Mission and Identity

6. Jesuit Presence

"We foster lay formation and collaboration with the Society of Jesus through strong programs in Mission and Identity such as the Ignatian Mentoring Program and AFMIX: Assuring the Future Mission and Identity of Xavier. At the same time, we continue to rely on 'the corporate investment of the Society of Jesus' and seek to 'maintain and augment a strong Jesuit presence' on campus. We look to the Society's leadership structures to help ensure that the Xavier Way remains rooted firmly in the Ignatian spirit and the liberal arts tradition of Jesuit education." (Seeking Integration and Wisdom, para. 44)

Jesuits Active in the University

The Cincinnati Jesuit Community resides on campus. This is a central community composed of Jesuits involved with St. Xavier Church in downtown Cincinnati and Bellarmine Parish on campus, and retired and semi-retired Jesuits, as well as those directly involved with the University. The presence of the Jesuit Residence on campus is a visible sign of support and confirmation of the Society of Jesus to the identity and mission of the university. The Jesuit Community engages with and supports the wider campus community in a variety of direct and indirect ways:

  • The Community extends hospitality to the wider community, enabling students, staff and faculty to meet and interact with Jesuits in the casual atmosphere of their home. The Community invites the baseball and soccer teams to cookouts during their seasons. Also, the Community hosts a yearly dinner for faculty and students in the Honors Bachelor of Arts program. In addition to these specific groups, the Community holds an Open House and lunch on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Dec. 3, for the entire campus community. This is preceded by a concelebrated Mass in the campus chapel.
  • The Rector of the Cincinnati Jesuit Community serves on the University Board of Trustees (ex officio).
  • Four Jesuits are teaching full-time, two are on the staff of the Center for Mission and Identity, one serves as the University's archivist, and one is on staff in the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice.
  • Four Jesuits live in the student residence halls, while others serve as Chaplain for ROTC and other on-campus student groups.
  • Some Jesuits are available to provide spiritual direction and also serve as a guide for the 19th Annotation style Spiritual Exercises.
  • Jesuit priests are available to provide sacramental ministry, such as the Eucharist and Reconciliation, for student retreats.
  • Jesuits serve as presiders and planners with student committees for the two Sunday student-focused Masses offered weekly. Additionally, Jesuits preside, on a rotating schedule, at the three Masses available each weekday.


The Xavier Jesuit Community has annually offered significant financial support for major initiatives through each of the University's capital campaigns, including The Xavier Way, To See Great Wonders, The Century Campaign and The Corner Stone Campaign. Over the years, the contributions have supported centers (Mission and Identity Endowment, The Brueggeman Center, Ignatian Programs), activities (XU Faculty Fellows Program, 175th Anniversary - Jesuit Higher Education seminar, Instructional Technology, Bellarmine Renovation Fund, Mission and Ministry Retreat Programs) and a variety of scholarships (e.g., Tom Savage SJ Scholarship, Al Bischoff SJ Scholarship, Fr. Benjamin Urmston SJ Peace Studies Scholarship, Joseph and Constance LaRocca Scholarship, Mary Flaspohler Memorial Scholarship, Pedro Arrupe SJ Scholarship Fund, James and Lydia Hoff Scholarship).

Relationship with Society of Jesus

Many University offices and individuals actively participate in the various national and international programs and conferences sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities of the Society of Jesus.

For one, President Graham is the current AJCU Board chair. Also, Xavier is a co-sponsor of the Ignatian Family Teaching-In For Justice.

And the Center for Mission and Identity, and its Conway Institute for Jesuit Education, maintain a comprehensive collection of digital and print resources on Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality, further supporting the global work of the Society of Jesus. These resources, found on the Center's website www.JesuitResource.org, annually received nearly 500,000 page views from people in 200+ countries and territories, the top countries including the U.S., the Philippines, Canada, India, the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.

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The website includes:

Related information is disseminated through social media via Twitter (@ TweetIgnatian) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/XUMissionIdentity).

The Center's print resources on Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality include the popular Do You Speak Ignatian, Daily Examen Prayer Cards, Ignatian Journal and Ignatian resources for unique populations such as student-athletes, leaders and graduate students. These materials are requested by institutions across the globe including universities, high schools, parishes, hospitals and retreat centers. Complete digital versions of these print resources are also available free online as part of the Center's sustainability and outreach efforts, making these materials easily accessible for online courses, including those taught by Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins.

A bi-monthly newsletter is sent to more than 10,000 people around the world interested in Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality. Recent newsletter themes include: Ignatian Pedagogy and Education, Pope Francis, Advent and Christmas Resources, Catholic Identity and Education, Celebrating 50 Years of Gaudium Et Spes, Lent and Easter Resources.

On Dec. 3, the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier, the Chief Mission Officer offered live commentary on the "Seize the Day with Gus Lloyd" radio show on SiriusXM's The Catholic Channel (129). She was asked to talk about her article, St. Francis Xavier: A Modern View of His Life and Work, that the show's producer found on www.JesuitResource.org.

To learn more regarding the support of Jesuits in formation, see "Vocational Discernment" in section 3 above.

In addition, Xavier faculty members are regular contributors to the intellectual dialogue. The most recent example is Dr. Margo Heydt's "Solving the Mystery of Decree 14: Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and Civil Society," presented at the Women and the Church Since Vatican II meeting at Loyola University Chicago, Nov. 6-7, 2015.


The Socius of the Chicago-Detroit Province, Fr. Walter Deye, S.J., is a member of Xavier's Board of Trustees.

Xavier actively supports the collaborative initiatives of the pending Upper Midwest Province. The Chief Mission Officer serves as one of three CMO's on the "Think Tank" of the Bi-Provincial Assistant for Higher Education. Additionally, this past summer, the first Women's Ignatian Leadership Salon was held at Xavier for 25 women of the seven Jesuit province universities and Canada. Read the news brief from the Jesuit Conference to learn more. An interactive presentation of the Salon as A Women's Mission-Conscious Leadership Seminar Boosting Institutional Effectiveness will be offered at the annual meeting of the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago in April 2015.

Xavier's CMO has served as the chair of the Heartland-Delta board since 2013.

External Recognition

Fr. Daniel McDonald S.J. visited the six universities of the Midwest Province in order to assist the Provincial in understanding "the important ministry of the Province." His impressions were based on his visit to Xavier from Oct. 22-Oct. 25, and Nov. 3-Nov. 5, 2014, as well as the other five universities. During his Xavier visit, he met with groups of faculty, staff and students as well as the President Graham, the Board Chair, Chief Mission Officer, Jesuit Rector and central administration. While his report was written for the Provincial and is not intended for wide circulation, the excerpts below indicate what might be "worth affirming:"

  • The New Xavier: "If you have a chance while you are visiting Xavier, ask for a campus tour by Bob Sheeran. It will be well worth your time to have a sense of the 'new' Xavier. The new buildings clearly portray an institution of substance."
  • The Ignatian Gifts: "One enters the Hoff Dining hall and immediately sees the 'Ignatian Gifts' on the wall. The dining room is further divided into five areas which call attention to these themes. This idea might be well advised for the other Jesuit universities. Perhaps a different adaptation, but the idea seems important."
  • Animating The Mission Statement: "Over and over again, the Mission and Identity is evident and lived, not only in words but also in deeds. Everyone I visited with at Xavier seems to be striving to engage the Mission Statement and the Catholic/Jesuit identity of the University. A lot of energy around the Mission Statement is noteworthy, and it is immediately clear that much is done with what seems to be a sufficient allotment of resources to these endeavors. The human capital engaged in the mission is also quite substantial and impressive."
  • Jesuit Identity Vocabulary: "There is acknowledged Jesuit identity vocabulary at every level of discourse. Further, people constantly reference ideas like service, service learning, reflection, leadership and justice."
  • University Service Programs: "The students at Xavier help with many of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Given the number of students involved in these works in Cincinnati, it seems this has a significant effect on the local Church."
  • The Core Curriculum Process: "The approach to the CORE process at Xavier is unique. I think it would be good to offer this reflection to the other Jesuit schools as a possible approach. They used some unique variables which allowed them to move ahead."
  • The Environment: "People are thankful that they work in an environment which values ethics, service, reflection and leadership. The students are proud to be known as young people who are living what Pope Francis has challenged them to live and work with the marginalized seems a value for them. They were highly enthusiastic about almost everything Xavier and were thankful for the opportunity to live and be part of this exciting school."
  • Leadership: "People are dedicated to the University and love working there. They respect the Jesuits and that tradition. They see the mission and the vision as important and want to be part of all movements that are value-centric. Some go as far as to indicate that they consider their life of work at Xavier a vocation and that Debra Mooney (CMO) has helped them understand this in the Mission programs.... I would like a nod to move ahead with her to share some of her programs and insights with the other schools."
  • Assuring the Future Mission and Identity at Xavier: "The AFMIX program is held in high regard-it is a two-year program and is quite successful. This might be considered by other Jesuit universities for its impact and possible adaptation."
  • The Mission Animators: "The program (a collaborative engagement among campus leaders from the offices of Dialogue, Diversity, Ethics/Religion and Society, Community Building, Community Engagement, Faith and Justice, First-year Experience, Interfaith Community Engagement, Mission and Identity, Sustainability and Theology) might be worth examining for other Jesuit institutions. It is unique and it seems to have a far-reaching effect because the committee people are risk-takers. Modeling this group might be suggested at the other Upper Midwest Schools.