Our missionary roots...
From their earliest moments, Ignatius and his companions were on the road, crossing borders, engaging cultures. We sometimes forget that the Society of Jesus is a missionary order and that at a moment’s notice Jesuits are supposed to have their bags packed to go anywhere they are needed. Jerome Nadal captured Ignatius’ thinking when he coined the phrase: “the world is our home.”
- Do the students at our schools know that about the Jesuits?
- Do they experience it about themselves?
- Can we imagine our schools in a missionary mode, our students learning beyond the borders of campus, city, and nation to be in relationship with others around the world?
Exercising the heart...
We say we want our schools to form our students in relationship with God, with one another, and with creation, and so to transform them. Transformation is an experience of the heart!
- Will their experiences of injustice in the world bother them away from their comfort zones?
- Can they rejoice with the simplest pleasures of cultures they may never have thought about?
- Will their hearts change?
Curators of curiosity...
Young people’s curiosity is an educational tool we don’t use enough! We must urge their curiosity about the world they live in, will certainly inherit, and given the privileges of living in North America will have opportunities to shape world affairs in one way or another. Our schools have to provide many ways for our students to be aware of, connect to, and collaborate with their peers across territories and cultures.
- How can we foster the innate curiosity of our students to support creativity and innovation?
A common home...
Do we have a global perspective in our schools?That perspective will broaden our students’ understanding of their responsibility to care for our common home. That perspective will empower our students and our schools to leave personal bias behind, reach into what may be unknown, risk a bit to create “world moments.” The world is our home. Home – a place to be comfortable and to belong.
- What are we doing so our students can know the world as home?
Most of our students spend most of their school day in a classroom. Does our curriculum include "education for global competency across all subjects providing international experiences to students, faculty and staff through the global network of Jesuit schools and ministries using a variety of live and virtual formats”? (Our Way of Proceeding: Standards & Benchmarks for Jesuit Schools in the 21st Century.)
- Are our schools developing students who are globally competent?
We have such a wonderful network of Jesuit schools in almost every part of the world. Now is the time to leverage that network, rely on it, experience it. Our students can only benefit from being in a Jesuit school united with all the other Jesuit schools in our world.
- Much of the reality our students live in is caught up in consumerism and competitiveness; can our students learn from us and from one another to collaborate in caring for our world?
To the ends of the earth...
The Spiritual Exercises offer a journey to personal freedom; the works of the Society of Jesus offer a way to use that freedom to be for and with others, all others. Those of us in Jesuit education have no choice but to follow Ignatius and his companions to the ends of the earth to set the world on fire and to be sure our students experience that same urgency.
So what can we do together in redefining our work in our schools?
- Start this conversation within your school communities.
- Know yourself as a global citizen.
- Choose to be a global companion.