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A Living Tradition​​Part 3: Global Identifiers of Jesuit Schools

To act as a universal body with a universal mission [41]

  1. In the principle and foundation of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius wrote that all created things exist for the same reason: the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls (SpEx #23). All else is secondary and, therefore, contingent. Created things are to be embraced insofar as they attain the goal and are to be eschewed insofar as they lead away from the goal. The result is a spiritual freedom, what Ignatius would call a healthy detachment, which allows people to make decisions in the light of ultimate purpose. This teleological perspective provides a rationale to look for new signs of the times and to see change as something to be discerned and embraced, not feared.
  2. It may not be easy to embrace the challenge of change, but given the extent of change in culture, education, religion, Catholicism and the Society of Jesus over the past thirty years, there is no other choice. There is a temptation to rely on a proven past. Jesuit schools must be more than the best of the past, as some will argue; they are not museums in which a living charism has become frozen. In an address at the conclusion of the Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis spoke to those who were members of religious orders but his words apply to all of us, Jesuit and lay members of our educational apostolate:
  3. “We are custodians of wonder. A wonder that asks to be constantly renewed; woe betide routine in spiritual life; woe betide the crystallization of our charisms in abstract doctrine: the charisms of the founders are not to be sealed in a bottle, they are not museum pieces. Our founders were moved by the Spirit and they were not afraid to get their hands dirty with everyday life, with people’s problems, they were not afraid to courageously walk the geographic and existential peripheries. They did not stop before the obstacles and misunderstandings of others, because they kept the wonder of their encounter with Christ in their hearts. They did not tame the grace of the Gospel…We too, are called today, to make prophetic and courageous choices.” [42]
  4. Moved by the spirit of the Spiritual Exercises, all of us, in all of our Jesuit schools must embrace a sense of wonder and hope, cherishing the tradition, discerning the world’s needs, and willing to experiment with new forms to achieve traditional goals, the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls. [43]
  5. In this exercise, we have reexamined some of our foundational documents and reflected on the current reality of the world. Building upon those movements, in this section, we will propose global identifiers for all Jesuit schools.
  6. We see these identifiers as commitments that every Jesuit school can make. They draw upon the resources of The Characteristics of Jesuit Education and The Universal Apostolic Preferences as they address the current reality of the world.