The following paragraphs unveil the transformative power of Jesuit educators within the Educate Magis global apostolic community, focusing on their exceptional contributions as facilitators of our Ignatian Global Citizenship and Four Key Practices in Ignatian Spirituality cohort courses last autumn (2023).
Through an exploration of nine captivating interviews, we delve into the rich tapestry of life experiences and insights shared by George Nedumattam, Martha Lorena López Rivas, Sofiana García Cid, John Michael Reyes, María Verónica Paredes Sánchez, Maricel H. Fong, Maria Jennifer A. Concepcion, Teresa González Pérez, and Elliott Gualtiere.
These educators emerge as luminaries, illuminating the path towards a globalised, spiritually resilient, and compassion-infused education. Their biographies and narratives not only inspire but also act as bridges, connecting diverse geographies around the world with the universal essence of Ignatian pedagogy.
A. Ignatian Global Citizenship Facilitators
1. George Nedumattam: In the heart of Kaiserganj (India), a new beacon of education and enlightenment is emerging. St. Xavier’s School, established in July 2022, is more than just bricks and mortar—it’s a testament to the vision and dedication of its principal, Fr. George Nedumattam. Beyond overseeing the construction of the school building and the development of the campus, Fr. Nedumattam is nurturing a community of learners with a profound global perspective. Read George’s experience facilitating the Ignatian Global Citizenship Course with a Global Group here
2. Lorena López: In Guatemala City (Guatemala), amidst the vibrant culture and pulsating energy, Martha Lorena López Rivas stands as a beacon of inspiration. With 25 years of unwavering commitment to education at Liceo Javier, Lorena is not just an educator; she is a torchbearer for Global Citizenship within the framework of Ignatian principles. Read Lorena’s experience facilitating the Ignatian Global Citizenship Course with a Global Group here
3. Sofiana García Cid: The General Coordinator of Languages and International Affairs at the Tampico Cultural Institute (Mexico), is deeply committed to promoting global perspectives in language education. Her belief in global education transcends geographical and cultural boundaries. She envisions education as a means to cultivate active and engaged citizens who understand their responsibilities in a multicultural world. Read Sofiana’s experience facilitating the Ignatian Global Citizenship Course with a Global Group here
B. Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Facilitators
4. John Michael Reyes: The Director of Adult Spirituality at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, CA (USA), is a dedicated educator deeply rooted in the world of liturgy who emphasises the importance of Jesuit educators learning, practising, and promoting Ignatian practices around the world.
In this context, Mr. Reyes sees these practices, such as the Examen, Discernment, Spiritual Conversation, and being Contemplatives in Action, as foundational elements that shape the ethos of Jesuit schools worldwide. Read John’s experience facilitating the Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Course with a Global Group here
5. María Verónica Paredes Sánchez: A devoted Xavier Missionary Sister, born in Toluca (Mexico), Vero has been a leading force in promoting Ignatian spirituality on a global scale. As a religion teacher and a vital member of the School Ministry team at Istituto Leone XIII in Milan (Italy), she imparts her wisdom and international experiences to students, blending the sacred with the academic. Read María Verónica’s experience facilitating the Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Course with a Global Group here
6. Maricel H. Fong: In the thriving educational landscape of Xavier School Nuvali in Laguna, Marcie stands as an inspirational figure in her role as the English Department Chairperson. A highly experienced educator, Marcie is dedicated to nurturing the growth of her colleagues and ensuring their alignment with the school’s curriculum and vision-mission.
Born in Manila (Philippines), Marcie’s early exposure to Catholicism at St. Scholastica’s College Manila laid the groundwork for her eventual embrace of Ignatian Spirituality. It was during her tenure at Xavier School Nuvali, spanning eight years, that she encountered the profound teachings of St. Ignatius, particularly his transformative “cannonball moment”. Read Maricel’s experience facilitating the Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Course with a Global Group here
7. Maria Jennifer A. Concepcion: A beacon of inspiration in Jesuit education, Jen is the Assistant Principal for Formation at the Ateneo de Manila University Senior High School in Quezon City (Philippines). In her multifaceted role, she embodies the Jesuit ideals of forming individuals who are not only scholastically proficient but also grounded in a deep sense of spirituality and service to others, while leading the school in spiritual formation, guidance, counselling, discipline, and community involvement.
For Jen, being part of a Jesuit institution is not just a professional affiliation, but a vital aspect of her life that goes beyond the academic realm. It has given her lasting friendships, including her husband, and a commitment to being a person for others. Read Jennifer’s experience facilitating the Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Course with a Global Group here
8. Teresa González Pérez: Teresa resides in the lively city of Seville (Spain), bringing her unwavering commitment to Ignatian spirituality to the Southern Zone of Educsi (Foundations SAFA and Loyola) encompassing 32 schools across Andalusia, Extremadura, and the Canary Islands. As a dedicated member of the international Jesuit community, Teresa’s life revolves around the profound question, “What should I do for Christ?”—a query that shapes her personal ethos and fuels her journey in the pastoral area of Educsi. Read Teresa’s experience facilitating the Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Course with a Global Group here
9. Elliott Gualtiere: In the quiet town of Fairfield, Connecticut (USA), amidst the academic halls of Fairfield College Preparatory School, Elliott Gualtiere serves as the Dean of Mission and Ministry, a role that extends far beyond the conventional boundaries of education. His journey, rooted in the Bronx, New York, has been marked by a deep connection to Christian faith and Jesuit/Ignatian spirituality – a connection that has shaped not only his personal ethos but also his profound impact on the school community. Read Elliott’s experience facilitating the Four Key Practices of Ignatian Spirituality Course with a Global Group here
Elliott Gualtiere’s story is a testament to the transformative power of faith, resilience, and the Ignatian Spirituality that has become the guiding force in his life and work.
As we express our gratitude to these remarkable educators from the international Educate Magis community, we also celebrate their profound impact on the realms of Ignatian Spirituality and Ignatian Global Citizenship. Their personal experiences and perspectives are not just insightful stories; they are catalysts for positive change, fuelling a global movement that transcends borders and inspires educators to be the transformative force the world needs. Together, let us continue to build bridges and amplify the spirit of Ignatian education across the globe.