Godsil Family Aphorisms

On 39th Anniversary of Mary Patricia Donnelly’s Return to God

So here below are James Godsil and Mary Godsil aphorisms, presented in hopes of inspiring you to remember and share evocative and worthy ones from your Family and Clan.

Here’s my memory of what might be my children’s favorite aphorism from their father, baptized Catholic as James Joseph Godsil.

“You wished it stranger. You left the path of your own free will.”
“You are lost!”
“If you believe in danger.”

And here’s one from Bumpa Grandpa etc. (Godsil of many names) today, August 23, 2017, the 39th anniversary of my Mother, Mary Patricia Donnelly Godsil’s, Return to God.

“It’s no accident that the Jesuit Pope Francis is a baptized Catholic mystic, who chose the name Francis.”

Mary Godsil, as she was called upon her marriage to my father Joseph, often said

“All I can do is pray to the Virgin Mary, e.g. with a Hail Mary Prayer, when you edge toward life’s extreme dangers.”

A Sad Story But Also A Gift From Francis Graf For Fr. Jerry Cusumano SJ Now Of Japan

Received sad news, for me, but inspiring at the same time from a young urban agrarian, artisan, and budding intellectual Francis Graf.


This is a great gift you bring me!

I have followed Diogenes since the 1980′s.

Plato said to Diogenes, “You are so brilliant! You could be in Philips Court instead of washing lettuce and living in a tub.”

Diogenes to Plato. “You are so brillilant! You could be washing lettuce and living in a tub instead of serving in Philips Court!”

St. Louis U. High 200th Anniversary Conversation re My Jesuit Education’s Value For My Work For “The Common Good”


I have taken advantage of the Hampton Inn offer. I would very much appreciate, if you and Fr. Hill judge appropriate, the bio sketches and summary statements of the other 29 or so workshop presenters. On line conversations with those in similar lines of work over my remaining years would be a wonderful gift! I am cc’ing some of my SLUH heroes, in hopes that we can harvest the power of our Jesuit education and digital exchange in “the noorsphere”…

for the common good as defined by Laudato Si
up through the 500th anniversary of the Society of Jesus in 2040.

Bio Sketch*

Father of 4 children & 4 grandchildren; Founder and President of Community Roofing & Restoration, 1975–2015; Founder of Milwaukee Renaissance On Line Magazine, 2005-current; Co Founder of the Sweet Water Foundation and Board President, 2010-current; Co Founder Milwaukee Preservation Alliance 2003; Co Founder Board President, ESHAC Inc., a community development enterprise, 1979; President of St. Louis U. Great Issues Series & co-founder of St. Louis U. Action Committee 1966–67; Field Marshall and Freedom School Teacher, Dr. MLK’s SCLC Freedom Summer and Open Housing Marches, Chicago 1966; Fulbright Fellow 1971, National Science Fellow, 1970, University Fellow, St. Louis U. Center for Urban Programs; Co-captain SLUH Basketball team, 1962/63. B.A. and M.A. St. Louis University, 1963–69. All but dissertation(ABD) University of Wisconsin Political Science Dept. 1972 and 1992.

​Presentation Summary

My current position today, at 72, is essentially as assistant to the hero quests of brilliant young(anyone under 50) “ecopreneurs” in the fields of racial healing, old city renaissance, peace movements, and urban agriculture and aquaponics. I am also a “connector” of engaged elders, especially those of the Catholic culture and ecology movement, who are” change agents” across the world, advancing various projects integrating the vision and lessons of Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si” encyclical into our daily lives.

My parents, Mary and Joseph, and SLUH profoundly influenced my efforts and experiments to advance the common good these past 50+ years. My mom and dad were 8th grade educated(formally speaking), working class, Irish Catholics, who gave their all to support my 2 sisters and I obtaining college degrees. My mother literally cleaned floors and collected rent in Mary Godsil’s Rooming House in North St. Louis. My father was a tool and die maker, Machinist Union member, and philomath, i.e. life long learner. They, and the nuns of St. Joan of Arc grade shool, inspired my dreams of winning a place at “The High.” From 5th grade on I was told that the Jesuits were the most intelligent and compassionate priests of the world, and that hard work in grade school could win me a place at St. Louis’ most renown high school. I also attended just about all of SLUH basketball games from 5th grade on, deeply impressed with the quality of the team, but especially by the incredible spirit manifest by the students in the stands.

As imagined, the Jesuit and lay teachers of SLUH, the students, and the very wide and resourced SLUH and SLU community gave me great gifts and fields of opportunity to develop mind, body, and soul. Our Ignatian community comes from every social class, and increasingly identity groups. This diversity and the Jesuit ethos embodied by AMDG, the Beatitudes, and the emerging Spirit of Vatican II, were of great consequence inspiring me to judge all of God’s children by their character, to cultivate my competences, and strive to live a life of service. The Ignatian fame for rigorous, classic training, ecumenism, and service to the “least of us,” provided me with great blessings supporting work and life as sacred calling.

Each of my fields of endeavor could not have become my daily rounds without this Ignatian foundation.

My peace movement work is rooted in the “golden rule,” beatitudes, and my openness to research and action outside the impulse to objectify or demonize “the other.” The Jesuit scholastics at St. Louis U. introduced me to Dorothy Day’s pacifist Catholic Workers, my theology class to ecumenism. I was also deeply moved by an African American classmate and the civil rights work presented at all school assemblies. My work with Dr. King’s SCLC in Chicago was dependent upon introductions by a St. Louis U. student and encouragement by progressive faculty members and fellow students. My masters degree from the St. Louis U. Center for Urban Programs provided me with skills to support my efforts to renew the old cities of the Great Midwest The SLU Great Issues position exposed me to some of the nation’s leading civil rights and peace movement “stars.” A Jesuit priest named Father Lakas was critical to my inspiration to begin a roofing and restoration company despite considerable criticism from many who thought this below my stature. Upon choosing in 1998 a young man to train for 20 years to lead the company I founded in 1975, I gave him a biography of Ignatius Loyola and told him this would be our business model. Finally, my co-founding of the Sweet Water Foundation and my “new story work” to spread the good news of “Laudato Si” can be traced to the Jesuit’s integration of science and religion, revelation with evolution, especially the Fr. Teilhardian, SJ synthesis found in a book I will be studying for years to come, “The Phenomenon of Man.”

  • 1965

Campus Teach Ins
Peace Vigils
Open Housing Marches


Small Is Beautiful Self Managed Economics
Radical Reform for Old Neighborhood Rainbowing
Artist/Artisan Restoration Coops & Guilds


City Parks As Working Class Country Clubs
Day Care Centers and Schools In Workplaces
Winter Gigs Down South For Snowbird Artisans


Digital Empowerment For Historic Preservation
and Community Organizing


Institutionalize Charisma Of Will Allen’s Good Food Revolution
Wiki Empower Old City “Renaissance” Movements
10,000 Food Gardens In Milwaukee Homes & Vacant Lots
Save The Bonobos and the Soldiers Home


Commercialize, Democratize, Globalize Aquaponics & Urban Ag
Transform Old Factories Into Multi-use Innovation Centers


10,000 Digitally Enhanced Aquaponics School Demos For Life Long Learners
eChoupal and Mitra Hole In The Wall Culture Stands In Every City
Fermentation Fest Trumps Burning Man
Aquaponics As Living Art For Airports, Museums, Restaurants, Linked To Peripheries
10,000 Digital and Healing Enhanced Integral Urban and Rural Airbnbs for Learning Vacations

Harvesting 70th Birthdays For “The Movements”

Last edited by Godsil. Based on work by Tyler Schuster.  Page last modified on April 14, 2018

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