Rudi Heredia’s memoir, A Clown for God, a Clown for Others – a take on P. Kolvenbach’s Men of God, Men for Others – is a collection of personal anecdotes and reflections on various aspects of his Jesuit life, with many reminiscences of his family thrown in as well.
The book is a series of personal anecdotes and reflections from childhood to dotage. It makes easy reading, and many who have been with Rudi as friends, relatives or fellow Jesuits (such as this reviewer), will easily recognize segments of his life which they may have shared. If sometimes the recollections are too abstruse or longwinded, one can always skip the section and turn to another page.
This is a book I recommend to many of our younger Jesuits, specially those in formation, for they describe a critical time in our religious life, the years after the Council, the late 1960s to the 90s, when so much changed in the Church and in the Society, and not always for the better. You have here one Jesuit’s observations. Not all will agree with him, naturally, but they stimulate one to think on one’s own.
As for me, I still smile at Irene Heredia, his mother’s, comment on her son Rudi, as he left home to join the novitiate (p. 48):
He seems remote and very aloof, wise with the weight of his 19 years. He talks to me like the UN charter, of the right to choose, the right to live one’s own life… He talks endlessly in the didactic drone of an adult striving to drive home a point.
Sixty years later, that’s vintage Rudi Heredia. He hasn’t changed one bit.
Title: A Clown for God, a Clown for Others: Recollections of an Indian Jesuit
Author: Rudolf C. Heredia, SJ
Publication: Speaking Tiger, New Delhi
Price: Rs. 450/-
The author lives at Campion School, Colaba, Mumbai, where he is writer-in-residence.