Originally founded by Fr. Cataldo SJ to serve indigenous students, Gonzaga University continues to offer programs that educate students to become people for and with others.
After reading her Conversations Magazine article, retired physician and current Loyola University New Orleans student Neil Baum wrote to Loyola University Chicago professor Anne Figert. Their initial conversation resulted in a new discussion of stress and burnout. How might we avoid the tendency to burnout in our work and studies?
The National Seminar on Jesuit Education began our January meeting with this poem by Rabindranath Tagor. How might reflecting on our common mission with this poem in mind enhance how we boldly and prophetically embody our Jesuit Catholic identity across the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities?
In the spirit of reflection, we pose these questions as an opportunity to extend the conversation. We hope that by offering these ideas, the discussion continues on your campus – with colleagues, with students, and with your community.
The Ignatian tradition privileges the role of discernment – the examining of our inner desires for trends that lead us to joy, sorrow, consolation, and desolation. Ignatius believed that if we prayed with and tracked our desires each day, we might find the voice of God instructing us on how we ought to live and where we might find the most joy.
The same can be said of our Jesuit mission: We face real problems that provoke distrust of our Jesuit mission. We have to discern how to respond to these signs of our current times so that we can serve our faculty, staff, and students with effectivity and love. Key questions today include:
Does the leadership meet the claims of the Jesuit Catholic mission, vision, and values statement of the university/college?
What are the mission strengths of your institution? What are the mission challenges?
Many of the Jesuit institutions of higher learning are in the process of revising or have recently revised the core curricula. Has your institution preserved a robust core that educates for mission while meeting the needs of a changing world context? [“The mission is delivered through the core.”]
Does the scholarship of the faculty reflect a commitment to the mission, and does it find ways to incorporate social justice commitments, which arise out of a faith that does justice in the Jesuit tradition?
How would you describe the relationship of your Jesuit Catholic institution with the local church? Is there a healthy dialogue with all dimensions of the church (not only the bishop, but clergy and laity). Does this dialogue include productive ecumenical and interfaith relationships with other faith traditions?
Has your institution made a vigorous, effective response to degradation of the Earth and climate change. Has Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: Care for the Earth made an impact on the curriculum and sustainable practices of your campus?
How does your institution develop policies, practices, educational forums to address vital social and cultural issues of our day? A partial listing includes the prevalence of sexual assault and violence on campuses. Identity politics. Gender and diversity. Has your institution created a mission-centered approach to these issues?
Does your institution take a mission- centered approach to contracts for labor, construction, food in such a way that it upholds the dignity of contracted laborers?
Does your institution keep a healthy balance in negotiating the annual budget, tuition costs, and a just wage for faculty and staff?
What measures has your Jesuit institution taken to ensure a long-term commitment to its Jesuit mission, especially through effective “hiring for mission” procedures?