|March 23, 2015 • VOL. 53, NO. 6 • Oakland, CA|
| Pope Francis, leading by example
Early the first morning Father Bergoglio was in the laundry room. He had taken on the most menial task himself, the laundry, thus by example showing what he expected of the seminarians.
Lowney cites that as a key to understanding the pope, leading by doing things yourself. It is reflected in many activities the pope has done, including meeting the poor and embracing them in their lives.
For Pope Francis there is no daylight between his faith and his actions. He is well-known for leaving the Papal Palace for a small apartment and riding in an open air car, sometimes inviting people on the streets to ride with him. A Jesuit, Pope Francis is revamping the Curia and goes head-on into highly charged social issues with a joy-filled personal style.
As seminary rector, dusty shoes were a check-off for Father Bergoglio when he urged his seminarians to go out to Argentina's slums to help their residents. When they asked for direction he told the students to just go out and talk with the slum residents, rather than trying to lead them directly. Listening was key, he told his students. He could judge how well the students did by watching to see how dusty their shoes were when they returned.
Finally, seminary church bells ring at different times of day. Bergoglio used them as a vehicle for teaching his students to step back from the day's activities and reflect on whether they were still on track and focused on the core values of their lives.
The pope's leadership style is explored in Lowney's book, "Pope Francis: Why He Leads The Way He Leads." Lowney offered insights to the Pope at the March Catholics@Work breakfast.
Lowney spent seven years as a Jesuit seminarian before leaving. He married and eventually became a JP Morgan managing director. Today he chairs the Catholic Healthcare Initiative, a $19 billion healthcare system operating hospitals and other facilities in 19 states.
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