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The Characteristics of Jesuit Education 1986

  1. In September 1980 an international group came together to discuss important issues concerning Jesuit secondary education. These discussions culminated in the publication of the foundational document entitled Characteristics of Jesuit Education [1]. Then Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach S.J. promulgated the document on December 8, 1986. In his letter, Father Kolvenbach described the purpose of the document:
  2. “The Characteristics document can assist all those working in Jesuit education to ‘exercise’ the essential task of apostolic discernment. It can be the basis for renewed reflection on the experience of the educational apostolate and, in light of that reflection, for evaluation of school policies and practices: not only negatively (“What are we doing wrong”), but especially positively (“How can we do better?”). This must take account of “continually changing” local circumstances: individual countries or regions should reflect on the meaning and implications of the characteristics for their own local situations and should then develop supplementary documents that apply this present universal document to their own concrete and specific needs.” [2]
  3. The document contains 28 Characteristics of Jesuit Education organized in 9 sections that highlight Ignatius’ spiritual experience as the ultimate source of Jesuit Education.

Exercise 1. For discernment:

  1. How have you or your institution made use of this document?
  2. Among the 28 Characteristics of Jesuit Education identified in the document, which ones do you feel you need to strengthen in your institution and in what way?
  3. How will you or your educational apostolate use it in the future?