iraqis. One graduate put it this way: 
"We have been very busy in our professions earning money and in 
our affluence here in America, we sometimes wonder why the 
Jesuits ever left America to work with us in Baghdad. The 
sacrifices they made reminds us that there is something much 
more valuable in life than our status and our jobs". In between 
these meetings some of the alumni meet for monthly Days of 
Prayer at Manresa Retreat House in Detroit. It seems that while 
the overwhelming theme of these unique gatherings was gratitude 
to the Fathers, the more important message to them as well as to 
the Jesuits is how intertwined were the lives of the Jesuits with 
the families of their students. 

The alumni support of the Jesuit retirement fund indicates 
their concern that the present appearance of the "Fatheria" falls 
short of their memories of younger more vigorous Jesuits of past 
decades. They also discuss how they can find ways to help their 
children find a system of values which they had learned and a way 
to implement them in their daily lives. The reunions have been 
the occasion for many young Iraqis meeting one another, which in 
some cases have ended in marriages. The alumni appreciate the 
fact that their lives have been enriched, that compassion for 
others has been deepened and that they understand the spiritual 
dimension of life. Now they ask how can they be of service to 
others and how they can help their children find what has enriched 
their lives. 

As one of the alumni put it: "The purpose of the reunions is to 
respect and honor the Jesuits who spent their youth in Iraq, 
educating us, caring for us, and praying for us. Besides a quality 
education, I gained discipline, a deepening of faith in God, charity, 
and hope. Also, that certain ends do not justify the means 
employed in achieving them." (Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64) 

The spirit of gratitude and loyalty that characterizes the 
Reunions is ample proof that our work in Baghdad has been 
truly worth while. Through these Reunions we are able to keep 
in touch with the spectacular success of our graduates in so 
many fields of activity. And this confirms its fact that the 
influence of Baghdad College continues on, even though the 
Jesuit presence has been taken away. The Reunions offer 
concrete evidence of the educational soundness of this 

272 C?- ; Chapter 11 The Living Heritage of alumni 

curriculum of Baghdad College. 

One of my great joys at these Reunions is talking over old 
times with those I had taught 40 and 50 years ago and who now 
proudly present to me their sons and grandsons. It amazes me 
how my students recall things I had said to them back in these 
days which profoundly influenced their lives. (Fr. Sullivan) 

Every year there are thousands of school reunions that are 
held across the U.S. However, this reunion that brings us 
together this weekend is special in more ways than one. It is a 
reunion of former students and friends of two schools that no 
longer exist as we knew them, but that must have left a lasting 
influence on many of us to remember after many years and 
thousands of miles away. 

In a reunion, people get together to reminisce about their 
common school experiences of growing up, to renew old 
acquaintances and to learn about the paths their friends have 
followed in life. All of this we are looking forward to, in this 
our third reunion of alumni, former students and friends of 
Baghdad College and Al-Hikma University. However, to many 
of us, there is another underlying and deeper motivation to be 
part of this reunion. This is to express our gratitude and 
appreciation to a group of dedicated people who gave so much of 
their lives and efforts to a worthy cause, and who have touched 
our lives in many and different ways. These are the Jesuits 
who founded and served at Baghdad College and Al-Hikma 

Dave Nona makes a point 

Where we are and what we are at this stage of our lives, are 
the results of many factors and influences, some of which were 
consciously chosen, and others we had little control over. 

f How and why reunions started 


However, if we reflect deeply on our experiences, it is not 
hard for many of us to conclude that our education and 
association with the Jesuits were some of the more fortunate 
and enhancing experiences of our lives. Whether an 
experience led us to the career we are in, or taught us to be 
competitive and persistent through athletics, or caring and 
compassionate through good example, or helped us to better 
understand ourselves and the reality of the world around us, or 
contributed to shaping our outlook on life, we are grateful for 
the experience. 

The challenge before us now is to synthesize our varied 
experiences in Iraq and the United States into a meaningful and 
optimistic outlook that sees value in the interaction and 
interdependence of seemingly different peoples and cultures. 
We have a unique opportunity, I dare say the responsibility to 
serve, both on the personal level and as a group, as bridges of 
understanding between our original and host cultures. We 
should strive to transcend differences and bring out what is of 
value and life-enhancing in both cultures, to attest to the 
richness and unity of the human experience. (Dave Nona, B.C. 
'64, A.H. '68, Reunion Yearbook III, 1982, p. 8) 

Putting what they learned at Baghdad College to good use 

Baghdad Jesuit Alumni Association: B.J.A.A. 

Humanitarian Efforts 

This [1992, eighth] Reunion coincided with the second 
anniversary of the tragic events which precipitated the Gulf 
War and the continuing tragedy in Iraq. These past two years 
have been difficult and agonizing for many of us, and 
particularly the sense of frustration and helplessness for not 
being able to do much to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi 
people. It is a small consolation, however, to know that many 

274 ;Q: Chapter 1 1 The Living Heritage of alumni 

graduates and former students of the Jesuits have contributed 
to humanitarian relief efforts and work in other ways to 
improve conditions in Iraq. The following article illustrates 
the modest efforts initiated and single-handedly managed by 
Ramzi Hermiz with help from the Jesuits. The presentation 
during this reunion by Dr. Eric Hoskins about humanitarian 
relief efforts to Iraq is meant to emphasize the continuing dire 
need for help, and to remind us, who have been blessed with 
much, to remember the suffering people of Iraq. (Dave Nona, 
B.C. '64, A.H. '68, Reunion Yearbook VIII, 1992, p. 7) 

The Chaldean-Iraqi fund was initiated on February 12, 1991 
by Ramzi Yousif Hermiz and Majid Aziz Shammami to solicit 
donations and assistance for the people of Iraq during and 
following the Gulf War. The Jesuit Mission Bureau and 
Seminary Bureau in Boston, through Brother James McDavitt 
and Fr. William Russell, agreed on that day to become the 
recipient of donations and the disburser of expenses for the 
humanitarian assistance. In addition, Jesuit Missions agreed 
not only to allow the use of our directory mailing list for 
communications, but also to become a co-sponsor of the effort 
to solicit contributions. 

Initially, it was intended to deliver one truck load of 
medicines and medical supplies (worth approximately 
$100,000) with the expectation that the medical supplies 
would have to be purchased. After a few days of investigation 
on an international scope, it became evident that instead of 
"purchasing" the medical supplies, the value of our donations 
could be multiplied by working with other humanitarian 
organizations in collecting donated medical supplies from 
various countries and arranging to deliver the medical 
supplies directly to Iraq. By a timing coincidence, on that 
same week of February 12, 1991, an international 
organization called the "Gulf Peace Team" was organizing an 
effort to collect and deliver to Iraq the first medical supplies 
since the beginning of war on January 16, 1991. 

An agreement was made with the "Gulf Peace Team" to 
deliver to Iraq in the name of, and as donations from the 
Chaldean-Iraqi Fund, 10 truck loads of medical supplies with a 
wholesale market value of about one million dollars. Our first 
truck (out of a four-truck medical supplies convoy) left 
Amman on February 17, 1991 and reached Baghdad on 
February 18, 1991 (that is during the war, when the 
Amman-Baghdad Highway was being bombed continuously day 
and night). After that, our fund was credited for three 
convoys, each with three trucks that arrived in Baghdad on 

f Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni f 


March 6, March 11 and March 25, 1991. 

For each medical supplies truck (containing about 4 tons of 
medical supplies) we have item-by-item detailed formal 
receipts (listing the individual medical items and their 
individual quantities) from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in 
Baghdad acknowledging the medical supplies as donations from 
the Chaldean-Iraqi Fund. Credit for each convoy was shared 
with another humanitarian organization from another country: 
convoys one and two from Germany, convoy three from 
Austria, and convoy four from Canada. 

The Chaldean-Iraqi Fund also donated approximately 
$17,600, which was distributed directly to about 111 Iraqi 
families in 5 refugee camps in Turkey and 4 refugee camps in 
Syria. But probably the most memorable donation by the 
Chaldean-Iraqi Fund was the $14,000 sponsoring the 
publishing expenses of the 300-page Harvard Study Team 
report titled, "Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf 
Crisis." Information and excerpts from the report have been 
the subject of many U.S. and international TV and radio 
programs and news articles. 

All of these achievements were financially taken care of from 
approximately $68,118, donated by about 240 alumni and 
friends. Included were 18 donations of $1,000 each, and seven 
other donations between $1,000 and $5,000. 
(Ramzi Hermiz, B.C. '48, Reunion Yearbook VIII, 1992, p. 7) 

The Gulf Peace Team of the B.J.A.A. One of the ten Medical Convoy 
trucks sponsored by the Chaldean-Iraqi Fund of Alumni & Friends 

Available public records indicate that the four-truck Medical 
Convoy co-sponsored by the "Chaldean-Iraqi Fund", leaving 

276 Chapter 1 1 The Living Heritage of alumni 

Amman, Jordan on 2/17/91 and arriving in Baghdad on 2/18/91 
(that is, during the war, when the Amman-Baghdad Highway was 
being bombed continuously day and night), carried into Iraq the 
very first desperately needed medical supplies since the beginning 
of the war and its destructive bombardments. This was two days 
before the arrival of a two-truck United Nations Medical Convoy. 

To reduce the possibility of potential complications, the word 
"Iraqi" was sometimes "deleted" intentionally from the title of 
"Chaldean-Iraqi Fund" as in the "banner on the truck, and as in the 
"Acknowledgments" page of the book: "Health and Welfare in Iraq 
- after the Gulf Crisis" researched by the "Harvard Study Team". 
However, the "full title" is indicated in the formal communications 
and acknowledgments from the "Iraqi Red Crescent" and from the 
"Harvard Study Team" as is indicated in the following two letters. 

Harvard Study Team 29 June 1992 

Mr. Ramiz Hermiz Chaldean-Iraqi Fund 4N 321 Route 53 

Addison, Illinois, 60101 United States 

Dear Ramiz, 

This letter is to confirm receipt of funds totaling 4,000 United 
States dollars which the Chaldean-Iraqi Fund has kindly donated 
towards additional printing and publication of the Harvard Study 
Team report on Iraq. 

As you recall, the total contribution of the Chaldean-Iraqi Fund to 
the Harvard Study Team is now 14,000 United States dollars. 

The Harvard Study Team would like to express their sincere 
gratitude for the support given to them by members of the 
Chaldean community in America, and by the Chaldean-Iraqi Fund. 
Best regards, 
Dr. Eric Hoskins Co-coordinator of the Harvard Study Team. 

Iraqi Red Crescent Society General Headquarters 
Al-Mansour - Baghdad P.O. Box 6143 
Tel- 5375940 March 17, 1991 

To: The Chaldean-Iraqi Fund of the Chaldean Community in 

Medico-International, Germany Gulf Peace Team 

f Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni f 2 77 

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society acknowledges receipt of the 
medicines described in the enclosed list (five pages). 

These medicines and their transportation to Baghdad were 
donated jointly by The Chaldean-Iraqi Fund' of the Chaldean 
Community in America, and Medico-International, Germany. 

The medical supplies were taken to Baghdad on a humanitarian 
convoy jointly organized by the Jordanian National Red Crescent 
Society, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, and the Gulf Peace Team. 

The humanitarian convoy departed from Amman, Jordan on 17 
February 1991 and reached Baghdad on 18 February. The medical 
supplies were delivered to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society at their 
hospital in El Mansour, Baghdad. 
We thank you for your contribution. 
With best wishes (Seal) 

Dr. Ibrahim A. Al-Nouri 

President [of Iraqi Red Crescent] 

Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni 

As professionals and as contributors to their 
communities and adopted countries 

Graduates of both schools have distinguished themselves in many 
fields. Some of the alumni tell of their work. 

A high percentage of former students of Baghdad College and 
Al-Hikma University have distinguished themselves in the 
professions of business and politics in Iraq as well as in their 
adopted countries, particularly the United States. The 
contribution of the alumni who stayed to serve in Iraq are too 
varied and numerous to include here. Also contact with many 
of them has been infrequent because of the current situation in 
Iraq. The list of alumni includes doctors and engineers who, 
out of a sense of commitment, gave up lucrative opportunities 
outside of Iraq to teach and help at home and who were 
instrumental in the industrialization of the country. 

Many of the former students who had emigrated to the west 
and particularly the United States were well equipped to 
pursue graduate and professional studies. They excelled in 
their studies and later in their careers because of the strong 
academic background and set of values they had acquired 
through their Jesuit education. 

In areas of heavy concentration of Iraqi and Chaldean 
emigrant communities in the U.S. such as Detroit, Michigan; 
Chicago, Illinois; New York and California, it is common to find 

278 :0 Chapter 11 The Living Heritage of alumni 

alumni on the faculties of colleges, on the medical staff of 
hospitals and as successful associates and owners of 
professional firms in engineering, architecture, accounting 
and law. Furthermore, many of the alumni who started in 
business upon completing their studies have built successful 
and thriving enterprises in retailing (primarily in the 
grocery and food areas), in real estate development and in 
financial services. 

A few Al-Hikma geniuses 
The schools can also boast of several scholars and politicians 
such as Fr. Stanley Marrow, S.J. who had authored several 
books in Theology, Fr. Solomon Sara, S.J. who is a linguistic 
scholar at Georgetown University, Dr. Faraj Abdulahad who 
became the Dean of the Business School at Manhattan College 
and Mr. Wadie P. Deddeh who for over 20 years, was a State 
Senator in California from the San Diego area. (Dave Nona, B.C. 
'64, A.H. '68) 

Some B.C. graduates: The hope for the future 

After finishing Baghdad Medical College in 1937 I obtained a 
Ph.D. in Dermatology and later became the Professor of 

T Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni f 279 

Dermatology and Venereology at the Baghdad Medical College in 
Baghdad. In 1970 I brought my family to England and took a 
consultant job, then retired in 1985. The late Albert Sabbagh 
studied Ophthalmology, and Harbi Merroghe Delli worked as a 
G.P. In the year 1938 Armand Bahoshy and the late David 
Mesayeh joined the Medical College and probably few other 
graduates as well. From my class Edward Toma Zoma joined 
the College of Pharmacy and Abboudi Talia went to the Law 
College, and both went to USA where I lost contact with them in 
spite my inquiries in 1990 and 92 when I was in Detroit. 
Tariq Munir Abbas went to Scotland to do medicine and took up 
Midwifery and Gynecology and later on became a consultant and 
the last time I spoke to him on the phone in 1984 was working 
in Scotland. Alumni meetings in Baghdad used to be a common 
yearly event which I always used to attend and every time see 
some new Fathers have joined the College. Many a time we took 
our families to these gatherings as well as during Christmas 
and Easter. One of the outstanding features of Baghdad College 
and later of Al-Hikma graduates was that they were sought 
after by companies looking for recruits. Baghdad College 
graduates became a model for which banks and even 
government institutions used to look for. Even those lads who 
spent only a year or two gained some privilege. (George 
Rahim, B.C. '37) 

My father, God bless him, moved us from Al-Sinak to 
Sulaikh, across the road from Baghdad College, because he 
wanted us to be influenced by the Jesuits. [It is surprising 
how many families moved to Sulaikh for similar reasons; some 
of these are listed by Mouwaffak in the map on page 30.] My 
four brothers and I lived there and got to know the Jesuits 
very well: all five of us went to Baghdad College. Later we sold 
our house moved to the United States in 1969. But while I was 
there, the Jesuits taught me to be humble, down to earth and to 
help those who needed help by sacrificing their lives for 
others without expecting return back on this earth. They are 
true Catholic, excellent Christians, true disciples of Christ. 
Although I can't be like them, I am trying to follow on the same 
footsteps of the Jesuits. 

The curricula at Baghdad College was excellent as I noticed 
when I left for further studies. I found that I did not have to 
study as much as I did at Baghdad College. Today, I am more 
thorough because of Jesuit teachings. Apart from academics I 
learned discipline. The campus was the best in Iraq, with the 

280 Chapter 11 The Living Heritage of alumni 

best facilities as well as the cleanliness of the campus. I am an 
expert because more than once I had to clean up the trash from 
the fields as a punishment. When I was pronounced as the most 
valuable player at the end of the 1960 basketball season I 
realized it was Jesuit training and discipline that did this to 
me, then and today. 

When I was a teenager, I used to go to the church everyday 
around 6:00 A.M. to serve masses and I participated in the 
Christmas midnight services for many years. After all, we 
used to live across from Baghdad College, within thirty feet 
from the school. After earning a Bachelor's degree from 
Baghdad University, school of architecture, and Master's from 
the University of Detroit I became an Architect and opened an 
architectural firm in Detroit in 1975 through 1981. There I 
designed many homes and parish buildings for the Chaldeans in 
Southfield, Michigan. Now I am the architect for the St. 
Peter's Church in San Diego, CA. and am the architectural 
branch manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command 
at Southwest Division in San Diego, CA. I have twenty-three 
architects, engineers and interior designers working in my 
branch. (Mouwaffak {Michael} Sitto, B.C. '59) 

Other alumni projects, programs and adventures are listed 
in Appendix D. 

Alumni retreatants 

The Retreat movement 

In the late 70's and as a direct consequence of the first 
reunion in Chicago, Fr. Joseph MacDonnell, S.J. offered to 
direct a day of recollection for a group of alumni and former 
students in the Detroit area. The first one was held at 
Colombiere Retreat House in Clarkston (outside Detroit). For 
the next five years he came out to conduct annual days of 

f Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni 

prayer at Manresa 

Jesuit Retreat House in 

Bloomfield Hills, 

Michigan. As a result of 

these days of 

recollection, a prayer 

and study group was 

formed that met on 

regular monthly basis 

at Manresa for dinner, 

Bible study, reflection Manresa Jesuit Retreat House 

and Mass. Bloomfield Hills, Mien. 

The group continued to meet for many years because the 
hospitality and involvement of the Manresa Jesuits, as well as 
the grounds and environment at Manresa reminded the group so 
much of Baghdad College and Al-Hikma. Through these 
meetings, members of the group and other alumni renewed the 
practice of making regular retreats at Manresa. The 
relationship between the alumni and the Detroit Jesuits has 
grown and developed to the point where some alumni are 
serving on fund raising committees for programs sponsored by 
the Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus. In fact, the 
Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus can rightfully claim 
some connection to the Baghdad Jesuit Mission. Since Fr. 
Edward Madaras, S.J. who was one of the founders of Baghdad 
College grew up in Defiance, Ohio and was a member of the 
Detroit Province. 

Tahir Bazirgan and son 

282 C| Chapter 11 The Living Heritage of alumni 

Most importantly, however, there has been a deeper 
realization and appreciation on the part of the alumni of the 
universality, wide-ranging and dedicated mission of the 
Jesuits. The Detroit Jesuits, in turn, have come to value and 
appreciate in their midst, the presence and contributions of 
men and women who had been shaped by the dedication of their 
brother Jesuits at a different time and a far away place, near 
the Garden of Eden. (Dave Nona, B.C. '64, A.H. '68) 

Fr. Ryan, Premjit Talwar and Dave Nona 

Almost 30 years ago I passed through Al-Hikma gates and 
glanced at the vast grounds that would be my second home for 
the next four years. I sat in my first terraced classroom, 
taking the entrance exam. At the time, my first preference 
was to study architecture, a subject not offered at Al-Hikma. 
What made me change my mind was not the sound logic and 
persuasion of my parents, but the impersonal treatment, 
depressing atmosphere and lengthy bureaucratic application 
process at Baghdad University. My non-Arabic name was 
carelessly mispronounced eliciting the laughter of those 
present. Contrasting that to the efforts the Jesuits made to 
make sure they spelled and pronounced my name correctly, I 
decided to join Al-Hikma. I knew then that what the Jesuits 
stood for was far more than textbook education. In addition to 
their ready smile and quick hello, they were dedicated and paid 
attention to small personal details. They treated me with the 
same dignity and respect given to the son of a Emir. 

Unlike the Iraqi teachers and administrators, the Jesuits 
were not absorbed with self-importance. Obviously they took 
their work extremely seriously. But they did this with a 
smile on their face and a passion in their heart. They were 
very approachable, always considering my thoughts and 
suggestions as worthy, a treatment that was foreign in my 
prior experience. This is especially remarkable since I 
attended Frank Iny School, a private Jewish school of very 
high standards. Humble as they were, the Jesuits easily 

f Occupations of Baghdad College Alumni f 283 

commanded the respect they deserved. They did this not by 
fear or intimidation as was common from their Iraqi 
counterparts, but by their humanity and humility. They 
possessed solid knowledge and a commitment to excellence long 
before it became the business fad of the late 80s. They 
impressed me with their lack of ego (not too many Iraqis would 
admit in front of a class that they did not know the answer), 
generosity, flexibility, self-discipline, tremendous energy 
and industry, a wonderful sense of humor, openness and the 
ability to give one all the time one needed. They genuinely 

In the ethics class, Fr. Campbell encouraged debate and 
questioning. He suggested that I explore similarities and 
differences between the Judeo-Christian religion and 
Buddhism, a subject beyond the scope of the classwork. Fr. 
Kelly approached me to help identify needy Jewish families 
who could benefit from free food, a lesson in social 
responsibility. Fr. William Larkin encouraged me to 
participate in a summer science project which was later 
presented to visiting dignitaries, an extra curriculum 
activity. Fr. McDonough supported my efforts to perform 
music during the festive parties. And Fr. Mulvehill was ready 
to display my new paintings. To the Jesuits, education went 
far beyond the learning of a book. It focused on the shaping of a 

This preparation perhaps explains the relative ease with 
which I faced studying at MIT. Don't misunderstand me. I 
worked very hard and put in long hours. But I also played hard 
and enjoyed the "free" times. I did not allow problems to 
overwhelm me nor did I succumb to the temptation of an easy 
way out. I graduated with two masters (the only one to do so in 
that year), a tribute to the discipline and training instilled in 
me by these outstanding men of the robe. Today, I can't help 
but live by their example. 

I was so taken by their selfless dedication, that many times I 
seriously considered joining their order. However, their 
mission was not one of proselytizing, and they discouraged me 
even from attending Mass. Ironically, even though I have not 
changed my faith, I now often attend Mass with my Christian 
friends. (Premjit Talwar, AH '68) 

284 C| Chapter 1 1 The Living Heritage of alumni 


The Christians cherished the work of the Jesuits from the 
start and the earlier suspicions of Muslims dissolved once they 
realized that the Jesuits were not covertly trying to convert their 
sons but were offering them an excellent education. In fact 
Muslims are listed among the Jesuits' strongest supporters. They 
saw them as religious men whose only purpose was to take 
seriously Jesus' admonition to serve others. That service came in 
the form of education. Muslims and Christians alike came to 
realize that the Jesuits introduced to the Baghdad community 
unanticipated intellectual, spiritual and social benefits. 

The most interesting part of the Baghdad College and Al-Hikma 
story does not concern buildings, curricula or huge campuses but 
concerns rather the people that built and used these creations. It 
still is the students, their families, the Jesuits and their 
colleagues that make us remember that "fleeting wisp of glory" 
with such emotion. This story of the Baghdad Jesuit adventure 
focuses on the interaction between young American Jesuits and 
youthful Iraqi citizens and their families. It started in 1932 and 
then grew into a strong bond of affection and respect. 

Much more than other Jesuits in their American schools the 
"Baghdadi" Jesuits entered the family lives of their students 
frequently and intimately through home visits to celebrate Muslim 
and Christian feast days as well as a myriad of social events, both 
happy and sad. There was much more than ordinary student- 
teacher bonding. On campus the Jesuits participated in games, 
debates, drama, contests, athletic events almost as much as the 
students. Jesuits became enthusiastic about their Iraqi charges 
when they noticed early on that there was a great affinity between 
these Iraqi students and themselves. Jesuits found the Iraqi 
students warm, hospitable, humorous, imaginative, receptive, 
hard-working and appreciative of educational opportunities. This 
story presents evidence that the Iraqis found the Jesuits happy, 
fun-loving and dedicated. 

As the years went on Iraqis increasingly liked them and were 
proud of the two schools as part of the Iraqi scene. Each of the 
many government crises were opportunities for successive 
governments to force the Jesuits to leave. The fact that they were 
always allowed to continue is testimony to how widely Jesuits had 
been accepted. The exception was the Baathi coup in 1968. In 
spite of the Jesuits' strenuous efforts to remain in Iraq, they 
joined the long line of Jesuits in various lands at various times 
who were expelled from their adopted country. 

Appendix A References and Sources 285 

Appendix A References and Sources 

Anawati, George, O.P. "The Roman Catholic Church and the 

Churches in Communion with Rome," in A.J. Arberry, Religion 

in the Middle East. New York: Cambridge Press, 1969. 
Baram, Amatzia Culture, History and Ideology in the Formation of 

Ba'thist Iraq, 1968 -89. New York: St Martin's Press, 1991. 
Baghdad by Ministry of lnformation:Dar Al-Jamhuriya, Baghdad 
Baghdad Jesuit Alumni Association Yearbook. Detroit, Nu-Ad 
Bangert, William V., S.J. A History of the Society of Jesus. 

St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1986. 
Bashara, Charles G. Faith, Education, and Nationalism in Interwar 

Iraq: The Mission of the American Jesuits, 1931-1941. 

Princeton: M. A. dissertation presented at Princeton 

University in 1985. 
Bowering, Gerhard, S.J. "Jesuits and the Islamic World at the 

Beginning of a New Millennium." Discovery^ 993), pp. 1-1 7. 
Burke, James L, S.J. Jesuit Province of New England: The 

Expanding Years, Boston: The Society of Jesus of New England, 

Directorate General of Statistics, Report on Education in Iraq. 

Baghdad: Government Press, 1962. 
Etteldorf, Ray Catholic Church in the Middle East. New York: 

MacMillan, p. 959. 
Gallagher, Louis, S.J. Edmund A. Walsh, S. J., A Biography. 

New York: Benziger Brothers, 1959. 
Iraq Ministry of Education. Development of education during the 

third year of the revolution 1960-1961. Baghdad: 

Government Press, 1961. 
Joseph, John, The Nestorians and their Muslim Neighbors 

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961. 
Joseph, John, Muslim-Christian Relations and Inter-Christian 

Rivalries in the Middle East: The Case of the Jacobites in an 

Age of Transition. Albany: S.U.N.Y. Press, 1983. 
Jesuit Mission Office, Jesuit Mission Magazine 
Khadduri, M., Independent Iraq 1932-1938. London: Oxford 

University Press, 1960. 
Kramer, Samuel Noah, History Begins at Sumer. New York: 

Doubleday, 1959. 
Latin History of Baghdad College: 1932-1939. Anonymous 
Landau, R. The Arab Heritage of western civilization. 

(Information Paper No. 29) New York: Arab Information 

Center, 1962. 

286 T Appendix T T 

Madaras, Edward, S.J. Al Baghdadi, Tales Told by the Tigris. 

New York: Jesuit Mission Press, 1936. 
Madaras, Edward, S.J. History of the Baghdad Mission 

Madaras, Edward, S.J. Al Baghdadi Newsletter 

Marr, Phebe. The Modern History of Iraq. London: Westview 

Press, 1985. 
McCarthy, Richard, S.J. Address to the N.E. Province assembly 

5/15/68 in Boston 
McCarthy, Richard, S.J. Al-Hikma University, Boston: Jesuit 

Foreign Missions, 1969. 
New England Province News Magazine, Boston 
S. J. News Magazine, Washington 
Rice, William, S.J. History (unpublished) 
Rice, William, S.J. Diary of William Rice (unpublished) 
Simon, Reeva S. Iraq Between the Two World Wars. New York: 

Columbia University Press, 1986 
UNESCO. International Commission of Mathematical Instruction, 

New trends in mathematics teaching. Paris: UNESCO, 1966. 

Communications and Letters quoted 

Baghdad Superiors' Letters to the N.E. Provincial 

Diaries of the Jesuit superiors 

Letters from Provincial J. M. Kilroy, S.J. to W. Ledochowski, S.J. 

Province Letters (New England Province Archives) 

House Diary of Baghdad College 

Private Notes of Edward F. Madaras, S.J. 

Telegrams from Francis Sarjeant, S.J. to James H. Dolan, S.J. 

Letter to the Society of Jesus from W. Ledochowski, S.J. Superior 

General of the Society of Jesus, 8/15/37 
Province Letters (New England Province Archives) 
Other personal communications already mentioned 
Yusuf Emmanual II {Chaldean Patriarch} 
Burke, James L., S.J. McEleney John J., S.J. 

Coffey, J. Edward, S.J. Merrick, Joseph P., S.J. 

Dolan, James H., S. J. Murphy, George M., S.J. 

Gookin, Vincent A., S.J. Phillips, Thomas, C, S.J. 

Kilroy, James M., S.J. Sarjeant, Francis B., S.J. 

Madaras, Edward, S.J. Rice, William, S.J. 

McCarthy, Richard, S.J. Walsh, Edmund A., S.J. 

Appendix B 



Appendix B Chronology 

Brief 40 year chronology of B.C. in a world 
Baghdad College 


Request of Iraq's Christians 1929 

Fr. Ledohovsky's letter 1930 

Visit of Edmund A. Walsh 1931 

Jesuit Arrival: Start of B.C. 1932 

Purchase of 25 acres 1933 

B.C. moved to Sulaikh 1 934 

New Iraq conscription laws 193$ 

Construction starts buildings 1936 

First (5 year) B.C. graduation 1937 

Classes start in new building 1938 

Completion of Residence 1939 
First Al Iraqi published as book 1940 

1500 foot circumferential wall 1941 

Boarding house partitioned 1942 

Number boarders peaks at 68 1943 

Enrollment quadruples '38-44 1944 

Fr. Madaras becomes Rector 1945 

Death of founder Fr. W. Rice 1946 

el Iraqi printed in Lebanon 1947 

First Intermediate bb team 1948 

School in Teheran is planned 1 949 

el Iraqi becomes al Iraqi 1950 

B.C. at Pan Arab Olympics 1951 

Rains and flooding at B.C. 1 952 

Sacred Heart Chapel built 1953 

Planning begins for Al-Hikma 1954 

Iraq gives land for A.H. 1955 

Start of classes at Al-Hikma 1956 

Visit of King Faisal II 1957 

B.C. wins the city bb cup 1958 

Al-Hikma to Zafar.: Xn Center 1959 

First Graduation at Al-Hikma 1960 

First year of the Lay Volunt. 1961 

A.H. becomes co-ed: Lib. Arts 1962 

Start of Minor Sem. at B.C. 1963 

Last year of boarding division 1964 

Parents' days at B.C. start 1965 

Plans for Oriental Institute 1966 

Lay Volunteers' program 1967 

Dismissal of Jesuits from A.H. 1968 

Dismissal of Jesuits from B.C. 1969 

World events 

Stock market crash 
Discovery of the planet Pluto 
Iraqi Petroleum Company 
Atom is split by scientists 
King Faisal I dies: Ghazi King 
John Dillinger slain by FBI 
Italy invades Ethiopia 
Oil discovered in Saudi Arabia 
German zeppelin Hindenburg 
First fission of uranium 
King Ghazi dies in an accident 
Germans take Paris 
Pearl Harbor: Rachid Ali 
Battle of Midway 
Successful use of penicillin 
D-Day: Attempt on Hitler's life 
First atomic bomb: WW II ends 
First session of U.N. 
Transistor is invented. 
Israel is created in Palestine. 
Germany partitioned: NATO 
Start of Korean war 
First UNIVAC computer 
Egyptian revolution: Nasser 
Death of Stalin 
Battle of Dienbienphu. 
Warsaw pact 
Suez Crisis 

Common market: Sputnik 
Iraq becomes republic. 
Hawaii admitted into the U.S. 
OPEC is founded 
Kuwait gains independence 
Revolt of the Kurds in Iraq 
Death of Pope John XXIII 
P.LO. initiated 

U.S. begins bombing N. Vietnam. 
Arif becomes president of Iraq 
Third Arab-Israeli War 
Baathi come to power in Iraq 
Apollo 10 lands on the moon 





Appendix C Lists of names 

1 The143 Jesuits who served in Baghdad 

Anderson. Francis 



Armitage, Clement 



Banks, Edward J. 


Banks, John P. 


Belcher, Francis H. 


Bennett, Joseph T. 


Bergen, Franklyn J. 


Bonian, Stephen J. 


Burby, Clarence J. 


Burns, Eugene P. 



Campbell, Robert B. 


Cardoni, Albert J. 


Carroll, Paul R. 


Carry, John A. 


Casey, William J. 



Cheney, Edmund K. 


Coffey, Edward J. 



Como, Denis R. 


Connell, Joseph F. 



Connolly, Michael J. 


Cornellier, John G. 


Cote, Robert J. 


Cronin, Francis X. 



Crowley, Charles G. 


Crowley, Charles 



Curran, Francis X. 


Decker, Neil F. 


Delaney, Ralph B. 


DeNapoli, George A. 



Devenny, John J. A. 


Diskin, John J. 


Doherty, Robert G. 


Donohue, John J. 


DuBrul, Peter D. 


Dunn, Charles J. 


Egan, William T. 


Fallon, Joseph F. 


Farrell, Robert D. 


Fennell, Joseph G. 


Ferrick, Robert T. 


Flaucher, Joseph J. 


Flynn, Richard J. 


Foley, Lawrence J. 


Foley, Ernest B. 



Foster, Raymond F. 



Galvani, John J. 


Gerry, Stanislaus 



Gibbons, Thomas J. 


Gloster, George F. 


Gookln, Vincent A. 



Greene, Merrill F. 



Guay, Leo J. t 


Hallen, Edward F. 



Hamel, J. Thomas 


Harman, Paul F. 


Healey, Charles J. 


Hicks, Alfred J. 


Holland, D. Kerry 


Hoyt, George F. 


Hussey, Thomas F. 


Ibach, William D. 


Jolson, Alfred J. 



Kelly, Edmund F. 


Kelly, Frederick 



Kelly, Thomas J. 



Keough, Arthur J. 


Kinsella, Gerald A. 


LaBran, Joseph J. 


Larkin, James F. 



Larkin, William J. 


Loeffler, Charles 



Lynch, Thomas J. 



MacDonnell, Joseph 


MacNeil, Sidney M. 



Macomber, William 


MacWade, Joseph A. 


McCarthy, James H. 

(58-61 )(67)(69) 

McCarthy, John J. 


McCarthy, John Joseph 



McCarthy, Michael 



McCarthy, Richard 



McDermott, Martin J. 


McDermott, Thomas 


McDonald, Douglas A. 


McDonough, Leo J. 



McGrath, John J. 


McGuiness, Francis 



McHugh, Donald F. 


McLeod, Frederick G. 


Madaras, Edward F. 



Mahan, Charles W. 



Maboney, John L. 


Manning, Thomas C. 



Marrow, Stanley, B. 


Martin, Joseph L. 



Merrick, Joseph P. 



Mevding, Gregory F. 


Mif'sud, John(Miff) 



Morgan, James F. 


Morrissey, John D. 


Mulcahy, James F. 


Mulvehill, Thomas 



Nash, Paul A. 


Neidermeir, Jerome 


Nugent, Patrick J. 


Nwyia, Paul 


O'Brien, Robert F. 


O'Connor, Joseph E. 


CHalloran, James J. 


O'Kane, Joseph F. 



0"Neil. Francis J. 


Owens, John V. 



Paquet, Joseph A. 


Parnoff, Italo A. 


Pelletier, Walter R. 


Powers. Harold R. 


Powers, James F. 


Quinn, Joseph D. 



Raphael, Yusuf H. 


Regan, Robert F. 


Rice, William A. 



Rust, Charles H. 



Ryan, Joseph L. 


Sara, Solomon, I. 


Sarjeant, Francis 



Scopp, Andrew J. 


Servas, John 



Shea, James P. 


Shea, Leo J. 



Shea, Walter M. 


Sheehan, William 



Skelskey. David A. 


Smith, Simon E. 


SpiUane, James A. 


Stanley, Richard J. 


SuDUvan, Robert J. 


Taft, Robert F. 


Teeling, John P. 


Travers, David O. 


Walsh, James P. 


Wand, Augustine 



Williams, John J. 



Young, Walter J. 


t signifies dece 


Appendix C Lists of Names 289 

2 Names of correspondents Jesuits & alumni 

Jesuit Names years in Baghdad 

Edward Banks 52-68 

Frank Belcher 55-58, 64-69 

Vincent Burns {52-54} 

Robert Campbell 50-54, 61-69 

John Carty 53-56, 61-69 

Charles Crowley 53-55, 58-69 

Neil Decker 52-55, 60-68 

Ralph Delaney 45-48 

John Donohue 53-56, 66-69 

Joseph Fennell 39-43, 50-69 

Lawrence Foley 54-58, 66-68 

Alfred Hicks 60-63,68-69 

Thomas Hussey 37. .59, 66-69 

Alfred Jolson 52-55, 63-64 

Joseph LaBran 49-58 

Jos. MacDonnell 55-58, 64-69 

John Mahoney 45-48, 53-69 

Stanley Marrow 55-57, 66-68 

Jim Morgan 48-51, 56-69 

Paul Nash 46-49, 54-69 

Joseph O'Connor 53-56, 61-69 

Walter Pelletier 54-57, 63-69 

Joseph Ryan 45-47, 54-69 

Solomon Sara 57-60 

Simon Smith 55-58 

James Spillane 68-69 

Robert Sullivan 43-51, 52-69 

Robert Taft 56-59 

Walter Young 59-62,67-69 

Lay Volunteers 

Robert Finlay 68-69 

Joseph Flibbert 61-62 

John E. Jordan 63-65 

Ed Reynolds 63-64 

John Rossetti 6 6-67 

Mike Toner 63-65 

B.C. Alumni years 

Peter D. Atchoo 42-47 

A-Majid alDahhan 54-59 

Zuhair al-Dhafir 52-57 

Hamid Attisha 58-63 

Tahir Bazirgan 56-59 

Hikmat Emmanuel 39-44 

Yuil Eprim 52-57 

George Faradi 32-37 

Adolf Forage 43-4 8 

Sarkis Garibian 47-52 

Shawqi G. Gazala 59-64 

Jack J George 63-67 

RaadHabib 62-6 8 

Ramzi Y. Hermiz 42-48 

Waiel Hindo 54-60 

Fakhri Jazrawi 56-57 

Elwin Kennedy 39-42 

Stanley Marrow 42-47 

Dave Nona 59-64 

Farid Oufi 43-48 

George F. Rahim 32-37 

Kamal E Rayes 64-66 

Saib Shunia 47-52 

Michael Sitto 55-59 

Allen L. Svoboda 53-58 

Carlo Tonietti 45-50 

Raymond Vincent 48-53 

K. Youkhanna 64-66 

Luay Zebouni 62-67 

Edward T. Zoma 32-37 

Al-H. Alumni years 

Hamid Attisha 63-67 

Tahir Bazirgan 61 -67 

Edward Butros 64-68 

Yuil Eprim 57-61 

Jack J George 6 8-6 9 

Waiel A. Hindo 60-6 4 

Fakhri Jazrawi 61-62 

Dave Nona 64-68 

Sr. Jos. Pelletier 62-66 

Premjit Talwar 64-68 

290 *f Appendix f f* 

3. Al-Hikma faculty & staff for the year1967-68 

Rev. Richard J. McCarthy 
Rev. John P. Banks 
Rev. Eugene P. Burns 
Rev. Robert B. Campbell 
Rev. Albert A. Cardoni 
Rev. Joseph P. Connell 
Rev. Robert J. Cote 
Rev. Charles G. Crowley 
Bro. Raymond F. Foster 
Rev. Leo J. Guay 
Rev. Frederck W. Kelly 
Rev. James P. Larkin 
Rev. William J. Larkin 
Rev. Joseph A. MacWade 
Rev. Stanley B. Marrow 
Rev. Joseph L. Martin 
Rev. Michael J. McCarthy 
Rev. Joseph F. MacDonnell 
Rev. Leo J. McDonough 
Rev. Thomas B. Mulvehill 
Rev. Paul A. Nash 
Rev. Joseph P. O'Kane 
Rev. Joseph L. Ryan 
Rev. Thomas Gibbons 
Rev. Douglas A. McDonald 
Rev William Macomber 
Rev. Joseph E. O'Connor 

Mr. Wilson Ishaac 
Mr. Noel Azzawi 
Mr. Andrews A. Joseph 
Mr. Sanharib Shabbas 
Dr. Faraj Abdulahad 
Mr. Mumtaz Aziz Dinno 
Miss Najat Raphael 
Mr. Noel Emmanuel 
Mr. Saadi Dabuni 
Mr. Muwaffaq Simaani 
Mr. A-Fattah Chalmiran 
Miss Bushra Zabloq 
Miss Peruz Nishania 

Miss Dikranuhi Simonian 
Mr. Nabil Francis 
Mr. Tariq Kakos 
Mr. Wayil Hindu 
Mr Jochen Langer 
Mr. Philipp Muller 
Sister Aurelia, O.P. 
Sister Columba, I.H.M. 
Sister M. Louise, S.L. 
Sister Shelia, I.H.M. 
Miss Jeanne Brennan 
Mr. John Dodig 
Mr. Edward Giegengack 
Mr. Dirk-Jan J. van Lottum 
Miss Mary Rose Sidari 
Mr. A-Fattah Amin (Accounting) 
Mr. A-Razzak A-Wahab (Law) 
Mr. A-Wahid Makhzumi (Stat.) 
Mr. Adnan al-Ghraibawi (Stat.) 
Mr. Dhia Azzu (Business) 
Mr. Garabet Zulumian (Chem.) 
Dr. Hatif Jalil (Chemistry) 
Dr. Inad al-Ghazwan (Arabic) 
Mr. Jibrail Rumaya (Soils) 
Mr. Mahdi Omran Issa (survey.) 
Mr. Mufid Mirza (Accounting) 
Mr. Madhat Fadhil (Irrigation) 
Dr. Moneim A-Wahab (Eco.) 
Dr. Muhammad Mahdi (Eco.) 
Mr. Muwaffaq Ridha (Elective) 
Miss Olga Ghantus (English) 
Dr. Oraybi al-Zawbayi (Math.) 
Mr. Peter Markho (Mechanics) 
Mr. Qais Fattah (Hydraulics) 
Dr. Rufail Rumaya (Concrete) 
Mr. Saleh Hadbai (Accounting) 
Mr. Sami Andrea (Drawing) 
Mr. Samuel Rumaya (Constr.) 
Mr. Talib Mahmud Ali (Math.) 
Miss Vera Johnston (Marketing) 
Dr. Younathan Youash (Geology) 
Mr. Yuhanna Aboona (Manag.) 

Appendix C Lists of Names 291 

4. B.C. faculty & staff for the year 1967-68 

Fr. John A. Carty 


'. Steve Kramer 

Fr. Joseph D. Quinn 


-. Edward McNamara 

Fr. Edward J. Banks 


'. Edmund Scanlon 

Fr. Francis Belcher 


'. Frank Sikora 

Fr. Joseph T. Bennett 


'. David Traverso 

Fr. Neil F. Decker 


'. Adil Shammani 

Fr. Joseph G. Fennell 


". Ahmad Shahad 

Fr. Joseph J. Flaucher 


'. A-Razzaq al-Ubaidi 

Fr. Laurence J. Foley 


'. Abdulahad George 

Fr. Stanislaus T. Gerry 


'. Bashir Saffo 

Fr. Kerry D. Holland 


'. Elia Yacub 

Fr. Thomas F. Hussey 


-. Fadhil Dakkak 

Fr. Edmund F. Kelly 


'. Gabrial Shamsi 

Fr. Thomas J. Kelly 


'. George Abbosh 

Fr. Charles M. Loeffler 


'. Hamid Al-Ani 

Fr. Joseph F. MacDonnell 


'. Jamil Salim 

Fr. Sidney M. MacNeil 


'. Leonard Sayad 

Fr. Charles W. Mahan 


'. Manuel Abdulahad 

Fr. John J. Mahoney 


'. Mansur Gorial 

Fr. John J. McCarthy 


-. Metti Ibrahim 

Fr. Joseph P. Merrick 


'. Muhammad Ali Al-Bir 

Fr. James F. Morgan 


*. Muhammad Ali Hatif 

Fr. James F. Mulcahy 


■. Muhammad Al-Saadi 

Fr. Joseph A. Paquet 


\ Muhammad Hammadi 

Br. Italo A. Parnoff 


". Nairn Kitto 

Fr. Walter R. Pelletier 


'. Nasir Taqtaq 

Fr. Harold R. Powers 


'. Rammo Fattuhi 

Fr. Robert F. Regan 


•. Sabir Al-Atraqchi 

Fr. Andrew J. Scopp 


-. Sabri Mansur 

Fr. Leo J. Shea 


'. Sami Butti 

Fr. Robert J. Sullivan 


'. Shihab al-Hamdani 

Fr. Walter J. Young 


\ Tawfiq Askar 

Mr. Michael Albin 


\ Wilson Narsi 

Mr. John Bruch 


. Yacub Esco 

Mr. James Callahan 


•. Yahya Nazhat 

Mr. Edward Cooney 


. Yusuf Haddad 

Mr. Carmen Fuccillo 

292 f f Appendix f f 

Appendix D Notes to complement text: 

listed according to page 

See page"! 8 

Permit of the Iraq Minister of Education to open Baghdad College 

DOC # 4 Baghdad, Iraq 6/30/32 

No. 3947 Date 30th June, 1932 

To: Rev. William Rice, S.J., 11/45 Muraba Street, Baghdad 

Dear Sir, 

In reply to your letter dated June 23rd, I have the pleasure to 

intimate you hereby our formal agreement to your opening a 

new School under the name of "Baghdad College" subject to the 

Educational Laws and Regulations in force of this Government. 

Wishing you every success in your enterprise and we trust 

that this College will do much to contribute for the promotion 

of education in this country. 

Best wishes. 

Yours faithfully, 

Minister of Education. 
See page 19 
The Iraq-American Educational Association: I.A.E.A. 

Know all men by these presents: that we, the undersigned, 
James M. Kilroy, James H. Dolan, W. Coleman Nevils, Edmund 
A. Walsh and Joseph A. Farrell, being persons of full age, all 
citizens of the United States of America and a majority citizens 
of the District of Columbia, do by these presents, under the 
provisions of sub-chapter 3 of Chapter 18 of the Code of laws 
for the District of Columbia, hereby organize ourselves into a 
body corporate for educational, benevolent, religious and 
literary purposes, and do certify as follows: 

1. That the name of the Corporation is the Iraq-American 
Educational Association. 

2. That the term for which it is organized is perpetual. 

3. That the particular business and object of this Association 
are to sponsor and aid colleges and other institutions in the 
Kingdom of Iraq directly and through affiliation with similar 
foundations in the United States, and thus promote and advance 
their educational, spiritual and academic efficiency. 

4. The number of Directors for the management of its 
business shall not be more than eight and for the first year of 
the existence of this Corporation and until their successors are 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 293 

appointed, are: 

The Presidents of the following Associated Colleges and 
Universities in the United States: 

W. Coleman Nevils, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 

Louis J. Gallagher, Boston College, Massachusetts. 

John M. Fox, Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Robert M. Kelley, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois. 

Robert S. Johnston, Saint Louis University, Missouri. 

Edward J. Whelan, University of Detroit, Michigan. 

John W. Hynes, Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana. 

See page 21 

A 1956 description of 19 sections of Baghdad 

Introduction: This description of the city of Baghdad is in 
the form of a survey, which sweeps down the east bank of the 
city and up the west bank. The purpose of the survey is to 
describe the various sections of the city. 

1. Sulaikh . home of Baghdad College is the northernmost 
section of the city on the east bank of the river, and is partly 
inside and partly outside of the sadda (or dike). The village of 
Sulaikh, situated on the river, is a large cluster of mud huts 
inhabited by the very poor. The rest of Sulaikh is mostly 
residential, and inhabited by middle class people. "Camp 
Sulaikh" inside the dike is populated by poor Christians. 

2. Adamiya lies south of Sulaikh: a section older than 
Sulaikh, more densely populated, and containing many shops. 

3. Waziriya is a little south and east; an almost exclusively 
residential area containing fine homes of many wealthy 
Muslims as well as the consulates of many countries. 

4. North Gate is the ancient northern entrance into the old 
city and was demolished in the 20's. North Gate is the center 
of bus traffic of the northern part of the city. In this area are 
located the Royal Hospital, the Government Colleges, the 
Foreign Office and the jail. Nearby is the Royal Palace. 

5. The Old City lies between North and South Gates through 
which now run three important streets: Rashid St., Ghazi St., 
and Sheikh Omar St. Two bridges cross the river from this 
section, Faisal Bridge, the principal one, and Mamoun Bridge. 

Rashid Street is Main Street. Between it and the river are 
situated the covered bazzars, Bank Street, the Ministry of 
Defense, Parliament, the Central Post Office, and many hotels. 


T f 


T f 


>i ". 




: '^ 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 295 

Between Rashid and Ghazi Streets is a maze of narrow alleys 
that is thickly settled. In one place, the Christian Quarter, are 
located the largest of the Catholic Churches, the Latin, 
Chaldean, Armenian and Syrian Cathedrals. Since the well-to- 
do Christians have left this area for the residential sections, 
especially Karradah, it is inhabited by mostly poor Christians 
and Muslims. Sheikh Omar Street is one long stretch of repair 
shops. The whole area is terribly crowded, noisy, disordered 
with giant the traffic problems. 

6. South Gate marks the end of the old city on the eastern 
bank of the river, where are located many stores, offices, and 
cinemas. From here buses go in all directions. At present 
South Gate area is undergoing a great transformation due to the 
construction of a new bridge across the Tigris, which will 
make this district even more important. 

7. Betaween lies below South Gate, where 30 years ago there 
were only date groves. The city has been growing steadily in 
an enormous development of residential areas. Betaween, 
which is closest to South Gate and is now densely inhabited. 

8. Saadun is east and south of Betaween. Excellent wide 
avenues lead from South Gate to Karradah. While Saadun has 
some schools, government buildings and hospitals, it is mainly 
residential. In the northern end of Saadun, close to the dike, is 
located the Jesuit house of Arabic Studies, St. Joseph's. 

9. Karradah Sharquia lies about two miles from South Gate 
and hosted the American Embassy, which was built in what is 
now a vast residential section of both the very rich and the 
middle class. A large number of the Americans live here. The 
whole area is well planned and beautiful. 

Karradah is in a sense a Christian residential section. 
Christians are not the only ones who live here, but more 
Christians live here than in any other part of the city. In 
Karradah are the following Catholic churches: Greek, Syrian, 
Armenian, Chaldean and Latin churches which are all small and 
may seat roughly about 100 people. 

10. New Baghdad lies southeast of South Gate. This is a 
private real estate venture on a rather large scale. It has been 
said that New Baghdad so far has not been as successful as was 
originally hoped. One difficulty is that it lies outside the dike, 
so that the flood waters of the Tigris cause great damage. 

11. Rashid Camp is a large site occupied by the Iraqi Army 
and lies southeast of Karradah. South is Rustamiya. 

12. Zafaraniva , home chosen for Al-Hikma is an expanse 
of farm land south of the military camp on the road to Basra. 

296 f f Appendix f f 

13. Daura is the new Government Oil Refinery which is 
situated opposite Karradah. There is a main artery coming 
down from the city, river frontage, and large plots of land. 

14. Mansur City lies north of the Basrah Railroad and along 
the Tigris. This block of land, with a race track in the center 
and homes around it, is a successful private real estate 
venture, that has already attracted many other private 
homeowners to the district. The road to the west (to Jordan 
etc.) passes by Mansur and goes through Abu Graib, where the 
Government Agricultural School and Experimental Station are 
located, about 25 minute rides from Faisal Bridge. 

15. Karradat Mariam is a residential section where now the 
new Palace and the new Parliament buildings are being 
erected. The French and Iranian Embassies are situated here. 

16. Baghdad West covers that area on the west bank bounded 
by Karradat Mariam, Karkh, and Mansur City. Here are the 
Mosul and Basra stations. 

17. Karkh lies north and close to Faisal Bridge; it is a 
crowded and disordered district of houses and shops. 

18. Shal chiva . once occupied by the English Army camp, is 
an open, dusty section, hitherto not much developed. Besides 
the tremendous customs sheds, pleasant homes have been built 
along the river; there are now two huge modern textile 
factories, date packing and brick factories. 

19. Kadhimain is an ancient crowded district, famous for its 
magnificent mosque and teeming with shops and stores. 
According to the 1947 census, the population here then was 
113,650. It boasted of a pontoon bridge. 

See page 25 

The Massacre in Fiesh Khaboor (Pesh Kapur) written on the 
occasion of a demonstration to celebrate the victory of the 
Government troops over the Assyrians. 

Doubtless, since the matter was aired at Geneva, the facts are 
sufficiently well known to the outside world to make 
unnecessary any lengthy exposition of events on our part . . . 
and we wish to remind you, too, that the Al Baghdadi is not a 
political journal and has no desire to give any offense to the 
parties concerned in the dispute by the recital of atrocities, 
real or alleged. Our attitude is rather that of the historian, and 
where the knowledge of the facts is doubtful, we shall not 
hesitate to confess our ignorance. 

Historians of old were wont to begin their works with the 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 297 

creation of the world. We shall be content to go back only a few 
thousand years. At that time the inhabitants of Mesopotamia 
(or Iraq) were known as Assyrians in the north and Chaldeans 
in the south. For our present purpose we are not interested in 
their predecessors, nor have our studies in ethnology been 
sufficiently deep or accurate to say how far these two peoples 
were related. Suffice it to say that with the lapse of centuries 
and at the present time the name Chaldeans has come to be 
reserved for those of the above-named peoples who are 
Catholics, with a special rite of their own. The name Assyrians 
is applied to the followers of Nestorius (a Syrian bishop of the 
fifth century who held that there were two persons in Christ, 
the Divine and the human). The Chaldeans, therefore, are 
Catholics, and the Assyrians are Nestorians. The nomenclature 
is consequently more religious than ethnological. 

Before the war, the Assyrians lived for the most part on the 
northern side of the mountains which now form the boundary 
between Turkey and Iraq. 

When peace and quiet had once more settled on the country 
after the imbroglio of the great war, and the ensuing 
disturbances that arose in the endeavor to settle peoples and 
divide boundaries according to everyone's satisfaction had 
quieted down, there came the question of a permanent 
settlement for the refugee Assyrians. It was not surprising 
that Turkey should refuse to admit them back into her 
territory, and pourparlers were begun with a view to finding 
them land for a permanent settlement in northern Iraq. 

The head of the Assyrian nation, if it may now be said to 
have a head at all, is the Patriarch Mar Shimoon, a young man 
of about 26. He held out for an enclave of Iraqi territory 
which would enable his people to settle as a unit and allow 
himself to exercise to some extent the jurisdiction, both 
spiritual and, to an extent which we do not care to define, 
temporal. The Iraq Government did not feel that it could grant 
the claims of the Patriarch, and something of an impasse 
followed. Initially the Government obtained the services of one 
whose experience qualified him to deal with such matters, 
Major Thompson by name, and asked him to try to arrange a 
settlement. He came to Iraq for that purpose in the first part 
of the present year. 

Negotiations had been proceeding for some time, when Mar 
Shimoon was summoned from Mosul to Baghdad and made to 
understand that his presence in the north was considered to 
have an obstructive influence by reason of his attitude towards 
the negotiations, and he was requested to remain in Baghdad for 

298 f f Appendix f f 

the nonce. He took up his residence at the local Y.M.C.A. 

Not long after this, several hundred Assyrians (most of 
whom possessed rifles which they had brought from their 
service with the British by previous agreement) crossed the 
Tigris and entered Syria under the leadership of one Yaku. 
What their purpose was in this it is difficult to say, for they 
were soon wanting to return. The Iraq Government informed 
them that they could do so only on condition that they 
surrendered their rifles. The Assyrians objected that they 
would thereafter be an easy prey to the Kurds, their 
traditional enemies. At all events, the Assyrians did re-cross 
the Tigris into Iraqi territory in the early part of August, near 
the little town of Pesh Kabur. They were met by Iraqi troops. A 
shot was fired, and that was the beginning of hostilities. How 
many were lost on both sides then and afterwards, whether of 
combatants or non-combatants, we personally do not know. 
Suffice it to say that any hostile intentions which the 
Assyrians may have entertained, were quickly and decisively 
frustrated by the Government troops, aided by Kurdish 

Today Mar Shimoon with his family is in Cyprus, where he 
was brought from Baghdad by a British airplane. Attempts to 
find a home for the Assyrians in other parts of the world have 
thus far been fruitless. Criticism of the British Government 
has appeared in English papers and magazines because, in the 
words of her critics, "Britain has failed our smallest ally." 
For a fuller account of the events which we have related, we 
refer you (without assuming responsibility for their 
accuracy) to Time for August 28. (Madaras, 1936, p. 172-5) 

See page 27 

The first advertisement of B.C. 

Announces The OPENING OF CLASSES SEPT. 26, 1932 

Gilani St. (Murabavah St.) Baghdad 

The High School Department of Baghdad College will open 
classes on Monday Sept. 26th, 1932, for a limited number of 
boys who are prepared to enter the fifth and sixth grades of the 
Primary School and the first and second classes of the 
Secondary School. The founding of this new school is due 
partly to the long and earnest prayers of the laity, the clergy 
and especially to the tender solicitude of His Holiness, Pius XI, 

Appendix D 

Notes to complement the text 


and especially to the tender solicitude of His Holiness, Pius XI, 
for the people of the Orient. This solicitude has been made 
manifest on more than one occasion during the past few years, 
and if further proof were needed, we have it in his decision to 
open a school in Baghdad this present year. The care of the 
school he confided to the General of the Society of Jesus, who in 
turn entrusted it to the American Fathers of the same Society. 
Eight American Colleges and Universities have been formed 
into a corporation with the name. "Iraq-American Education 
Association," incorporated under the laws of Washington, D.C. 
for the purpose of sponsoring and promoting colleges and other 
institutions of learning in the Kingdom of Iraq. The College 
will be a day school for the present and it will be conducted on 
the same lines as the three hundred other schools and 
educational institutions of the Society of Jesus throughout the 
world are conducted. 

See page 27 DOC # 5 in the New England Jesuit archives 
In the name of the Iraq-American Education Association Fr. 
Rice purchased the 25 acres of land at Sulaikh for ID 2,181 
(at that time equal to $10,228) on 27 June, 1934. 

See page 27 



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ngury 10 rKr Khooi aJRca « a r»a n ntoin. 

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Appendix f f 

See page 60 

Sons of prominent Iraqi citizens who attended Baghdad College 

Abdul Rahman al-Gailani grandson, Abdul-Rahman 
Abdul Muhsin al-Saadun grandnephew, Nasir 
Jafar al-Askari 

Tawfig al-Suwaidi 

Naji al-Suwaidi 

Nuri al-Said 

Naji Shawkat 

Jamil al-Midfai 

Ali Jawdat 

Hikmat Sulaiman 

Hamdi al-Pachachi 

Mustafa al Umari 

Nurruddin Mahmud 

Muhammad Sadr 

Fadhil Jamali 

H.E. Tawfig al-Suwaidi 

H.E. Jamil Midfai 

Umar Nadhmi 

Tawfiq Wahbi 

Youssef llbrahim 

Mustafa Majid 

Jamal Baban 

Jala! Baban 

Naji Shawkat 

Yusuf Ghanima 

Sami Shawkat 

Tahsin Askary 

Hikmat Sulaiman 

Ali Jowdat al-Ayubi 

nephew, Nahidh Askari 

son, Luay 

son, Nezih 

two grandsons, Usam & Falah 

son, Harith 

son, Saad - grandson, Nabil 

son, Namir 

two sons, Muhain & Ibrahim 

son, Abdul-Wahab 

son, Mukarrim 

son, Duraid 

grandson, Jafar 

son, Usama 

Prime Minister 
ex-Prime Minister 
Minister of Justice 
ex-Min. of Social Affairs 
ex-Minister of Education 
ex-Minister of Justice 
ex-Min. of Defense 
ex-Prime Minister 
ex-Minister of Finance 
ex-Min. of Social Affairs 
ex-Minister of Interior 
ex-Prime Minister 
ex-P. M & Amb. to Wash. 

Hazim Shemdin 
Hamid Jaf 
Salim Hassun 
Yaqub Murad 
Selim Hausan 
Rufail Butty 
Jibran Melcon 
Kamil al-Chederchi 
Yousif Hermiz Jammo 
Sami Shawkat 

Baqir Shabibi 
Ahmad Uthman 
Jafar al-Hamandi 
Razzuq Ghannam 

Rauf Alios 
Rufail Butty 
Munir Abbas 
Izzet Ossman 


Appendix D Notes to complement the text 301 

See page 116 

Baghdad College - Secondary Math Contest for Dec. 1966 

30 minutes: Score range from -15 to +60 

Do as many problems as you can and put the answer in the Box 

beneath the number of the problem. 

Don't guess: points are deducted for wrong answers. 

1 . Find the roots of x(x 2 + 8x + 16)(4 - x) = 0. 

2. Reduce the Fraction [{Va 2 + x 2 - 
(a 2 +x 2 )}/Va 2 + x 2 ]/Va 2 + x 2 

3. Find the number of revolutions of a wheel, with fixed center 
and with an outside diameter of 6 feet, required to cause a point on 
the rim to go one mile. 

4. The diameters of two circles are 8 inches and 12 inches 
respectively. Find the ratio of the area of the smaller to the area 
of the larger circle. 

5. A triangle and a trapezoid are equal in area and have the same 
altitude. If the base of the triangle is 18 inches, find the median of 
the trapezoid. 

6. Find the factors of x 4 + 4. 

7. Find the value of x if log 10 (x 2 -3x+6)=1 

8. Find the value of log 3 27 times (9- 25 times 9- 33 ) 

9. The radius of the first circle is 1, that of the second is .5, that 
of the third is .25 and so on indefinitely. Find the sum of the areas 
of the circles. 

10. The perimeter of an isosceles right triangle is 2p. Find area. 
1 1 . The ratio of the areas of two concentric circles is 1:3. If the 
radius of the smaller is r, then find an approximation of the 
difference between the radii. 

1 2. Find the value of 3/(a+b) when a = 4 and b = -4. 

13. If log x - 5 log 3 = -2, Find x. 

1 4. Find the roots of the equation x 2 + 2x V3 +3 = 

1 5. Represent the hypotenuse of a right triangle by c and the area 

by A. Find the altitude on the hypotenuse. 

302 f f Appendix f f 

See page 120 

Examples of Government Secondary Exams 

Solid & Analytic Geometry Exam for June 1961 

1 . Prove - the projection on a plane of a line is a straight line. 

2 ) The generatrix of a right circular cone is twice the altitude. It 
is equivalent to a rt. circular cylinder whose base equals the base 
of the cone. Prove that the lateral area of the cylinder is one third 
the lateral area of the cone. 

3 ) Line AB is oblique to plane Y, and meets Y at point B. Find the 
locus of the feet of all the perpendiculars, that can be drawn from 
A to a straight line drawn through B and lying in plane Y. 

4 ) OX, OY, OZ are three lines not all in the same plane. How do 
you draw a line through making equal angles with these three 
lines. Prove your construction correct. 

5 ) Prove a plane parallel to a pyramid's base cuts the pyramid. 

6 ) Find the equation of the perpendicular bisector of the straight 
line joining ( - 3,1) and (5, -3). Draw diagram. 

7) Prove (3,5),(- 6, -1),(-1 ,-3),(8,3) is a parallellogram. 
Trigonometry & Algebra Exam for June 1965 
1 . If the difference between the squares of the roots of the 
equation 4 x 2 -17x+c=0 is 3 3/16 find c. 

2. Solve the equation 2 2x+2 + 4 1 ' x = 17 

3. If the fourth, fifth and sixth terms of the binomial (1 + x) 8 
form an arithmetic series, find x. 

4. Solve the following equation, finding all values of x 
between 0° and 360° cos 4x - 2 cos x + cos 2x = 

5. Points A & B were observed from the top of a tower of height 
60m. It has found that the angle of depression of A was 45° and of 
B. 30°. If A is in a direction S 33° W from the base of the tower 
and B is S 57° E from the base, and if A & B are in the same plane 
as the base of the tower, what is the distance between A and B? 

6. A,B,C,D are all positive numbers. Prove that if A/B > C/D 
then C/D < ( A 2 +C 2 )/(B 2 +D 2 ) < A/B 

7. The sum of an infinite geometrical series is 4, and the sum of 
the cubes of the terms of this series is 192. Find the series. 

8. A man takes out an insurance policy. He agrees to pay the 
insurance company 60 dinars at the end of each year for 15 
years. Immediately after the 15th payment the company will give 
him 1000 dinars. If however he should die before the end of the 
15 years, the company will pay his wife 1000 dinars no matter 
how few payments he has made. Actually he died after ten years. 
What did the company gain or lose? Use 5% compound interest. 

9. Prove that (1+sin c)/(1- sin c) = tan 2 (45°+ c/a) 

10. Find the largest angle in the triangle whose sides are 9 cm, 6 
cm, 12 cm. Also find the area of this triangle if sec 75° 31' = 4 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 303 

Government Secondary Physics Exam for June 1966 

1 . a. Does air resistance have any effect on the acceleration of 
falling bodies? If so, how? Give two factors which increase this 
resistance and explain one of them using an example. 

b. An object is thrown up a smooth inclined plane. It travels 
96 ft during the second and third seconds of motion and 8 ft during 
the fifth second. Find the angle of inclination of the plane and the 
initial velocity. 

2. a. Explain why: i. If a bullet strikes a sheet of glass it 
pierces it but if a stone strikes a sheet of glass, the glass shatters, 
ii. If air confined under pressure is allowed to expand, the 
temperature decreases, iii. People are forbidden to stand on the 
upper level of a two level bus. 

b. One end 'A' of a uniform meter stick whose mass is 250 
grams is fastened by a hinge to a wall so that it is free to rotate. 
From a point on the wall above A a string goes down to the other 
end of the meter stick 'B'. The system is in equilibrium when the 
meter stick makes an angle of 30° with the wall and the string 
makes an angle of 60° with the wall. Find the tension in the string 
and the reaction of the hinge on the stick and its direction. 

3. a. Explain a method of determining the frequency of a tuning 
fork in the laboratory. 

b. Find the power of an engine which throws 3960 lbs. of 
water per minute with a velocity of 80 ft/sec if 20% of the work 
is expended in overcoming resistance. 

4. a. Explain why: i. Gasses have two specific heats whereas 
liquids have but one. Show which of the two specific heats is 
larger and explain why. ii. One of the results of the presence of 
water vapor in the air is to prevent changes in temperature. 

iii. Copper screens are used in miners' safety lamps. 

b. A flask holds one liter when it is filled with Hg at 80 C. 
Find the mass of Hg to be added to fill the flask at 20 C. The 
coefficient of expansion for Hg is 0.000162/ C and the coefficient 
for glass is 0.0000085/ C. The density of Hg at O C is 13.6 g/cc. 

5. a. Explain why and by diagrams show the light rays: 
i. for the formation of mirages in hot countries. 

ii. for the 3 images formed by an object in 2 plane mirrors. 

b. If the vertex angle of a triangular prism is 30° and the 
index of refraction of the glass is 2/(V3 -1). 

6. a. Define: Magnetic unit pole, null point, volt and ohm. 

b. Find the V if the number of turns of primary coil= is 20, 
and secondary =1000 turns: V =110; R = 20,000. 

304 f f Appendix f f 

See page 149 Finances in the 30's 

1940 letter from Mission to Province treasurer relates: 

Apart from building expenses, our annual expenses have 
remained remarkably similar from year to year despite the 
increase in the number of the community. This is undoubtedly 
due to the fact that we spend very little here on food, clothing, 
and incidentals for the community, so that adding a few men to 
our numbers makes no really appreciable difference in our 
expenses. You may be interested to see the annual receipts and 
expenses since 32-33. The cost of the school and dormitory 
are not included in the above. Here are the figures in Iraqi 
dinars. [ One ID {dinar} = $4.67] 

Year Receipts Expenses 

1932-33 14892.427 7118.614 

1933-34 1387.074 5916.571 

1934-35 1781.214 4700.631 

1935-36 5235.522 4422.767 

1936-37 3569.447 3975.552 

1937-38 4743.399 4417.063 

1938-39 5113.949 4936.078 

It will be seen from the above that, omitting the first year 
which was exceptional, our average annual expenses amount to 
- 4803.773. That makes about 400 dinars a month we need to 
run the place, the additional expenses of the boarding school 
being balanced by the money we save on rent. If we figure our 
income as 1800 from Board and Tuition, 800 from Gifts, 500 
from Mass stipends, and 400 from Sundry Receipts here, we 
have a total of 3500, leaving a balance of from 1300 to 1500 
to be made up. The time when we are most in need of money is 
from May to September included, since we get very little 
during that time, practically nothing coming in from the 
students. During that time we must lay in supplies for the 
coming year, pay the fare of the men going home, continue to 
pay salaries (since we can't fire the men each year), and meet, 
other expenses that run whether school keeps or not. 

Notes to comDlement the text 


Appendix D 

See page 149 Finances 

An example of an itemized annual statement for the receipts 
and expenses of the fiscal year 1937-1938 in Dinars: 

One ID {dinar} = $4.69. 
The figures are rather hard to /believe today and indicate a 
somewhat Spartan existence. 

On the next page (306) are found the monthly statements for 
the same year, and indicate more clearly a precarious financial 

After this on the following page (307) is found an example 
from later years (1965-1966) to indicate that while the 
numbers are higher, the margin of profit loss is no less 
precarious. By this time (1965-66) the value had changed 
so that one Iraqi dinar (ID) = $3.38. 


(Monetary unit is the 

dinar = 1000 fils = S4.f 



July 1 to June 30 

1 937-38 


July 1 to June 30 

1937-3 8 


Balance July 1, 1937 



Food and Beverages 



N. E. Jesuit Missions 



Clothing and Laundry 



Building Fund 








Travel, Auto, Freight 




1 1.000 


Fuel, Light, and Water 






Library and Periodicals 



Refunds (including Loan)778.465 


Postage, Printing 






Masses Sent 





Boarding School 



Church Expenses 



Students' Sundries 






Science Fees 












Farm, Garden 



Students' Sundries 






Science Apparatus 






School Equipment 





Farm, Garden, etc. 









Apostleship Prayer 






1 1 .463 





Exchange Gains 









Total I.D. 









Exchange Loss 






New construction 


House & dorm fund 


Purchases for Personne 

I 58.000 


Total I.D. • 



7/1/38 Balance I.D. 




f f 


T f 

See page 149 Finances 

Summary of the monthly receipts and expenses for 1937-1938. 

July 1 House Balance 312.399 

Building Fund 4802.073 

3 1 Receipts 903.746 


July 3 1 House Expenses 4 1 . 2 9 2 

New Construct. 7.100 

Total Balance 5600.826 


Aug. 1 HouseBaJance 805.853 

Building Fund 4794.973 

3 1 Receipts 89.739 


Aug 3 1 House Expenses 302.382 

New Construct. 994.906 

Total Balance 4393.277 


SepM HouseBaJance 593.210 

Building Fund 3800.067 

3 Receipts 100.402 


Sept 3 House Expenses 234.5 65 

New Construct. 710.805 

Total Balance 3548.309 


Oct 1 HouseBaJance 459.047 

Building Fund 3089.262 

31 Receipts 271.140 


Oct 31 House Expenses 432.958 

New Construct 205.951 

Total Balance 3180.540 

I.D. 3819.449 

Nov 1 House Balance 2 9 7.229 

Building Fund 2883.31 1 

3 Receipts 517.436 


Nov 3 House Expenses 273.423 

N ew Construct. 60.750 

Total Balance 3363.803 


Dec 1 HouseBaJance 541.242 

Building Fund 2822.561 

31 Receipts 506.077 


Dec 31 House Expenses 489.736 

New Construct 613.200 

Total Balance 2766.944 


Jan 1 HouseBaJance 557.583 

Building Fund 2209.361 

3 1 Receipts 213.555 


Jan 31 House Expenses 347.018 

New Construct 213.388 

Total Balance 2420.093 


Feb 1 House Balance 424.120 

Building Fund 1995.973 

2 8 Receipts 463.141 


Feb 28 House Expenses 323.763 

New Construct 55.054 

Total Balance 2883.234 

Marl HouseBaJance 443.498 

Building Fund 2060.919 

3/1/3 8 

One ID {dinar} = $4.69. 

Total rec. 8 months 2945.236 
Balance on 7/1/37 312.399 

Total I.D. 3257.635 

Total expenses 2814.137 

House Balance I.D. 443.498 

Appendix D 

Notes to complement the text 


See page 149 Finances 

Financial statement (in Iraqi Dinars ID) for 7/1/65 to 6/30/66 


Prerequisites 118.000 

Stipends 2732.816 

Refunds 3695.852 

Gifts 1182.154 
Board & Tuition 52636.780 
Student Sundries 519.915 

Bookstore 4897.693 

De Prop Fidei 154.648 

Poor Collections 303.900 

Al Iraqi 1857.695 

Buses • 9680.800 

Church 119.214 

Sodality 5.500 

one Iraqi dinar (ID) = $3.38. 

Total ID 



($13,000. interest in 



Food-Frs 7664.720 

Food-Boarders 2908.433 
Laundry 676.180 

Furniture 1209.240 

Travel/Telep 5521.676 
Freight/Customs271 .565 
Elec//Fuel 2098.264 
Library 1409.183 

Postage/Print 761.939 




Stud Sundry 









1 1929.356 




11 17.661 


21 11.935 


Villa 933.251 

School Equip 1567.619 
Science " 609.431 

Al Iraqi 1693.051 

Poor Distrib 275.000 
SaadunTax 2900.000 
Lay Apos Food 525.000 
Lay Apos Varia 41 26.567 
De Prop Fidei 175.835 
Apos of Prayer 1 34.804 
Masses Sent 612.242 

ID 74786.917 





ID 50,507.536 

+ Exclusive of Ford Grants of 1963 and 1965 

308 f f Appendix f f 

See page 158 

Documents concerning the beginning of Al-Hikma 
Doc 28, 31, 36, 37,57 and 63 

These documents concern I.A.E.A., the establishment of Al- 
Hikma, the granting of land, the naming of the university and 
finally the disposition of the property in case of the dissolution 
of the school. The documents (DOC) are so numbered in the 
Province archives and usually according to date. 

DOC # 28 Translation of No. 27 6/8/55 
Concerning the approval of the Iraq American Educational 
Association in Baghdad by the Council of Education Association 
in Baghdad by the Council of Ministers as an association for the 
public benefit. 
No. 8570 Ministry of Interior Date: June 8, 1955 
The Iraqi American Educational Association in Baghdad 
Subject: Consideration of the Association as one of 
public benefit 

In reference to your letter dated 28th of December 1954, 
We give below a copy of the letter of the head office of the 
Council of Ministers No. 2343 and dated 1st of June 1955 
concerning this subject for your information. 
(Signed/ for Minister of Interior) 
Copy to:- 

Ministry of Education 

Ministry of Social Affairs - Department of Social Services. 
General Police Department 
All offices of Mutasarrifs 
Amanat al-Asima. 
Copy of the Letter To: The Ministry of the Interior 
Subject: Consideration of an Association as one of public 
benefit at the sixty-sixth meeting of the Council of Ministers 
held on the 22nd of May 1955, your letter No. 6880 and dated 
8/7/55 (along with the attached papers) was read. In this 
letter it was suggested to consider the Iraqi American 
Educational Association in Baghdad as one of public benefit 
since this association is directed to the public benefit. 

After the discussion of opinions and after hearing the 
explanations of the Minister of Interior, the Council approved 
the suggestion and agreed upon it basing its decision upon 
paragraph A of Article 13 of the law of Associations No. 19 for 
the year 1954. The royal approval upheld this decision. 
Munir al Qadhi Head of Office 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 309 

See page 158 

Doc 31 9/1 3/55 

Translation of No. 31 -- approval by the Ministry of 
the Interior of an amendment to our constitutions 
enabling the association to accept government lands. 
Iraq Ministry of Interior Directorate of Rights Baghdad 
No. 13449 Date: 9/13/55 A.D. 

To: The President 
Iraq American Educational Association in Baghdad 
Topic: - Amendment of the Articles of the Association. 
With reference to your letter dated 10-9-1955, we 
approve the amendment made in the articles of your 
association according to your letter dated 31-8-1955. 
Signed (on behalf of the Minister of Interior) 
Copy to: -- 

The Ministry of Finance 

(General Directorate of Properties and Lands) 

and reference made to the two letters noted above. 

DOC # 36 May 5, 1955 Translation of No. 35 
Permit to undertake higher studies, granted by 
Ministry of Education. 

Translation of letter of Iraq Ministry of Education granting 
Baghdad College permission to open a four-year course of 
higher education. 

- Translation by Fr. Richard J. McCarthy, S.J., May, 1955 

No. 15020 Very Urgent 

Ministry of Education 5/5/1955 

General Directorate of Education 

Directorate of Technical Affairs 

to - the Reverend President of Baghdad College 

After greetings 

Reference is made to your letter D/N/90, dated 4/27/55 

The Ministry has studied the proposals contained in your 
letter referred to above, and has approved the first clause, viz. 
the conducting of higher studies in your College, and (has 
approved) the second clause, viz. instituting courses which 
will last four years and comprise programs of broad study in 
business and scientific subject leading to the attainment of a 
bachelor's degree in business and science. 

The Ministry reserves its right regarding the third clause, 
viz. the conferring of the academic diplomas and degrees which 
are usually conferred in the different grades of higher 
instruction, including (in that reservation) the conferring of 
the Bachelor's degrees in business and science, which has been 

310 f Appendix J f 

mentioned in the second clause, until a complete course will be 
finished and the Ministry will have ascertained the measure of 
success and progress which these courses will achieve. It is 
also the view of the Ministry that the scientific field which 
your College will institute shall include higher studies in 
Physics, Chemistry, and Engineering, on the condition that you 
will have recourse to us before initiating the preparations 
necessary for these studies (informing us), about the faculty 
and scientific laboratories which will enable you to undertake 
(accomplish) this important affair. 

While wishing you continual progress, I beg you to accept 
my thanks and esteem 

Khalil Kanna 
Minister of Education 

copies to: the Directorate of Secondary Education 

the Directorate of Educational Relations (*) 

DOC # 37 Sept. 19, 1955 Royal Decree # 785 

granting to the Iraq American Educational 
Association in Baghdad 200 donums of government 
land as a free gift for the purpose of erecting a 
building for higher education. This Royal Decree 
appears in the official government publications, THE IRAQ 
GAZETTE, # 3695, of Sept. 19, 1955. 

Excerpt from THE IRAQ GAZETTE, No. 3695, Sept. 19, 1955 

Royal Decree -- No. 785 
After a study of the first paragraph of the twenty-third 
article of the ASASI Law (basic constitutions of Iraq laws), and 
in virtue of the third article which regulates the transference 
of ownership of government buildings and arasat, and in 
accordance with the authority conferred on us, we have issued 
this royal decree on behalf of His Majesty, King Faisal II. 

Following the recommendation of the Minister of Finance 
and the approval of the Council of Ministers, we give to the 
Iraq American Association in Baghdad ownership without fee of 
an area of 200 donums from the Treasury's share in the piece 
of Miri Land Granted In Lezma (number 4, section (2 - 
Zafarania)) for the purpose of erecting buildings for higher 
studies and for expansion. 

The Minister of Finance will execute this decree. 

Written in Baghdad on the 22nd day of the month of 
Muharram, 1375, which corresponds to Sept. 10, 1955. 

Acting in place of the King ZAID 

Khalil Kanna Muhammad Ali Mahmud 

Acting Minister of Finance Acting Prime Minister 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 31 1 

See page 158 
DOC # 44 

Royal Irada, No. 230, of March 7, 1956, granting to the 
Iraq American Educational Association 72 donums 
and 75C square meters of land. 

Iraq Gazette, April 16, 1956, No. 3785, page 4. #230 
We, Faisal II, King of Iraq, 

In accordance with article 3 of the Law of Ownership of 
lands and buildings belonging to the Government, and according 
to what was submitted by the Minister of Finance and was 
approved by the Council of Ministers, have issued our Royal 

The endowment of the Iraq American Educational 
Association in Baghdad with the grant of an area of 72 donums 
and 750 square meters remaining from the Treasury's portion 
of a piece numbered 1/4, district 2, Zafarania, to erect 
buildings for the purpose of starting higher studies. 

It is for the Minister of Finance to fulfill this decree. 
Written in Baghdad on the twenty-fourth day of Rejab, 1375, 
the seventh day of March, 1956. 


Nuri al-Said Prime Minister 

Khalil Kanna Minister of Finance 

DOC # 57 



Directorate of Right Date 29/5/1956 

Iraqi-American Educational Association, Baghdad 
Subject: Amendment of Association's Constitution 
With reference to your registered letter to us, dated 

1. We approve the current amendments of your constitution, 
with the exception of paragraph 14 which was added thereto. 

2. It is to be noted that article 14, added to paragraph 13 in 
your supplement to the above-mentioned letter, included the 
permission to transfer the property of the Association, after 
its dissolution, to associations (whether inside Iraq or 
outside) that are similar in aims (and purposes). This is the 
permission decreed in Article 13 of your Association's 
Constitution. We did not touch upon this (article) in our 
letter granting the permission for the establishment of the 
Association, despite our knowledge of it, since it is impossible 
of realization, because it does not decide a definite way for the 
distribution of the Association's property, in the eventuality of 

312 f f Appendix f f 

its dissolution, as though the appointed direction for 
distribution were indefinite. 

In accordance with what preceded, and in keeping with the 
decrees of article 22 of the Law of Associations, No. 63, 1955, 
the property of your Association, in the eventuality of its 
dissolution, must be transferred to an association that 
approximates it in purposes; and, since the association to 
which this transference is intended is one incorporated in 
Iraq, in accordance with the above-mentioned Law of 
Associations, we ask you to delete out the phrase ("or outside") 
from the article in question, since it may be considered 

(signed) Minister of Interior 

DOC # 62 NO. 24057 DATE; 9/6/1956 
Concerning: the naming of the university 


Department of Personnel for Higher Institutes 
The President of Baghdad College, 
With reference to your letter dated 30/5/1956, we agree 
to the naming of the university, which we gave you permission 
to open, by the name Al-Hikma University of Baghdad. We also 
agree to the appointment of Father Joseph L. Ryan as its Dean, 
(signed) Minister of Education 
Munir Al-Qadhi 
Copy to Directorate of Personnel 
# 67 Permanent title deed of the Iraq-American 
Educational Association to 200 donums (500,000 sq. m.) of 
land at Zafarania, Baghdad. 
{200 donums, 500,000 sq. m., circa 124 acres.} 
{1 donum equals 2500 sq. m. or 5/8 acres.} 

See page 178 

# 1 3 p. Curricula from the 1960 Catalogue pp. 30-34 

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration 

First Semester 


Second Semester 


Freshman Year 

Arabic 1 


Arabic 2 


Economics 1 


Economics 2 


English 1 or 3 
History 1 
Mathematics 1 


English 2 or 4 
History 2 
Mathematics 2 


Theology 1 


Theology 2 


Appendix D 

Notes to complement the text 


Sophomore Year 

Accounting 21 
Arabic 21 
Economics 21 
English 21 or 23 
Logic Phil. 21 
Theology 21 

Junior Year 

Accounting 51 
Business Law 51 
Statistics 51 
Management 53 
Metaph II Phil. 51 
Theology 41 

Senior Year 

Accounting 61 
Marketing 55 
Psych Phil. 53 
G Ethics Phil. 61 
Management 56 
Theology 61 

4 Accounting 22 

3 Arabic 22 

3 Economics 22 

3 English 22 or 24 

3 Metaph I Phil. 22 

2 Theology 22 

3 Accounting 52 

3 Business Law 52 

3 Finance 52 

3 Management 54 
4 Metaph III Phil. 

2 Theology 42 

3 Accounting 62 
3 Management 59 
3 Psych Phil. 54 

3 S Ethics Phil. 62 

3 Management 57 

2 Theology 62 


Bachelor of Scien 

First Semester Hours 
Freshman Year 

Arabic 1 3 

Mathematics 3 3 

English 1 or 3 3 

Physics 1 1 4 

Chemistry 11 4 

Theology 1 2 

Sophomore Year 

Drawing 1 1 4 

English 21 or 23 3 

Logic Phil. 21 3 

Mathematics 21 3 

Physics 21 4 

Theology 21 2 

Junior Year 

Engineering 41 3 

Engineering 51 4 

Mathematics 41 3 
Metaph II Phil. 51 

Physics 51 3 

Theology 41 2 

ce in Engineering Physics 

Second Semester Hours 

Arabic 2 3 

Mathematics 4 3 

English 2 or 4 3 

Physics 12 4 

Chemistry 12 4 

Theology 2 2 

Surveying 12 4 

English 22 or 24 3 

Metaph I Phil. 22 3 

Mathematics 22 3 

Physics 22 4 

Theology 22 2 

Engineering 42 3 

Engineering 52 4 

Mathematics 42 3 
4 Metaph III Phil. 52 4 

Engineering 54 3 

Theology 42 2 


Appendix f f 

1 . Jesuit Faculty Residence 

2. Administration Building 

3. Qiapel - Sodality Rooms 

4. Library 

5. Dining & Recreation Center 

6 . College of Business Adm . 

7. College of Arts 
9. Engineering College 

9. College of Science 

10. Electrical Engineering College 

11. Mechanical Engineering 

12. Electronic Computer Center 

13. Petroleum Engineering College 

14. Dormitories 

15. Residences for Lay Professors 

1 6. Residences for Workmen 

17. Maintenance Shops 

18. Arabic Institute 

19. Swimming Pool 

20. Athletic Building 

21. Sports Areas 

22. Football Held & Track 

23. Baseball Diamond 

24. Auditorium 

25. Ampbimearre 

26. College of Law 

27. College of Sociology 

28. Workshops 

29. Hydraulic Engineering College 

30. College of Agriculture 

31. Trade School 

32. Hydraulic Field Projects 

33. Shade Shelters for Seedlings 

34. Solar Energy Institute 

35. Field Projects for 29 . 30. & 34 

36. Pump House 

37. Observatory & Planetarium 

38. Antennas of Radio Telescope 

Appendix D Notes to complement the text 315 

See page 280 Other programs and adventures of alumni 
One of the later Al-Hikma graduates, Premjit Talwar recalls 

the impact one of the Al-Hikma faculty had on him. 

In Germany last year I met Mr. Jochen Langer, my 
structures teacher, for the first time since graduating in 
1968. He is still handsomely thin with the same shy smile and 
blond flock of hair falling over his face. We spent two 
wonderful days reminiscing over the Baghdadi days. I asked 
how he came to be a member of the Al-Hikma faculty and what 
his experience was like. He told me that he came across an 
advertisment announcing the need for someone to teach in 
Baghdad. He applied and was subsequently interviewed by Fr. 
Ryan in Germany. The interview was very short, as if the 
decision to hire him was already made on condition that he 
went to London for six months to improve his English. 

He was one of my favorite instructors, regarded him as one 
of the most challenging teachers despite his youth. But nothing 
will exemplify his dedication to education as this episode. In 
1968, during one of those turbulent days, a number of 
hooligans entered his classroom while he was lecturing and 
announced to the students that classes were canceled and 
exhorted the students to get out and join them in a 
demonstration. Mr. Langer asked these trouble makers to 
leave but they refused. He turned to the students giving them 
his permission to leave if they wanted to. To the amazement of 
the intruders none left. He then calmly resumed his lecture. 
Unbeknown to him, Fr. Ryan had already canceled the classes 
for the rest of the day. 

His experience at Al-Hikma has influenced the direction of 
his career. While at Mannesmann, he has taken on projects in 
the Middle East. Even his son became enamored with the 
Middle East culture, eventually spending much time restoring 
an old Syrian monastery. (Premjit Talwar, AH '68) 

Premjit Talwar had some insightful comment to make in 
reaction to a statement questioning the usefulness of the American 
Jesuit contribution to Iraqi education. 

Education is an ever continuing process. Perhaps a different 
form of an organization is called for, but the usefulness of the 
Jesuits can never be underestimated for any generation. Here 
is why: 

1 . they bring a freshness that is foreign to many educational 
systems - call it a contrast between graduates of differing 

316 T 7 Appendix T 7 

b. instead of dogma, we get insight 

c. instead of memorization, we yearn for understanding 

d. instead of mimicking and copying, we seek creativity 

e. instead of orders we learn by example 

2. The Jesuits became friends, not just teachers and 
administrators. For the first time, the Iraqis heard the word 
"love". With their love, the Jesuits could achieve more 
than the traditional disciplinary behavior of the Iraqi. 

3. It is the unique character of Jesuits as Americans that 
helped make the above possible. 

4. Also, I think it is these specific American Jesuits with 
their outgoing personalities that made the experience so 
special. Invariably, we could smile and laugh with Jesuits, 
without having to fear a paranoid backlash so typical of some 
Iraqi educators. 

It should be mentioned here that other Iraqi schools also 
emphasized discipline. They did it with "fear", whereas the 
Jesuits did it with "care". Respect was not demanded by 
Jesuits but earned. Even in my Jewish Frank Ivy School which 
had a very high standard of discipline, obedience and respect 
were expected and received at the threat of punishment and 
humiliation - not so in my experience at Al-Hikma. 

In Iraq there was a continual undeserved suspicion of these 
Jesuits because they were American. Even now, one Iraqi 
resident in the U.S. (not a graduate of either Baghdad College or 
Al-Hikma University) said: "Do not be naive, do you really 
believe that Al-Hikma's location so close to Muaskar Al-Rashid 
[the army camp] a coincidence?" To which I replied - "Did 
you know that the land was donated to the Jesuits by the 
government of Iraq itself?" It is the nature of an Iraqi to be 

The Jesuits had an uncanny insight into the thinking and 
ways of acting of the Iraqi people in times of tension for Iraq. 
They took nothing for granted and ultimately maintained their 
"cool" in dealing with controversy. It is important to mention 
that the Jesuits did not voluntarily leave Iraq in 1968 and 
1969 because this would be, very simply, contradictory to 
their mission. They kept focused on their objectives. A lesson 
to all of us. (Premjit Talwar, A.H. '68) 

T f 9 f 





Names of Jesuits are listed under the title "Fr." 
Names of alumni who contributed essays are listed 
alphabetically according to their first name. 

Abbosh, George 27, 190 

Abdul Hussein Chalabi, 18 

Abdul Karim Qasim 109, 174 

Abdul Salam Arif 136 

Abdul-Ahad Estepahn 78, 92 

Abdul-Ilari, Regent 25, 60, 61, 107 

Abdul-Salam Muhammad Arif 187 

Abraham 12 

Ahmed Hasan Al-Bakr 236 

air cooling 86, 87 

Al Ashari 226 

Al Baghdadi 39, 46, 47, 103, 104 

Al Baqillani. 226 

Al Hikma Jesuits 226 

Al Iraqi 21, 71, 122, 143 

Al-Baqalani 94 

Al-Hikma campus 159, 173, 227 

Al-Hikma seal 165 

Al-Khwarizmi 6 

Aliyah, Queen 25 

Allen Svoboda, B.C. '58 190, 209 

Alqosh 5 

alumni 128, 229 

Ameena Hermiz Jammo 124 

American benefactress 64 

Apostleship of Prayer 126, 184 

Apostolic Delegate in Iraq 18, 127 

Arab Information Center 37 

Arabic House of Studies 84, 89 

Aramaic 2 

architects 64 

Armenian 5, 6, 136 

assembly of students 70, 1 12 

Associated U. S. Colleges 294 

Assyrians 6, 25 

astronomers 6 

Augustine Shamas 127, 130-133, 200 

Babylon 6, 15, 187 

baccalaureate exam 44, 45 

Baghdad bishops 226 

Baghdad boil 53 

B. C. campus 66, 84, 222, 226 

Baghdad Diary 253 

Baghdad University 131, 233 

Baghdad's geography 21 

Bait Al-Hikma 6 

Bakose, Syrian Archbishop 9, 91, 92 

Bangert, William, S.J. 13 

Bartholomew, Apostle 5 

baseball 32, 145 

Bashara, Charles 15, 38 

BashirKhudhary71, 191 

basketball 32, 143 

Basra 2, 61,74, 152 

Belgian Embassy 264 

Bi-ritual Jesuits 90 

biennial reunions 268 

bilingualism 94 

B. J^A. A. 273 

boarding house 73 

Bowering, Gerhard, S.J. 12 

boxing 148 

bridges of Baghdad 22, 52 

British 35, 37, 60, 61, 62 

budget 37 

buildings 64, 85 

bus system 38, 106 

Business Administration 158, 178 

Caliphs of Baghdad 6 

Camelot 250 

campus of B. C. 66, 84, 222, 226 

canteen 134 

Capuchins 11 

Carlo Tonietti, B.C. '50 268 

Carmelites 11, 28, 131 

Catholic hierarchy 76 



Catholic N. E. Welfare Assoc. 162 

CEMAM 258 

cemetery at B.C. 260 

Chaldeans 2, 5, 14, 88, 227, 228 

Chaldean Patriarch 15, 19, 127, 254 

Chaldean-Iraqi Fund 274-276 

Chapel of the Sacred Heart 84, 87, 91 

Chinese Rites controversy 10 

Christian Center 131, 133 

Chronology 287 

Co-education 176 

co-educational. 225 

coach 106 

commercial 223 

Commercial Section 88 

Connell 24, 59, 80, 84 

conscription 37, 39, 41 

Conscription Law 30, 75 

correspondents 290 

couzzi 104 

creation 1 

Cronin Building 85 

Ctesiphon 3 

cuneiform 4 

curriculum 42, 44, 75, 178, 315 

Damascus 14 

Dave Nona, B.C.'64,A.H.'68 272-274 

Debating 117 

decathlon champion Bob Mathias 156 

Democracy 97 

description of 19 parts of Baghdad 294 

desert 29 

diploma 236 

dismissal 245 

Diyala River 158 

Documents 3 1 1 

Dominican 5, 11, 178 

Dominicans 5, 134 

Donohue 84 

donum 158 

Dramatic Society 183 

Druze 13 

dust storm 47, 53 

Dust storms 52 

Education Law 39 

Edward Butros, A.H. '68 212 

Edward Zoma, B.C. '37 190-192, 207 

Egyptians 75 

Efwin G. Kennedy, B.C. '42 192, 194 

engineering 158, 179 
enrollment 30, 36, 63, 67. 68, 69, 

83, 174, 175, 177 
Ephram Hindo, 133 
Euphrates 1 
exam. cand. 24 
examinations 40, 43 
expulsion 254 
faculty 167,291,292 
Faculty Residence 162 
Fadhil Al-Jamali 41, 65 
Fadhil Husain Al Ansari 238 
Fairfield University 162 
Faisal I, King 15, 24 
Faisal H, King 25, 107-109, 160 
Faraj Abdulahad 278 
Faraj Raffouli 76, 90, 127 
Farid Oufi, '48 75,79 
Fiesh Khabur 25, 138, 297 
Finances 149, 180, 305-310 
Finlay, Mr. Rbbert 220 
first Farmer's Almanac 4 
Flibbert, Mr. Joseph 220 
flood 1, 31, 101 
football 32, 143 
Ford Foundation 160, 162 
four founders 23 
Fr. Anderson 103, 151, 163 
Fr. Arrupe, Pedro, S J. 11, 185, 220 
Fr. Banks, E. 91 
Fr. Belcher 154, 252 
Fr. Bonian 92, 230 
Fr. Burby 254 
Fr. Burke, J 151 
Fr. Burns, V. 152 
Fr. Campbell 183 
Fr. Carty 253, 255, 259 
Fr. Coffey 23, 31,50, 81, 82 
Fr. Connell 268 
Fr. Cronin 261 
Fr. Crowley 123, 139, 238 
Fr. Decker 118 
Fr. Devenny 59, 80, 92 
Fr. Donohue 84, 94, 95, 135, 140, 

249, 250 
Fr. Fennell 96, 125, 193, 203, 213 
Br. Foley 125, 208 
Fr. Gallagher 17 


T f 


Fr. Gerry 123 

Fr. Gookin 23 

Fr. Guay 43,65, 80 101, 166, 174, 

184, 228, 252 
Fr. Hicks 90, 143 

Fr. Hussey 29, 55, 84, 97, 161, 163 
Fr. Jolson {Bishop} 149 
Fr. Kelly, F. 59, 130, 169, 183 
Fr. Kelly, T. 144 

Fr. Kolvenbach, Peter Hans, S.J. 91 
Fr. LaBran 56, 58, 105, 127, 130 
#. Larkin, J. 71, 148, 161 
Fr. Loeffler 106, 123, 146, 174 
Fr. MacDonnell 105, 107, 146, 148, 

193, 195, 201, 208, 249, 280 
Fr. Madaras 23, 28, 33, 38, 46, 49, 

51,53,59, 64, 82,93, 103, 151 
Fr. Mahoney 90, 129, 144 
Fr. Manning 262 
Fr. Marrow, B.C. "47 24, 47, 78, 

80,92,93,97, 131,278 
Fr. McCarthy, M. 90, 107 
Fr. McCarthy, R. 94, 127, 187, 

238, 257 
Fr. McDonough 162, 268 
Fr. Merrick 12, 51,53 
Fr. Miff {Mifsud } 23, 55, 63 
Fr. Morgan 126, 127, 131, 230 
Fr. Murphy 31,42, 55 
Fr. Nash 225, 226 
Fr. Nwyia 187 
Fr. 0'Callaghan261 
Fr. O'Connor 182, 217, 222 
Fr. Owens 121, 123, 262 
Fr. Pelletier 84, 105, 106, 145 
Fr. Quinn 142 
Fr. Regan 100, 134 
Fr. Rice 18, 22, 28, 32, 49, 53, 55 
Fr. Ryan 81, 82, 107,138, 169, 

191, 192, 195, 201 
Fr. Sara 92, 140, 278 
Fr. Sarjeant 40, 42, 55, 59, 63. 151 
Fr. Seferta 254 
Fr. Smith 90 
Fr. Spillane 197 

Fr. Sullivan 84, 107, 118, 258, 272 
Fr. Walsh, E. 17, 18, 62 
Fr. Williams 84 
Fr. Young 91 

Frank Iny School 70 

Fulbright professors 168 

Fuller, Buckminster 86 

Garden of Eden 1 

George Rahim.B.C. '37 32, 124, 279 

Georgetown University 278 

Ghassan Jamil Hami,B.C.'66 145,266 

Ghazi, King 22, 25, 55 

Glubb Pasha 61 

goals of Al-Hikma 164 

Government Educational Law 67 

Government Examinations 75, 303 

graduation 43, 65, 139, 155, 174 

Grants for Al-Hikma 158 

graveyard 263 

Gulbenkian Foundation 231, 264 

Gulf Peace Team 275 

gypsum cement 86 

Habbaniyah 6 1 

Haifa 152 

Hamid Attisha, B.C. '63 142 

Hammurabi 3 

handball 32, 147 

Harvard Study Team 276 

Hashemite 6 

Higher education in Iraq 43 

Hikmat Sulayman 32 

Hikmet Emmanuel 92, 93 

Hindia Club 267 

hospitality 105 

humanitarian efforts of alumni 273 

humor 46, 48 

Ibrahim A. Al-Nouri 276 

Imam 50 

Imprimerie Catholique 7 1 

Inishk 33, 140 

intermediate government exam 45 

I. A. E. A. 19,236,293, 311, 313 

Iraq Ministry of Planning 36 

Iraq Times 28 

Iraq's independence 24 

Iraqi Government 158 

Iraqi Red Crescent Society 276 

Iraqi schools 36 

Iraqization 233-23 

Islam 12, 76, 181, 225 

Jack Joseph George, B.C. '67 155 

jack-arching 86 

Jacobites 5 



T f 

Jamhour in Lebanon 153 

Jerusalem 14 

Jesuit Archives {N. E. Province} 68 

Jesuit community 94, 97, 237, 251 

Jesuit General Congregation 229 

Jesuit Mission Magazine 34 

Jesuit Mission Press 46 

Jesuit Novitiate 229 

Jesuit residence 26, 48, 164, 260 

Jesuit scholarship 94 

Jesuit scholastics 83 

Jesuit seal 14 

Jesuits who served in Baghdad 288 

Jews 70 

Jude Thaddeus, Apostle 5 

Juvenal 67 

Kamal Youkhanna B.C. '66 136, 156 

Karbala 6 

Karkh22, 114 

khaki 54, 269 

KhalilKanna 107, 108,313 

King Faisal Gardens 139 

Kirkuk 2, 37, 74 

Kramer, Samuel Noah 3 

Kurds 6, 71-73, 93, 138 

laboratories 104, 233 

Latin School 32 

lay faculty 1 39 

lay volunteers 83, 228, 260, 215, 

223, 259 
League of Arab States 37 
League of Nations 24 
Ledochowski, Wlodimir, S.J. 12, 13 
Liberal Arts 180 
library 74,233 
linguistic ability 82 
lists of names 288 
literary 36 

Loyola, St. Ignatius 5, 8, 12 
Luay Zebouni, B.C. '67 117, 126 
MahmudYusuf 140 
Mangaish 93 
Manresa retreat house 281 
Mar Emmanuel JJ Thomas 15, 19 
Maronite 13 

Marr, Phebe 24, 25, 60, 61 
Marsh Arabs 2 
mathematics 43, 76, 116 
"Mayor of Sulaikh" 101 

medical supplies 274, 275 

Melkites 14 

Mesopotamia 1, 166 

Michael {Muaffiq} Sitto, B.C'59 280 

Militarization 40 

Minister of Education 89, 293 

Minister of Finance 160 

Ministry of Defense 56 

Ministry of Education 39,40,158, 311 

Minor Seminary 1 34 

"Misteria" 135 

monarchy 24 

monastery 28 

Monumenta Historica S.J. 5 

Mosul 2, 14, 137 

muawin {assistant principal} 59 

mudir {principal} 59 

Muraba street 26 

Muslim 12, 14, 49, 60, 67, 70, 

76, 121, 136, 140 
muslin 2 

N.E. Province Archives 63 
Najaf 6 

National Defense Law 37 
Nebuchadnezzar 2 
Nestorian 5, 13 
New England Province 44, 93 
New England Provincial 59 
Ninevah 2 
North Gate 76 

Nouri el-Said 41, 60, 61, 160, 252 
Novena of Grace 127, 227 
O'Malley, John, S.J., 9 
Objectives of Al-Hikma 163 
Oriental Christians 13 
Oriental Congregation {in Rome} 18 
Oriental Institute 13, 188, 226-232 
Palace Guard 108 
Papal Pro-Nuncio 264 
Paraguay 7, 10 
Parents' Day 1 35 

Pelletier,Sr. Joseph A.H.'66 172, 178 
Personnel at Al-Hikma 167 
Peter D. Atchoo, M.D. 147 
Petroleum Sunday 154 
Pius XI, Pope 19 
physics exam {example} 304 
planning 111, 149 
Point- Four Program 162 



police station 32 

pontoon bridge of Baghdad 53 

Premjit Talwar, AH '68 77, 282, 318 

primary schools of Baghdad 85 

Raad Habib, B.C. '68 196 

racehorses 101 

Ramzi Hermiz, B.C. '48 27, 47, 76, 

79, 125, 202 
Rashid Ali 32, 59, 60, 61 
Rashid street 21, 22, 92, 144 
Raymond, Fr. {Carmelite} 130 
real estate dispute 28 
References 285 

Religious instruction 128, 130 
Reynolds, Mr. Edward 218,219 
Republic Government Press 44 
Retreat movement 228, 280 
Reunion Yearbook 47, 58, 81 
reunions 267, 268, 271 
revolution 56, 109, 235 
Rice Science building 107 
rose window 87, 88 
Royal College of Medicine 54 
Royal Decree 158, 160 
Saad Abdul Baqi Er-Rawi 236 
Saadun 89 
SabahJadun 121 
sadda{dike} 29 
Saib Shunia, B.C. '52 204 
Salih Mahdi Ammash 236 
scheduling board 105 
science 36, 74, 113, 182 
secondary school math contest 302 
seminaries of Iraq 5 
Shaikh Umar St. 22 
Shargawiyn 70 

Shawgi George Gazala, B.C. '64 123 
Shemdin 76, 137 
Shiites 6, 94, 138, 226 
Sindbad, 6 

Sisters at Al-Hikma 166, 172 
Snakes of Eden 51 
Sodality 9, 74, 105, 122, 128, 154 
solar heaters 177 
sons of prominent Iraqis 301 
Sorbonne 8 
spiritual direction 225 

Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius 8, 9 

Sr. Joseph Pelletier A.H.'66 172, 178 

St. Francis Xavier 8, 127 

St. Joseph 89 

St. Joseph Univ. in Beirut 187, 258 

St. Joseph's Chaldean Church 127 

St. Ignatius Loyola 5, 8, 12 

St. Noel Chabanel, S.J. 89 

student body 67, 169 

Su'dad N. Sesi, 206 

Suad el-Bustani 255 

Sulaikh 28, 29, 32, 55, 56, 70, 77, 

79, 83, 102, 158, 270 
Sumer 2 

Syrian Archbishop Bakose 9,91,92 
tawli (backgammon) 74 
teacher education 119 
Tebsherany, Comille 118, 119 
Teheran 152 
Tennis 147 

Television science program 1 14 
Textbooks 76 

Tigris River 1, 22, 26, 29, 52, 102 
Toner, Mr. Michael 209, 219 
Transjordan 152 
Trigault, Nicolas, S.J. 5 
tuition 37, 70, 149, 223, 237 
Turkish rule 6, 12, 14, 24, 35, 36, 

43, 60, 82 
UNESCO 37, 167, 187,225 
villa 33, 140 
vocations 84 
Waiel Hindo, B.C. '60, A.H. '64, 99, 

102,110, 124, 142, 181, 257 
wakes and funerals 136 
wall around B.C. property 29, 63 
Wisdom 6 
World War 1 21 
World WarH 22 
Youssef50, 51 

Yuil Eprim, B.C. '57,A.H.'61 96,178 
Zafarania 83, 158, 160, 162, 174 
Zaid {brother of King Faisal I } 160 
Zieya50, 51 
ziggurat of Aqar-Quf 2, 45 

322 T T Appendix f f 

Date palms are referred to as the "eternal plant: the most 
ancient tree in the world," having furnished man with fruit to 
eat and covering for his homes since the times of the 
Sumerians. 80% of the world's world's supply of dates are 
grown in Iraq. (Guide Book to Iraq: 1965) 

T r 7 

_ f f ■* f T ' f f f T f f 


A 1956 map of Baghdad showing the three Jesuit houses. 

a . Baghdad 

i 1956 

Photo montage f f 


A remnant of the Baghdadi Jesuits ten years after their 
expulsion from Baghdad gathered together at the first 
biennial reunion which was held in Detroit, Michigan 
during July 1979. The photo was taken by Sabah Tomina. 



Activities at Baghdad College included watching the 1951 
Fathers-Students thanksgiving day baseball game, trying 
to get past Fr. Kelly and onto the bus, waiting for the 
assembly to start, sleeping on the roof and playing 


T Photo montage f 


The 1954 spring brought a terrible flood to Baghdad and 
especially to Baghdad College. Water released north of the 
city flooded the desert area east of the sadda (dike) shown 
in the lower part of the picture, - the Tigris is seen in the 
upper part - thus surrounding B.C. The poor desert people 
brought their reed homes with them and moved onto the 
campus and along Baghdad College road. 


T f Appendix 

Al-Hikma activities included seminars, surveying, taking 
final exams, playing backgammon and daily discussions. 

f f Photo montage f 


Other Al-Hikma activities included mixing cement, testing 
its resistance and laying cornerstones for new buildings. 

328 T T Appendix f f 

The four founders of Baghdad College who arrived in 1932 

Father William A. Rice 

Born: Oct. 3, 1891 
Joined Jesuits: Aug. 14, L911 
Ordained Priest: Aug. 27, 1925 
Arrived Baghdad: March 9, 1932 
Years in Baghdad: 1932-1939 
Died: Feb. 28, 1946 

Father Edward F. Madaras 

Born: Jan. 30, 1897 
Joined Jesuits: Sept. 1, 1916 
Ordained Priest: Aug. 27, 1929 
Arrived in Baghdad: March 9, 1932 
Years in Baghdad: 1932-46, 1946-67 
Died: Oct. 2, 1967 (buried in Baghdad) 

Father Edward J. Coffey 

Born: Dec. 12, 1897 
Joined Jesuits: Aug. 14, 1916 
Ordained Priest: Aug 24, 1929 
Arrived Baghdad: July 27, 1932 
Years in Baghdad: 1932-1935 
Died: July 25, 1986 

Father John A. Mifsud 


Born: Dec. 7. 1895 

Joined Jesuits: Oct. 29, 1916 

Ordained Priest: July 29, 1929 

Arrived in Baghdad: late August/ 

early September, 1932 

Years in Baghdad: 1932-46, 1948-64 

Died: Dec. 7, 1977 

The author, Fr. MacDonnell 
spent eight years in Baghdad 
('55-'58, '64-'69) teaching 
physics and mathematics at 
both Baghdad College and Al- 
Hikma. As physics teacher on 
Al-Hikma's pioneer faculty in 
1956 he authored the first 
laboratory manuals and later 
on wrote several other books 
including Jesuit Geometers. 

His degrees are from Boston College, Fordham and Colombia. 
He belongs to the Clavius Mathematical Research Group and is 
Professor of Mathematics at Fairfield University where he was 
voted Teacher of Year in 1986. He served as Trustee at Boston 
College for 14 years and as Consultor for the New England 
Province for 15 years. 

Like many other Baghdadi Jesuits his interest in Baghdad was 
first stimulated by reading Fr. Madaras 1 periodical Al Baghdadi and 
then later enhanced by the persistent enthusiasm of alumni which 
is so evident in the biennial reunions organized by the B.J. A. A. 
The Baghdad Jesuit Alumni Association is energized by many 
alumni but especially through the generous efforts of Ramzi 
Hermiz, Dave Nona, Tahir Bazirgan and Waiel Hindo. The B.J.A.A. 
has many accomplishments, but Jesuits are especially proud of the 
genuine charity, intelligence and expertise their alumni displayed 
in getting massive amounts of food and medical supplies to 
desperate fellow Iraqis immediately after Desert Storm. 





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