Part I: Life of Ignatius Loyola and Overview of The Society of Jesus
Ignatius’s experiences of crisis, failure and rejection (injury in battle, two imprisonments, banning from Jerusalem) were defining moments in his life.
What are your similar experiences of crisis, failure and rejection? How have they shaped you into the person you are today?
At a critical point in Ignatius’s life, books on the life of Christ and the saints were defining influences on his life.
What are the top works of literature, fine and performing arts, and their authors and creators who have shaped and still inspire you?
Ignatius spent seven years studying at the University of Paris prior to ordination and forming the Society of Jesus. The people he met, cared for and gathered around him were significant figures in his life.
Recall your own college/university and professional studies that led you to your present place in life. What values and ideals motivated you? Who are the people you met in these years who are important to you?
Author Joseph Appleyard, S.J. writes: “Ignatius and his first companions were fired by a common desire to help people in the manner of Jesus and the early disciples. That phrase ‘to help people’ dominated the personal spiritual journey of Ignatius and, in turn, became the best descriptive phrase for the work of the men who became the first Jesuits.”
Consider how this same phrase, “to help people,” has become a part of your own personal and professional life experiences.
Appleyard notes a number of larger cultural influences that impacted the Society of Jesus at its early 19th Century restoration and onwards into the early 20th Century.
What larger cultural influences, for good and for ill, are impacting the works of the Society of Jesus and its colleagues today, particularly in the area of higher education?
Canisius College is one university in a national and international network of Jesuit apostolic works. Appleyard describes all our academic institutions as “a congenial home for… collaboration.” In his October 2013 address to the AJCU presidents and board chairs, provincials and rectors, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, asked a question about the future of our work: “What selfless actions – based in freedom, generosity, and shared values as a community committed to Jesuit higher education – might God be asking you to lead at your particular institution?”
What are your initial thoughts in response to this question?