BUFFALO, NY - I have just completed my eighth year as president of Canisius College but the questions persist from some friends and relatives: "You're off from work in the summer, aren't you?" Oh, if only that were the case.
The summer, in fact, is a pretty busy time even though the campus is quiet without the energy only 3000+ students, faculty and staff can produce during these 15-week sprints we call semesters. Summer becomes a time when we assess, plan and complete projects that there never seems to be enough time to tackle during the academic year.
It is also an important time to think - about our mission and our role in the world.
So, summer 2018 has held true to form with a global meeting of some 200 Jesuit colleges and universities, called to the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain to consider our common Ignatian mission and to commit to a deep collaboration to further that mission.
We heard from the Jesuit Superior General Rev. Arturo Sosa in what will be a much-studied and discussed talk delivered in the Basilica in Loyola (birthplace of St. Ignatius Loyola) that we had come to Spain "to be strengthened as a universal apostolic body inspired by the Ignatian charism, united by a fruitful humanist intellectual tradition, rooted in the Christian faith."
Much of the Deusto meetings and Father Sosa's talk focused on the Catholic Church's preferential option for the poor and how our Jesuit colleges and universities could become projects of social transformation, moving toward the margins of society where we find those who have been "discarded by dominant structures and powers."
We addressed the Jesuit universities' response to Pope Francis' ground-breaking environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, our education of those at the margins and our role in the global refugee crisis.
The conference celebrated the creation of the International Association of Jesuit Universities, which seeks to promote new forms of networking and collaboration across this impressive universe of academic institutions under the Jesuit banner.
Our work is just beginning - stay tuned!
John J. Hurley
President, Canisius College
Click here to read the Superior General's full keynote address from Deusto 2018.