October 23, 2013 — As a Jesuit scholastic, Dan Corrou’s chief responsibility is to prepare himself “to go, at a moment’s notice, wherever he is most needed.” For nearly three years, that has meant living in Beirut, Lebanon, where he is studying Arabic at the Université St. Joseph and living with the Jesuits of the Near East Province.
Corrou is there as part of his regency, a period of two to three years in a Jesuit’s formation during which he becomes immersed in the apostolic and community life of a Jesuit province. Many spend this time teaching at a high school or college, but Corrou is thrilled to be taking on this particular challenge — learning a new language and meeting people in his adopted city.
“It’s a complex place, but I am incredibly happy to be here,” he says of Beirut. “It has its own identity and history, and the people are wonderful.”
Corrou grew up in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and graduated from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1994. Prior to joining the Jesuits, his professional path took him from Jesuit Volunteers International to Fidelity Investments. Corrou also worked in campus ministry at Georgetown University and College of the Holy Cross before returning to Syracuse in 2007 to enter the Society of Jesus.
Corrou wanted to spend his regency in a non-English speaking country, and in January 2011, he learned from his superiors that he would be headed to Damascus, Syria, to study Arabic. It was at this time, though, that the demonstrations that became known as the Arab Spring started to unfold. Corrou’s plans were altered, and he was sent to the Lebanese capital instead.
Today Corrou spends three to six hours per day studying Arabic. However, the most meaningful experiences of his regency take place outside the classroom and in the neighborhoods of Beirut, where he is “a mere cog in a beautiful wheel.”
Corrou works with the homeless and people battling substance abuse, helps to form prayer groups and assists at a faith community that includes able-bodied people and those living with handicaps. Foremost in Corrou’s thoughts are the ideals that he learned as a student at Le Moyne that “education has to mean something on the streets.” [Le Moyne College]