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The Beginnings of Jesuit Education

January 18, 2018

Ignatius of Loyola was motivated by a passion to “set the world on fire” and was convinced that the mission of teaching the youth was an effective way to do this. The course presents a brief history of Jesuit Education and highlights some of its main characteristics.

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5 Lessons
108 Learners

Course Details

Duration10+ Hours
AudienceFaculty, Administration, Leadership Team, Board of Management, General Services
TypeVideo, Article
Focuspre-Secondary, Secondary, Vocational

Course Author

Office of Adult Spirituality at St. Ignatius College Prep San Francisco (CA) - The video resource in this course was created by the team of the Office of Adult Spirituality of St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco, (CA), USA. The team included: Paul Hanley, Mary Abinante, Rita Dollard-O'Malley and Mary Ahlbach. It is integrated into this online course by the Educate Magis Team.



The life of Ignatius of Loyola and the formation of the Society of Jesus are a framework for the development of the ministry of education as a means to “help souls”. This course presents a brief history of the development of some of the distinct characteristics of Jesuit education from its codification of the Ratio Studiorum in 1599 to novel applications in the 21st century. This course consists of five lessons, which build on one another, as the story of the beginnings of Jesuit Education unfolds. 

The style of the video lessons is informal and presents a wide variety of personalities – specialists in Jesuit Education, Jesuits and lay, teachers, administrators, and students, who elucidate the foundations of Ignatian education from different perspectives. In the videos, most of the storytellers are from the USA and represent schools and approaches from a North American viewpoint. Nevertheless, it has a wide appeal, because of the common history and tradition of Jesuit schools across the globe. The Ignatian context and characteristics presented will resonate with anyone working in a Jesuit or Ignatian institution. The accompanying texts and reflection questions will not only invite you to reflect deeply but also challenge you to adapt this to your own local context.

The course content includes:

  • a historical context to the origins of Jesuit Education
  • a reference to experiences and documents in Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education
  • a reference to integration of Ignatian spirituality within Jesuit Education
  • connection to the universal Church
  • an introduction to several key persons in Jesuit Education
  • a contemporary application
  • reflection questions
  • additional resources

Learning Format

This online platform offers a flexible approach to learning. These resources are available to access 24/7 and used at the pace of the individual learner. Please note there is no active instructor on this course at the moment. It is self-paced and self-assessed. If you wish to discuss some aspect of this course or ask a question, please use the Conversations facility available in each Lesson or contact the Educate Magis team

How to enroll?

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Lesson 1: The Ministry of Teaching – To Help Souls


The videos present a wide variety of perspectives from specialists in Jesuit Education, Jesuit and lay teachers, administrators, and staff. This lesson is based on the article “How the first Jesuits became involved in education”…

Lesson 2: Ratio Studiorum

Ratio Studiorum: A Plan of Studies The first video briefly introduces the Ratio Studiorum (a plan of studies), the document that captured the wisdom of Jesuit educational experiments and experiences. The second video highlights the…

Lesson 3: Going Through Their Door – Context

As you watch the video, please observe how this principle is practiced in various Jesuit schools, as shared by some of the Jesuit school administrators. Can you name Jesuits who contributed to the betterment of local…

Lesson 4: Cura Personalis

The previous lessons emphasized the importance of this Ignatian characteristic from different points of view. In the Ratio Studiorum educators were encouraged to take into account the abilities of the individual student while teaching. While the…

Lesson 5: God in All Things

In the previous lesson, we have seen that cura personalis has a strong pastoral dimension that enables the seeds of religious faith and commitment to grow in each person. Ignatius of Loyola was convinced that…