Each month, a best practice related to Jesuit education or Ignatian spirituality is highlighted in the Jesuit Resource newsletter. To nominate a best practice for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairfield University's "Ignatian Encounter" is a ten week guided program led by Fr. Jim Bowler created primarily for students who participate in the upper division electives for religious studies, but also welcomes members of Fairfield University's faculty and staff. This program includes directed prayer experiences, led by 10-12 directors who meet once a day for half an hour to have an intensive prayer experience, and meet again, once a week, to talk over the experience had during the prayer. The Ignatian Encounter is designed to provide all who participate with an immediate experience of God, and the concept of finding Magis, or "more" in life and in oneself. Father Jim Bowler explains the program to be one that "touches students" lives profoundly. Overall, the Ignatian Encounter provides students, faculty, and staff with the ability to have meaningful and thought provoking prayer sessions, as well as discussions with spiritual advisors to assist in their reflection. To find out more about Fairfield University's Ignatian Encounter, click here.
Mass of the Holy Spirit
The Mass of the Holy Spirit is one of the oldest traditions observed by the Society of Jesus, and serves as an invocation of the Holy Spirit to assist all members of academia in their pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
Jesuit schools throughout the United States celebrate this Mass. At the university level, Masses are often rather large with the congregation including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. Some schools include a festival celebration after the Mass. Others, such as Seattle University, include processions at the beginning of the Mass from the library to the chapel to demonstrate the continuity between the life of faith and the life of the intellect. This is ultimately the spirit that the Mass continues to actively capture.
Musical Cultural Exchange
Saint Ignatius College Preparatory
Six years ago music director Dr. Gillian Clements, of San Francisco's Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, founded a string program in Nyeri, Kenya at The Mount Kenya Academy. Dr. Clements received private funding and outside donations to help purchase violins, violas, cellos, and sheet music for Mount Kenya Academy. In 2011 Dr. Clements began a special cultural exchange program traveling with her orchestra and jazz band students from Saint Ignatius to Mount Kenya Academy. In Kenya, students rehearse, perform, repair instruments, attend classes at the Mount Kenya Academy, sleep in dormitories and eat meals with the Kenyan students, as well as experience some of the Kenyan music and dance traditions. When Dr. Clements explains her feelings about the cultural music exchange program she states, Music is the lens through which the students interact at first, but they quickly learn much more about each other through living together for nine days at the Mount Kenya Academy. San Francisco's Saint Ignatius College Preparatory will be travelling again this summer to Nyeri, Kenya and hope to one day be able to have the Kenyans come to San Francisco. To find out more about the San Francisco's Saint Ignatius College Preparatory Musical Cultural Exchange, click here.
Audio Lenten Retreats
This Lenten retreat presented by Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J. is just one of many audio retreats available from Creighton University's Online Ministry. Fr. Gillick's Lenten retreat serves to "help the Christian Community prepare for Easter's blessing" and the welcoming of new members. This retreat also serves to "assist the individual members to consider their own baptismal promises and face how they tend to lose their innocence regained through the death and Resurrection of Jesus." Within these retreats "our relationship with Jesus is reviewed and our sense of personal and communal misison is considered." This retreat, along with many others, is available at Creighton's Online Ministry and can be downloaded to listen to on a CD, mp3 player, or smart phone. To listen or find out more about Fr. Gillick's audio retreat or other retreats, click here.
Thursday Interfaith Dinner Discussions
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University's Interfaith Council arranges "Thursday Interfaith Dinner Discussions" that welcome all who are interested to gather for dinner about every other week. Students talk about different faiths and ideas on diverse topics. The Interfaith Council is dedicated to fostering understanding, cooperation and respect among people of various faiths and traditions within the university and the greater community through thoughtful dialogue and meaningful relationship. The dinner discussions serve as a way to have students unite and learn about other traditions while enjoying a meal together. This Winter they will discuss: Religion Abroad, Multiple Religious Beliefs, Secular Humanism, Faith and Technology, and Mormonism. The program is open to all students works to use dialogue as a way to "come to a new understanding of and care for one another that transcends our differences and strengthens our common work in service of others." To find out more about Santa Clara University?s Interfaith Council, click here.
The Manning Award for Academic Success
Wheeling Jesuit University
Wheeling Jesuit's Manning Award for Academic Success found its origin in one man who overcame unfavorable odds and sought something more than just a degree from Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU). Shawn Manning entered WJU with determination and a desire for "the challenge of a Jesuit education." He also entered with a learning disability. "I was so impressed by his work ethic and ability; nothing was going to stop him," says Kathy Tagg, Director of the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and Disability Services at WJU. In fact, Manning so inspired Tagg that she established an award in his name. Each year we recognize a graduating senior with a learning disability who has demonstrated academic success by meeting the criteria for the Manning Award. Shawn graciously comes back to our campus to present the award to the winner in May," Tagg relates. Through the support of the ARC and Disability Services, Manning more than met the requirements as he graduated on the Dean's List. The Manning Award is given to those who prosper academically in spite of a given learning disability, and do so with motivation and desire to be a "lifelong learner." The award reflects St. Ignatius esteemed value of "Magis," or the more" which refers to deeply and fully striving for one's excellence. Since 2010, the award has been presented to two other students. The certificate contains a short quote by Booker T. Washington that summarizes the reality of success in light of disability. "Success," reads the inscription, "is not to be measured so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed." To learn more about WJU's Manning Award for Academic Success, click here.
USA Today troublingly noted in a 2011 article that some 210,000 of the "combat veterans" returning from the Middle East are found to exhibit post-traumatic stress disorder, about 16% of the 1.3 million who fought. Not only are numerous veterans affected, but the number of cases is rising. There have been many efforts to combat the toll the war has taken on our men and women in uniform whether the toll be physical, psychological, or both, but none as unique as the Academy for Veterans. The Academy of Veterans, founded by Father Richard Curry (shown on right), is just that: an academy for veterans looking to receive higher education and/or theater training. "The United States Army wanted me to train some of their personnel in teaching others how to prepare these newly disabled men and women in the performing arts," says Father Curry. The theater training also serves as a sort of rehabilitation for those experiencing stress from service in the Middle East. Included in the services of this academy is a mentoring program that provides guidance on financial and legal issues using students at Georgetown in those respective studies. Christa Cornado, a newsweekly columnist noted, His mission is to let wounded veterans know there is life and joy after disability, and he acknowledges that he brings to his work the particular values of St. Ignatius of Loyola. For more information on Academy for veterans, click here.
The Center for the American Dream
Xavier University's Center for the American Dream was created four years ago by Xavier alumnus Michael Ford. The goal of this program is to measure the state of the American Dream. The Center recently conducted a national survey asking for people?s views on the matter. They have since created a video archive of interviews they have done with successful American Dreamers. Student interns interview a variety of people ranging from comedians, journalists, professionals to higher level CEO's and ask what their American Dream was as a child and then compare it to what they believe it is now. Currently The Center for the American Dream is working on the topic of ?Freedom? and the idea that democracy in society needs civically literate people. In order to promote further awareness about the American Dream the Center has hosted a variety of events such as scholarship essay contests on the theme of immigration for high school and junior high students in the Cincinnati Area, as well as co-sponsored the Hispanic Heritage Gala, and lastly hosted a Constitution trivia night. Because various studies have shown that about 1/3 of Americans fail the civic literacy test, the Center for the American Dream strives to promote additional awareness about the importance of civic literacy. To read more about the Center for the American Dream, click here.
Originally established in 1996 to combat concerns related to retention rates, diversity, and other traditional collegiate issues regarding first year students, the Fairfield University's First-Year Experience (FYE) has also recently evolved into a vehicle for familiarizing students with the Jesuit mission. In the Fall of 2008 the University started a committee to look at FYE and talk about Jesuit ideals, says Kamala Kiem, Assistant Dean of Students. The integration of the Jesuit ideals into this program signifies the university's dedication to the mission. FYE involves campus seminars, online portfolios, reflections, and even aspects of residence life. These values are then discussed in the context of everyday life. For example, the hookup culture seminar is related to the Jesuit values of Cura Personalis and Magis. From maneuvering the intricacies of scheduling classes to addressing substance abuse, FYE promotes the welfare of first year students through a combination of instruction, education, and implementation of Ignatian ideals. "Year after year students have a strong understanding of Jesuit values," says Mrs. Kiem. For more information on FYE, click here.
Walsh Jesuit High School
Walsh Jesuit High School's "Profile of a Coach" is a document which aims to guide the institution's coaches as educators rooted in the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola and in the rich tradition of Jesuit education. The profile focuses on the importance of exhibiting cura personalis, care for the entire person, as opposed to focusing exclusively on winning. Walsh's objective in this case is to engage coaches who strive to carry out the richness of God's goodness and love into the daily lives of the students. This is achieved by outlining five characteristics which a coach must display in order to embody, promote, and instill the mission of the school. A Walsh Jesuit coach must be open to growth, loving, religious, intellectually and professionally competent, and committed to justice. The document further suggests how a coach can exemplify these traits. To read Walsh Jesuit's "Profile of a Coach", in its entirety, click here.
Total Ignatian Experience
Rockhurst High School's Total Ignatian Experience (TIE), provides an immersion trip for students of all grade levels. The program emphasizes connections between service and faith and raises awareness about poverty and injustice. Marvin Grilliot, TIE program director, stated, "The hopes for this program are that we can change lives", Rockhurst is located in Kansas City, somewhat close to a poorer neighborhood. The proximity of the program to Rockhurst shows students that neighbors are suffering injustices just minutes away from them. About twelve students participate in the program each summer, spending a week living at the St. Louis rectory. They spend their morning helping with a literacy program and visit the Catholic Worker House, Transitional Housing Center and local food pantries in the afternoons. Participants share reflections each day, followed by a guest speaker from the community. TIE members take a leadership role in the annual Harvest Food Drive in the fall, where they meet with many of the people they helped during the summer. "After every trip, students come back with a real desire to do something, something concrete", said Grilliot. For more information on TIE programs, click here.
Loyola Academy's Women of Wisdom Program just completed its tenth season in 2011. This program initially began as a way to keep mothers of graduates from Loyola Academy involved in the school and has evolved into the inclusion and welcoming of current mothers to the "Rambler" community. This program stresses the joy of learning and serves as a way to stimulate the intellect stated Co-Chair member Lisa Hayes. The group helps create lasting friendships and brings mothers together as a central part of the community. Meetings are usually an hour and a half followed by discussion over lunch with a series of lectures given by publicly renowned speakers. This program has highly affected the Loyola Academy community by creating a welcoming and friendly environment. The group members have planted the seeds for friendship and have proved to be excellent role models for the high school. All of the volunteers are accomplished women in every aspect of life and have many diverse resources available to them allowing them to investigate new avenues for Loyola Academy. For more information on Loyola Academy's Women of Wisdom program, click here.
At Creighton University, students who are interested in making a deeper connection with the Scriptures and their daily lives contribute reflections on the Mass readings for the day. These reflections are then posted online for others to read and reflect on. The Daily Online Reflections Program started as a faculty website thirteen years ago. However, a student worker recently suggested a change. Now the program welcomes student writers who are interested in reading the scriptures and letting it touch them personally. The number of students writing for the program has tripled over the last three years. There are now enough students participating that their writings are published every other month. Andy Alexander, S.J., who oversees the program, stated that it has received wonderful feedback. He notes that, "missionaries all over the world have used student's reflections and thank them for their words of inspiration." Also on the website, below the student's reflection, is a brief biography for each student writer and a link available to contact them regarding thoughts on their reflection. "I have seen a tremendous change in the culture here," says Alexander. "It has become more acceptable to speak about spiritual things." For more information on Creighton University's Daily Reflections, click here.
Qatar, a reputable location for higher education, research and human development, has the ability to provide opportunities unlike anywhere else in the world. Because of this, just over six years ago, Georgetown University brought its Jesuit tradition of teaching excellence and global leadership to the region. The institution, called Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q), is currently comprised of 203 students who claim 54 nationalities. These students are all pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, with majors in International Politics, Culture and Politics, and/or International Economics. Outside of the classroom, SFS-Q students, faculty, and staff engage in service with community-based learning grounded in Georgetown's values of "women and men for others" and "care for the person". Recently, the students participated in trips to Rwanda, Bosnia, Bangladesh and South Africa where they discussed the micro- and macro-economic factors affecting people, learned the realities of post-conflict reconstruction, helped build homes, and supported communities in need.
My life had been so good in Rwanda, before the wind started blowing me out of my mind and make me homeless.We never get used to being homeless, and uneducated. We need a respectable life and improved kind of education so as when we will go back to our countries we will make a change.
Thanks to a program titled Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM), this refugee now has education available in the refugee camp where he lives. Though often considered just a temporary living arrangement, refugee camps and refugee populations are increasingly static. JC:HEM is one of numerous initiatives being facilitated by the Jesuit Commons, a "virtual meeting place" where a millions-strong global network of individuals, schools and institutions collaborate to benefit poor communities. Jesuit education transforms, thereby liberating the mind and the spirit. JC:HEM seeks, in partnership with those living at the margins, to teach, to learn, and to help transform the world. A four year pilot, in partnership with the Jesuit Refugee Service, began September 27, 2010. Included in the pilot are refugees living in Malawi, Kenya, and Syria.
Seattle University has taken sustainability seriously since a time that far predates discussions of global warming or big tax breaks for going green. Seattle's sustainability initiatives date back to the early 1980's when the head of their Grounds Department decided that instead of using pesticides, they would release more than 20,000 beneficial insects called lacewings to eat the aphids that had contaminated the trees on campus. Since then, Seattle has been granted 18 awards and 8 environmental recognitions for their innovative sustainable operations. Included in these operations are four LEED Gold buildings, ultra-efficient bathrooms, an on-site compost building, and 20 electric university-owned vehicles, as well as a Zipcar that can be rented by students. Further initiatives include a pesticide and herbicide-free landscape, no bottled water sold on campus, and the employment of Bone Appétit Management, who are committed to socially responsible practices. Karen Price, Seattle University's Campus Sustainability Manager, even expressed that some students choose to attend the university based on its commitment to maintaining a green campus. For more information on Seattle University's sustainability initiatives, click here.
Manresa Scholar's Program
The Manresa Scholar's Program at Marquette University focuses on student vocational discernment. Members of this scholarship program seek to find deeper meaning in their own lives and the world around them. Annie Devine, Assistant Director for the Campus Ministry Center at Marquette stated that, the program focuses not just on what students want to do, but who they want to be. She notes through the program, participants focus more on how to be a better person of service, and how to integrate that into their everyday lives. Each scholar is assigned to a different service site based on personal talents, interests, and the economic needs of their community partners. Through the program, students begin building practical life experiences on work sites and with peers. With only five applicants admitted to become a Manresa Scholar, the program is able to create a true sense of community. In addition to their service work, Scholars take part in regular reflection including readings that focus on vocational discernment, Christian leadership, and Ignatian Spirituality. For more information on this or other programs at Marquette University's Ministry Center, click here.
The Ricci Institute
University of San Francisco
The Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History was founded in 1984 and currently serves as a research institute and resource for the study of Chinese-Western cultural exchange, and specifically the cultural exchange that occurs through the history of Chinese Christianity. One of the primary goals of the Institute is a commitment to the mission of the Society of Jesus to bridge cultures and promote cross-cultural understanding. Dr. Xiaoxin Wu, the Director of the Ricci Institute, said, "The more we are connected, the more we understand how little we know of the other. Our hope for future generations is to be able to bridge that gap to come closer to understanding". There are more than 50 China-focused institutes in the United States but the Ricci Institute is the only one dedicated to building connections through a shared Christian background between the two cultures. Another unique aspect to the Ricci Institute is their vast digital archives. In the past, when scholars wanted to study early Jesuit missions to Asia , primarily China and Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries, entirely 100% of researchers would look at the Jesuit archives in Rome. The Ricci Institute is the only institute in North America that holds digital copies of over 100,000 pages of those archives, Wu stated. Besides being simply a research institute, the organization also conducts seminars, presentations, and workshops, as well as publishing primary source books of Chinese history. Wu explained, "Throughout most of history, people have looked at Chinese history through a Euro-centric view because of the lack of Chinese sources available. If one person is muted, then there is no conversation going on. We aim to give a voice to the other side". For more information on the Ricci Institute and to explore their online exhibits, click here.
Catholic Identity Team
Xavier University's Catholic Identity Team is a student leadership team in the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice. Members of this leadership team seek to form a deeper relationship with God through their Catholic faith tradition and promote this living tradition to the greater Xavier community through university-wide programming. Dave Johnson, Executive Director for the Dorothy Day Center stated that, "what is remarkable about the Catholic Identity Team is that they provide an invitation to our Catholic students to more deeply appropriate and celebrate their faith. Their remarkable programming and energy has been contagious and models for others a passionate approach to faith on our campus". The Catholic Identity Team recognizes that all Catholics are called to continuous conversion and seek the truth given to us by Jesus Christ and his Church. To facilitate this process, the team creates programs that help promote Catholic identity, such as devotional services, workshops, or partnering with faculty and staff to facilitate Theology by the Slice and the Faith & Film Series. Reflection on Scripture and its practical application is also an integral component. For more information this on or other programs at the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice, click here.
Christian Life Community
Loyola Marymount University
The largest club at Loyola Marymount University, the Christian Life Community (CLC), boasts more than 400 members. Fueled by the formation of spirited, dynamic, and fun-loving leaders, the Christian Life Community at LMU emphasizes the role of the Spiritual Exercises and continues to expand its spiritual center. These students, staff, and faculty of Loyola Marymount strive to integrate Ignatian spirituality and prayer into their daily lives as they grow in their relationship with God. Organizing such programs as 'Agape Latte,' an event designed for students seeking to learn more about faith and religion, the CLC has developed rich traditions to educate, promote, and nurture the Christian lifestyle. With popular social outings and retreats, the CLC is a cornerstone of Loyola Marymount's student life. To read more about Christian Life Communities, click here.
"Mission: Possible" Community Action and Service Learning
"Mission: Possible" is an Alternative Spring Break program at Gonzaga University that promotes knowledge of various cultures and traditions throughout 10 different locations across the United States. Founded in 1998 by two Gonzaga Students, the program calls students to commit to the four pillars of community, simplicity, justice, and spirituality. With 126 student volunteers, "Mission: Possible" allows students the opportunity to experience cultural immersion while working in different communities. The eager participants of this program sponsored by Community Action and Service Learning at Gonzaga University help repair dilapidated homes, assist the homeless, mentor children, and teach English to refugees.
Read more about Community Action and Service Learning.
The Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice
The Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice at Fordham University is grounded in the Jesuit philosophy of "men and women for others". The Center works to create mutually beneficial relationships rooted in a respect for the dignity of all persons. The staff's goal is for students to reach their full potential of mind and heart beyond the self by serving in and learning from our surrounding communities.
The Center helps students explore the connection between service, justice, community and spirituality. By encouraging students to engage in an ongoing process of action and reflection, the Center supports and challenges students to fully engage in and learn from their experiences. Through seeking the faith that does justice, the staff encourages students to learn solidarity through serving directly and seeking social change.
The Center also serves as a liaison between the Fordham community and the local community offering a variety of University resources for middle and high school students and opportunities for community partners to share their expertise with the Fordham community.
Aligned with Fordham's mission, the Center houses the Service-Learning Program which provides opportunities to apply academic resources to the work of social justice. Through Interdisciplinary Seminars and Service-Integrated Courses, students seek to fully connect their service experiences to their academic work.
Over 1,200 students are involved in more than 200 community and not-for-profit organizations throughout New York City. Students support and learn from local organizations that work with displaced individuals and families, homeless and formerly homeless families, senior citizens, home-bound people with HIV and AIDS, local tenants on affordable housing and living wage campaigns and young people. Read more about the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.
The Examen is a method of prayer that Ignatius of Loyola taught in his Spiritual Exercises. He considered it the most important thing a person could do each day. It takes only a few minutes. To pray the Examen, click here. A contemporary adaptation of Ignatius' teaching broadens the traditional "Examination of Conscience" (preparation for confession) into the "Examination of Consciousness." In this way, some people find it helpful to focus on a specific theme such as diversity or sustainability. For a model of praying the Examen through the lens of diversity, click here.
New Faculty Orientation and the Mission
Regis Jesuit High School
New Ignatian Educator Week (NIE) at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado builds upon the NIE weekend offered by the Jesuit Secondary Education Association (JSEA) during the Summer. Regis' program is specifically designed to introduce their new faculty to the historic, academic, social and spiritual culture of Regis Jesuit High School with a special focus on Jesuit and Ignatian history. New faculty also attend monthly luncheon meetings which begin with prayer in Ignatian tradition and build on the topics, both practical and philosophical, introduced during NIE Week.
In their second year, faculty attend monthly meetings which continue to build on the topics that were introduced during their first year. The focus of this second year is geared more directly on Ignatian pedagogy and philosophy. Meetings include prayer and often use books on Ignatian topics as the focus of discussion. During the year, meetings shift from lecture by the facilitators to capstone projects presented by the participants.
Jeff Howard, Assistant Principal, notes that, "in addition to its benefits to RJHS, this program helps new faculty to stay closely connected to JSEA, to emphasize our shared mission among the faculty." While being careful to not overstate the analogy, Howard draws the comparison that, due to the program's "cohort" approach to orientation, it "mirrors the first companions with St. Ignatius when they were first coming together with a common sense of mission and vision, even when they were not able to articulate it clearly." For further information, visit: www.regisjesuit.com.
Ignatian Spirituality for Parents
University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy offers two annual retreats for parents and alumni that help incorporate Ignatian spirituality into daily life. Past programs have included an introduction to Ignatian prayer for parents and an eight-week Lenten retreat based upon the themes of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
Each evening includes an introduction, small group discussion, and an experiential component of various forms of Ignatian prayer. Participants receive a journal and are encouraged to reflect on the movements within themselves both during prayer and in their daily lives.
The programs are developed by Fr. Brian Lehane, U of D Jesuit's Director of Mission, who says that the programs have drawn about 20 participants each evening. The most recent retreat series entitled, "The Paschal Mystery in Prayer and Poetry" helped parents reflect on their own journey in relation to Paschal Mystery. As common reading for these programs, Fr. Lehane uses a number of articles by Fr. William Barry, S.J. and by Fr. Dennis Hamm, S.J. that can be downloaded here.
In addition to these retreats, an introductory evening is held for new parents each Fall semester called "What Makes a Jesuit School Jesuit?" U of D Jesuit families also receive a "daily thought" email that includes scripture, reflection, petition and prayer for the day. To view U of D Jesuit's "daily thought", click here.
Center for Financial Literacy
The Center for Financial Literacy was founded in order to produce educational materials and programs that help people make reasonable financial decisions throughout their working lives and into retirement, for instance by helping older workers choose a target retirement age, assisting low- and moderate-income households control their finances, and designing a "go-to" financial website. The Center received first-year funding of $3 million from the Social Security Administration. It will be led by Alicia H. Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research and Drucker Professor of Management Science at Boston College, CRR Program Director Steven Sass and CRR Creative Director Ronn Campisi.
Loyola University Maryland
Loyola University Maryland's Center for Community Service and Justice provides direct contact and reflection on the issues faced by people who live in urban poverty through a program they call "UNITE." (Urban Needs Introduced Through Experience). The program is offered four times a year including once during the pre-Fall orientation for first-year students. Throughout the weekend, students reflect on what they experienced through their senses and how that connects with their core values. Margarita Dubocq, the Assistant Director for Poverty Concerns and Faith Connections at the Center, feels that the program provides students with "an awareness and understanding of the issues facing the city in which they live that they would otherwise not get to experience."
A unique feature of the weekend is a shared dinner and evening of activities with men who live in transitional housing, all of whom experienced homelessness. Dubocq hopes that through these first-hand experiences of the realities of homelessness, students will find commonalities with those they encounter and critically analyze stereotypes that they hold about people who are experiencing homelessness and material poverty.
Connecting Kairos with Christian Service
Gonzaga College High School
Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. offers a Kairos Retreat five times a year as the culmination of their retreat program. Fr. Vincent Conti, S.J., stated that "each year more than 95% of each class makes this retreat voluntarily." In a compact three-and-a-half day retreat, offered to seniors and second semester juniors, retreatants are called to acknowledge God's love and to share that love with others while pondering and meditating on the themes of: Who am I?, Who is Christ in my life?, What is Christ's message from me?, and How am I going to carry out this mission?
Reflecting his retreat experience, senior John Treseler, connected it with service to the community. John states: "Kairos and Christian service seem to be unrelated, but they are two sides of the same coin. Kairos is a unique retreat in which you have the opportunity to learn about, reflect on, and improve your relationships with God, others, and yourself. Kairos, 'God's time,' is correctly correlated with time away from the everyday school work. Conversely, Christian service is perceived as required time to help a hectic soup kitchen or to tutor inner city kids. But as the Bible says, 'Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me' (Matthew 25:45). So, Jesus is saying that whenever we help others, we are actually also helping Him. Consequently, we are with Christ. So, during any event in which one experiences God one can be on Kairos. In serving one's community or being on retreat, God can talk to us, but it is ultimately our responsibility to be open to His message."
Regis Jesuit High School- Girls
Young women from RJHS-Girls Division find open arms and eager hearts as they play, teach, and socialize with the students at the Jesuit parish school, St. Peter Claver in Punta Gorda, Belize. To date, 8 delegations have participated in the intercultural experience at the parish school since it opened 7 years ago. Regis Jesuit women also spend two days with a Mayan family experiencing a typical home life, from washing clothes in the river to making tortillas by the open fire. The delegation concludes their visits at the Jesuit parish in Belize City, St. Martins, and shadowing at the Jesuit High School, St. Johns College.
Mission and Identity Day
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School-Baltimore
CRJH-Baltimore celebrated the school's annual Mission and Identity Day in October with a workshop on the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm. Fr. Ralph Metts, S.J., President of the Jesuit Secondary Educational Association, facilitated an interactive discussion of the IPP, Catholic social teaching, and student learning styles. "The diversity of the faculty and staff of CRJ enhanced the professional development experience," stated Anne Price, Assistant Principal and Director of Mission and Identity. With the motto "where learning gets to work", the School opened in 2007 and will graduate its first class in 2011. It is part of the Cristo Rey Network.
President Michael J. Graham, S.J., invited 14 members of Xavier envision how best to "advance our Jesuit, Catholic mission among the faculty, staff and administration so as to maximize the fulfillment of our mission in the place where it matters most: in the hearts, in the minds, in the actions-in the very spirits-of our students." The Group's proposal, which includes a description of five "gifts of our Ignatian heritage", was preceded and educational process which included a cross country trip to visit Jesuit ministries and the Spiritual Exercises.
Through feature films, documentaries, lectures, and original productions dealing broadly with mission-related topics, Channel 46, a closed-circuit cable television channel, attempts to realize the Jesuit identity of the University. As 1 of 51 channels, 46 transmits quality programs based on themes of faith and justice, providing the occasion for reflection and discussion among the members of its target audience - students, staff and faculty living on campus. View the Channel 46 web site or program page for more information.
Nicaragua Immersion Experience
Since 2001, the Office of Jesuit Mission and Identity has brought faculty and administrators to Nicaragua for a 9-day educational experience. The goals of this program are to: explore global justice issues in the context of a developing nation, encourage the application of the experience in participant's University responsibilities and further understanding of the Jesuit mission for justice. The immersion includes meetings with peers at the Jesuit university in Managua, discussions with experts on various topics of importance for the country, and conversations with community members struggling with current economic conditions. For information, contact Joe Orlando, Assistant Vice President, Division of Mission and Ministry, at email@example.com.
Image Right: Ometepe Island in Nicaragua.
Edward D. Simmons Religious Commitment Fund
Funds for projects and course development that "contribute toward a more authentic expression of MU's mission and identity" are offered to full time faculty, administrators and staff. Over the years, these modest grants ($500 to $2,500) have been the basis for many important and long-lasting efforts. For instance, the History Department's "Historical exhibit commemorating the 2009-2010 centennial of women at MU" and the Theology Department's "Marquette Scripture Project". For more information see here or contact Doug Leonhardt, SJ, Associate Director of Mission & Identity.
The MAGIS Retreat
Each summer since 2004, the Heartland-Delta Consortium has sponsored MAGIS. This silent retreat provides an opportunity for faculty at Jesuit universities to integrate Ignatian spirituality into their professional and personal lives. Comments from participants include, "The retreat was amazing. I am excited about how what was received is going to inform my work" and "It was one of the most productive weeks I've spent; I liked the mix of people from various universities and various backgrounds." This year, MAGIS will start at Regis University and move to St. Malo Retreat Center in the Rocky Mountains.
The iSJU Program
St. Joseph's University
iSJU introduces and acclimates first-year students to the Ignatian mission and motto (spirit, intellect, purpose) alive in the campus community of SJU. The "i" comes from the focus on finding one's individual vocation through 5 values: the person as Imago Dei; Imagination in action; Immersion in social justice and community; Intellectual pursuit and Individual talents and vocation. A series of residence "hall programs" including speakers from the student body, the faculty, and the Jesuit community are offered. The Program reaches over 60% of the freshmen class and, since its inception, participation in service and retreat opportunities has risen significantly.
Image Right: St. Joseph's University students.
In the footsteps of St. Xavier
Educators from schools in Australia
Fifteen people from Jesuit and Ignatian schools in Australia followed in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier on a pilgrimage which took them to Maccau, Nagasaki, Shanghai and Bejing. Mark Antulov, Vice Principal at John XXIII College in Mt Claremont, Perth, offers his reflections. Mark has worked at the college for 26 years. The College is a progressive Ignatian school resulting from the wonderful amalgamation of St Louis School (Claremont), a Jesuit Boys School, and Loreto (Claremont), a Loreto Girls school. The college still has very strong connections with both Religious Orders.
Image Right: Sanchean island where Xavier died.
Annual Arrupe Awards Celebration
University of Scranton
Every year since 1995, SU's bestows the Pedro Arrupe S.J. Award For Distinguished Contributions to Ignatian Mission and Ministries. The award is given in recognition of Ignatian-inspired programs and ministries which further the vision of the Superior General from 1965-1981 for which it is named. The 2009 recipients are Suzanne Geaney, executive director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, and Kenneth Gavin, S.J., national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. This year's presentation and luncheon are part of SU's on-going celebrations of its 120th anniversary of its founding.
Image Right: Kenneth Gavin, S.J., national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
The Lansing Reilly Mid-Day Retreat
University of Detroit Mercy
This Retreat "aims to bring together as broad a mix of staff and faculty, from as many budget areas as possible, to meet and talk about the University's mission as perceived from their perspective," describes John Staudenmaier, S.J., Assistant to the President for Mission. It is an opportunity to consider what, in addition to economic survival, is motivational in the UDM workplace and highlights the University's role as a Catholic, Jesuit, Mercy, and student centered institution. Discussion questions include, "How do the University's commitments to research and to teaching influence the place where I work?" and "Which of the University's distinctive adjectives are important where I work and which appear irrelevant?" Started three years ago, over 380 people have participated and have praised the chance to talk seriously about what UDM stands for while meeting new people.
Keeping the Faith - Interreligious Dialogues
The Bertram M. Beck Institute for Religion and Poverty at Fordham University sponsors public seminars on various faith communities? response to the problems of poverty. Recently, the dialogues addressed responses specifically in New York City and for older women. Associated workshops are well attended and create momentum for ongoing work in the community and for new collaborations. The Institute partners with New York City interfaith leaders who are moved to alleviate poverty in our affluent society. Based in the University's Graduate School of Social Service, the Institute promotes interdisciplinary collaboration across University departments and with the broader community.
Image Right: Sanaa Nadim, a Muslim chaplain for the State University of New York Stony Brook, addressing The Religious Communities Response to Older Women in Poverty.
The Arrupe Scholars Program
John Carroll University
"The Arrupe Scholars Program is one way that JCU accomplishes its mission to 'inspire individuals to excel in learning, leadership, and service in the region and in the world"," states Dr. Thea Ford, Professor of Education. The Program provides a 4-year structure for students to integrate their experiences from three areas - academic classes including service learning and issues of social justice, community activities and campus activities. As a committee member assessing applicants, Thea helps select student scholars who will develop and practice, intellectual skills, reflection, advocacy and a commitment to solidarity. For more information, click here.
Mission Week and Beyond: Raising the Level of Commitment
Rockhurst High School
In February, students at RHS surpassed their previous record for donations by over 45%. During the drive, the Student Government Association put a "face" to the goal by posting letters and images of past drives' recipients in Belize and Honduras as well as testimonials by RHS students of their service experiences. Not content with their extraordinary efforts in the February drive, in late Spring 2008, eight RHS students and two chaperones will travel to the Toledo District of Belize to build a school in the village of Sunday Wood and continue their work in the small village of Punta Gorda. Click Mission Week, Making a Difference and Trip to view school newspaper articles.
The Nationwide Community Service Day
Loyola University-New Orleans
The LUNO Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and the Student Government Association hosted their 7th annual Wolves on the Prowl Community Service Day this past November. Students, alumni, parents, and friends in 14 alumni chapter cities worked together for the benefit of others spending time with the elderly, feeding the homeless, cleaning schools and parks, and educating underprivileged youth.
The Search for What Matters
Santa Clara University
For the Bannan Institutes' luncheon speaker series, one individual is invited to give an informal 20 minute lecture that answers the single question: What matters to me and why? Not only do attendees learn about the life of a colleague but each reflects upon their own life too. Paul Woolley, Associate Director, describes the introspective experience when he states, "I sit there and think about my own story and take a self examination of what is important to me, what values drive me, what people have formed my values. What would I be saying if I were speaking?" The series has been an overwhelming success; audiences have ranged from 50 to 125 people.
Image Right: Dean of Admissions, Sandra Hayes, was a recent featured speaker
Considering Our Lives as Vocation
Loyola University Chicago
The staff of the EVOKE office at Loyola University Chicago know a good thing when they see it. It was in 2006 that Bill Creed, S.J. adapted the original materials authored by Marybeth Kearns-Barrett & Chris Barrett for the Lilly Endowment-supported vocation project "Making the Parts Whole" at the College of the Holy Cross. Since then, the EVOKE office has made the material for this five week self-guided retreat available to the faculty, staff and graduate students at LUC. "Considering Our Lives as Vocation" provides "a daily respite in which you can pause, listen, and tap into the voice of vocation in your life, savoring the varied ways that God calls you to live a life of service that contributes to the good of God's world." "This was exactly what I needed this Lent," writes a staff member, "a chance to slow down and reflect on my relationship with God." A faculty member commented, "The self-guided format of the retreat worked really well for me. I could take the time I needed with this daily according to my own schedule. My Lent was richer for the experience."
For more information on the retreat, contact Joseph Earley, Associate Director of EVOKE, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saint Xavier High School
This Thursday morning, as it does every Thursday morning, at 8:57 am, business as usual comes to a halt in the offices, halls and classrooms of St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati, Ohio. The public address system will fill the rooms and halls with the voice of a member of the school community leading the EXAMEN.
Inaugurated in November, 2007, the EXAMEN was created as the spiritual component of St. Xavier's accreditation process by the Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association. "We looked at similar programs at Saint Louis University High, Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Rockhurst High, Creighton Preparatory, and Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory," says Mike Dehring, Assistant Director of Admissions and a faculty member, "and came upon a form that worked for us." While all, including visitors, are encouraged to participate in the weekly 10-minute led-reflection period, those who do not wish to do so observe a respectful quiet period of self-reflection. The comprehensive cessation of business has occasionally startled, especially visitors. Most adapt instantaneously and readily join the school community in the reflective moment. For students and adults alike, the responses have been enthusiastically positive.
It is hoped," states Dehring, "That the EXAMEN, this manifestation of the Spiritual Exercises in microcosm, will encourage the individuals at St. Xavier, whether student, faculty or staff, to individually make time in one's day and life to be reflective with God's calling and one's vocation, awareness of gratitude and thankfulness for life and setting goals to be a better person." So, while on its surface, the EXAMEN comprises just a small portion of the school week, it has the potential to have lasting impact on the spiritual development of the individuals at St. Xavier High School.
Six times each summer, 2 minivans carry Loyola Academy students from Wilmette, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) to Harlan, Kentucky, to immerse themselves in the culture and lifestyle of a rural and often impoverished Appalachian community. Each morning, these "women and men for others" are taken from the Christian Outreach for the Appalachian People camp to a worksite where they dive into physical work of building houses while talking with the carpenters and local residents who take interest in what they are doing for their community.
Mike Hugo, Director of Campus Ministry, states that while participation over the past 10 years has steadily increased, the student reaction has reminded consistent - "I learned more about myself, and got more from this experience than I could ever possibly give to them." Max Spread, an alumnus of L.A. and Summer Service, adds, "I am reminded of what I learned interacting with the locals about their lives and their days - that every act of selflessness was service."
As part of the Jubilee Year celebrations, which honored 3 founders of the Society - Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier and Pierre Favre - beginning on Dec 3, 2005, Canisius College chose to display new symbols of the Jesuit mission. During the Year, a statue of Ignatius Loyola "traveled around the campus." It is now permanently housed in the Student Advisement Center of the Bagen Administration Building. According to Patricia Coward, Director for the Center of Teaching and Learning and a Mission & Identity Committee Co-Chair, plans are now underway to enhance mission representation through banners, computer wallpaper and other web pages, and a peace/meditation garden.
Advent Twilight Retreat
Saint Louis University
Offered annually during Advent, this evening of reflection is an opportunity for faculty and staff to prepare for the holiday season and reflect upon its meaning. This year, the retreat was led by Rector Ralph Huse, SJ. The evening opened with a simple meal and was followed by a presentation, personal reflection time, and a closing prayer. Senior Administrative Assistant Lisa Terneus attended A Season of Hope because, "it was a time for reflection, a time to get quiet, and it was led by a person of integrity and faith." She added, "doing a retreat at this time of day [5:00 pm], for this amount of time [3.5 hours] and at this time of year [Dec. 6] - was very attractive." For more information about the retreat, contact Mary Flick, Faculty and Staff Minister, at: email@example.com.
St John's Jesuit High School
Chinese is the most widely spoken 1st language in the world, but less than one-half of 1% of students taking a foreign language in grades K-12 study Chinese. Recognizing this critical need, St. John's in Toledo has taken action in a variety of ways. They have added Chinese to the language curriculum, introduced an East Asian social studies course, hosted Chinese educators from Qinhuangdao, and sent school officials to China to begin developing a relationship with Chinese secondary schools. "Students realize that learning Chinese is very hard. But, at the end of 4 years, they should be able to write and speak the language, giving them a jump on the next emerging global economy - China", reports Hong Zhu, instructor for the 45 students learning the language.
Saturday in Service
Spring Hill College
On four Saturdays during the academic year, 30-40 students and 5 faculty, assist in the continued post- Hurricane Katrina clean-up of Bayou La Batre, Alabama (hometown of movie character Forrest Gump), under the coordination of Campus Minister Sr. Patricia Huffman. The small fishing town - home to Vietnamese, African American and Anglo communities - experienced particularly significant devastation. Residents appreciate the special care and attention offered to their neighborhoods and homes.
In keeping with SHC's focus on Experience, Reflection, and Action in the Jesuit Pedagogical Tradition, these weekends are surrounded by student preparation and reflection. "Volunteers did this for my family and I wasn't around to help or thank them. Today I have said thanks to people I have never met by doing what I did. That is why I came," reflects a SHC student from New Orleans. "Most of the students lived the Katrina experience and they understand there is work that remains. It is a reality that has not gone away quickly," states Maureen Bergan, Director of Campus Ministry. She adds, "The dirty-dirty work is done. Now we are reflecting and acting on what was unearthed - racism and poverty."
The Spiritual Exercises On-line
The Collaborative Ministry Office at Creighton University has translated Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises in a 34 week on-line retreat. Thousands of people from around the world will do their retreat each year which "invites people to let the material of each week become part of the conscious background of one's daily life and to interact with the material of one's daily experience". People can begin the retreat at any time, but if begun during the middle of September and proceeding until the end of April, the retreat lays out well with the Liturgical year. Retreatants can do it alone or with a spiritual director. They form groups themselves or with a guide. It is easier than an 19th Annotation Retreat or a "Retreat in Everyday Life," requiring an hour and a half of prayer each day. See their website home page by clicking here.
The retreat is also available in Spanish, Japanese and Russian as well as audio versions for downloading onto CDs or MP3 players.