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Gonzaga Magazine asked Father Jim Voiss, S.J., (’82) rector of the Jesuit community at Gonzaga and recent interim VP of Mission for the University, to share his views on what Jesuit universities today are facing. Here’s what he had to say.

Jesuit universities operate very independently of one another, which promotes individual institutional identity, but does not always result in the most productive use of resources. In the future, I see Jesuit universities collaborating more.

We must find ways of bringing educational resources to the most marginalized and poorest people of the world, and of drawing their voices into the conversations that shape our world. Rising to this challenge will not only benefit the poor, it will also enhance the formative experience of our students in wealthier parts of the world by connecting them to a broader range of human experience, promoting a more just world.

We have become so entranced by sound bites and Twitter feeds that the ability to think (and feel) deeply is being eroded. We become soul-numbed. We lose our moorings.

A further challenge, one identified by our Superior General, Father Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., is the increasing superficiality of Western culture. We have become so entranced by sound bites and Twitter feeds that the ability to think (and feel) deeply is being eroded. We become soul-numbed. We lose our moorings. Jesuit universities, with our Ignatian spiritual heritage, possess a resource that, when integrated into our pedagogy, can help both students and faculty to delve more deeply, to think more profoundly, to feel with greater sensitivity the shape and texture of what is true and good, so as to choose it. This is the gift of Ignatian discernment, something Jesuit education tries to instill in its students. It can help to change the world.

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