Category: Ignatius


The Holy Name

AMDG

859744_10151803274681496_264154740_oYesterday was the Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus. ‘The most Holy Name of Jesus’.  The Jesuit ‘mother-church’ in Rome is the Church of the Gesu.  Originally here in Manchester the founding fathers of the mission wished to call our church the Gesu – but the bishop of Salford, Bishop Turner, rightly  intervened and said it would sound a bit weird.  We have to remember that in 1870′s Catholicism was only just re-emerging into British public life and there was an acute sensibility to how we would be re-established.  So following his advice, the Gesu became the Holy Name.  Yesterday Pope Francis celebrated the feast of the Holy Name with Jesuits in the Gesu. It was a great occasion – and a double celebration of the Holy Name and the canonisation of the Jesuit Peter Faber.

In his homily, Pope Francis praised Faber’s “restlessness” to his brother Jesuits: “This is the restlessness that Peter Faber had, a man of great dreams.” He was, said the Pope, a “modest man, sensitive, with a deep inner life and endowed with the gift of making friends with people of all kinds…… However, he was also a restless spirit, indecisive, never satisfied…He was a man of great desires, and he took charge of his desires, recognized them….. An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world. Here’s the question we must ask ourselves: Do we also have great vision and momentum? Are we too bold? Do our dreams aim high? Does our zeal devour us (cf. Ps 69.10) or are we mediocre and are satisfied?”

1601218_10151803281286496_1118849445_nAt the end of mass a gift (seen on the right)  was presented to Pope Francis by the postulator of the cause of St. Peter Faber, Father Anton Witwer, SJ, and the Vice-Postulator Father Marc Lindeijer, SJ. It is a facsimile of the Final Vows of St. Peter Faber in 1541.  Final Vows represent the full incorporation of a man into the Society of Jesus – often taking place 20 or so years after you entered as a novice.  Every Jesuit takes simple and perpetual vows after two years in the Novitiate. One way of looking at it that at First Vows, you accept the Society; at Final Vows, the Society accepts you, “for better or worse.”  Final Vows included a Fourth Vow of obedience to the Pope – to be available to be sent anywhere on Mission.  At end of the final vow mass – the now fully professed Jesuit will take 5 Private Vows in the Sacristy – surrounded by his fellow Jesuits.   These vows show how well St. Ignatius understood human nature and are described very well by James Martin –   First, there is a  vow never to change anything in the Jesuit Constitutions about poverty–unless to make it “more strict.”  Second, a vow never to “strive or ambition” for any dignity in the church, like becoming a bishop.  Third, never to “strive or ambition” for any high office in the Jesuits.  Fourth, if we find out that someone is striving for these things, we are to “communicate his name” to the Society.  (A friend calls this the vow to rat out someone, but it’s another indication of how much Ignatius wanted to eliminate ambition, as far as possible, from the Jesuits.)  Finally, we take a vow that, if we are somehow made bishop, we will still listen to the superior general.

AMDG

Icon of Pierre Favre by Fr. William McNichols

Icon of Pierre Favre by Fr. William McNichols

There have been many whispers but today it seems to be confirmed in the Italian Press.  Pierre Favre, the first Jesuit priest (he was already ordained when he joined with the group of men who were gathering around St Ignatius in Paris) is to be declared a saint in December.   This is a great joy for many of us Jesuits, he is often quoted as being one of the favourite first companions but relatively unknown outside of the Society of Jesus.  It seem that Pope Francis shares his fellow Jesuits affection for this great man.  In the interview he gave to Jesuit magazines including Thinking Faith  in October the Pope said this about Favre,

“[His] dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté perhaps, his being available straightaway, his careful interior discernment, the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”

Pope Francis PrayingPierre Favre (or Peter Faber) was highly esteemed by St Ignatius as the companion he trusted the most to give the Spiritual Exercises.  He had a remarkable skill in what we call ‘spiritual conversation’. a great preacher, and a remarkable ability to reconcile warring factions, particular families that were divided.  This ‘spiritual skill set’ which would be valuable at any time was especially needed in the spiritual fractious times of the Reformation.  He was sent by St Ignatius to be a ‘periti’ (an expert) at the Council of Trent.  His reputation grew so fast that the he was missioned directly by popes and sent into flash points in Germany such as Speyer, Mainz, and Cologne,  where Catholic Bishops were teteering towards Lutheranism.

Antonio Spadaro who gave the interview to Pope Francis provides this commentary As Pope Francis lists these personal characteristics of his favorite Jesuit I understand just how much this figure has truly been a model for his own life. Michel de Certeau, S.J., characterised Faber simply as “the reformed priest,” for whom interior experience, dogmatic expression and structural reform are intimately inseparable. I begin to understand, therefore, that Pope Francis is inspired precisely by this kind of reform.

Already beatifed, Pope Francis is following a  process for Favre’s canonization called “equivalent canonization” – when he omits the judicial process and ceremonies involved and orders the new saint to be venerated in the Universal Church.  John Paul II, decreed 3 such canonizations, Benedict XVI decreed 1Here is a link to the report http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/favre-gesuita-santo-30065/

AMDG

imagesReading the wonderful interview that Pope Francis gave to Thinking Faith and other Jesuit journals last week – what comes across is the great freedom with which he speaks and also the humility with which he looks back on his past.  There is an interesting parallel between him and St Ignatius the founder of the Jesuits.  When we were Jesuit novices we had seminars on what is referred to as the ‘autobiography’ of Ignatius.  This was written towards the end of his life, somewhat reluctantly, Ignatius was wary of vainglory.  He had been urged by the young members of his new order to leave them an account of his life before he died, he seem to avoid it,  but eventually he submitted and dictated his memories to a young Jesuit – Goncalves de Camara.

autobiography-st-ignatius-loyola-paperback-cover-artAt a time when saint’s lives where often written after their death by their adoring followers, the literary style was usually hagiographic.  Emphasising their virtues, downplaying or ignoring their vices, often from a desire to inspire devotion – the result was that the Saints lives didn’t seem very human, or distant from what many of experience in normal life.  Ignatius is determined in his autobiography to do the opposite – he wants to show young Jesuits and also those who read about his life, about his mistakes and how God has worked through them and transformed him.  Some historians even think that de Camara ‘toned’ down some of the passages, particularly of Ignatius as a young man in order not to cause a scandal.

Pope Francis’s interview comes across in a similar tone.  He speaks frankly, and without excuses or self pity about the mistakes he made as a young Jesuit.  He was put in as a provincial in his thirties, a very young age, and in his own words ‘My authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions led me to have serious problems’ How refreshing it is to hear the Pope talk in such ways.  Francis talks about a period of ‘great interior crisis’ in Cordoba– – again mirroring Ignatius who went through great spiritual turmoil in Manresa after his initial conversion and overly zealous ways.  I am convinced that in life we often learn more about ourselves through failure than success – as long as we are supported through our failures in a loving environment.  Both Francis and Ignatius give testament to this, and theirs is the ultimate loving environment – an regular, deep and intimate prayer life.  This is  how grace works through weakness. This is easy to forget when we have an education system that is obsessed with measurable success.  

If you have a bit of time – read the Pope’s interview – and if you are too busy, make time!!

Simple Vows

AMDG

ign_image_17Today is the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, where Catholics believe Mary was taken body & soul into heaven.  It is also the day that St. Ignatius chose as a historic day for the Jesuits.  Ignatius and his first six  companions, Faber, Xavier, Laynez, Rodriguez, Salmeron,  Bobadilla took first simple vows at Mass celebrated by Faber.  As James Brodrick wrote in his excellent book, – The companions repaired together at dawn to a little unused chapel half-way up the slopes of Montmarte, and there, unobserved except by God, burned their boats behind them during a Mass celebrated by Favre.  It was the quietest ceremony, that laying of  the foundation stone of the society of Jesus, so quiet that even the seven themselves had no inkling of what they had started.

Traditionally it became the day when many Jesuits took their vows – Why did these founding Jesuits choose to take their vows on this feast day?  It is day I and many other Jesuits privately renew our vows….  Why did Ignatius choose the feast of the Assumption?

9780300060799_p0_v1_s260x420It is clear that his devotion to Our Lady was intense even in an age when Marian devotion was becoming increasingly polemical due to the newly established Protestant sects. In Ignatius life as in the life of the Church it had acquired considerable popular force.  At Key moments in Ignatius’s mystical life Mary was very close, his vigils at Aranzazu and Monsteratt, his petition at La Storta that he may be placed ‘with the son’ . William Meissner, a Jesuit Psychologist, describes this as a  balance to an image of God that was being progressively masculinised. Mary could bring a mothers love and understanding to the inadequacies and anxieties of her children and plead their case before divine judgement.   She has become for many Catholics the idealised image of maternal concern.   So for Ignatius, this feast which emphasises Marys special place in heaven in the church is supplemented by their offering and making these simple and perpetual vows.  As Broderick says – they really have burnt their boats here – and they do so confidently under the mantle of the Assumption.

assumpWhen Pope  declared the doctrine of the Assumption as infallible in 1950,  Protestants were angry because it wasn’t in Scripture. The recently deceased John Edwards SJ pointed out with delicious irony that the (Anglican) Archbishop of York, standing beneath his cathedral’s 600 year old Assumption roof-boss, deplored it as an innovation. The position of the Orthodox was more nuanced: they believed it, of course, but were furious that the Pope had defined it.  Whatever the controversy – devotion to Our Lady is as strong as ever in world-wide Catholicism, and this day is celebrated with great joy as it was in the ancient church before we all started feuding.  It is in the spirit of this joy and wonder that some of us Jesuits renew our vows, that we can offer our own ‘little-lives’ in imitation of Mary’s incredible openness and generosity with God.

 

Pope SJ

images AMDG

I’ve decided to bring the blog out of slumber because of the exciting events of this week.  None of us ever expected to see a Jesuit Pope. When St Ignatius founded us in the 16th Century – he diagnosed that one of the biggest problems in the church was clerical ambition i.e. the unseemly desire that priests had for power and influence within the church.  A bishopric in those times often had significant wealth attached to it.  This clerical ambition was often a proxy for greed and a channel for corruption.  So Jesuits were banned from seeking status or office in the church.  When we take our final vows – as well as the four public vows there are private vows which are taken in the sacristy afterwards, often only witnessed by the provincial and your Jesuit brothers.  One of those vows is not to seek for positions of power and influence in the church, followed by a vow to inform on any other Jesuit who you suspect of seeking office within the church. The fact that we are meant to ‘rat on’ our brothers shows how seriously Ignatius took it.  In 1603 – when St Robert Bellarmine was named a Cardinal, the first Jesuit to be so honoured,  Fr General Acquaviva wrote a letter to the whole Society, making it clear that both he & Fr. Bellarmine had left nothing undone to prevent the latter’s Cardinalate.    However under Holy obedience to the Pope, and for greater service of the church, the Pope can insist that a Jesuit must become a bishop or cardinal. This  is what happened to Cardinal Bergoglio.

proxyWhen Pope Francis appeared on the balcony on Weds evening – we were all squashed around the television with a group of excited students.  When we realised we had the first Jesuit Pope – all the Jesuits in the room panicked! Whereas our students broke out in spontaneous applause – which was lovely. It has been lovely to get so many messages of congratulations from friends, and see how proud our associates are – but I still feel slightly anxious.  When the flak starts and the attacks come – it is very difficult not to take it personally – and the worst attacks and often most uncharitable can come from within the church!  However it was lovely to have an Argentinian Student with us who is doing postgraduate political studies. He told us how he had met the Cardinal in Beunos Aires last year.  He was on the tram when he got a phone call – the voice at the other end said – its Father Mario here.  Our student was amazed that he had phoned directly – no secretary – and also that he had called himself simply Father Mario. This humility and simplicity could be a very important impulse for renewal in te Church.

130313-bergoglio-bio-04a.ss_fullAnd what a Job he has – as Schumpter said in the Economist before the election this week, ‘The Roman Catholic church is the world’s oldest multinational. It is also, by many measures, its most successful, with 1.2 billion customers, 1m employees, tens of millions of volunteers, a global distribution network, a universally recognised logo, unrivalled lobbying clout and, auguring well for the future, a successful emerging-markets operation’  Pope Francis will not be a CEO, more is expected of him – lets keep him in our prayers. It’s  a testament to efficacy of the Holy Spirit that even now in an age of vatileaks and social media – the Spirit working is still capable of confounding our expectations and our calculations.

At what price glory?

AMDG

 

English: Picture of Marco Pantani on the way t...

Marco Pantani –  Alpe d’Huez 1997 (Wikipedia)

 

The summer before I entered the Jesuit novitiate, I hired a van with a group of friends and we drove around France for two weeks following  the Tour de France through the Alps and the Pyrenees. It was a magical summer, we would arrive on these incredible mountain passes the night before the stage, just before they closed the roads off.  The night was spent partying with Spanish / French / Dutch etc cycling fans and then the next day the excitement would build as the race approached.  These men were the greatest athletes in my opinion, in the most gruelling sporting event on the planet.  The crowds on the big climbs would number in the hundreds of thousands, and because of the steep incline of the climbs, the exhausted cyclists, strung out in little groups – would pass by at a much slower pace than on the flat or downhill parts.  If I close my eyes the one image that sums up that summer was seeing Marco Pantani leading the peloton over Les Deux Alps.  One of the greatest climbers of all time – he would dance on his pedals and soar through the mountains like an angel.

 

Six years later he died of a cocaine overdose in a grotty hotel in Rimini, Italy.  I have just finished reading a gripping book about his life, called, ironically, ‘The Death of Marco Pantani‘ .  The life and death of Marco Pantini could be a parable for our times.  As modern sport has become more important politically and commercially the consequences of success and failure have been blown out of proportion. Cheating in sport has been around since ancient times, however it was in East Germany and its notorious Programme 1425 that lead to thousands of uniformed youngsters being given steroids, when cheating became systematic. In Finland they developed the technique of using blood transfusions in sport – which required access to labs, medical expertise and much larger budgets.  What is shocking is the risks these cyclists took, the strain of the heart pumping thickened blood, meant that many cyclists had to sleep with heart monitors which would set off an alarm when their heart beats dropped below safe levels. Following the Tour in 98 there were rumours of groups of cyclists jumping out of bed in the dead hours of the morning to leap on exercises bikes to get their hearts pumping again.  Tragically at  the end of the book, in the epilogue, there is a list of 8 cyclists who died of sudden heart attacks between 2003-5.  So the current insistence of Team Sky to be clean, and the scandal of Lance Armstrong’s cheating and bullying are so important.

Worryingly as sport becomes more important – maybe as a symptom of a society that is losing balance – Sports stars are prepared to risk everything for that moment of glory.  St Ignatius calls this lack of balance a ‘disordered attachment’.   Alarmingly, with the rise of Paralympics, the spectre has been raised of athletes deliberately dismembering themselves in order to compete.  Especially with the controversy around Oscar Pistorius and others ‘blades’, as technology continues to improve soon blades will be superior to the leg, at least on the 100m’s track. When a ‘disabled’ sprinter starts to break Usain Bolt’s World Records – then there will be irresistible pressure to lose your legs just to compete…..  No wonder the Spiritual Masters consistently warn us against disordered attachments to fame and glory.

 

AMDG

English: Manchester University Logo

English: Manchester University Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it has been announced publicly now that my next job is to be chaplain at Manchester University.  I will be moving in sometime by the end of this week.  I will be on my own till Christmas and then 3 other Jesuits will join me.  It is a very exciting new mission, with a conglomeration of over 85,000 students (the biggest in Europe I’ve been told) and 400-600 coming to the Sunday evening mass.  Outside the chaplaincy is also the busiest bus stop in the country (foot-fall wise) with more than 2000 passengers embarking and disembarking an hour, so we really are in the thick of it.  Fantastic!  Many of mates think it is hilarious that a scouser and Liverpool fan is going to Manchester to be chaplain, but as I said on local radio yesterday, over the last 20 years us Liverpool fans have had to learn humility, which is a good quality for a chaplain.  I hope that brought a smile to a few Mancunian faces….  Daniel into the lions den!

Probably by advent we will be taking back the Holy Name Church (next door to the chaplaincy) as the Oratorians will move to their newly founded oratory nearby.  We owe them a huge debt of gratitude as in essence they saved the Church.  Last week a national newspaper reported that Roberto Mancini (Man City manager) is a regular mass attendee click here, so I will have to exercise restraint in the pulpit!  At the back of the church is a beautiful copy of the Rubens painting of St Ignatius and St Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratorians (see right).  They were great friends and St. Philip encouraged a number of his own disciples who displayed a desire for missionary work to become Jesuits.  Philip was fascinated with the plans of St. Francis Xavier, whom he befriended before the latter set off on his missionary journeys. Ignatius used to pass along the letters of St. Francis reporting back to Rome, which Philip and his companions would read and discuss together in community.  However,  Philip was told by a wise Trappist that “Your India is to be Rome.”, a city which is always in need of missionary and reforming zeal!  We owe a great debt to Father Ray Matus and his companions for all the work they have done in Manchester and I hope we can keep the spiritual synergy going!

 

AMDG

What a difference a month makes, Andy Murray on the same court against the same opponent seemed to be a different person yesterday.  It has been called the fastest redemption story in sport. Murray, often seen as moody, has been smiling, having fun and playing with a freedom and a ‘lightness’ that he didn’t seem to have at the Wimbledon tournament. He has clearly thrived over the past week  not being such a focus for national attention as during the Wimbledon fortnight. Being part of a team and being inspired by others – he has said he is so glad to be part of Team GB and is motivated by the other athletes. What is the difference? I think it is that he was not just playing for himself but for something bigger than him.   It reminds me of that beautiful line in EP 4 ‘And that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him‘ .  It is also beautiful – that in a sport, with huge amounts of money, pressure, were everything is oriented to the individual with a huge entourage around them – it is the Olympics, with no direct monetary award, and where Murray is one of many great British athletes…. it is this environment that has brought the best out of him.

Ignatius describes the phenomenon of spiritual consolation in a similar way – anything that opens us to the world, fills us with peace, joy, freedom – allows us to fulfill our potential can be a sign of consolation. When we are basically focused on something greater than ourselves.  The opposite, desolation, leads us in on ourselves, to self doubt, apathy, cynicism.  This is speaking very generally of course and in the spiritual life consolation and desolation can be much more subtle than that (i.e. If an evil tyrant had self doubt it might be a path to consolation!)  Ignatius talks about consolation in a much more focused and religious way – here are his words:

“ I call consolation every increase of faith, hope, and love, and all interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly and to the salvation of one’s soul by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord.”

Whereas desolation leads to “ the opposite of (consolation), as darkness of soul, torment of spirit, inclination to what is low and earthly, restlessness rising from many disturbances and temptations which lead to want of faith, want of hope, want of love.  The soul is wholly slothful, tepid, sad, and separated, as it were, from its Creator and Lord.”

AMDG

Today is a special day for Jesuits and friends all over the world. It is the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola.  It will be celebrated in thousands of schools, universities, parishes, retreat houses, refugee camps, radio stations, tv studios, publishing houses, blogs …… Ignatius of course was the founder of the Society of Jesus.  He wrote more letters than anyone in the sixteenth century, we still have over 7000 of them, so we know a lot about him. In an age when hagiographys were written about saints, often distancing us from a frank history of religious figures by the desire to create pious and edifying stories, Ignatius’ autobiography, reluctantly dictated as his life was ebbing away, is refreshing for its simplicity, honesty and desire to show how had grown through mistakes and failures. Last year, whilst I was in Manila on ‘tertianship’ which is like a renewal year for us Jesuits – I took the opportunity to read what I consider to be the best book about him  I have read.  Written by a Basque Historian, Jose Ignacio Tellechea Idigoras and called ‘The Pilgrim Saint‘. Idigoras, not a Jesuit but an award winning Historian, has an incredible amount of detail to hand and weaves it in with the background information to create a warm and compelling portrait of this great man.

If I was to be asked to sum up what Ignatius could teach us normal folk, struggling with faith or even outside the church, it would be by looking at the contrast between his early life and his later life. Ignatius as a young man was very unpleasant – arrogant, vain, promiscuous and violent,  being brought up in the spiritually toxic climate of the ambitious courtier desiring power, influence and conquests (political and sexual).  A little bit like our cult of celebrity today.  When his life was shattered along with his leg at the Battle of Pamplona, the lengthy convalescence forced a period of extensive introspection.  He didn’t like what he saw and opened his heart to God.  So as Idigoras masterfully put it – as well as reconstructing his disjointed leg, he began to reconstruct his disjointed soul.  In order to reconstruct we need something to build on.  From the chaos of Ignatius’s life of excess and disorder there were three things he could cling on to. 1)When he looked at his hands he could take comfort that he never engaged in pillaging as a soldier when the opportunity arose, a fact that was well known and respected. 2) When he considered his mouth,  he never once blasphemed even in the extreme pain after Pamplona. 3) Although he had enemies who had pursued him through the courts and sought his arrest after some of his outrageous actions, he didn’t carry any hatred in his heart. Perhaps this was the most important thing he could cling on to, as it is the heart where God slowly and silently can change us. And so began the long. slow journey back into God’s grace which bore has born so much fruit down the centuries.  By the end of his life God had achieved much through him, at the time of his death there were 1036 Jesuits, 11 provinces, 92 houses, 33 colleges at his death.  Idigoras leaves us with this beautiful portrait of the elderly Ignatius.

He wore a simple austere cassock and fought off the cold with a large cloak.  When he left the house he wore a voluminous cape and a broad brimmed hat with attached chords that he tied to his chin. It was impressive to see him walking in the street. He was always going, because of some business, to some specific place or to see some particular person. At this period in his life his fair hair had disappeared, he was bald and wore a short beard from which loomed an aquiline nose and high cheekbones.  His complexion had become darker, weather-beaten, perhaps even yellowish because of his liver ailment? His countenance, serious and peaceful, was the image of circumspection and a life lived interiorly. Some found it particularly luminous and expressive. His eyes which at one time had been sparkling and bright were now blurred by work, old age and copious tears. They had lost their gaiety but not their penetrating force. He seldom looked at people straight on.  When he did, however, people said he took in the person from head to toe. His gaze seemed to have the power of seeing straight through a person right into his heart. 

Keep your chin up!

AMDG

A couple of weeks ago I read about the worlds luckiest / or unluckiest man – I couldn’t believe it.  St Ignatius teaches that when you are in ‘desolation’ to sit tight, not to make a decision, it may seem as though the whole world is against you – but it won’t last . Here is a true story that puts that sage advice into perspective (via Neatorama)……… On a cold January day in 1962, a Croatian music teacher named Frane Selak was traveling from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik by train. Well, that’s where he thought he was going. Little did he know what he was actually about to embark upon a strange 40-year odyssey marked by freak accidents and near-death experiences. The train carrying Selak in 1962 inexplicably jumped the tracks and plunged into an icy river, killing 17 passengers. Selak managed to swim back to shore, suffering hypothermia, shock, bruises, and a broken arm, but very happy to be alive. One year later, Selak was on a plane traveling from Zagreb to Rijeka when a door blew off the plane and he was sucked out of the aircraft. A few minutes later the plane crashed; 19 people were killed. But Selak woke up in a hospital – he’d been found in a haystack and had only minor injuries.

In 1966 he was riding on a bus that went off the road and into a river. Four people were killed – but not Selak. He suffered only cuts and bruises. In 1970 he was driving along when his car suddenly caught fire. He managed to stop and get out just before the fuel tank exploded and engulfed the car in flames. In 1973 a faulty fuel pump sprayed gas all over the engine of another of Selak’s car while he was driving it, blowing flames through the air vents. His only injury: he lost most of his hair. His friends started calling him “Lucky.” In 1995 he was hit by a city bus in Zagreb but received only minor injuries. In 1996 he was driving on a mountain road when he turned a corner and saw a truck coming straight at him. He drove the car through a guardrail, jumped out, landed in a tree – and watched his car explode 300 feet below. By this time he was starting to get an international reputation for his amazing knack for survival. “You could look at it two ways,” Selak said. “I am either the world’s unluckiest man or the luckiest. I prefer to believe the latter.”How does the story of Frane Selak end? Luckily, of course. In June 2003, at the age of 74, Selak bought his first lottery ticket in 40 years … and won more than $1 million. “I am going to enjoy my life now,” he said. “I feel like I have been reborn. I know God was watching over me all these years.” He told reporters that he planned to buy a house, a car, and a speedboat, and to marry his girlfriend. …… In 2004 Selak was hired to star in an Australian TV commercial for Doritos. At first he accepted the job, but then changed his mind and refused to fly to Sydney for the filming. Reason: He said he didn’t want to test his luck!

Following up on the story there is a very thought-provoking ending …… Now the pensioner has decided that “money cannot buy happiness” and has decided to live a frugal life.He has sold his luxury home on a private island, given away his fortune to family and friends and moved back to his modest home in Petrinja, which is south of Zagreb, in the centre of the country.He kept the last bit of his winnings for a hip replacement operation so he could enjoy life with his wife and also so he could build a shrine to the Virgin Mary to give thanks for his luck.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,789 other followers