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Last week JECSE started a beautiful collaborative initiative with Educate Magis, by launching a European pilot around the new online Ignatian Spirituality course developed as a collaborative project between Fr. Brian Grogan SJ, the Educate Magis Community, and Professors Dr. Donna Orsuto and Fr. Rolphy Pinto SJ of the Institute of Spirituality at the Gregorian University in Rome.

The Course is essentially an invitation to a spiritual journey with Ignatius of Loyola, whose influence is still very much felt today and whose spiritual insights, practices, and exercises are fueling our Jesuit and Ignatian schools.

The invitation is to a personal journey, inviting participants to learn from experts in the field through inspiring instructional videos by Ignatian Spirituality experts, to contemplate the story of Ignatius by reading theme-based excerpts from the book ‘Alone and on Foot’ by Brian Grogan SJ, and to reflect on their personal and professional journey. The course introduces as well as deepens the following four key Ignatian practices: Ignatian reflection and the Examen of Consciousness, Ignatian Spiritual Conversation, Ignatian Discernment and Decision Making, and Modelling the practices of a Contemplative in Action.

Thus, it helps new educators in a Jesuit / Ignatian school environment to engage in activities and conversations around these key Ignatian practices. And obviously, they can also experience how these practices can be helpful to them in their personal lives.

The course has been developed as a cohort course, inviting colleagues from different schools from all over the world to meet, share and learn together, which gives it a beautiful international and intercultural dimension. Besides, it can also be used for staff formation in a more local context of course. This specific course just launched is a pilot course though, first initiated in the North-American Jesuit Schools Network and now in JECSE in the European context. These pilots will help Educate Magis to refine the course and see how it can be most helpful for educators in the different regions today.

For JECSE this in-depth online course was a golden opportunity, to offer the European mission- and identity formators (many of whom tend to visit the annual JECSE formators conferences, and now missed this meeting twice in a row due to the ongoing crisis) a chance to meet, share and be inspired – at least online – around this beautiful program. A number of newly interested colleagues from the JECSE network joined the group, as well as the University Chaplaincy team from Vilnius, Lithuania, and the Formation Coordinator from the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (bringing in a different perspective) which makes us a rich, diverse group.

We also found two enthusiastic and skilled facilitators in

Elisabeth Clarke (on the left) Director of Ignatian Formation and Service Programmes at Gonzaga College SJ in Dublin, Ireland and Lourenço Eiró, SJ (on the right) Education Delegate for Portugal; Member of the Pastoral Team at Colegio das Caldinhas, Santo Tirso, Portugal; as well as a member of the JECSE Steering Committee and Formation Task Force.

With smooth coordination by Gellért Merza from Educate Magis, and an insightful pre-recorded introduction of his book ‘Alone and on Foot’ by Brian Groogan SJ himself, we had a nice start. Looking forward to telling you some more after the course ends in 8 weeks!