From Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th of November 2017, the Heads of Schools of the Jesuit Education Network of the Euro Mediterranean Jesuit Province (Fondazione Gesuiti Educazione- http://educazione.gesuiti.it), participated in a seminar which was held in the beautiful Villa Belvedere in Gressoney (Valle D’Aosta, North Italy). The three days of intensive work focused mainly on two major themes:
i. How schools can be accompanied in the implementation of the Ignatian Curriculum Guidelines of the Jesuit Education Network
ii. How the work on the drafting of the school strategic plan can be monitored.
The meeting was attended by the General Directors, the Headmasters/Headmistresses and the Pastoral and Curriculum Coordinators of the schools in Milan, Turin, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Messina, Scutari (Albania) and Malta.
The seminar was organised by the Joint Committee, made up of the Jesuit Education Foundation team and its collaborators together with the Cefaegi team.
The first part of the seminar focused on the internal context and the general situation namely:
– The new Euro Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
– The draft Apostolic Project
– The recent JESEDU meeting in Rio de Janeiro.
Father Jean-Paul Hernandez together with Fr Jimmy Bartolo (President Designate of the Jesuit Education Foundation) explained briefly the Apostolic Project and introduced the dynamics of how it will be worked out in the schools.
Prof. Franco Garelli, a member of the Board of Directors of the Jesuit Education Foundation considered the recent path undertaken by the Schools of the Foundation as ” an act of courage, an answer for various bold and far-sighted aspects […] Among the qualifying points there is certainly a “high-level” educational idea, which expresses the conviction that “education can be”, also in advanced modernity, even in open and complex society, thus taking distances from some shortcuts which today are fashionable in this field.
Subsequently, we were involved in a number of workshops, which focused mostly on how to implement in our schools, the Ignatian Curriculum Guidelines, published recently by the Foundation, and how Departments can be accompanied to be able to help teachers in their daily tasks in school as indicated in the documents.
Fundamental importance is given to the great work done in the Curriculum of all schools according to the Ignatian method.
“The Curriculum as we understand it (the set of spiritual, educational, cultural and educational choices) is synonymous with the entire educational proposal (educational offer) we make through schools: it indicates our identity and mission in the everyday life of the school.” (LG 2.1 page 45)
The Guidelines of an Ignatian Curriculum are meant to guide and permeate the whole school life and not to be kept idle on our shelves.
The Guidelines cover also other dimensions which are essential to render our school activities truly Ignatian. These are: the pastoral and international dimension, technology, training and tutoring.
However, in the second part of the seminar we focused on three further areas, less closely related to didactics and training, but of no less importance: governance, strategic planning, management control and apostolic economic management.
Each school is specifically called upon to set up its own strategic plan, which has to be consistent with the common VISION and the directions of the Jesuit Education Foundation. One has to start by making a context analysis. At the moment the Board of Directors of each school are working on this plan.
“He who loves does not stop in the face of difficulties, but seeks solutions” – said Fr. Vitangelo Denora SJ during one of his interventions – “We see the present as an opportunity to look to the future in a new way and design with a strategic vision.”
Fr Vitangelo concluded the meeting on Saturday morning with the prayer which is found below of the Jesuit Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ. He thanked all the participants wishing them a safe journey back home, and all the best of luck in their work!
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”