Continuing with the Global Series for Teachers New to Jesuit Education, here is article number three, which explains the pivotal role that ICAJE, the International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education, has in the renewal of contemporary Jesuit Education.

GC 31 established the Secretariat for Education with the purpose of promoting the educational work of the Jesuits. In 1967, Fr. General Pedro Arrupe appointed Fr. John J. Blewett as the first secretary of education. In September 1980, Fr. James Sauvé, then secretary for education, convened a seminar on secondary education in Rome to discuss the state of Jesuit secondary education and respond to the challenges of the time. During this meeting, Fr. General Arrupe offered his reflection in his renowned discourse Our Schools Today and Tomorrow. It was clear during the meeting that the challenges ahead required a more coordinated response and collaborative work from the schools. Thus, it was decided to create “an international commission under the direction of the Secretariat for Education” with the recommendation to build a world-wide network and create channels for communication among the schools, the provinces and the delegates in reference to suggestions and ideas for the secondary education.

A first meeting of the commission was scheduled in Puerto Rico in October 1982 and ICAJE was established. During this meeting it was decided that there was a need for some guidelines for Jesuit Education worldwide, to discuss the status of religious education in schools and how the schools could work with their former students. As a result, the commission organized its work around writing a document on Jesuit Education. This document was finally presented to Fr. General Kolvenbach in 1986 as The Characteristics of Jesuit Education and it became the second official educational document of the Society since the publication of the Ratio Studiorum in 1599 (almost 400 years later!!!)

Currently, ICAJE serves as an advisory commission to the Secretariat for Education, and it has played an important role in outlining the contemporary official documents of Jesuit Education:  The Characteristics of Jesuit Education (1986), Ignatian Pedagogy: A Practical Approach (1993); and Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century (2019). These documents have been central in implementing Jesuit Education in the world today and together form the contemporary framework of Jesuit Education worldwide. We meet once a year in Rome (or online during the pandemic) and 3 times a year virtually. We examine the state of Jesuit Education, discuss projects and programs to advance Jesuit Education and to better serve the mission of Reconciliation and Justice with God, within Humanity and with Creation.

The purposes of ICAJE are:

  1. To assist the Secretariat in the coordination of the Jesuit Global Network of Schools.
  2. To communicate to the Jesuit Conference, Provincials, and especially to Province Delegates for Secondary and Pre-secondary Education, the results of the ICAJE meetings, and to suggest ways in which these recommendations can be implemented.
  3. To be in communication with one another and with the Secretariat for Education of the General Curia, so that more information can be shared and a sense of unity and networking can be accomplished.
  4. To communicate to the Secretariat, the concerns, challenges and accomplishments of the Jesuit schools in your region and the world.
  5. To contribute to the current call for Jesuit Schools to become a global network at the service of our Universal Mission in the context of the Universal Apostolic Preferences (2019-2029), our current challenges and opportunities.
  6. To contribute to the renewal, innovation and re-imagination of the Apostolate of Jesuit Education through an ongoing exercise of discernment, as it is presented in the document A Living Tradition (2019) and the Action Statement from JESEDU-Rio2017
  7. To advise Fr. General on topics related to Jesuit Education and proposed documents and guidelines that can help schools navigate the multiple challenges they face today.


Present members:

  • Chair: Fr. José Mesa, SJ – Worldwide Secretary for Education, Society of Jesus (Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education)
  • Fr. Johnny Go, SJ – Secretary for Basic Education of the Jesuit Asia-Pacific Conference (JCAP-Education)
  • Fr. Joe Arimoso, SJ – Coordinator – Association of Jesuit Basic and Secondary Education in Africa and Madagascar (JASBEAM)
  • Fr. Robert Reiser, SJ – Executive Director of Jesuit Schools Network (JSN) – US and Canada
  • Mr. Brian Flannery (I), – Delegate of the Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education (JECSE)
  • Fr. John Ravi, SJ – Secretary of the Jesuit Educational Association of South Asia (JEASA)
  • Br. Raimundo Barros, SJ – President of the Latin American Federation of Jesuit Schools (FLACSI)

Members of the Secretariat:

  • Mr. Felipe Carrillo – Assistant for Special Projects, Secretariat for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education
  • Ms. Catharine Steffens – Assistant for Global Initiatives, Secretariat for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education

Educate Magis:

  • Mr. Éamonn McGuinness – Community Director, Educate Magis

To complement this reading I invite you to explore the interactive chronological map: “Jesuit Education – A Contemporary Map”. This is a compilation of the most important documents and events in contemporary Jesuit Education, including their origins, authors and important dates, all gathered in one interactive chronological map of key milestones in contemporary Jesuit education.