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Exploring with @Father Marquette, S.J.

By April Beane and Tim Cigelske, Comm ‘04




Father Jacques Marquette is back. And at 375 years old, the 17th-century Jesuit is still trendsetting. Marquette’s namesake has discovered social media, and he is using it to explore and spread the message about all that Milwaukee has to offer, along with the occasional joke or bon mot.

This week, Father Marquette is excited to get back on shore (he is very comfortable on water) and share with his Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram followers’ suggestions about what to see and do at Milwaukee’s quintessential lakefront festival, Summerfest.

It took a bit of coaxing to get Father Marquette to take a break from his adventures, but we managed to grab a few minutes to do this exclusive Q&A.

First, do you prefer to be called Father or Père?

On this side of the Atlantic, call me Father Jacques Marquette. Too many people confuse Père with Pierre.

How about providing some historical background about yourself?

I've spent my whole life exploring. I was the first European to paddle the Mississippi — I let Louis Jolliet tag along, too — and now I explore Marquette's campus and Milwaukee. If you need more background, I can direct you to a section in the Raynor Library for some of my favorite books. Also, I recently celebrated my 375th birthday. Taking a vow of poverty doesn't mean I can't accept presents, just so you know.

Why jump into social media?

I'm a pioneer. This way I can instantaneously share all the great things I discover on campus and around this city with incoming freshmen. We really have a lot to offer. Besides, have you ever tried to paddle a canoe while holding a manuscript in one hand? Takes longer than dial-up.

What kind of response have you received?

One alumna told me I was her favorite S.J. — I promised not to tell Iggy. Colonel Tribune thanked me for one of my jokes. I'm also good friends with The Jesuit Post.

What have you been doing lately?

Exploring. Searching. Visiting. Eating cookies. The journey is the destination.

As you travel in the 21st century, are you finding Jesuit values still in practice?

I’ve discovered that some things are never outdated — including Jesuit values. They’re visible everywhere at Marquette. Be The Difference is not just a phrase. It's words to live by. People know what you're talking about when you say cura personalis.

What kind of adventures can we expect from you in the coming days?

I'll be running the Storm the Bastille 5K at Bastille Days on Thursday, July 12. You'll be able to find me from time to time at the Marquette booth, where I will be handing out reflective wristbands for the nighttime runners. I'll probably be the only person in a robe, so look for me and say bonjour.

Do you have a favorite spot you like to visit on campus? In Milwaukee?

I have an affinity for that statue on Central Mall. Off campus, you can find me hanging out in Père Marquette Park, of course. I especially enjoy River Rhythms on Wednesday nights in the summer. Magnifique!

What are you pointing at?

The lakefront, where Summerfest and most festivals come alive in the summer. And the future.

Any advice for fellow adventurers?

“Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men. ” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Also, Numen flumenque.

Final question: Is that robe comfortable in this heat?

Not exactly, but it keeps out UV rays when I'm visiting Bradford Beach. Fortunately, it's true what they say — it's cooler by the lake.

Thanks for chatting, Father Marquette.

Pas de quoi.

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