Clement J. McNaspy S.J.


From Our Friends, by T. H. Clancy, S.J.

C.J., as he was called by almost everyone, was born in Lafayette, LA on 22 March 1915. His father was a professor and coach at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now called USL. His education started at home very early with his mother, Agnes Thibodeaux McNaspy, as teacher. He went to the school conducted by the Christian Brothers in Lafayette when he was nine. Before he was 12 he had written a book on astronomy, which is no longer extant, and was frequently seen auditing courses at USL. His other special interests were music and languages.

At the age of 16 he joined the Jesuits at nearby Grand Coteau. He did a brilliant course in the Society. After his ordination in 1944 he came back to Grand Coteau to teach the young Jesuits there. During the following year he made his tertianship in Canada, picking up his doctorate in Music along the way.

The next thirty-three years of his life were divided into three almost equal parts: teaching at the juniorate in Grand Coteau, serving as associate editor of America, and serving as the Dean of the Music School and university professor at Loyola. These were heady years before and after the second Vatican Council, and he did a great deal of lecturing and writing to explain the new look in the Church. It seemed that he knew everyone, especially young Jesuits, and perhaps his greatest influence was as a counsellor and mentor of young clerics and other promising writers and artists.

When he was 65 he began a new career as a missionary in Paraguay where he taught young Jesuits once more and wrote about the early Jesuit achievements in that country. He spent his last years as a teacher at Loyola. He knew a dozen languages, wrote about two dozen books, and had thousands of friends in various nations around the globe. He spent his last years writing his memoirs which were published by Loyola University Press in 1996 under the title, Play On..

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