Teaching Students About Jesuits
As a Jesuit institution, many schools and universities often strive to educate their students about the history and values of the Jesuit community. However, teaching students about Jesuits goes beyond just discussing the formation of the Society of Jesus and the various missions they have taken on throughout the globe. Instead, it’s about exploring the unique Jesuit philosophy and how it can be applied to everyday life.
One of the foundational principles of Jesuit education is cura personalis, or care for the whole person. This means taking an approach that values the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development of each individual student. As such, an important aspect of teaching students about Jesuits is focusing on their dedication to service and their commitment to social justice. This can involve exploring the legacy of early Jesuit missionaries, such as St. Francis Xavier, who worked to spread the Christian faith to different parts of the world. It can also include studying modern-day Jesuits such as Pope Francis, who has made advocating for the poor and marginalized a central tenet of his papacy.
Beyond this, teaching students about Jesuits can also involve discussing the Jesuit approach to education. This includes a focus on critical thinking, a holistic view of education, and a commitment to “magis,” or doing more for others. These values can be incorporated into lessons and activities, allowing students to engage with them on a more personal level.
Another important aspect of teaching students about Jesuits is understanding their spiritual background. While Jesuits are Roman Catholics, they are also known for being open to other faiths and beliefs. This means fostering an environment that is inclusive of different perspectives and encourages dialogue and understanding. It can also involve providing opportunities for students to engage in spiritual practices that resonate with them, such as meditation or reflective prayer.
In many ways, teaching students about Jesuits is about exploring the core principles and practices of the Jesuit community, and finding ways to apply them to a modern context. Whether it’s in the classroom, through community service trips, or even in personal reflection, incorporating Jesuit values can help students become more engaged and active members of their communities. It can also provide a framework for lifelong learning and growth, rooted in values that emphasize empathy, justice, and a commitment to making the world a better place.