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Faculty write on racism, Ignatian Spirituality and Black history

Apr 13, 2022
5 min Read
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Patrick Saint-Jean and Ogechukwu Williams

Two Creighton faculty members were recently published: The Crucible of Racism: Ignatian Spirituality and the Power of Hope was written by Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ, PsyD (above left), instructor in psychology, and The Black History Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained includes a chapter by Ogechukwu Williams, PhD (above right), assistant professor of history.

Upon coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies and then to commence training as a Jesuit, Haitian-born Patrick Saint-Jean discovered something he had not known before: racism.

In The Crucible of Racism, released in March by Orbis Books, Saint-Jean writes that the principles and practices of Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit formation hold the promise of conversion and healing for a Church and a society still caught in the grips of racism.

In a fresh reading of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Saint-Jean says the “discernment of spirits”; the examination of conscience; and the imaginative identification with Jesus in his sufferings, death and resurrection became “an entry to his own journey of hope and resurrection.”

Williams is one of several contributors to The Black History Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained, published in November 2021 by British publishing company DK. The book aims to take a comprehensive look at the Black experience throughout human history, from the earliest human migrations on the African continent through the modern era.  

“My own personal vested interest in the project was seeing that the content itself was a fair representation of Black history. In my case, that was the African part of the story,” says Williams, who specializes in African history, the medical humanities and the history of medicine.

Williams’ contributions to the project include chapters on the 19th century scramble of European nations to colonize Africa and Black combatants in World War II. Among other topics, Williams wrote an entry on Kenya’s Mau Mau Uprising.