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Special Article: What are Jesuit Ideals?

Published: Thursday, October 26, 2006

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

Chris Rakovec A&S '10

Ignatius and his friends called themselves the "Society of Jesus." Jesuit ideals should therefore spring from the life and mission of Jesus Christ, who welcomed children, ate with sinners, defended the vulnerable, and proclaimed the Reign of God. Any activity claiming to represent Jesuit ideals will reflect these same priorities.

Dan Ponsetto Director, Volunteer & Service Learning Center

I encountered Jesuit spirituality in Fr. John Williams, S.J. He was a dear family friend missioned at Jesuit University in Bagdad, who came to our home when in Boston. As an adolescent, I was impressed by his immense erudition, his innate, gracious kindness, and his grasp of the complexities of the the American presence in the Mid-East and of the need for dialogue with its non-Christian populations. He was for me the essence of the Ignatian spirit - the use of his gifts for the greater glory of God.

Prof. Margaret Flagg Romance Languages & Literatures Dept.

The Jesuits continue to live out the richness and splendor of the Catholic religion that they have preached and preserved the world over. By their example of a holy life, mediated through their gifts as superb educators, they can and are drawing many young people to Christ who will be well-equipped to become medicine for today's aching world.

Christopher Trueax A&S '09

Though I have not the whisper of any authority to speak on the subject, the Jesuit ideals I believe I have experienced at Boston College include tolerance, imagination, critical thinking, intellectual rigor, social conscience, and a commitment to the marginalized.

Prof. John Anderson English Dept.

Jesuit ideals at BC are centered on two principle values: free academic inquiry for all members of the community and a responsibility to work for a more peaceful and just world. These ideals, however, cannot be realized in an environment characterized by censorship and apathy.

Nick Salter A&S '07

Ideals are things we hope and long for. The ideal is always a work in progress, containing a dynamism that somehow expresses not only one's identity as a human being, but also one's connectedness and sense of belonging to one another, and even belonging to all people of all time. When we talk about Jesuit ideals, I don't think that we are talking about a particular set of rules or regulations or legalisms that Jesuits have to follow, nor are we setting out regulations that anyone else, including our students must follow. What we are talking about are a few central points that will lead us into a way of finding our way in life. How will we live our lives in ways that search for, and embrace the truth in such a fashion as our humanity is embraced, appropriated and enjoyed? There are many parts to Jesuit ideals: responding to the Gospel, becoming generous as Christ was generous (becoming men and women for others) and simply knowing that Jesuit ideals are always an invitation into a fuller experience of life.

Rev. T. Frank Kennedy, S.J. Canisius Professor, Chair, Music Dept. Director, The Jesuit Institute

Jesuit ideals are focused around knowing ourselves and answering God's call. They ask us to assess our true calling, shedding the vanity and materialism of our fast-paced and anxious society in order to manifest His love for us to everyone in our lives.

Ian McIntire A&S '09

As a member of Women's Health Initiative and a Catholic, I feel that Jesuit ideals encompass the freedom of education through the unobstructed pursuit of truth and understanding.

Caroline Vuilleumier LSOE '07

J esus - their inspiration E xcellence - what's worth doing is worth doing better S ervice - what's worth doing serves others U nderstanding - Jesuits emphasize education as basic to action I nventiveness - Jesuits, like others, go beyond tradition, and ... T radition - they draw from the riches of tradition

Rev. Jim Weiss Director, Senior Capstone Seminars Associate Professor of Theology

Jesuit ideals, as I understand them, encourage the development of full human beings with a passionate love of that most open of all beings, God. These broadly developed people are open to all realities and capable of making a loving response to the best of them, or all those God is interested in. And God's interests, as shown in the Gospels, are all of us, particularly the marginalized and the forgotten.

Prof. Hilda Carey English Dept.

A Jesuit education provides a wide range of knowledge to students and (more importantly) teaches them how to effectively use that knowledge to positively affect the world around them. For a Jesuit, knowledge is only really powerful when it moves outside the library and impacts people via the scholar.

James Paul Cahill A&S '10

Jesuit ideals are a commitment to the promotion of social justice and equality, as well as to the creation of an environment of love and mutual respect for one another.

Pat Healey President, College Democrats of BC A&S '07

The number one ideal is laid out by St. Ignatius himself in the exercises: if the Church says something is black and we think it is white, believe it's black. Jesuits must show that the church is infallible, explain teachings, like why contraception is sinful, and direct people toward holiness.

Donato Infante III A&S '09

Vatican II had three accomplishments: First, it renewed the church toward its deepest roots in scripture, the wisdom of the early church, and the contemporary faith of God's people; second, it reset the church in a dialogue with the entire world as a place where God also acts; and lastly, it courageously proclaimed that commitment to justice and peace were the will of God now and everywhere.

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