Gary Smith, SJ, worked for six years with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda. He is the author of They Come Back Singing, a journal of his time in Uganda, Radical Compassion, an account of his ministry to the poor and disabled in Portland, Oregon, and Street Journal
Loving the Unloved of Society
I realize that God brought me into this world, blessed with skills and talents. The only thing that makes sense to me is to use them in the service of the poor. It is at their feet that I find myself.
For almost ten years, Gary Smith, S.J., lived and worked among the poor of Portland, Oregon. With this memoir, he invites us to walk with him and meet some of the abandoned, over-looked, and forgotten members of our society with whom he has shared his life. Just as Smith found a deeper, truer understanding of himself and of the heart of God through his work, these people and their stories stand to transform us.
Although its subject matter is bleak, the book is not. Smith has found love amid the despair. His book is touching, at times hopeful, and the kind of book that is hard to put down, that fascinates, horrifies, and rivets ones attention.
Smith takes us where we would rather not go, the heart of the poor, the lonely, and the abandoned. In true Ignatian fashion, he finds God there. An unforgettable experience for those who have the courage to walk with him.
Michael L. Cook, S.J.
Professor of theology
Smith performs modern-day miracles of compassion, and his book sets a new standard for writing about the rich faith of those who are materially poor. His stirring prose and utter honesty will change the hearts and minds of many readers.
Gerald T. Cobb, S.J.
Chair, department of English