“WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?” – A LENTEN INITIATIVE FOR SCHOOLS. Invite your students to reflect on their relationship with God, with their neighbor, and with the Earth.

In December 2022, Bob Reiser, S.J., Kristen Smith, and Catharine Steffens, members of the Jesuit Schools Network of North America team, met with the staff of Educate Magis at their offices in Galway. Educate Magis plays an important role in advancing the goals of the JSN’s 2022-25 Strategic Plan, and so the two groups met over the course of two days to identify specific areas of collaboration and to develop innovative responses to them. In the course of their meetings, the group identified three important areas – staff formation courses, virtual collaboration facilities, and a JSN blog space – as specific opportunities for collaboration. Over the three-year lifespan of the JSN Strategic Plan, programs and resources sponsored by Educate Magis will be integrated into initiatives contained therein. These include the JSN summer Master Class, Ignatian Global Scholars, Ignatian Global Engagement Mentors, Global Dimensions Inventory, Hemispheres newsletter, Ignatian Colleagues Gatherings, Cohort Connections, the Evolving Leaders Institute, and so much more.

Possibly the most exciting piece of “learning” that emerged from the meeting in Galway was how closely connected the staffs of the JSN and Educate Magis are with one another. There is a natural “synergy” between the two groups, ultimately inspired by the Jesuit mission we share. Therefore, moving forward, Ciara Beuster of the Educate Magis team will continue partnering with the JSN staff to ensure the goals and initiatives of our Galway meeting are implemented successfully. Ciara will join the JSN team quarterly to help them move forward in their strategic portfolios. Ciara will also serve as a liaison back to the Educate Magis team who will be working closely with JSN colleagues, as well.

In the 1989 film, Field of Dreams, farmer Ray Kinsella is inspired to build a baseball field in his Iowa cornfield in the hope that baseball legend “Shoeless Joe Jackson” will come and play. In the film, Ray encounters Jackson who inspires him into action with the encouragement, “If you build it, he will come.” This same mantra is the very foundation of JSN’s efforts with Educate Magis. The programs and resources that Educate Magis provides are invaluable, and hopefully this structured approach to promoting them will not only increase participation in Educate Magis, but also open JSN school communities to the larger Jesuit Global Network of Schools.

If we build it, they will come!