Exploring Our Ignatian Legacy
November 1, 2017
Dear Members of the Loyola Community,
Our Ignatian heritage is all around us. We note it in our classrooms and labs, in hospitals and clinics where our faculty and alumni practice, in our studios and performance halls, in our neighborhoods. We see it in the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The heritage of St. Ignatius of Loyola fuels our passion for social justice and our commitment to excellence and sustainability to people and communities in need.
Ignatian principles form our commitment to cura personalis, the “care of the whole person,” and to magis, the “more” universal good.
It is amazing that all of this began more than 450 years ago, when a wounded war veteran suffering spiritual upheaval set out on his own healing journey. He exerted a conscious effort to cultivate his faith and overcome his obsession with what others thought of him. He nurtured a growing compassion by engaging with his neighbors and with the problems of their shared world.
He became a student and found relief in study and conversation with teachers and peers. He encountered like-minded friends and shared with a widening circle an approach to theology and education in which reason and faith were complementary. He founded a religious order, the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits—based around a daily practice of engaging the mind and heart in experience, reflection, and action.
This veteran, of course, would become St. Ignatius. The Spiritual Exercises he developed—a continual inquiry of the self, the world, and of the self in the world—are sometimes called the Ignatian way of proceeding. It is a way of faith as well as a method of pedagogy, and it forms the essence of a Jesuit education.
I invite you to join me in celebrating Ignatian Heritage Month in November to explore our rich Jesuit, Catholic heritage, to remember those who have struggled for justice before us, and to renew our efforts toward a more equitable and sustainable world. It is an annual opportunity for us as a community to engage in the Ignatian way: to reflect, to take action, and to discern our purpose and path going forward.
In addition to dialogues, lectures, events, and actions, Ignatian Heritage Month includes Hunger Week, a tradition at Loyola for more than 40 years. I encourage all Loyolans to participate in one of the upcoming service activities and mission events taking place on our three campuses.
A signature event of the month is the 2017 Martyrs Award Presentation and Memorial Mass. This award honors the memory of the Universidad Centroamericana martyrs and is presented to a faith-based organization in support of our shared commitment to the struggle for social justice. I am pleased to announce that this year’s award goes to the Quinn Community Center, a social outreach program of St. Eulalia Parish that serves our neighbors in Maywood with programs addressing hunger and nutrition, youth and family issues, community health, immigration, and computer education.
The vision and perseverance of Ignatius, a wounded soldier who became a saint, has blossomed into worldwide work that continues to transform lives and shape societies for the better. Ignatian Heritage Month is an embrace of our present and an exploration of our future as much as a celebration of our past. We honor those who embody the Jesuit mission of today, and we reflect, together, on the best ways to embody that mission in the face of our urban challenges before us.
I am immensely grateful for the work you do every day on behalf of our students, our partners, and our community. Please join our Loyola family and me during November as we engage with one another to celebrate, investigate, discuss, and deepen the powerful educational legacy represented by the name above our door.
Dr. Jo Ann Rooney