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Por Gellért Merza
Nov 5th, 2015

What kind of new life is this upon which I am entering?

The International Seminar on Ignatian Pedagogy and Spirituality (Seminario Internacional sobre Pedagogía y Espiritualidad Ignaciana – SIPEI) took place near the Cave of St. Ignatius in Manresa, Spain from November 2nd to 8th, 2014. At the international seminar, organized by the Secretariat for Education of the Society of Jesus, 80 experts in Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education gathered representing 31 countries from the six Jesuit regions throughout the world: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, South Asia, and Asia Pacific. They were joined by over 4,000 participants via social networks and live streaming. This seminar was a continuation of the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education (ICJSE), which took place in Boston in 2012.

Fr. José Mesa, SJ (Secretary for Secondary and Pre-secondary Education for the Society of Jesus) began the Manresa conference with the quote from St. Ignatius: What kind of new life is this upon which I am entering? “Eliciting both personal and institutional response, it is an evocative anticipatory question that this newly emerging international community of Jesuit schools is excited to address” wrote Fr. Bill Kameza, SJ in an article published after the SIPEI Seminar in 2014.

Sipei 1 Sipei 11 Sipei 111

This open-ended question is valid today as we celebrate the anniversary of this milestone in the emergence of a new global community of more than 2000 Jesuit and Ignatian schools. This anniversary is not only a time of “remembrance” but it is also a call for the renewal of this commitment to global networking and collaboration.

The recent letter Fr. José Mesa, SJ wrote to SIPEI participants invites to read, connect and collaborate on the Human Excellence (2015) document, thus continuing the conversation, which started in Manresa a year ago.

“By reflecting on the Conscious person, the Competent person, the Compassionate person and the Committed person, we strengthened our conviction that ours is a well-rounded education within the framework of a spirituality that challenges us to maintain a living tradition of creative loyalty in order to respond to today’s challenges. We said goodbye in Manresa with a Mission Statement in which we stated that by “trusting in God we renew our commitment to provide an educational experience that can transform our students, ourselves and our school communities as places where the dream of the Gospel can be seen and experienced.”

It is precisely in response to this commitment that this year we have launched Educate Magis, a global online platform that continues the process of building a global network of our schools, a process we began with the ICJSE in Boston in 2012 and expanded during SIPEI. Educate Magis seeks to connect, collaborate and transform so that our schools can better serve our common mission in the global context of our age. It’s a modern tool for facing the challenges of the present.

During the SIPEI we had the privilege of seeing what working through a global network can be like, and we truly experienced “the immense possibilities that thinking, working and dreaming together as a global network open for us.” Now, on the occasion of this first anniversary of SIPEI, it’s our job to be the catalysts in our regional, provincial and local networks so that this dream of working as part of a global network can become a reality.”

It is in light of the above that the organisers of SIPEI in Barcelona have initiated the online discussions that will take place through the Educate Magis platform throughout the month of November. All Jesuit and Ignatian educators are invited to deeply reflect on the Human Excellence document, which summarizes everything SIPEI participants experienced and discussed.

“We hope that by discussing this document we are driven towards the “deep change required in our schools” and that this can be part of the “genuine discernment” we talked about during SIPEI.”

You are invited to read the full Human Excellence document here and share your reflections with other educators from around the world in celebration of the SIPEI anniversary!

St Ignatius teaching

(Photo credit: SIPEI 2014)