Kolvenbach, Peter-Hans, S.J. “Rememberance of the Past for the Future.” Address of the Bicentennial Convocation of Jesuit Education of the United States. 8 June 1989. In Send Our Roots Rain.
The goal of Jesuit education is not academic excellence alone: the aim of Ignatian pedagogy is to cultivate men and women who act as leaders in their communities, inspired by contemplative thought and working for the greater glory of God and humankind. This goal butts heads with the predominant goal of many American high schoolers and college students: to to think of their education as a time to cultivate their own individual career.
The interdependent forces of today’s globalized world call for a change in the curriculum at Jesuit institutions that introduces students to a variety of cultures, international histories and languages, and rhetoric beyond the written and spoken. Students at Jesuit schools, Kolvenbach argues, need to develop a habit of reflection so they may learn to always reflect on the implications and underlying values of all the information and ways-of-knowing that they are exposed to. Through this contemplative reflection, graduates of Jesuit institutions will be more prepared to go out and work for the service of the poor and underprivileged, using their education for the good of all, not just for the good of themselves.
Notes and Quotes
John Carroll founded the first American Jesuit institution, Georgetown, in 1789. Jesuit secondary schools and colleges followed American expansion
“What we are committed to in Jesuit education is a living tradition.” (7)
“Today it is especially difficult in the first world to see beyond individualism, hedonism, unbelief, and their effects. What we aim at in Jesuit education is therefore counter to many aspects in contemporary culture.” (10)
“A value-oriented educational goal like ours – forming men and women for others – will not be realized unless, infused within our educational programs at every level, we challenge our students to reflect upon the value implications of what they study.” (8)