‘I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of the irony that Chicago
might never have had a Monsignor John Egan,’ writes Mergery Frisbie
in Commonweal, ‘if his old teacher, Father
Beemsterboer, had played the seminary game by the numbers.’
Egan, who died earlier this year, would not have even gotten to
seminary if Beemsterboer had not realized that a good priest need
not receive an A in Latin. After seminary, Egan took an active role
in both the religious and social realm, feeding everyone from the
homeless to Jews with faith while helping communities and
neighborhoods cope with racial and economic crises. He was so
inspirational, Frisbie explains, because, unlike other priests, he
made decisions and effectively enacted them.
In the midst of the confusing priesthood scandals, she remembers
that Egan never would have touched so many people and reformed so
many lives if the rules were not bent with logic and reason.