Loyola Magazine

Taking time to better someone’s life

Brian De Sena, ’11, reflects on his Jesuit education from Loyola

When I was looking at colleges, a Jesuit education was not part of the laundry list of attributes my ideal college needed to possess.

But after four years at a Jesuit school, it ended up being one the most important characteristics.

My grandmother spoke fondly of the Jesuits and a Jesuit education, but that didn’t resonate with me as I counted down the days before the first day of school. I was more concerned about what my roommate would be like and how the food was going to taste.

The Jesuit education I received at Loyola University transformed me into a well-rounded person. I studied in a beautiful country, learned the importance of community, and formed many bonds that will forever be part of my life.

One of the most important bonds was the one I formed with a teacher and Jesuit priest named Father Jack Dennis. Father Jack—or FJ, as he was referred to by the students—was someone who was there for every single student. He was very approachable and made you feel as if you were just talking to one of your peers when you interacted with him. You could even spot him lifting weights at Loyola’s gym.

Father Jack taught me the importance of community through his actions. I came to him one day frustrated that I was unable to find the right club to help the homeless in Baltimore due to scheduling conflicts with my classes. Father Jack looked at me and said, “Why do we need a club, we can do it ourselves.”

The next week Father Jack and two other Loyola students and I drove to a local pizza place and bought a bunch of pizzas. We then drove down to Baltimore and handed out slices of pizza and mingled with the homeless.

Father Jack showed us how easy it truly is to help the community we live in. Some of think it’s difficult or takes too much time. He showed us that it doesn’t take much time to better someone’s life even if it’s by sharing a slice of pizza.

I have taken those learnings and have joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters Group in New York. I am forever grateful for the friendship I have with Father Jack and his teachings that made me a better person.

Brian De Sena graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2011 and is a national account executive for NPA. He has previously been featured in Loyola magazine for his involvement with Live4Evan, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by cardiac disease, in honor of De Sena’s friend and fellow classmate, Evan Girardi,