Jesuit Alumnus Delivers Memorial Lecture in Sydney.
Thursday, 28 March 2024
Last month, the Annual Major Dr Kevin Fagan Memorial Lecture, was delivered by the Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson AO, Jesuit Alumnus and former Federal Leader of the Opposition, former Federal President of the Australian Medical Association, and former Director of the Australian War Memorial at Sydney University.  

The annual lecture, dedicated to exploring ethical quandaries, encompassing a wide range of topics such as bioethics, military ethics, and historical dilemmas, celebrates the life of Old Ignatian Dr Kevin Fagan, who served as a doctor on the Burma–Thailand railway during 1943. As a Prisoner of war under Japanese captivity, he became an Army Surgeon.  He was beloved by his men for his leadership and talent, saving thousands of lives under horrific circumstances.

Dr Nelson  spoke of the influence his Jesuits teachers had on his formation in Adelaide.  “The Jesuits who educated me in my final two years of secondary education set me up for my life. They said to me that there are four values that are essential for success in building character. The first is commitment - you have to consistently apply yourself to whatever it is in which you believe and the people in the course to which you have committed. That you do not ever give up. The second is conscious - every single decision, I was told, has a question immediately. Beneath it: what is the right thing to do? The third the Jesuits said is compassion, which means literally to share another person’s pain. The fourth is courage. Nothing, not a single thing in life of value is achieved without taking a risk. Courage is hard to define; you know it when you see it, when you feel, it’s a spirit that challenges doubt, imposes will, protects your integrity, advances values, then ultimately allows you to break through fear.”

The full speech is available here.