Irish Jesuit Bill Johnston, who has been living and working in Japan since the 1950s and who is known worldwide for his books on Buddhism and Christianity and on mystical theology, suffered a brain haemorrhage last July while making his retreat in the theologate in Tokyo. His condition has been critical since then, though he has begun in recent months to show a little more awareness of the world around him. Donal Doyle, a friend and fellow-Jesuit, sent word this week of Bill’s hoped-for return from hospital to Loyola House. See his letter below.
Update on Bill Johnston SJ
from letter of Donal Doyle SJ
Bill is supposed to be going back to Loyola House next week. When I saw him about ten days ago in hospital he had a good colour and had a kind of twinkle in his eye. He also had a smile on his lips. That day he had no temperature, so his condition was rather good.
When I walked into his room he had another visitor. He kept mumbling at a fast rate. He thinks he is being understood, but there does not seem to be any frustration. He seems much more at peace in himself in recent times. The many prayers being said for him have been a great support. When he has a slight fever, his condition is not too good. However, ten days ago, he greeted me quite coherently saying “Well, well, well!” Then he started mumbling away. One has to give the impression of understanding and steer the ‘conversation’ in the direction of giving him news about his family and the Jesuits. I think he understands what is being said to him.
When I was leaving I asked him if he would like me to say a few prayers. He sort of replied ‘yes’. I then said the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, followed by the Suscipe. I think he said ‘Amen’ at the end of this. Then I asked him if he would give me his blessing: I bent my head down and he put his hand on my head. So I am sure he was praying in his heart.