Who Do You Want To Be? A Global School Experience inviting young people to discover a path toward the fullness of life.Participate here
By Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific
Sep 20th, 2016

The third run of the Workshop on Ignatian School Leadership (WISL) brought together 38 school leaders from Jesuit-run schools in four provinces and regions within the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP). Coming from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Micronesia, and the Philippines, the participants ranged from administrators of a wide range of experience to teachers identified as having leadership potential.

jcap-wisl-1The five-day workshop held from July 6 to 10 at the Montserrat Center in Silang, Cavite, Philippines aimed at helping school leaders imbibe the Ignatian habit of reflection and discernment. It not only provided valuable input, but also became a venue for new friendships to begin. The workshop design rendered it natural for participants to share experiences, both personal and professional, thereby making the WISL experience even more meaningful.

On the first day, the atmosphere felt more like a silent retreat because people kept to themselves and the hall was very quiet. By the second day, however, it was evident how the group had bonded: participants interacted more spontaneously with one another, shared meals together and had plenty of time to laugh (and even cry) with each other. The workshop gave them the chance to step out of their roles as school leaders for a while and just be persons in order to do self-reflection without fear of being judged or misjudged. Language turned out not to be a concern at all when it came to the group sharing.

jcap-wisl-2There was a shared realization of how Ignatian Spirituality actually permeates the core of being a leader. Even more important was the insight that prayer and reflection are crucial in our “messy and complex but beautiful world”, as described by JCAP Education Secretary Fr Johnny Go SJ.

Fr Vincentius Haryanto SJ, School Chaplain of Escola Catolica Estrela Do Mar in Macau, was struck by how the WISL was able to “introduce practical and applicable means to explain [the Ignatian] charism to people”.

In the same way, Fr Guido Chrisna Hidayat SJ from Loyola High School in Semarang, Central Java, said that if there was one thing he needed to learn from the workshop, it was that “Ignatian Spirituality can be applied to our work”.

Veteran school administrator Robert Joseph A Galvan, High School Principal of Ateneo de Cebu, Philippines, shared that WISL “refined the learning” he has had and that the “focus on discernment helped and affirmed things” for him.

13698086_474454616095698_4453485886207491044_oMeanwhile, new administrator Patricia Marie R Ursua from Ateneo de Naga, Philippines said that she appreciated the group sharing sessions that had no boundaries – not even age, culture or administrative experience.

Martin K Carl, Principal of Xavier High School in Micronesia and David Cheung Chun Kwok, Discipline Master of Wah Yan College in Kowloon, saw how their takeaways from the workshop could be applied not just to their work, but also to their personal lives especially in relating with their families.

On the last day of the workshop, there was an overflow of gratefulness and joy for the blessings that each had received from the experience. Many of the participants expressed how they could go back to their work with greater courage and passion to carry on their mission of Ignatian school leadership.

Republished with permission of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific