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Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)


The Marquette community mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, and we recognize the courage and sacrifice he exhibited throughout his life for the cause of equality and justice in his own country and throughout the world. Mandela wasn't a perfect man and admitted his own failings. This made him a more compassionate leader – a leader who approached his country less judgmentally and more open to consensus, and not fixated on retribution.

Mandela himself said, "I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying." Upon hearing these words we are reminded of the words of St. Ignatius from the Spiritual Exercises: “We are sinners, called to be Companions of Christ,” a phrase often repeated in the General Congregations of the Jesuits and the writings of our current Pope Francis.

"I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended… For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others… If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." (Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1995)

May Nelson Mandela rest in peace.

Frederick Zagone, S.J.