News of the Midwest Jesuits - 2019

Above: Matthew Cherry with Hair Love producer Karen Rupert Toliver

Loyola Academy Alumnus Matthew A. Cherry Wins Oscar for Hair Love

Matthew A. Cherry, a 1999 graduate of Loyola Academy, had a career first as he won the 2020 Academy Award for best animated short film for Hair Love. Cherry is a member of Loyola Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame and went on to play football as a wide receiver at the University of Akron and in the NFL before becoming a filmmaker. Cherry has also executive produced the movie BlacKkKlansman and directed episodes of Black-ish and The Last O.G.

Hair Love began as a project on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in 2017, where it went viral and raised a record-breaking amount of over $200,000. The film depicts a young African American father who struggles to style his daughter’s natural hair in the absence of his sick wife. After nearly giving up, the father turns to the help of a vlogger, voiced by Issa Rae, and manages to get his daughter’s hair done in the intricate way she had wanted. The story was also adapted into a children’s book written by Cherry in 2019. In his acceptance speech, Cherry said, “Hair Love was done because we wanted to see more representation in animation. We wanted to normalize black hair.”

Maureen Schuerman

Jesuit Institutions Name New Administrators 

Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee has appointed Maureen Schuerman as its next president, effective July 1. Schuerman is the owner of a consulting firm focused on fundraising strategy and planning and has also served as the president of Dominican High School from 2005-2009. She will succeed Susan M. Smith, who has led Nativity for five very successful years, during which the school quadrupled its enrollment to over 250 students and completed a $5-million capital campaign. 

Schuerman began the transition in March, and then as planned, Smith will remain at Nativity until summer 2021 in a consulting/ support role to ensure a seamless transition. Schuerman will lead Nativity through the completion of its strategic planning process and looks forward to continuing the school’s legacy of high academic achievement and positive community relationships.

Father Joseph Mueller, SJ

Father Joseph Mueller, SJ, rector of the Marquette Jesuit Community and associate professor of theology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. Father Mueller will remain in his roles at Marquette during the spring semester and assume his new role at Santa Clara on July 1. Father Gregory O’Meara, SJ, has been appointed as the new rector of Marquette’s Jesuit community.

Fr. Matthew Spotts, SJ

The Creighton Prep Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to name Fr. Matthew Spotts, SJ, as the school’s 34th president. Father Spotts comes to Creighton Prep with experience and insights gained from a wide variety of missions with the Society of Jesus. Currently, he provides sacramental and pastoral ministry at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, the nation’s largest Jesuit secondary school, and serves as the associate pastor at a local parish. He is completing a graduate degree in education. Upon learning of his selection, Fr. Spotts remarked, “Creighton Prep enjoys a well-deserved reputation for excellence. It will be a great honor to be a part of taking that tradition forward and finding ever deeper ways to carry out Prep’s mission for the greater glory of God.”

Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat Celebrates Golden Jubilee

Last November, Jesuit organizations across the world assembled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat. The Secretariat, established by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, assists the Society in promoting justice and reconciliation with creation and uniting Jesuit conferences from around the world in their social ministries. 

Over 200 Jesuits and lay collaborators from 57 countries and every Jesuit province gathered in Rome to celebrate this commitment and look toward the future, addressing how Jesuit ministries can answer the call of the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs). 

Of the delegates, 21 were from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, and four of those delegates were of the USA Midwest Province: Fr. Dan Hartnett, SJ, pastoral minister at Loyola University Chicago; John Sealey, provincial assistant for social and international ministries; Sr. Erin McDonald, C.S.J., minister for service and justice at University of Detroit Mercy; and Midwest regent Matthew Ippel, SJ. In a reflection for The Jesuit Post, Ippel wrote that the celebration heavily incorporated the UAPs:

“The UAPs provided lenses for us to discern how we are being called to respond in our life and mission. Leading members of different apostolic sectors provided insight into how the social dimension continues to deepen its integration into their respective apostolates.”

Return to Jesuits Spring 2020 Index

Recent News

July 23, 2020 — Bishop Michael McGovern, installed as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, on July 22, is an alumnus of both Saint Ignatius College Prep and Loyola University Chicago.

July 7, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Frederick J. Deters, SJ, who died on July 5, 2020, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 83 years old. May he rest in peace.

June 22, 2020 — Through this examen, we will start the work of antiracism by examining how systemic racism influences our lives and how we practice the sin of racism.

June 19, 2020 —The Society of Jesus is proud to announce the ordination of 15 new priests in Canada, the United States and Haiti this calendar year.

June 15, 2020 — Mornings at Pope Francis Center start just after 6 a.m. The skeleton crew of workers line up to have their temperature checked, then they change into work clothes.

Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, Fifth Bishop of Youngstown, OH, dies at 71.

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The Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House is located on the shores of Lake De Montreville in Lake Elmo, Minn.