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Jesuit Terms M

Magis

Latin for "more"

The "Continuous Quality Improvement" term traditionally used by Ignatius of Loyola and the Jesuits, suggesting the spirit of generous excellence in which ministry should be carried on. (See A.M.D.G.-"For the greater glory of God.")

Rethinking Magis
Trudelle Thomas, Xavier University

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Manresa

Town in northeastern Spain where in 1522-1523 a middle-aged layman named Ignatius of Loyola had the powerful spiritual experiences that led to his famous "Spiritual Exercises" and later guided the founding and the pedagogy of Jesuit schools.

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Marquette, Jacques (1637-1675)

French Jesuit; missionary friend of native Americans; explorer

Jacques Marquette spoke six Amerindian languages and befriended many different native tribes. A report to Rome observed that the Indians “have great veneration for the Black Robes . . . [They] slept on the ground, exposed themselves to all privations, did not ask for money” (quoted by Bangert, A History of the Society of Jesus, 1986).

Marquette established the Mission of St. Ignace (named for Ignatius) opposite Mackinac Island.

He concluded correctly that the Mississippi River did not run into the Atlantic (as many thought), but into the Gulf of Mexico.

He was only 38 when he died.  He is one of two Jesuits memorialized with a statue in the U.S. Capitol.

There is a full-length biography by Joseph P. Donnelly—Jacques Marquette: 1637-1675 (Loyola U P, 1968).

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Martin-Baro, Ignacio (1942-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Martini, Carlo Maria (1927-2012 )

Italian Jesuit; scripture scholar and cardinal archbishop

For many years, professor of New Testament at the Jesuit-run Pontifical biblical Institute in Rome and eventually its head.

Against the tradition and rule of the Jesuits who consider it acceptable and safe to become a bishop only in poor and difficult mission territories, made a bishop by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed Archbishop of Milan and soon thereafter named cardinal. He distinguished himself as a good pastor and preacher and able administrator of the huge Milan archdiocese.

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The Martyrs of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA)

On November 16, 1989, shortly after 1:00 a.m., six Jesuit priests at the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" (UCA) were assassinated along with their housekeeper and her daughter by the Atlacatl commando unit of the Salvadoran military.

Those killed in the attack were:

  • Ignacio Ellacuria, 59, rector of the Central American University, native of the Basque region of Spain
  • Ignacio Martin-Baro, 50, vice-rector, founder and director of the Public Opinion Institute
  • Segundo Montes, 56, a sociology professor and Jesuit priest who did work on Salvadoran refugees in the United States
  • Arnando Lopez, 53, a philosophy professor and Jesuit priest
  • Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, 71, a native Salvadoran Jesuit priest, co-founder of the UCA, and director of a university-affiliated center for humanitarian assistance
  • Juan Ramon Moreno, 56, a Spanish-born Jesuit priest and director of two university-related programs
  • Julia Elba Ramos, 42, housekeeper and cook, and Cecilia Ramos, her daughter, 15

The UCA Jesuits had been vocal advocates of social change in El Salvador. For this reason, the Salvadoran military considered the priests to be "intellectual godfathers" of the FMLN guerilla movement and therefore a threat to the government.

In addition, the priests were accused by the Salvadoran military of being communists, supporting the FMLN movement, and hiding weapons at the University. None of these accusations were ever substantiated.

In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 761, "Remembering and commemorating the lives and work of [the Jesuit Fathers, their housekeeper and her daughter] on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their deaths at the University of Central America José Simeón Cañas in San Salvador, El Salvador." The resolution was sponsored by Rep. James McGovern (D) of Massachusetts.

Hear how Xavier University Theology Professor Dr. Gillian Ahlgren's  approach to Jesuit education was influenced by this event

Universidad Centroamericana's webpage dedicated to the martyrs

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Mass

See "Liturgy"

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McAuley, Catherine (1778-1841)

Founder of the Sisters of Mercy

On September 24, 1827, Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, first opened the doors of her home to the public on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland. By coincidence or act of providence, September 24th, is also the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, who would lend both her identity and spirit to the building and its works, when it was named the 'House of Mercy.'

Prior to founding her religious order, Catherine's lifelong dream came true when she used her inheritance to build a home where women and children in dire need would be provided with housing, education, religious and social services enabling them to find a far brighter future than was generally available to the Irish, particularly Irish women, of the time. Catherine's innovative approach to housing and educating young women and children from the slums was considered shocking, especially since it brought the poor, the sick and the uneducated into an affluent neighborhood. Within three years over 200 girls were enrolled in the school at House of Mercy and volunteers, inspired by Catherine's spirit and compassion, were numerous.

In 1831, upon founding the Sisters of Mercy, the 'House of Mercy' also became the first convent of the Sisters of Mercy. As Catherine’s passion for the poor took root in the hearts of her companions, the charism of Mercy spread rapidly across Ireland and England. By 1839, a mere eight years after being founded, the Sisters of Mercy numbered over 100 women religious and in the ten years between the founding of the order and her death, Catherine had founded nine Convents of Mercy.

In a 1841 letter to Sister Elizabeth Moore, she described the spirit which characterized the congregation and its members: “All are good and happy. The blessing of unity still dwells amongst us and oh what a blessing, it should make all else pass into nothing. All laugh and play together, not one cold, stiff soul appears. From the day they enter, reserve of any ungracious kind leaves them. This is the spirit of the Order, indeed the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us...

Today, the special charism and spirit of Venerable Catherine McAuley remains alive and well within the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates. She continues to draw women to minister to the poor, the sick, the uneducated and the underserved. Almost 5,000 Sisters of Mercy of the Americas currently serve in 11 countries and one territory, while other Mercy foundations and institutes can be found in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Philippines, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland and Newfoundland.

And what remains of the original House of Mercy? In 1994, it was fully restored and opened to the public as Mercy International Centre, an important historical link for Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Associates from all over the globe. Although she died November 11, 1841, at her Baggot Street convent, her spirit of hospitality and her legacy continues today embodied within each Sister of Mercy. Mercy International Center allows all to reflect on Catherine's passion for helping the poor, which continues to inspire women as they carry forth the contemporary ministry of Mercy worldwide.

MA; watercolor portrait by Marie Henderson, RSM

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Medaille, Jean-Pierre

See "Congregation of St. Jospeh" and "Fontbonne, Mother St. John"

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Men and Women for Others

Whole Persons of Solidarity for the Real World

In a now famous address to alumni of Jesuit schools in Europe (July 31, 1973), Pedro Arrupe painted a profile of what a graduate should be. Admitting that Jesuit schools had not always been on target here, Arrupe called for a re-education to justice:

Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others... people who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; people convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for human beings is a farce.... All of us would like to be good to others, and most of us would be relatively good in a good world. What is difficult is to be good in an evil world, where the egoism of others and the egoism built into the institutions of society attack us.... Evil is overcome only by good, egoism by generosity. It is thus that we must sow justice in our world, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.

Following up on what Arrupe had said, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, challenged the 900 Jesuit and lay delegates from the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities gathered for "Assembly '89" to teach our students to make "no significant decision without first thinking of how it would impact the least in society" (i.e., the poor, the marginal who have no voice). And 11 years later, speaking on "the faith that does justice" to a similar national gathering at Santa Clara University (October 6, 2000), Kolvenbach was even more pointed and eloquent in laying out the goals for the 21st-century American Jesuit university:

Here in Silicon Valley, some of the world's premier research universities flourish alongside struggling public schools where Afro-American and immigrant students drop out in droves. Nationwide, one child in every six is condemned to ignorance and poverty.... Thanks to science and technology, human society is able to solve problems such as feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, or developing more just conditions of life, but stubbornly fails to accomplish this.

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The real measure of our Jesuit universities, [then,] lies in who our students become. Tomorrow's "whole person" cannot be whole without a well-educated solidarity. We must therefore raise our Jesuit educational standard to "educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world."

Solidarity is learned through "contact" rather than through "concepts." When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Our universities boast a splendid variety of in-service programs, outreach programs, insertion programs, off-campus contacts, and hands-on courses. These should not be too optional or peripheral, but at the core of every Jesuit university's program of studies.

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Faculty are at the heart of our universities. Professors, in spite of the cliché of the ivory tower, are in contact with the world. But no point of view is ever neutral or value-free. A legitimate question, even if it does not sound academic, is for each professor to ask, "When researching and teaching, where and with whom is my heart?" To make sure that the real concerns of the poor find their place, faculty members need an organic collaboration with those in the Church and in society who work among and for the poor and actively seek justice.

What is at stake is a sustained interdisciplinary dialogue of research and reflection, a continuous pooling of expertise. The purpose is to assimilate experiences and insights in "a vision of knowledge which, well aware of its limitations, is not satisfied with fragments but tries to integrate them into a true and wise synthesis" about the real world. Unfortunately, many faculty still feel academically, humanly, and, I would say, spiritually unprepared for such an exchange.

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If the measure of our universities is who the students become, and if the faculty are the heart of it all, then what is there left to say? It is perhaps the third topic, the character of our universities — how they proceed internally and how they impact on society — that is the most difficult.

In the words of [Jesuit] General Congregation 34, a Jesuit university must be faithful to both the noun "university" and to the adjective "Jesuit." To be a university requires dedication "to research, teaching, and the various forms of service that correspond to its cultural mission." To be Jesuit "requires that the university act in harmony with the demands of the service of faith and the promotion of justice." [A] telling expression of the Jesuit university's nature is found in policies concerning hiring and tenure. As a university it must respect the established academic, professional, and labor norms, but as Jesuit it is essential to go beyond them and find ways of attracting, hiring, and promoting those who actively share the mission.

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Every Jesuit academy of higher learning is called to live in a social reality and to live for that social reality, to shed university intelligence upon it and to use university influence to transform it. Thus Jesuit universities have stronger and different reasons than do many other academic institutions for addressing the actual world as it unjustly exists and for helping to reshape it in the light of the Gospel.

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Merici, Angela (1474-1540)

Trailblazer; saint

Finding God in daily life, serving God in people around her, Angela Merici created a surprising new way of life. Her spiritual family now includes the Company of St. Ursula, a spiritual companionship for single lay women, and the Order of St. Ursula for women religious.

An older contemporary of Ignatius Loyola, she too fostered the spirit of renewal in the Church of the early 16th Century.

Angela grew up on her family’s farm in northern Italy, where she was born around 1474. She and her siblings worked together and got in trouble together. As their father read the lives of the saints, Angela longed to imitate these friends of God.

Death ruptured this happy circle, first taking her older sister. Angela was devastated - and worried. Was her mischievous sister saved? One day, she had a consoling experience: Angela saw her sister, happy in heaven.

Still a teenager, Angela lost both parents. While her older brothers farmed, she and a younger brother went to live with relatives who were eager to arrange a marriage. Their plans and Angela’s vocation were on a collision course. Angela sensed God’s call to a deep intimacy with him. The more her guardians tried to find her a husband, the more she resisted.

She sought guidance from Franciscan friars and joined the Third Order (now called the Secular Franciscan Order) for lay persons. Its spiritual practices deepened her prayer life. Finally, her family accepted Angela’s desire to devote herself to God alone.

Woman of compassion and wisdom

Soon she was back on the farm. One day during the olive harvest, Angela had another visionary experience: women and angels on a ladder between heaven and earth. She understood that someday she would establish a group of women consecrated to God.

Angela’s days began with Mass and were punctuated by prayer. She worked with neighbors and helped out where needed. People turned to her for wisdom and comfort. Her own bereavement had taught her deep compassion. When the friars asked her to console a widow whose three children had died, Angela visited her in the war-torn city of Brescia. This became the place for her life’s work.

Soon Brescians discovered Angela’s goodness and wisdom. Husband and wife quarrelling? Talk with Angela! Should I propose marriage? Consult Angela! Doubts about faith? Turn to Angela! She persuaded two sworn enemies to call off a duel.

A pilgrim like Ignatius, she visited Jerusalem in 1524 as he had done a year earlier. Also like Ignatius in this same period, she responded to the Church’s need for reform by fostering lay involvement that was Spirit-driven and outside hierarchical structures. She encountered lay men and women who undertook a variety of initiatives to address spiritual and social ills, to heal their war-ravaged city. For them she was a spiritual Madre.

A new path for women

Angela encountered single women who knew that God was calling them, but not to marriage or religious life - the only paths then open to women. They wanted to learn from her experience of intimacy with God. On November 25, 1535, Angela and 28 other women consecrated themselves to Christ under the patronage of St. Ursula, an early martyr and leader of women. When Angela died in 1540, the Company of St. Ursula had 150 members.

Ursulines still live as Angela did, dedicated to Christ and serving others in ordinary circumstances, as single laywomen. The Company of St. Ursula exists in 20 countries. The Company spread from Italy into France. There, in the early 1600s, French Ursulines took another step, becoming a religious order. These women pioneered education for young women; their life and mission have spread around the globe. Often their educational mission has been paired with that of Jesuits.

Angela Merici was canonized in 1807. Her feast day is celebrated on January 27.

M-CD

Statue of Angela Merici, Desenzano [on Lake Garda], northern Italy. Designed by Benedetto Pietrogrande, sculpted by Peter Kostner. Photo Madeline Kelly, OSU, courtesy of Dianne Baumunk, OSU.

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Mission and Identity Conference of AJCU: A Brief History


The “Conferences on Collaboration [between Jesuits and others in the work of U.S. Jesuit Higher Education]” were founded by Jack Zuercher and Joan Lanahan, Creighton, and Jim Blumeyer and Bill Finucane, Rockhurst, assisted by David Thomas of Regis as facilitator, with a meeting at Creighton in May of 1988. People interested in the work of Jesuit mission and identity came from about 20 of the U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities—30 lay people and 30 Jesuits. This was the first major national initiative on mission and identity work, and it was taken not from the top down, the national office in Washington (the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities —AJCU), but by local people from the bottom up. During Assembly ’89, the huge gathering at Georgetown, several of those already charged with mission responsibilities in their schools began to realize the need for a much smaller, focused gathering. Three more Conferences on Collaboration were held at different Jesuit universities in the Midwest, South, and West, with declining numbers participating in the second and third conferences, but the largest of them all—90—in what turned out to be the final conference.

By that time an initial group of nine—eight Jesuits and a woman—all with official positions and released time (half or full) for mission and identity work in their schools had formed themselves into “Mission and Identity Officers” and had held two annual meetings—the first hosted by John Topel at Seattle U. in the fall of 1990 and the second by Jim Flynn at USF in the fall of ’91. The purpose of the new, smaller group was to gather the people actually charged with mission and identity work in their schools, to share strategies and programs, successes and failures. The group also considered itself a lobbying force with AJCU—that is, with the presidents of the Jesuit schools, especially the 20 that had not yet designated an officer. When the group sought affiliation as an official conference of the AJCU, the presidents wanted the title changed to “Co- ordinators for Mission & Identity,” “coordinators” being a broader term than “officers” and therefore able to include the head of a school’s mission committee without released time.

Gradually over the coming years, more and more schools sent representatives to the annual CMI meetings; and when no one had yet been appointed at a given school, the rector of the Jesuit community might come. For a while, the number of non-Jesuits started to grow, then declined, but by 2008 had reached a point where the majority were not Jesuits. The vast majority of chief mission officers, however, are still Jesuits. Sometime in the mid-nineties, the group became more organized and started operating with a three-person planning and facilitating committee, one from each region—West, Midwest/South, and East. In recent years, all but a few of the schools send representatives. The number of “affiliated” participants—those not representing any of the 28 U.S. Jesuit schools—has grown markedly. Over the course of the group’s 22 years of existence, some schools have maintained a good continuity of representation; others have experienced a lot of turnover. The size of local staffs varies considerably.

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Mission and Identity Offices at U.S. Jesuit Colleges and Universities

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Montes, Segundo (1933-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Montserrat, Our Lady of (the Black Madonna)

Situated in the awesome serrated mountains some 4,000 feet above the Catalonian plain and 30 miles west of Barcelona, the Benedictine monastery was already a popular place of pilgrimage when the 30-year-old Iñigo (Ignatius) of Loyola came there probably on March 20 or 21, 1522. He spent three days writing out a confession of the sins of his life and presented it to a French Benedictine priest who ministered to pilgrims visiting the monastery. He then gave away his fine clothes to a stunned tramp, put on penitential sackcloth and held an all-night vigil before the Black Madonna and Child (an ancient wood sculpture), hanging up his sword and dagger there. “Effectively,” writes Ron Hansen, “his former life was over” (“The Pilgrim: Saint Ignatius of Loyola” in An Ignatian Spirituality Reader) and his new life had begun.

Some months earlier, at Loyola, while still recovering from his battle wounds and struggling to deal with his shattered psyche and the dawning sense of a new religious identity, he had been graced with a clear and deeply consoling vision of Our Lady and the Infant Jesus.

Marian shrines and imagery abounded in the Spain of Ignatius’ time. And the church given to the early Jesuits in Rome was that of Madonna della Strada (“Our Lady of the Way”). The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner once observed that Ignatius was among the very few male Christian mystics who were also visionaries (Visions and Prophecies [1963]). In this context, one might say that the post-conversion Ignatius was a man untypically well developed in his feminine side. Indeed, Xavier professors Margo Heydt and Sarah Melcher, Protestant women who went on an Ignatian pilgrimage to Spain and Rome, see Jesus’ mother Mary as the “hidden catalyst” of Ignatius’ conversion and life.

See Gemma Simmonds, "Women Jesuits?" in The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (2008).

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Moreno, Pardo, Juan Ramon (1933-1989)

See "Martyrs of the UCA"

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Murray, John Courtney (1904-1967)

American Jesuit; Systematic theologian, advocate of religious liberty

Professor of theology at Woodstock College, MD, Jesuit theological seminary.

For years in the Jesuit journal Theological Studies argued the superiority of the pluralist system of church-state relations (as in the U.S.) and then was silenced by Rome for some nine years.

Prominent theologian at Vatican II and a principal architect of the Council’s document on religious liberty.

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Mveng, Engelbert (1930-1995)

Cameroonian Jesuit; "a father of the church" in Africa

Engelbert Mveng, a prophetic voice in Africa, was one of the first promoters of African liberation theology. He used the term “anthropological impoverishment” to describe the consequences of European enslavement and colonization and “anthropological annihilation” to describe the absolute abyss into which a people fall when their poverty becomes structural and produces a political and economic vacuum in the state.

This multi-talented Jesuit—historian, poet, artist, philosopher, and theologian—was violently assassinated in his home near Yaounde on April 23, 1995.

For the most part, Mveng’s writings (in French) have not been translated into English, but see his essay “African Liberation Theology” in Concilium (1988) and the brief account of his work in Hinsdale, “Jesuit Theological Discourse since Vatican II,” Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (2008).

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JESUIT A TO Z: An expanded version of the publication "Do You Speak Ignatian?"