Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Pedagogy of Love: Ignatian Spirituality and Two Jesuit Secondary Schools

A Pedagogy of Love: Ignatian Spirituality and Two Jesuit Secondary Schools

Thomas M. Murphy

Submitted in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Divinity

The General Theological Seminary
New York
April, 2007


Over the past three decades there has been renewed and widespread interest in the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). Spiritual seekers have turned to his masterpiece The Spiritual Exercises to reflect on how they have encountered God in their own experience and especially to practice discernment. At the same time the religious order founded by Ignatius, the Society of Jesus, has been faced with a numerical decline and a desire to share their spiritual heritage with the larger “Ignatian Family.”
These dynamics have been powerfully expressed in Jesuit secondary schools. Beginning in the 1970s, the Jesuits began to reflect on how their schools could better embody Ignatian Spirituality as well as the mission of the Society to “heal souls” and to strive for justice. During this period Jesuit schools have developed principles, organizations and documents designed to deepen the schools from simply outstanding academic institutions into places that form “men and women for and with others.”
Does Ignatian Spirituality make any difference in the day to day work of Jesuit schools? After examining the main principles of Ignatian Spirituality and Jesuit pedagogy, this paper will investigate two Jesuit secondary schools to determine if these lofty principles truly shape the lives and work of administrators, students and faculty. This paper will consider the implications of this experience for the Episcopal Church that also is in a period of dramatic change and decline. Finally, there will be a reflection on how Ignatian Spirituality might shape my work as an Episcopal priest.

“The Exercises are, in the last analysis, a method in the pedagogy of love – the pedagogy, that is, of the most pure charity toward God and toward one’s neighbor.”
- Pedro Arrupe[1]

I. Ignatius of Loyola: His Life and Context
To understand Ignatian Spirituality and its role in Jesuit schools it is necessary to place Ignatius in his context. James Lonsdale writes, “Ignatius’ spirituality was shaped not only by his religious experience but also by the world in which he lived.”[2] Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was born at the dawn of a new age. Throughout much of Europe the medieval age, marked by illiteracy, ignorance, weak feudal political power and unchallenged ecclesiastical authority, was drawing to a close. Among Christians both lay and ordained there was a shocking ignorance of the most basic tents of the faith.[3] That began to change when, a few decades earlier, Johannes Gutenberg had invented movable type printing, making all types of information - especially religious knowledge - available in an unprecedented way. As people began to read the Bible on their own some grew emboldened to challenge the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church. As a result, Ignatius’ life and work will in part be shaped by a Church convulsed with reform and counter-reform.
Ignatius was born into the lesser nobility in the Basque region of northern Spain. Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile had gone a long way to uniting the Spanish people with their marriage in 1469. In an effort to complete Spanish unity, the Catholic monarchs moved against both the Jews and Muslims. Perhaps most importantly, in the year after Ignatius’ birth they sent Columbus on his fateful journey to the Indies. These and other developments, which provided the fertile spiritual soil for Ignatius’ near contemporaries Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, will also influence Ignatius and the rapid rise of his truly international religious order, the Society of Jesus. Most significantly for the purposes of this study, Ignatius and the Jesuits rapidly built the first international system of schools and colleges – ranging from Brazil to India[4] in Ignatius’ own lifetime.
As one writer sympathetic to Ignatius notes, his family “was better suited to producing a swashbuckler or a Don Juan than a saint.”[5] True to his heritage, as a youth Ignatius’ imagination was captivated by medieval tales of chivalry and adventure. These interests led to perhaps the most crucial event of Ignatius’ life – the severe injuries he suffered to his legs at the battle against the French in Pamplona (1517). During his long and excruciating recovery, Ignatius read two books which changed the trajectory of his life – The Lives of the Saints and The Imitation of Christ. Ronald Modras sums up this moment, “Rarely has a convalescence had more consequence.”[6] After his conversion, instead of imagining himself going into battle under the standard of an earthly king or to capture the affections of a beautiful young maiden, Ignatius began to dream of serving under Christ’s banner and developed a special devotion to the Virgin Mary.
After his (never quite complete) recovery Ignatius visited both the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat and then lived for several months in a cave near Manresa. He began to have visions, or perhaps more precisely, spiritual insights,[7] which would continue for much of his life and guide his own discernment. His most powerful insight came on the banks of the Cardoner River. He was able to see his mission – “to serve God by teaching people what God had taught him. He wanted to help them better their lives, to distinguish between good and evil spirits, to choose between God and the devil…”[8] In essence, Ignatius became a teacher. Not surprisingly, it was also during this period that he began to share his insights and to develop his textbook, The Spiritual Exercises.
He also realized the gaps in his knowledge and so enrolled in the University of Paris where he began to attract followers some of whom would form his first companions in the Society of Jesus, which was founded in 1534 and received approval from the pope in 1540. Although originally Ignatius had believed that he and his companions were called to work in the Holy Land to convert the “infidels,” after an aborted visit to Jerusalem he came to discern a broader mission for his life and his fellow Jesuits, what he called “the healing of souls.” Ignatius’ vision of the Society of Jesus is summed up by its motto, ad majorem dei gloriam – “for the greater glory of God.” George Ganss defines “glory” in this case as meaning praise with the implication of service.[9] The intertwining of praise and service lies at the heart of Ignatius’ understanding of the Christian life.
For a man who began his life thirsting for adventure, it is perhaps ironic that he spent the last sixteen years of his life working behind a desk in Rome, managing his rapidly growing worldwide religious order. He never lost his medieval images of romance which are found throughout The Spiritual Exercises, and his vision of a Jesuit as a “knight-errant.”[10] In his last years he finalized the Exercises and reluctantly dictated his autobiography. He died in Rome in 1556, popularly acclaimed as a saint, which was officially confirmed by his canonization in 1622. Interestingly, Ignatius, a staunch Roman Catholic, is included in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church. In the collect crafted for use on the day of Ignatius’ death, July 31, we are called to pray: “Inspired by his example and strengthened by his companionship, may we labor without counting the cost and seek no reward other than knowing that we do your will.”[11]

II. Overview of Ignatian Spirituality
Just a few decades ago, Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises were mostly of interest to members of the Society of Jesus. Lonsdale recalls that the Jesuits “were the principal and authoritative interpreters of Ignatius and disseminators of this way of Christian discipleship.”[12] In the past this heritage may have been less known but it was not kept secret. The great 20th Century Jesuit superior general, Pedro Arrupe, wrote “…though holding the Exercises as a family treasure, the Jesuits have not guarded it jealously; they have understood that it was a common good and they have offered it to the church.”[13] In recent years, however, there has been both a decline in the number of Jesuits and an explosion of interest in Ignatian Spirituality among Roman Catholics and also among Christians not in communion with Rome. Unfortunately, with the loss of Jesuit control, today there is the real danger – particularly in schools - of uncritically using Ignatian Spirituality and especially the Spiritual Exercises.[14] In response, many have taken on the challenge of adapting Ignatius’ 16th Century worldview and language to our own time. For example, in 2001 three Sisters of the Holy Names produced a book on the Spiritual Exercises designed to “reclaim” them for women.[15] In short, for better or for worse the “extended Ignatian family”[16] has long since outgrown the confines of the Jesuits.
From the Ignatian perspective, what precisely is spirituality? And, what are the characteristics of a distinctively Ignatian brand of spirituality? Ronald Modras, a lay professor of theology at St. Louis University, offers a helpful definition of spirituality: it “is about the experience at the core of our beings of something – a power, presence, drive, longing – that is beyond the ordinary.”[17] Modras goes further and writes, “It is about the Eros, the energy or drive within us that shapes our actions and ultimately our lives.”[18] What, however, would make this drive or longing particularly Ignatian? What are some of the distinctive characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality?
Arrupe wrote that the great gift of Ignatian Spirituality was “the Spirit of constantly seeking the will of God.”[19] Another Jesuit, George Ganss, described Ignatian Spirituality as “ordered toward both personal spiritual growth and energetic apostolic endeavor.”[20] It is necessary to begin with The Spiritual Exercises, for as Modras writes, “Ignatian Spirituality has its origins in The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.”[21] A less than sympathetic writer, Manfred Barthel, writes of The Spiritual Exercises that it is “one of the most badly written and most influential books in all of world literature.”[22] More sympathetic is John O’Malley who declares that Ignatius’ book is in the category of “one of the least read and least well understood.” [23] Its lack of literary merit is undeniable, yet it has been published some 4500 times over the past 400 years.[24] The reason for its enduring popularity, of course, is that the Exercises were not written to be read but to be used as a guide by the person directing a retreat.
Ignatius designed the Exercises for people who were facing a major decision.[25] Ignatius intended the text to serve as a guide for the spiritual director as he led the person making the retreat. From the start it was expected that the Exercises would be adapted to the individual and the situation. The particularity of the individual was crucial because, for Ignatius, the foundational premise was that “God’s will for us can be found in our deepest authentic desires.”[26] The Exercises are divided into four weeks. The first week begins with a consideration and contemplation of sins. The remaining three weeks consist of a series of meditations on the life of Christ. Each of these meditations asks the exercitants to use all of their senses as they imagine scenes drawn from Scripture.
Ignatius intended that this process would help the exercitants to become aware of God’s abundant generosity and to discern God’s will. The ultimate goal was a conversion of heart, metanoia, leading one to lovingly respond to God’s generosity by transforming one’s life in gratitude and especially action. As Ignatius famously wrote in the Exercises at the start of the “Contemplation to Attain Love, “Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words.”[27] Characteristically, Ignatius saw Jesus as a man of action and so expected the Jesuits and all Christians to transform their faith into concrete acts “for the greater glory of God.”
Ignatius hoped that the experience of making the Exercises would be a lifelong source of spiritual nourishment for the exercitants, just as his own profound experiences at the Cardoner River sustained him for the rest of his life. Modras writes, “The Ignatian ideal is that now we can recall and relive an experience of ‘union and familiarity’ with God that uplifts and sustains us no matter the distractions of our own work or banality of our lives.”[28] In fact, Ignatius deeply believed that with prayerful discernment we could indeed continue to experience God’s presence in the midst of any moment of our life. Essentially he believed it was possible to experience God in all things. Lonsdale writes, “If the world and history and all that is contained in them are gifts from the hand of God, then God is continually present.”[29] This notion is most beautifully expressed by the 19th Century Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”[30]
Although Ignatius was clearly influenced by other devotional works, O’Malley notes that the Exercises created what we today understand as the retreat.[31] Pedro Arrupe offered this understanding of the Exercises: “The Exercises are, in the last analysis, a method in the pedagogy of love – the pedagogy, that is, of the most pure charity toward God and toward one’s neighbor. They root out carnal and worldly love from the human heart, thus opening it to the bearing of God’s love.”[32] Modras acknowledges that much of Ignatian Spirituality is generically Christian.[33] However, there is enough distinctiveness that we can speak of an actual Ignatian Spirituality.
Its main elements would include a profound devotion to the Trinity. In his autobiography, Ignatius remembers experiencing God as three keys on a musical instrument making a harmonious chord.[34] There are virtually no explicit references to the Holy Spirit in the Exercises, yet Lonsdale notes that Ignatius believed that the Holy Spirit played an essential role in discernment – guiding and confirming one’s choices.[35] Discernment of Spirits is, of course, one of the most important characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality. Lonsdale writes, “It is not often recognized that discernment lies at the heart of Christian spirituality.”[36] Ignatius was keenly interested in the feelings of consolation and desolation. For Ignatius consolation was movements that brought one closer to God and closer to wholeness. Desolation would be the opposite – moving us away from God and into deeper self-centeredness.[37] Through the careful consideration of consolation and desolation, Ignatius believed that we could discover how we should best respond to God’s overflowing love for us and all of creation.
Another key element is the Ignatian notion of the magis – literally the “more.” It is not “more” in the sense of additional activity, but “more” in the sense of deepening one’s commitment to serving Christ. Modras writes, “Seeking the magis in Ignatian Spirituality means paying attention to means and ends and discerning what is ‘more conducive’ to achieving the end results desired.”[38]
In part because Ignatius believed it was important that discernment continue after a decision has been made, the Examen is close to the heart of Ignatian Spirituality. Ignatius intended the Jesuits to be contemplatives in action. Unlike other religious orders they were not be cloistered and they were not required to pray the Daily Office in community. Ignatius believed that it was essential for these men of action to reflect on their daily experiences so that they might continue to discern God’s will in their lives. Therefore he required all Jesuits to pray the Examen twice a day. Donald St. Louis describes the Examen as “a prayer of discernment, a vitally illuminating and dynamic experience of prayerful reflection that both celebrates and enhances one’s awareness and response to the Lord who is ever-present in our human experience.”[39] The Examen calls for one to methodically reflect on the day, offering thanks, acknowledging sins and asking for pardon. Finally, one asks for God’s grace in making future decisions and choices. All of the Jesuits interviewed for this study, as well as some of the lay people, mentioned the Examen as an important part of their spiritual discipline.
In summary, Ignatian Spirituality has several key features. It presupposes that God can and will be encountered in our daily life and work. If we employ careful reflection and contemplation we can come to know God, and God’s will, through our own experience. By means of the Spiritual Exercises and other practices we will recognize God’s overflowing love and generosity. Filled with gratitude, we can use discernment to discover how best we can respond to God’s love. Our response cannot be merely an intellectual or emotional assent – we must respond with acts of service. Discernment is a crucial, ongoing activity as we continually ask what more we can do for God. With this foundation in Ignatian Spirituality, we now turn to the roots of Jesuit education.

III. Ignatius, the First Jesuits and Education
In his seminal 1993 work, The First Jesuits, John O’Malley notes that in its first ten years the Society of Jesus did not open a single school. However, once they did become involved, the ministry of education became central to Jesuit identity and mission.[40] This development serves as a concrete example of Ignatius’ continuing practice of discernment. Although he had not originally considered founding schools, obviously he came to see education as an essential way for the Society to glorify God and to serve God’s people. Lonsdale writes that Ignatius saw the schools as “’graced’ institutions through which the word and kingdom of God could be spread more quickly.”[41] In part because existing educational opportunities were so dismal,[42] the Jesuit schools were successful and popular from the start. By the time Ignatius died the Society had opened thirty-three colleges and approved six more. In 1675 there were 372 colleges and by 1710 that number had risen to an incredible 612. As Ganss claims, “Never before had the world seen so organized an educational system.”[43] In a 1551 letter, Ignatius summarized his educational philosophy:
From among those who are now merely students, in time some will emerge to play diverse roles – some to preach and carry on the care of souls, others to the government of the land and administration of justice, and others to other responsible occupations. Finally since the children of today become the adults of tomorrow their good education in life and doctrine will be beneficial to many others, with the fruit expanding more widely everyday…”[44]
Ignatius’ own words belie the claim that the schools were founded mostly for the purpose of recruiting young men into the Society of Jesus. Obviously that was a consideration, but the Jesuit vision was broader. With typical ambition, Ignatius and the first Jesuits hoped to transform much of society by imparting their values – and their spirituality – onto their students. In usual Ignatian fashion, these young men – generally drawn from all social classes[45] - were then expected to respond to that generosity by going out into the world and performing in service in whatever walk of life they chose. Interestingly, Manfred Barthel claims that the early Jesuit schools had a “reputation as grim citadels of repression” but then acknowledges the large number of school holidays and midsummer and midwinter recesses.[46] It is true that Ignatius and his first companions viewed the schools as a way to win over Protestants and to strengthen the resolve of wavering Catholics. However, Protestant students were admitted to the schools and some accommodations were made for them. O’Malley mentions, for example, that in Prague the Lutheran students were excused from reciting the Litany of Saints.[47] Although recruiting Jesuits and waging the Counter-Reformation were undoubtedly important elements of early Jesuit education, the early Jesuits seem to have been mostly motivated by a deep faith in the value and power of education – particularly a classical education.
In his book, O’Malley offers the fascinating and revealing list created by Ignatius’ secretary, Juan de Polanco. In his list, Polanco enumerates the benefits that the Society, the students, and the community received from the Jesuit schools:
For the Society
1. Jesuits learn best by teaching others.
2. They profit from the discipline, perseverance, and diligence that teaching requires.
3. They improve their preaching and other skills needed in ministry.
4. Although Jesuits should not try to persuade anybody to enter the Society, especially young boys, their good example and other factors will, nonetheless, help gain “laborers in the vineyard.”

For the students
5. They will make progress in learning
6. The poor, who could not possibly pay for teachers, much less for private tutors, will be able to do the same.
7. Students will be helped in spiritual matters by learning Christian Doctrine and hearing sermons and exhortations.
8. They will make progress in purity of conscience and every virtue through monthly confession and the instilling of good habits.
9. They will draw much merit and profit from their studies by learning to direct them to the service of God.

For the locality:
10. Parents will be relieved of the financial burdens of educating their sons.
11. They will be able to satisfy their consciences of their obligation to educate their children.
12. The people of the area will be helped by the Jesuits’ preaching and administration of the sacraments.
13. Parents will be influenced by the positive example of their children to live as good Christians.
14. Jesuits will encourage and help in the establishment of hospitals, houses of convertidas, and similar institutions.
15. Those who are now only students will grow up to be pastors, civic officials, administrators of justice, and will fill other important posts to everybody’s profit and advantage.[48]

Polanco’s list demonstrates the vision, thoughtfulness and ambition that the early Jesuits brought to the education apostolate. Rather than just serving as feeders to Jesuit seminaries, the schools were intended to offer a broad education to young men, offer important work and experience for Jesuits, and to play a constructive role in the larger society. O’Malley offers several reasons for the phenomenal Jesuit success in this ministry: they opened schools where there had been none before and their schools seemed better than what was offered elsewhere. In addition they charged no tuition, in principle welcomed students from every social class and offered a rigorous, classical curriculum.[49] Moreover, the schools were also concerned with the spiritual development of their students. In the Constitutions of the Society, Ignatius wrote that Jesuits were to offer cura personalis to their students – care for the whole person.[50] O’Malley writes that the schools offered “a program that in principle sought to move the student beyond pious practices to an inner appreciation of ethical and religious values.”[51] This emphasis on the care for the whole person was a recurring theme in the interviews conducted for this study.
While the schools undoubtedly changed the lives of countless students, O’Malley recalls that they also profoundly and lastingly changed the nature of the Society. They were no longer wandering preachers and evangelists. Instead, more and more Jesuits became attached to educational institutions, living in large communities with fellow Jesuits.[52] This pattern has only begun to change in our own time as the numbers of Jesuits dwindle and the large houses become unsustainable.
Faced with a far-flung educational system, the Jesuits quickly codified their pedagogical approach in a document from 1599 called the Ratio Studiorum. In a typically thorough fashion the Ratio Studiorum offers detailed rules in the areas of administration, curriculum, method and discipline. The Ratio outlines a rigorous program of classical education, but also emphasizes the importance of the spiritual life in the classroom. For example, the rules for teachers in the “lower classes” begin with this point:
“The teacher shall so train the youths entrusted to the Society’s care that they may acquire not only learning but also habits of conduct worthy of a Christian. He should endeavor both in the classroom and outside to train the impressionable minds of his pupils in the loving service of God and in all the virtues required for this service.”[53] The Ratio will serve as the Jesuit blueprint for the intellectual and spiritual education of both secondary and college students into the 20th Century. By that time, however, there was a growing sense that perhaps there was a need to reform Jesuit pedagogy to better respond to the challenges of modernity and a dramatically changing Roman Catholic Church. No one will do more to spark the changes in Jesuit education than Pedro Arrupe, Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983.

IV. Later and Contemporary Developments in Jesuit Education
In 1973 Arrupe gave a pivotal speech to graduates of Jesuit schools. Addressing these alumni, many of whom were wealthy and prominent, he asked: “Have we Jesuits educated you for justice? You and I know what many of your Jesuit teachers will answer to that question. They will answer, in all sincerity and humility: No, we have not.”[54] Arrupe offered a vision that has captured the imaginations of many associated with Jesuit education over the past three decades – and provided a handy catchphrase. In the same speech he declared,
Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for- others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ – for the God-human who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completed convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice is a farce.[55]
It is no exaggeration that Arrupe’s term “Men-and-Women-for-Others” has essentially become the motto of Jesuit education. While before Jesuit schools were principally recognized for their rigorous academic curriculum, gradually in the last decades of the 20th Century the leaders and teachers of the schools attempted to balance and even integrate academics with a radical commitment to service. As we will see, while this commitment has not been made to the same degree by all involved in Jesuit education, “Men-and-Women-for-Others” has become the definition of this apostolate.
Arrupe recognized that transforming Jesuit schools into training grounds for service was a daunting challenge. Unsurprisingly, he recognized the challenge as primarily spiritual: “Our new vision of justice must give rise to a new kind of spirituality, of asceticism; or rather an expansion of traditional spirituality and asceticism to include not only the personal but the social.”[56] Essentially Arrupe was steering Jesuit education back to the spirituality of his predecessor and fellow Basque, Ignatius of Loyola: “Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words.”
Meanwhile some involved in Jesuit schools in the United States were echoing Arrupe’s concerns and hopes and wondering how to transform the schools from merely bastions of academic excellence into institutions committed both to learning and to loving service. In 1970 the Jesuit Secondary Association (JSEA) was established, challenging and assisting those involved in Jesuit secondary education to shape schools that were “deeply rooted in Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit tradition.”[57] From the start the JSEA focused on religious education, staff development and curriculum improvement, strategic planning and development and the role of Jesuit governance in Jesuit secondary education. Later the organization began to emphasize leadership development and the building of connections between and among Jesuit secondary schools.[58] Over the years the JSEA has developed some principles and documents that have become widespread in American Jesuit schools.
Perhaps the most widely known and used of these documents is “The Profile of the Graduate of a Jesuit High School at Graduation,” commonly known as the “Grad at Grad.” Developed in 1981, the “Grad at Grad” envisions the ideal graduate of a Jesuit high school as open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving and committed to doing justice.[59] A random search of websites of Jesuit high schools in the United States found that nearly all of them gave prominent attention to these goals. Obviously they are viewed as important and distinctive to Jesuit schools – and attractive to parents considering schools for their children. Although today taken for granted by many in Jesuit secondary education, it is still noteworthy that only one of the five characteristics relates to traditional academics. In truth the “Grad at Grad” is a powerful sign that, at least ideally, Jesuit secondary education has moved closer to the broad – and profoundly spiritual – ideals of Ignatius and the early Jesuits.
One of the most interesting concepts developed by the JSEA is the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP). In a JSEA document the IPP is described as “the art of teaching and way of learning cut from the fabric of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola.”[60] Marianne Gallagher and Peter Musso, the authors of this document provide a powerful vision of how Ignatian Spirituality and Jesuit education are intertwined – and not surprisingly they also echo Pedro Arrupe. They write that Jesuit education “offers a means by which the student, challenged by the educator, can come to understand that excellence is measured against the service one can, through one’s achievements, provide for the greater glory of God.”[61] The IPP applies five steps drawn from the Spiritual Exercises: Context, Experience, Reflection, Action and Evaluation. Gallagher and Musso write, “Just as the Exercises seek to bring the retreatant to knowledge of Jesus Christ that is not only conceptually grasped but personally appropriated, the IPP strives to lead the student toward a learned understanding that includes in it its significance here and now for the student, for society, for building a better world.”[62] How exactly is the IPP designed to achieve these ambitious goals? The following sketch is drawn from Gallagher and Musso’s work.
In “Context” teachers in Jesuit schools are called upon to demonstrate the same care, understanding and trust of their students as the spiritual director has for the retreatant. Just as the spiritual director is expected to help the retreatant to examine and explore their own lives, so the teacher is to assist the student in learning about their own context. We have seen the faith Ignatius placed in personal experience as a way of discerning God’s will and presence. In the IPP, “Experience” is called upon to help students develop an understanding of the material that is not merely cognitive. Interestingly, when students have no direct experience of a topic, teachers are called upon to help them use their imaginations to deepen their understanding.
Reflection, of course, is a key component of Ignatian Spirituality. Again the teacher is modeled on the retreat director – serving as a guide but not as one who is responsible for merely imparting knowledge and answering every question. In the IPP the teacher is called upon to provide various viewpoints, but ultimately it is the student’s own reflection which will lead to his or her own conclusions. Along with reflection, Ignatius also insisted on action – deeds far more important than words. Therefore Gallagher and Musso declare, “The goal of Jesuit education is to move the student to act.”[63] This action might be an internal change of mind or heart or it might be external, leading to new habits, choices or works of service.[64] Finally, since for Ignatius discernment is a lifelong activity, the final element of the IPP is “Evaluation.” Gallagher and Musso envision a process of ongoing evaluation – both of specific actions and decisions as well as larger overarching goals. They are clear about what is being evaluated: “Success is in proportion to both the student and educator’s growth in attitude and action toward becoming a man or woman for and with others.”[65] Overall, the IPP provides challenging, but practical, ways to incorporate the principles and practices of Ignatian Spirituality into the everyday life of a Jesuit school.
It is not coincidental that the leaders of Jesuit education have become more concerned with recognizing and cultivating a distinctive Jesuit, or Ignatian, identity in their schools at the same time that the membership of the Society of Jesus has declined precipitously. Some Jesuit schools are already facing the challenge of how to retain a distinctive identity even when there are no Jesuits on staff. Undoubtedly in the near future many if not most schools will face the same challenge. In order to clarify the meaning of Jesuit identity, in 2000 the Jesuit Conference (an organization made up of the leaders of the Jesuit provinces in the United States) produced a booklet called What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? that sets ten distinguishing criteria for determining the Jesuit nature of high schools. Not surprisingly, in the introduction the leaders of the Jesuit Conference echo Arrupe’s vision of Jesuit education when they address and thank those involved in the schools: “By accepting the invitation of St. Ignatius Loyola to labor beneath the banner of the Cross for the good of others, Jesuit high schools effectively promote Jesus Christ’s justice and love for all people.”[66] The ten criteria set forth in this document reveal much about how Jesuit education has changed since Arrupe addressed the Jesuit school alumni and sadly acknowledged how little they had been taught about justice.
The first criterion is “The First Apostolic Principles.” It asserts that Jesuit schools must be based on principles consistent with the principles of the Society of Jesus. The primary principle is defined as a “service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement.”[67] The second criterion is “The Spiritual Dimension of Jesuit Education.” Here there is a heavy emphasis on respecting those from different faith traditions and creating an atmosphere where interreligious dialogue may take place. Here one is reminded of Protestant students being allowed to attend Jesuit schools in the very early years.
The third criterion is “Serving the Mission of the Church” and the fourth is “Religious Education and Formation.” Here the authors again echo Arrupe when they declare, “The Society of Jesus urges us to take particular care that students ‘acquire that knowledge and character which are worthy of Christians, and that animated by a mature faith and personally devoted to Jesus Christ, they learn to find and serve Him in others.”[68]
The emphasis on justice is even more explicit in the fifth criterion, “Teaching and Acting Justly.” Here the authors plainly state, “The school’s policies should always reflect a clear sense of justice.”[69] They call on the leaders of Jesuit schools to treat all members of the school community justly, to offer generous financial aid to poor students and to develop effective Christian service programs.
In the sixth criterion, “The Global Dimension of the Educational Mission,” Jesuit schools are called to educate their students about such issues as international human rights, threats to the ecology, and “the problem of the socially marginalized of every society.”[70] Students and educators at Jesuit schools are called to be aware of the profound injustices in their own communities and around the world and to work to ease the suffering of people near and far.
It is only the seventh criterion, “Educational Excellence,” that addresses the traditional strength of Jesuit education – the rigorous, classical academic curriculum. The eighth criterion calls on all involved in Jesuit education to cooperate in mission while the final two criteria return to the topic of spirituality. The ninth criterion is “Spiritual Formation and Outreach.” Here again we find the broad goals that lie at the heart of the Ignatian vision: “A Jesuit school strives to be an important educational and religious center for its students, alumni, families and neighboring community.”[71] Finally, the tenth criterion is “The Spiritual Exercises and Jesuit Pedagogy.” Here the Jesuit leadership insists “Those engaged in the ministry of secondary education have access to annual retreats, spiritual direction, and religious support.”[72] In reviewing this document it is remarkable how much attention – ideally, at least - is given to the role of Ignatian Spirituality in Jesuit secondary schools. The rest of this study will investigate how much of this emphasis on Ignatian Spirituality is actually put into practice in two quite different Jesuit high schools.

V. The Schools
A. Loyola School
1. Overview
Founded in 1900 and located on Park Avenue in the exclusive Manhattan neighborhood of the Upper East Side, Loyola School is the only coeducational school in the New York Province of the Society of Jesus. It is a small school with approximately 200 students who come to Loyola from the five boroughs, suburban New Jersey and Westchester County. For the 2006-07 school year the tuition is $24,000. Although Loyola exists in the world of exclusive and expensive independent New York schools, it is distinctively Catholic and Jesuit.
The school’s hallways and website[73] prominently display many of the concepts of Jesuit pedagogy and Ignatian Spirituality that have been explored in this study. Loyola’s mission statement incorporates the language of the “Grad at Grad” and is consistent with the vision of Jesuit education set forth by Arrupe and in JSEA and other documents. For example, the mission statement includes this: “In keeping with the Ignatian spirit of cura personalis (care for the whole person), Loyola School strives to develop the diverse and unique talents of each member of the Loyola community, and encourages the use of these talents to serve others for the greater glory of God.”[74] This one sentence is replete with Ignatian ideals and terminology.
2. Administration and Faculty
The Rev. Stephen Katsouros, SJ[75] has been president of Loyola School for the past five years. When asked about what he thought were the key principles of Ignatian spirituality, he responded that Ignatius’ idea that people need to be met where they were at was very important. He summarized it as “they come in through their door and out through ours.” Like many other educators and students who were interviewed for this study, he considers the Ignatian concept of “finding God in all things” to be central. Furthermore, Fr. Katsouros stressed that this concept affirms that God is not remote, but rather is active in the very ordinariness of our lives. He also sees Ignatian Spirituality as world-affirming – the Kingdom of God “is not yet, but is already.” Finally, he expressed the purpose of the Spiritual Exercises as our recognition that God is laboring with us in creation – that we are literally collaborators with God.
In terms of the applicability of Ignatian Spirituality to secondary schools, Fr. Katsouros emphasized the importance of making God seem less remote to teenagers. He also thought that the Ignatian stress on our creation in God’s image could be helpful to the many teenagers who suffer from various body image issues. Interestingly, he also suggested that Ignatius’ own academic struggles and his need to work to pay for his studies could be an inspiration to students when they inevitably found themselves in similar straits. It might seem unlikely, but 21st Century teenagers might be able to identify with the 16th Century saint.
Fr. Katsouros described some of the work that has been done at Loyola to deepen the understanding and experience of Ignatian Spirituality. While other Jesuit schools employ a faculty chaplain (often an older, semi-retired Jesuit), Fr. Katsouros consciously hired a nun who was steeped in Ignatian Spirituality to serve as the “Adult Faith Formation Director.” He expressed the hope that hiring a non-Jesuit – and a woman – would send an important sign to the Loyola community that Ignatian Spirituality is not only for Jesuits. In her work the adult faith formation director has been offering the Spiritual Exercises to members of the community at various times – embodying the idea of meeting people where they are.
Fr. Katsouros also has longstanding dream of putting together an Ignatian pilgrimage to the various sights such as Montserrat and Manresa that were important in Ignatius’ development. He recalled his own pilgrimage as a life-changing event and dreamed that the trip could be part of the program for introducing first-year faculty to Ignatius and the Society of Jesus. Following the principles laid out in What Makes a Jesuit School Jesuit, Fr. Katsouros has also been including alumni and the board of trustees in Ignatian formation. He had recently held a day on Ignatius and Ignatian Spirituality with the board – presenting information on Ignatius’ life as well as the IPP and the Jesuit concept of a “preferential option for the poor.” This dovetailed with his efforts to provide financial aid to 40% of Loyola’s student body. Although this was met with some resistance from the board, he felt that Scripture, Ignatius, and Pedro Arrupe would ultimately be persuasive.
In short, Fr. Katsouros was certain that Ignatian Spirituality “absolutely” makes a difference at Loyola. He was confident that Ignatian Spirituality was so ingrained in Loyola’s life that it would not end up like other Catholic schools which are seen as “public schools where you pay tuition.” Finally, he believed that the heavy emphasis on service will have a lasting impact on Loyola’s students.
Loyola’s headmaster, Mr. James Lyness[76], has served in the school for the past three years. Previously he taught at the neighboring - and highly competitive - Jesuit school, Regis, where all students attend on full scholarship. Mr. Lyness believes that one of the most important features of Ignatian Spirituality is the emphasis on taking time for prayer and reflection. He writes, “I try to take time to discern where God is leading me, what I am doing that helps to fulfill his will, and how I might do it better.”
Mr. Lyness is a true believer in the adaptability of the Spiritual Exercises to the school environment. Looking ahead to an upcoming curriculum review process, he plans on using the IPP and to create curriculum documents that will address its five areas. He sees the IPP as “extremely important” and places particular emphasis on the importance of context. He writes, “I think in today’s world, it is quite important for us to understand the context of our students – to assess their readiness to learn and to understand the influences on their lives outside of the school building that affect their ability to learn is necessary.”
Mr. Lyness also considers reflection to be very important. This year the school is instituting a program of “Sophomore Interviews” which will provide students the opportunity to reflect on their first two years at Loyola and to set goals for the second half of high school. Tellingly, those goals will be centered on the five characteristics of the “Grad at Grad.” He sees aspects of cura personalis among the diverse members of the Loyola community, but acknowledges that the administration could be more “intentional” or “obvious” about its grounding in Ignatian Spirituality.
One of the ways that he is grounded in that spirituality is through the use of discernment. He writes, “I believe that I do practice Ignatian discernment every time it is necessary to make an important decision.” He includes the creation of the “Sophomore Interviews” as well personnel and expulsion decisions and also noted that he constantly asks for feedback on past decisions in order to learn and grow. He also mentioned that he has witnessed that same kind of discernment among others in authority at the school.
Mr. Lyness shares with the Adult Faith Formation Director the responsibility of educating the faculty about Ignatian Spirituality. He acknowledged that while most teachers have been open to learning more, others have been resistant – viewing it as an “add-on” to the already heavy burdens of teaching. Looking ahead, he is considering making the Spiritual Exercises mandatory for new teachers within their first five years at Loyola.
Ms. Susan Baber[77] has been the campus minister at Loyola for three years. Previously she taught Latin at the other school examined by this study, St. Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City. Over the years she has been very active in JSEA programs, particularly the three-year Ignatian Leadership Seminars – which she both attended and later helped to facilitate.
In our conversation, Ms. Baber emphasized the importance of discernment as the “key component” of Ignatian Spirituality. She believes that discernment helps us to recognize that God is active in all things. She also mentioned the great value of Ignatian prayer – particularly the Examen which she described as “a nice framework for discernment.” She also admitted that when she was first introduced to Ignatian Spirituality she found the use of the imagination to be a challenge, but now believes that it is “critical.”
She said that she definitely sees discernment at work in the everyday life of Loyola. She highlighted her participation in a recent board of trustees meeting, previously mentioned by Fr. Katsouros, in which they were introduced to Ignatius and his spirituality. She was responsible for describing the IPP and helping to show the board how the business model does not exactly apply to a Jesuit school, and also how Loyola is different from other Upper East Side schools. She feels “proud” that the Loyola leadership was willing to devote so much effort and time to challenge the board. She also noted that some of the parents on the board expressed gratitude – now Loyola’s ways of proceeding made more sense to them.
Ms. Baber attended non-Jesuit Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Upon reflection she found “subtle, difficult to name” differences between Loyola and other Catholic schools. She believes that the “Ignatian worldview” and its focus on the personal encounter with God is a distinguishing element. She noted that by junior and senior year some of the students are able to reflect on their experiences in thoughtful ways. She also noted that this process is not just didactic – students must be given the tools to reflect and discern, but ultimately it was up to them. As she put it, “There’s not much meaning in being told where to find meaning.”
Along with many people interviewed in this study, Ms. Baber described the Examen as personally very important. She described using it on the subway and found that this practice keeps her better focused on the “greater good” and simply made her better at what she does. As a lay woman, she was very pleased by the easy way that the Jesuits on staff work with the laity. She also reflected on the fact that Ignatius compiled much of what became the Spiritual Exercises as a lay man praying and writing in a cave. How then could the Jesuits not embrace reaching out to lay people?
Mr. James Neely[78] has taught theology at Loyola since 2001, and is also the Director of Christian Service. In my conversations with adults and students at Loyola, nearly everyone described the service program as a crucial element in the school’s way of living out Ignatian Spirituality. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Neely summed up his understanding of Ignatian Spirituality by paraphrasing Pedro Arrupe, “Men and women with a love of God without a love of neighbor is a farce.”
Mr. Neely acknowledged that at Loyola there is a gap between the “academic and evangelical curriculum.” He powerfully asserted that in his view “the end of being a good student is being a disciple.” Although that task was not yet complete, he recognized that the school makes a “huge commitment” to reflection and prayer. He also emphasized that every Loyola student has a Christian Service class. He also pointed out how he and Ms. Baber have integrated the service and retreat programs. He found that when he first arrived at Loyola the student retreat leaders resented having to devote time also to service but now he finds that students “embrace it.”
Mr. Neely described a very thoughtful and ambitious service program. It begins in freshman year when students “brownbag” lunches and then bring them to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. One of the benefits of this program is the students have the opportunity to meet and interact with the people they are serving. In addition to performing service in local institutions such as nursing homes, juniors and seniors also have the opportunity to make service trips, particularly to Camden and Appalachia. Mr. Neely noted that these service trips are always in addition to the core service program.
He said there are three goals for these trips. First, is to become informed of the need. Second, is to discover ways of responding to that need. Third, is to make the necessary connection between faith and experience in the Catholic, and specifically Ignatian, tradition. He pointed out that in junior and senior year students receive no course credit for service trips – they go out of their own generosity. On these trips, students have morning prayer and at the end of the day they practice the Examen. Mr. Neely has adapted consolation and desolation as “gifts” (where students clearly saw God’s communication) and “challenges” (where their vision was less clear). The Examen is practiced in community, with each student being given the opportunity to share their reflections. Each year about a dozen newly-graduated seniors cap off this impressive service experience by traveling with Mr. Neely to Belize to work with members of the Jesuit Volunteers International in that impoverished Central American nation. Based on conversations with Mr. Neely and Loyola students, it is clear that this is a transformative experience. Mr. Neely also pointed out that this trip is undertaken after graduation and often interferes with summer jobs and, of course, summer vacation. Yet, each year there is a high interest among students to deepen their commitment to service.
Mr. Neely reflected on the difference between Loyola and other Catholic schools. He found that there is a “palpable difference.” He pointed to the thoughtfulness, the willingness to self-critique, the focus on experience, and, of course, service. He saw this work as essentially about conscience formation; students are called to apply to their own lives what they have learned and experienced. He also mentioned that this can be challenging in the hierarchical Catholic Church. He wondered on the impact of school masses, where students choose and lead the music and women are serving at the altar as Eucharistic Ministers. He acknowledged that these different church experiences often change and challenge the students’ perceptions of their own parishes.
Sitting in on a Social Justice class I had the opportunity to see Mr. Neely and his class discussing The Gospel of Gabriel by Edward Hays, a Roman Catholic priest. In his book Hays presents a “gospel for our time” that emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. In the class, Mr. Neely led the students in a sophisticated but accessible discussion of Christology as students grappled with the divinity and humanity of Jesus and reflected on what parts of Christ’s nature were most meaningful to them. They reflected on Jesus breaking down social barriers and the role of women disciples. The class concluded with students reflecting on how these questions made them feel about their own church and their own works of service. The class was a great example of the IPP and the reflection on experience that lies at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality.
3. Students
Overall, the Loyola students[79] with whom I met were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and articulate about Ignatian Spirituality. They were all familiar with the key Ignatian terms such as “men and women for others,” “cura personalis,” “seeing God in all things,” and so on. They had come to understand the importance of reflection and especially the necessity for Christians to perform acts of service.
The service trips were clearly profound experiences for these students. They noted with pride there was actually a demand among students to go on these optional trips. They recognized that this is in part due to older students’ willingness to share their positive experiences with others. But some also pointed out that what they learn about in Christian Service class helps to build the motivation to perform service. Some students described the frustration they felt at witnessing the grinding, overwhelming poverty of places such as Camden and realizing how little difference their efforts were going to make. By meeting some of the people they served they did recognize that they made some small difference. One student also found the prayer of Oscar Romero – with its reminder that we are workers, not the master builder – to be helpful in facing this frustration.
Aside from the service program, many students also described the importance of the school’s mandatory retreat program, “Kairos.” In particular they appreciated that these retreats are “student-driven” and strongly believed that they would not be as successful if they were led by adults. Some also spoke of the power of the school liturgies and the importance of serving as a leader of song and also as a Eucharistic Minister. One student spoke movingly about the powerful experience of distributing communion – feeling a powerful connection with the person he was feeding.
The students noted significant differences between their school and other Catholic schools. Some said that their friends at other schools wonder why Loyola students go on retreat so much or travel so far away on service trips. They marvel that Loyola students see service as a “cool thing to do.” Many of the students also expressed gratitude that the administration and faculty express genuine care for the students. Several of them mentioned the fact that Fr. Katsouros greets them at the school door each morning - and takes the time and effort to know them – as an embodiment of what Loyola and Jesuit education are all about.
Each year several Loyola students are invited to address the student body on the characteristics in the “Grad at Grad.” This year a senior named Matt Price spoke about “Open to Growth.” He recalled not taking Christian service seriously until he went on a service trip to Kentucky where he and his classmates were given the task of tearing down a house that had slipped down a hill. Matt was shocked by the desperate poverty that he saw – and smelled - all around him and was deeply moved when he met the woman whose house they were dismantling. He shared how he had not even considered what this might mean to the woman until she explained that “She had lived in it for her entire life, and she and her husband raised their children in this house. Now she watched at the top the hill these eight high school students tear her house into piles of what we would consider garbage.”[80] In offering this story this young man offers a profound witness on the power of Ignatian Spirituality to open our senses and our hearts so that we can reflect on our experiences.

B. St. Peter’s Preparatory School
1. Overview
Founded in 1872, St. Peter’s Preparatory School is located in downtown Jersey City. Once heavily industrial with a largely immigrant population, over the past twenty-five years the neighborhood has been transformed by gentrification into a mixed district of carefully restored 19th Century row houses alongside gleaming new apartment buildings and office towers. New Jersey’s lone Jesuit secondary school currently has a student body of approximately 940 boys, who hail from ten of the state’s counties as well as Manhattan and Brooklyn. The current tuition is $7, 375 with approximately 40 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid.[81] I graduated from St. Peter’s in 1985 and taught history there between 1997 and 2004.
The Statement of Philosophy and Goals of St. Peter’s begins by celebrating the school’s diversity and then quickly moves into acknowledging the school’s Ignatian heritage. The statement reads, “For Ignatius, education is one of the most effective means of building the Kingdom of God; it involves not only the mind, but also the heart and will, and is characterized by the effort to achieve metanoia, a profound change of heart.” The statement goes on to introduce some alliterative, original language declaring that “St. Peter’s strives to form people of competence, conscience and compassionate commitment.” The statement concludes by referring to Arrupe’s influential phrase, “Ultimately then, the goal of St. Peter’s Prep in all its activities is to prepare people for and with others.” To that end, the school uses as its goals the five characteristics found in the JSEA “Grad at Grad” document.
2. Administration and Faculty
Although the Rev. Robert Reiser, SJ[82] is in only his first year as president of St. Peter’s Prep, his history at the school stretches back two decades to when he taught during the summer while still a Jesuit novice and also the three years in the early 1990s that he was a member of the St. Peter’s Mathematics Department. When asked about the key principles of Ignatian Spirituality, Fr. Reiser emphasized Ignatius’ focus on the individual, personal needs, desires, and talents that each of us possess. He also noted that Ignatius specifically refused to create a habit for the Jesuits or to require them to live in cloisters. Instead they were to be active out in the world, responding to needs as they presented themselves. In his own life, he acknowledged the pressures of his new position with a smile and confided that the Examen had been more meaningful to him over the past six months than ever before. In his prayer he has found himself asking if he is at peace and if he is acting in an authentic manner.
In terms of St. Peter’s, he sees Ignatian Spirituality as embedded in the very mission of the school. He described that as “helping a boy to discover who he is and helping him to become that person.” He suggested that the most important tools to achieve that goal would include critical thinking skills and the ability to carefully reflect on experience. In particular, he sees Ignatian Spirituality present in the school’s retreat program, which is known as “Emmaus.” Over the course of the retreat each boy learns that he is uniquely loved both by God and by his family. It is often a transformative experience.
Fr. Reiser is currently in the midst of hiring a new principal for St. Peter’s. When asked how Ignatian Spirituality might factor into this process, he, of course, mentioned discernment but also listed some of the qualities he will be looking for in the candidates. He is particularly interested in how they discern the magis – what is the greater good to be done, especially when choosing among several goods. He is looking for their commitment to serve the poor and their interest in promoting justice. He pointedly said that he is not merely interested if they “get it” but he wants to know if they “are it.” Have they demonstrated these qualities in their life and work?
Although St. Peter’s has a faculty chaplain on staff, he acknowledged that the school can and must do a better job in the formation of its teachers and other adults in the community. In one of his first acts, Fr. Reiser created a new position – Dean of Faculty – in part to address these concerns. Overall, he repeatedly underlined the importance of setting clear goals and practicing reflection. He summed up his approach by saying, “As I begin, I’m already looking at the end.”
After teaching history at St. Peter’s since 1990, Ms. Marie Curry[83] was appointed to the new position of Dean of Faculty this year. Before coming to St. Peter’s, Ms. Curry had taught at two Catholic all-girls high schools. When asked about the key elements of Ignatian Spirituality, she emphasized the concept of a contemplative in action. While acknowledging that monasticism has its place, she declared that it is “not enough.” Instead, she argued that faithful Christians need to serve as “God’s agents” in the world. As might be expected, she declared that Arrupe’s vision of men and women for others was “vitally important.” She noted a difficulty with the emphasis on action. She recognized the short distance between faithful action and venturing into political areas where people fear to tread. She acknowledged that a commitment to social justice can be mistaken for political bias.
Ms. Curry believes that today’s St. Peter’s students know far more about Ignatian Spirituality than they did twenty years ago. She pointed out that her brother graduated from St. Peter’s forty years ago and she is certain that he would not be able talk about Ignatian Spirituality at all. She recognized, though, that the attention to things Ignatian runs the danger of reducing a rich, complex spiritual tradition to a few buzzwords, such as “man for others.” She pointed out that in recent years the Religion Department has become more explicit about Ignatian Spirituality.
Having both attended and taught at other Catholic schools, Ms. Curry described the main difference is that Jesuit schools promote “a sense that spirituality is important.” In her experience at other schools spirituality was not even talked about, while at St. Peter’s it is explicit. In the life of the students she believes the spiritual emphasis provides clear expectations for behavior. It may be a catchphrase, but St. Peter’s students are indeed expected to be “men for others.” She acknowledged that service projects are part of a nationwide trend, but held up the reflection component as a distinctively Ignatian element.
Ms. Curry described integrating Ignatian Spirituality into the life of the school as “a great frontier ahead of us.” The school is in need of curricular development, and unfortunately many on the staff simply do not see a connection between academics and the spiritual life. Interestingly, she held herself up as an example of what can happen when one is invited to explore things more deeply. She admitted that she first came to St. Peter’s because she knew it was a good school, she would make more money and she hoped that she would be happy. After six years she was finally convinced to attend an Emmaus retreat and she began to realize that she was called to do more than to teach history.
She bemoaned the fact that there seems to be little discernment among the school leadership. Instead, she finds mostly top-down decision-making with very little discussion or reflection. She noted that this is often very popular because people admire decisiveness and very often they like other people to decide. She recognized that the school leadership has to balance rapid decisions with a more careful, sensitive approach. In short, she hopes for a “more involved process.”
This year Ms. Curry has taken charge of the orientation of first-year teachers at the school. She has attempted to introduce them to the life and spirituality of Ignatius as well as St. Peter’s philosophy and goals, which (as we have seen) is based on the “Grad at Grad”). Over the course of their first year she has been incorporating various JSEA books and documents to deepen their understanding of the connection between spirituality and what happens in their classrooms. Ms. Curry shared some of her preliminary plans for next year when she hopes to follow up with more detailed work on the Spiritual Exercises and also to focus on the IPP.
Dr. Dominic Scibilia[84], chairperson of St. Peter’s Religion Department, has taught at the school for eight years. In our conversation, he spoke movingly of the power of Ignatian Spirituality in his own life. He summed up this spirituality as “grace, gratitude, generosity.” He described becoming more deeply aware of God’s grace – both receiving forgiveness and growing more mindful of the giftedness of life itself. He said that mindfulness has led to a greater generosity – seeing life “as an opportunity to give thanks.” He powerfully described making the Spiritual Exercises at St. Peter’s with the faculty chaplain. He said it “affected him completely” during what was a very tumultuous year for him at the school – causing him to reflect deeply on why things had become so difficult, particularly with colleagues. This experience has inspired him to continue practicing the Examen; he noted that he “feels the lack” when he misses a few days. The experience has also shaped his design of the regular retreats made by the entire Religion Department.
Dr. Scibilia expressed optimism that the school’s new leadership will place even more emphasis on the school’s Catholic and Ignatian heritage and character. He recalled Fr. Reiser’s first homily at a school mass in which he explicitly referred to the “Grad at Grad” not only applying to students but to everyone, including the school’s president. He described in some detail the religion curriculum. In their first marking period, the freshmen are introduced to both Ignatius and his spirituality. In junior year the students study social justice, with particular emphasis on the thought of Pedro Arrupe and in senior year they spend a considerable amount of time practicing the Examen. Once every six days class time is set aside for students to pray, reflect and to write in their journals. Some time is available for sharing and the students also meet with their teachers to discuss this experience, with a particular focus on decision-making. Dr. Scibilia sees this as vitally important because it teaches the students that “men have an internal life.”
Recently Dr. Scibilia and several recent alumni contributed a chapter called “Cura Personalis: The Matrix for Social Justice in Jesuit Secondary Education” to the book Vital Christianity: Spirituality, Justice, and Christian Practice. In this chapter, Dr. Scibilia suggests that the goal of education at St. Peter’s is transformation. He writes, “In Jesuit secondary education, that transformation (what the Spiritual Exercises call ‘conversion’) happens in the convergence of seeking God in all things and intellectual formation, the anticipated yield of this union being a commitment to social justice.”[85] The students who contributed to the chapter recalled disparate moments such as an Emmaus retreat; working in a soup kitchen; interfaith prayer services and forums in the months after September 11, 2001; and the perspective of a Hindu student at the school. All in all, the chapter offers an attractive and convincing portrait of contemplation in action at St. Peter’s Prep.
Mr. James DeAngelo[86], a classmate of mine, has taught at St. Peter’s since 1989. He has returned to the school after a two-year leave of absence during which he worked in the office of the Provincial of the New York Province of the Society of Jesus. During that time he had the opportunity to visit many of the secondary schools and was particularly involved in assisting the middle schools in the province. Perhaps because he has seen how other schools are living out Ignatian Spirituality, he offered a very bleak view of the situation at St. Peter’s.
For Mr. DeAngelo, reflection and action are the key elements of Ignatian Spirituality. He underscored the importance of taking time out to reflect on experiences and then to plan what next must be done. He described this as constantly “looking back and looking forward.” He strongly believes that this reflection/action combination can and must be modeled by the school on various levels. For example, at the end of a semester or a school year teachers need to reflect back and ask if goals have been achieved and then to plan accordingly for the future. He called for the same kind of action among academic departments and the school administration. He added that this process can and should be done by athletic teams and extracurricular activities.
He described the living out of Ignatian Spirituality at St. Peter’s as “practically nothing to poor.” He claimed that the school’s leadership sends out a mixed message – using the rhetoric of Ignatian Spirituality and pedagogy while the everyday mode of operating is largely reactive and not reflective. He observed that very few in positions of formal or informal leadership in the school model Ignatian reflection – and those that do are often subject to “lunch room derision.”
He and Ms. Curry have been leading the process preparing for the school’s reaccreditation. They have been trying to challenge the faculty to reflect on the mission of the school but on the whole have faced resistance. Mr. DeAngelo’s impression is that many of the teachers are not interested in this subject and do not see it as relevant – it is “not their job.” He placed the blame for this attitude squarely on the shoulders of the school leadership, which he argued has failed in its responsibility of forming new (and veteran) teachers in the Ignatian tradition. He described St. Peter’s as “a culture that has never been asked to do more than the minimum and often even less than the minimum.”
He finds this situation regrettable because he has seen the power of Ignatian Spirituality at work in other schools – and in his own life. He movingly recalled making the “19th Annotation,” an adaptation of the Spiritual Exercises which allows people to make the retreat by having weekly sessions over a period of nine months, rather than going away for a full month. Mr. DeAngelo described this experience as producing an “immense change” in his personal life. He felt “a great moment of consolation.” He believes that the sense of peace he discovered has had a “salutary effect on his role as a teacher.”
Mr. John Raslowsky[87], also a St. Peter’s alumnus, was principal of the school for eleven years. For the past four years he has served as Assistant to the Provincial for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education as well as Assistant for Lay Formation. He was recently chosen as the new superintendent of the Hoboken School District. Mr. Raslowsky suggested that Ignatian Spirituality boils down to gratitude and indifference. Once we become aware of the presence of God in our lives and in the world, how can we be anything but grateful? At the same time Ignatian indifference is connected to that gratitude. He described it not as a denial of the world’s goodness, but rather a lack of attachments which will lead to greater freedom to love and serve God and our neighbors.
When asked about the role of Ignatian Spirituality in secondary schools, he framed it as a “hope and desire question.” He hoped that the schools were giving students the tools to be “lifelong learners” both in the academic and spiritual realms. He hoped that students are being taught how to pray and are being introduced to the Spiritual Exercises. He insisted that Ignatius’ methods are accessible to adolescents – the use of imagination and the ability to give voice to that experience. He compared the role of teacher and campus minister with that of the spiritual director – not offering the “answers” but guiding them in the process. He summed this up as, “Forming them in the process with the process.”
Looking back at his time as principal, he recalled that there were some issues that he “took to discernment.” He admitted that this was not an everyday practice but he also mentioned that the Examen was an important part of his spiritual discipline. He expressed the hope that his “way of proceeding” as principal – his “being, essence, deliberateness, prayerfulness, reflectiveness” all served to model a distinctively Ignatian way of doing things. He admitted, however, that this was not always the case and recognized that his worst decisions did not come from that spiritual “core.”
He fondly recalled his days as a student at St. Peter’s in the late 1970s. He noted that Ignatian Spirituality was much less explicitly discussed in those days – but it was clearly and powerfully lived out by many of the teachers. He recalled his freshman religion teacher, a Jesuit named Tony Azzarto, teaching him how to pray and engage in thoughtful reflection. Fr. Azzarto invited his students to make the connection between and among their head, heart and soul. Most of all through his availability and presence, he offered and modeled “radical care” – the cura personalis.
In our conversation, Mr. Raslowsky pointed to some dangers with the new emphasis on Ignatian Spirituality. He recalled that ten years ago people were gradually introduced to Ignatius and gradually worked their way to making the Exercises. Today he has observed that too often the Exercises are seen as the entry point, not the culmination. He noted that Ignatius believed that not everyone was ready for this experience. He also suggested that the Ignatian label has taken on a certain “new age” quality, creating the danger of disconnecting from the Triune God, who is, of course, at the heart of everything for Ignatius – and hopefully for us.
3. Students
The St. Peter’s Prep students[88] matched their Loyola counterparts in their ability to name the Ignatian buzzwords such as “Man for Others” and “finding God in all things.” But they also recognized the importance of reflection, the focus on mission and social justice. They reflected on how much of Ignatian Spirituality is about relationships with other people. One student even claimed, “I think of God in terms of other people.”
The students very articulately recalled their experiences in freshman year learning about Ignatius and spoke passionately about their junior year social justice class. They were clearly shaped by what they learned about sex, race, and economic oppression. They also spoke enthusiastically about the school’s retreat program, describing it as “amazing.” They suggested that retreats at other schools simply were not as reflective as theirs. They also noted that the spiritual dimension was not ghettoized in religion classes. One student pointed to Ms. Curry as having developed “a socially just way to teach history.”
The students offered some concrete examples of Ignatian Spirituality at work at St. Peter’s. They offered moving descriptions of their service trips to places such as Kentucky and the “Over the Rhine” section of Cincinnati. There they experienced “complete poverty” and found themselves “in solidarity with more than just the people around you.” Just as at Loyola, each night the students had time for reflection and sharing and one student remembered, “Everyone really opened up.” This year the school (and many other Jesuit schools, including Loyola) sent students, teachers and administrators to the annual protest at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia. There they participated in the “Ignatian Teach-In” which offered workshops and seminars on how to bring matters of justice back to their schools. The students who were present described it as a life-changing experience.
In comparing their school to other schools, the St. Peter’s students highlighted the commitment to social justice as a key difference. Some pointed to the magis and said that they learned not only what was needed to pass tests but were given the tools to “Take education out of the classroom.” With some pride, they recalled that they not only learned about unjust labor practices but they put that knowledge to work. Students convinced the school administration to remove Coca-Cola machines from the school in protest against the company’s practices in Colombia. As one student put it, “The classroom and the outside world mix.”

VI. Conclusions
Based on this admittedly incomplete and anecdotal investigation, it appears that Ignatian Spirituality does indeed make a significant difference in the mission and operation of these two Jesuit schools. In recent decades, the renewed interest in Ignatian Spirituality among the Jesuits, other religious, and lay people has led these schools to explicitly state their mission as not merely to provide a top-notch education, but to educate the whole person. The goal of this education is not merely to provide access to the most prestigious colleges and the most lucrative jobs, but to give these young men and women the knowledge and tools which will enable them to serve God and their neighbor.
These schools are not perfect, of course. In both cases teachers and administrators were frank about the challenges that remain in fully incorporating the Ignatian “way of proceeding” into the life of the school. In both cases it is clear that members of the faculty do not always “buy in” to the importance of spirituality and do not see its relevance to the work they have been hired to do. Both schools highlight the need for strong leadership to impress upon the school community the importance of Ignatian Spirituality – and to model Ignatian practices in their own life and work. It is clear that the vision and persistence of Fr. Katsouros and Mr. Lyness at Loyola has nurtured a school that seems to live and breathe the Ignatian way. At the much larger St. Peter’s, the new president – Fr. Reiser – and the next principal have a daunting task in guiding St. Peter’s into a more Ignatian vision. It should be noted, though, that the foundation is already in place – the school’s documents, its retreat program, religion curriculum, and some of the faculty are already deeply grounded in the Ignatian tradition.

VII. Implications for the Episcopal Church
In some ways a church is not unlike a school. Certainly in both institutions, explicit and implicit education and training takes place. Some of that education comes in the form of specific lessons, but much of the instruction seeps in simply through the way people behave and the way things are done. Although Christians learn about their faith through Sunday School and later adult education programs, much of the education takes place in the way we run our churches and the ways we do, or do not, reach out to the community.
It is noteworthy that the renewal of Ignatian Spirituality has taken place in the context of decline in the Society of Jesus. Faced with dwindling numbers, the Jesuits have shared their spiritual treasure with the larger “Ignatian Family.” They did this in part by refining their mission and also by fostering links between and among institutions. They presented their mission in an organized way, using exciting and relatively easy to recall terms and phrases. I did not encounter one person who was not familiar with “Men and Women for Others.” These efforts have produced secondary schools that have a clear mission, which makes them both more effective and more attractive. Parents send their children to these schools (and pay a substantial tuition) knowing that they will get a challenging academic education, but also knowing that they will receive cura personalis.
Like the Jesuits, the Episcopal Church is also in a period of decline - one that is accelerating as a result of current divisive disagreements on authority, biblical interpretation and sexuality. Perhaps an effective way to turn this tide would be to follow the example of the Jesuit schools and carve out a clear identity based on our own tradition. Superficially this is, of course, not unlike the advertising term “branding.” In the past the Episcopal Church has tried this with “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” and more recently with the insipid “We’re Here for You.” Neither of these slogans offers much sense of mission or purpose, perhaps aside from greeting people when they visit church. Today the church leadership has emphasized the Millennium Development Goals as a focus of mission. They are certainly worthy and vital goals, but in truth they are secular goals that do not seem to bear the weight of the entire mission of the Church.
It would be very worthwhile to follow the example of Pedro Arrupe and the Jesuits of the past three decades who renewed their own tradition and reached out to a world that was, and is, hungry for what they had to offer. What is the essence of the Anglican and Episcopal tradition? What, if anything, does it say to – and offer to – the world at the start of the 21st Century? With vision, strong leadership, organization, and cooperation, our churches can also offer a “pedagogy of love” and send forth disciples to love and serve God and neighbor.

VIII. Implications for My Ordained Ministry
Although the above implications for the Episcopal Church are fine in the abstract, are there concrete ways that Ignatian Spirituality might enrich my own ministry as an Episcopal priest? I believe this enrichment can take place on two levels. First, Ignatian Spirituality itself is practical and beneficial for those who are seeking to deepen their relationship with God. On that level, it is a worthy subject for adult education. Second, the role of Ignatian Spirituality in Jesuit secondary schools offers lessons on how I as a parish priest can provide authentically Christian leadership.
As I was finishing this study I developed a one-day “Lenten Retreat with Ignatius of Loyola” at my field placement parish, St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood, New Jersey. The parish is mostly comprised of people both well-educated and deeply committed to and involved in the church. When it was announced, the program received a decidedly mixed reaction. A few people, in some cases alumni of Jesuit high schools and colleges, expressed interest and some familiarity with Ignatius and the Jesuits. Others, however, reacted negatively and skeptically, associating Ignatius with the worst excesses of the Inquisition and the Counter-Reformation. Partly in response to these comments, in flyers and announcements I emphasized that today there is great interest in Ignatian Spirituality among both Roman Catholics and non-Catholics. I also stressed that Ignatius is commemorated by the Episcopal Church every July 31st. I described him as a gift to the whole Church.
In the end, ten people participated in this Saturday morning program. They included the rector, a fellow seminarian and her partner, a ninety year-old parishioner, a woman who works in the Episcopal Church Center, and a retired Episcopal priest and his partner. We began at 9:00AM with a prayer service that I created based on the writings of Ignatius and other Jesuits such as Teilhard de Chardin. The focus was on how we can be of service to God and our neighbor. That was followed by a breathing exercise taken from the book Sadhana: A Way to God by an Indian Jesuit, Anthony de Mello. After a brief break, we watched To See His Face – a film by an American Jesuit, James Mazyik. In the film he records his Ignatian pilgrimage, traveling from Loyola to Paris, Venice, and Rome. In its own quirky way, this travelogue gives a good flavor of Ignatius’ life and times. Once the movie was over, I offered a short talk on Ignatian Spirituality and then invited comments and questions.
Each of the participants was clearly engaged by the subject matter. Several expressed surprise that they had known so little about Ignatius and his spirituality. A few others recalled positive memories of attending Jesuit schools, particularly emphasizing social justice and ecumenism. One woman, a mother of two young children, questioned the wisdom and healthiness of Ignatius’ ideal of laboring without seeking rest. A lively discussion developed, with the rector suggesting that maybe Ignatius meant that we never “graduate” from performing Christian service rather than urging us to be workaholics. Next, again drawing on de Mello’s work, I led the group in an Ignatian “fantasy meditation” based on John 5:1-9, the healing at Bethesda. Finally, we concluded with a simple Eucharist, using the propers for Ignatius in Lesser Feasts and Fasts.
Each participant was given a folder containing prayers by Ignatius, a discernment exercise, and an annotated bibliography. In addition, they received a feedback form. The response was uniformly positive. People appreciated the variety of experiences as well as the content. One person wrote, “In a few short hours, I feel I have a good understanding (at least a beginning) of who Ignatius was.” This person also hoped that the group might reconvene before I conclude my work at the parish to follow-up on how we have (or have not) deepened some of the practices we explored during the program. This successful experiment suggests that Ignatian Spirituality has a natural appeal for Christians seeking to deepen their spiritual life. A challenge for me in my ordained ministry is to overcome the unfortunate prejudice against Ignatius that seems to exist among some Episcopalians.
On another level, my exploration of Ignatian Spirituality in Jesuit secondary schools offers lessons on how I as a parish priest can offer authentically Christian leadership. In his book, The Pastor as Spiritual Guide, Howard Rice suggests that “spiritual guidance can serve as the organizing principle for ministry.”[89] If, as I believe, Rice is correct, then Ignatian Spirituality offers a profound and effective way for me and others to exercise that spiritual guidance and leadership. In my own spiritual life, Ignatian practices such as the Examen can help to keep me prayerfully grounded. The challenge of seeing God in all things can be a vital element in my continuing self-care. Under my leadership and example, the practice of discernment can become understood as essential for the vestry and others in positions of parish leadership. Aside from the Ignatian particulars, the Jesuit schools demonstrate the importance of leaders developing and reflecting on key principles and remaining focused on the core mission of the institution. As a leader of a parish, each decision and proposal I make should be rooted in those principles and mission. Ideally that style of leadership will serve as a model for lay people in the church and together we can help build a church that truly embodies what we believe.


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Baber, Susan. Personal interview. 12 February 2007

Barthel, Manfred. The Jesuits: History and Legend of the Society of Jesus. Trans. Mark Howson. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1984.

Burke, Kevin, ed. Pedro Arrupe: Essential Writings. Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 2004.

Curry, Marie. Personal interview. 9 February 2007

DeAngelo, James. Personal interview. 9 March 2007

de Mello, Anthony. Sadhana: A Way to God. Garden City NY: Image Books, 1984.

Dyckman, Katherine, Mary Garvin and Elizabeth Liebert. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. New York: Paulist Press, 2001.

Gallagher, Marianne F. and Peter A. Musso. “Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm: Synopsis.” Jesuit Secondary Education Association, March 2006.

Ganss SJ, George E., ed. Ignatius of Loyola: The Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works. New York: Paulist Press, 1991.

Jesuit Conference, What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? Chicago: Loyola Press, 2000.

Katsouros SJ, Stephen. Personal interview. 12 February 2007

Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2003. New York: Church Publishing Incorporated, 2003.

Lonsdale, David. Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality. Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 2000.

Lyness, James. Personal interview. 7 March 2007

Modras, Ronald. Ignatian Humanism: A Dynamic Spirituality for the 21st Century. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2004.

Neely, James. Personal interview. 5 March 2007.

O’Malley SJ, John W. The First Jesuits. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Price, Matthew. “Address on the Grad at Grad.” 2006.

Raslowsky, John. Personal interview. 1 March 2007

Reiser SJ, Robert. Personal interview. 9 February 2007

Rice, Howard. The Pastor as Spiritual Guide. Nashville: Upper Room Books, 1998.

Scibilia, Dominic. Personal interview. 9 February 2007

Sheldrake SJ, Philip, ed. The Way of Ignatius of Loyola: Contemporary Approaches to the Spiritual Exercises. St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1991.

Weaver-Zercher, David L. and William H. Willimon, eds. Vital Christianity: Spirituality, Justice, and Christian Practice. New York: T&T Clark, 2005.

[1] Burke, pgs. 136-7
[2] Lonsdale, pg. 13
[3] Ganss, pg. 10
[4] Ganss, pg. 48
[5] Modras, pg. 3
[6] Modras, pg. 7
[7] Ganss, pg. 30
[8] Modras, pg. 18
[9] Ganss, pg. 12
[10] Lonsdale, pg. 38
[11] Lesser Feasts and Fasts, pg. 317
[12] Lonsdale, pg. 19
[13] Burke, pg. 135
[14] Lonsdale, pg. 24
[15] Dyckman, Katherine and Mary Garvin, Elizabeth Liebert. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. New York: Paulist Press, 2001.
[16] Modras, pg. xvii
[17] Modras, pg. x
[18] Modras, pg. x
[19] Burke, pg. 174
[20] Ganss, pg. 9
[21] Modras, pg. xvii
[22] Barthel, pg. 71
[23] O’Malley, pg. 38
[24] Modras, pg. 23
[25] O’Malley, pg. 38
[26] Modras, pg. 22
[27] Ganss, pg. 176
[28] Modras, pg. 32
[29] Lonsdale, pg. 83
[30] Norton Anthology, pg. 1581
[31] O’Malley, pg. 47
[32] Burke, pg. 136-7
[33] Modras, pg. 38
[34] Modras, pg. 40
[35] Lonsdale, pg. 80
[36] Lonsdale, pg. 89
[37] Lonsdale, pgs. 97-8
[38] Modras, pg. 49
[39] Sheldrake, pg. 155
[40] O’Malley, pg. 200
[41] Lonsdale, pg. 85
[42] Ganss, pg. 48
[43] Ganss, pg. 49
[44] Ganss, pg. 48
[45] O’Malley, pg. 211
[46] Barthel, pg. 114
[47] O’Malley, pg. 207
[48] O’Malley, pgs 212-3
[49] O’Malley, pg. 225
[50] Modras, pg. 80
[51] O’Malley, pg. 226
[52] O’Malley, pg. 239
[54] Burke, pg. 173
[55] Burke, pg. 173
[56] Burke, pg. 180
[60] Gallagher and Musso, pg. 1
[61] Gallagher and Musso, pg. 1
[62] Gallagher and Musso, pg. 1
[63] Gallagher and Musso, pg. 4
[64] Gallagher and Musso, pg. 4
[65] Gallagher and Musso, pg. 5
[66] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 1
[67] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 2
[68] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 5
[69] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 6
[70] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 7
[71] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 10
[72] What Makes a Jesuit High School Jesuit? pg. 11
[75] The Rev. Stephen Katsouros, personal interview, 12 February 2007
[76] Mr. James Lyness, personal interview, 7 March 2007
[77] Ms. Susan Baber, personal interview, 12 February 2007
[78] Mr. James Neely, personal interview, 5 March 2007
[79] Personal interviews, 5 March 2007
[80] Price, pg. 3
[82] The Rev. Robert Reiser, personal interview, 9 February 2007
[83] Ms. Marie Curry, personal interview, 9 February 2007
[84] Dr. Dominic Scibilia, personal interview, 9 February 2007
[85] Weaver-Zircher and Willimon, pg 227
[86] Mr. James DeAngelo, personal interview, 9 March 2007
[87] Mr. John Raslowsky, personal interview, 1 March 2007
[88] Personal interviews, 9 March 2007
[89] Rice, pg. 17