A Cup of Joe... with François Mifsud
St. Michael's: What brought you to our College?
Fr. François Mifsud: I'm a Dominican Father, and Dominicans have had connections with St. Michael's College, though more so in the past. Also, I'm doing my PhD at OISE, and since I was going to be spending all my time here, I thought I'd accept. Canada is the fifth country I've lived in: Malta, where I grew up, Italy, Albania, England, and now here. They say you should join the Dominicans to see the world.
SM's: What was your first impression of St. Mike's?
FM: St. Mike's has a very strong tradition in humanities and social sciences, so a good place for me, where history and civilization are treasured. SMC is a little island at UofT. Being European and having studied there, I feel a bit at home. We're living in a world where humanities is in crisis because the market expects different things from us, but St. Mike's perseveres, examining its traditional field from different perspectives like the arts, history and theology.
SM's: We are happy with you as our new Chaplain! What is your favourite part of the job?
FM: Definitely the encounters with young people and hearing their dreams and aspirations. I always say a Campus Ministry is not a club; I think of it more as a sanctuary. My office is a small space where people feel free to share their beliefs; both sides learn from it, the students and me. The other interesting aspect is that we offer pastoral care though we are not a parish. Respecting the experiences of those who come to us, we add an academic approach.
SM's: What do you do in your spare time?
FM: Between being a chaplain and finishing my PhD, I don't have much of that, but I love reading about and doing outdoor activities—for which Canada is ideal. Coming from the small Mediterranean island country of Malta, I love swimming. I also enjoy watching good films, both as a relaxing pastime, but also to learn from them.
SM's:Since you've lived in many different countries, do have a favourite food?
FM: Not really; I'm quite open. I have a passion for food and love cooking myself. Toronto is the ideal place to try out many cuisines. It's easy to experiment, hopping from one different place to another and tasting foods from different cultures with different histories.
SM's: How do you take your coffee?
FM: I do drink coffee all right! Maybe it's the European in me, but I like my morning espresso, with no sugar.