Faithful to the spirituality of our founding Jesuit fathers, PCHS strives to live out the Ignatian spirituality as a Jesuit mission schools. We strive to find God in all things and recognize and appreciate the diversity and uniqueness of each person as gifts and care for him/her accordingly. We aspire for the more, the Magis – to always seek to do the most loving thing for God’s greater glory.
Brief Life Story of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Born in 1491, Iñigo Oñaz de Loyola was born to a Basque family of minor nobility in Northern Spain. He grew up inflamed with the ideals of vainglory and knighthood. In 1521, he was wounded gravely in a battle with the French troops in Pamplona. This ended his knightly career and doing great deeds for his motherland. Little did he know that it would be the start of a nobler desire of doing great things for God. While recuperating in his castle in Loyola, he was left with nothing to do but read the only two books in the house, The Life of Christ and The Golden Legend, a collection of stories on the lives of saints. Still the arrogant and competitive knight that he was, Iñigo challenged himself: “If St. Dominic, if St. Francis could walk such glorious paths, why can’t I?” Imagining himself doing the same as Sts. Dominic and Francis left him happy and aroused within him a deep desire to do great things for God. On the other hand, thinking about pursuing his childhood dream of knighthood left him dry and depressed. Iñigo realized that such feelings can be God’s clue for his life. Soon he was haunted by these questions: “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What shall I do for Christ?”
After recovering fully, he decided to steer his life radically towards God. He forsook his worldly ambitions and material wealth and became a penitent and a pilgrim to the Holy Land. He passed by Montserrat and spent a night of vigil before the Our Lay of Montserrat. He offered his sword, pledged to take Mary as his guide and protectress, and exchanged his royal wardrobe with a pilgrim’s garb. He stayed in a cave in Manresa where he had a powerful and deep experience of God for about ten months. His journal during those months in Manresa is what is now known as the Spiritual Exercises, a guide for designed to help others experience God personally and to guide people in seeking the will of God in their lives. Iñigo left Manresa as a new man, inflamed with the love of God, equipped with the eyes that see God in all things, and dedicated to serve others ad majorem Dei gloriam (for God’s greater glory)!
His journey took him to Jerusalem, Spain, France, and eventually to Rome. Fired up to serve the Lord, he decided to study and earn a Master’s degree in France just so he can fully serve God as a priest and share the Spiritual Exercises. It was in France that he met like-minded men – Pierre Favre and Francis Xavier who would eventually form, together with seven other men, the core group of what would become the Society of Jesus. Ignatius perceives the members of the Society of Jesus or Jesuits to be contemplatives-in-action sent throughout the world at the service of the Church through the Holy Father. Among the many pioneering works of the Jesuits is the Ratio Studiorum, the foundation of the Jesuit education of today, through the education ministry which began in Messina, Italy in 1548.
Ignatius of Loyola died in Rome on 31 July 1556 and was canonized a saint on 12 March 1662.
Ignatian Worldview and the Characteristics of Jesuit Education
Rooted in the life and works of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Ignatian worldview involves ways of seeing life and the world, of understanding the human being, and of responding to what the world needs and to what God calls the person to become by attuning oneself to his or her deepest desire. Perhaps the most palpable aspect of the Ignatian worldview can be seen in the almost 500-year old tradition of Jesuit education appropriated in specific cultures and traditions.
Outlined below is the juxtaposition of the Ignatian worldview and the twenty-eight (28) Characteristics of Jesuit education which all Jesuit schools strive to adopt and imbibe:
The Ignatian World View and The Characteristics of Jesuit Education (in italics)
1. For Ignatius, God is Creator and Lord, Supreme Goodness, the one Reality that is absolute, all other reality comes from God and has value only insofar as it leads us to God. This God is present in our lives, “laboring for us” in all things; He can be discovered through faith in all natural and human events, in history as a whole, and most especially in the lived experience of each individual person.
Jesuit Education is an apostolic instrument; includes a religious dimension that permeates the entire education; is world-affirming; promotes dialogue between faith and culture; and assists in the total formation of each individual within the human community.
2. Each man or woman is personally known and loved by God. This love invites a response, which, to be authentically human, must be an expression of a radical freedom. Therefore, in order to respond to the love of God, each person is called to be: (a) free to give of oneself, while accepting responsibility for and the consequences of one’s actions; (b) free to be faithful; (c) free to work in faith toward that true happiness which is the purpose of life; € free to labor with others in the service of the Kingdom of God for the healing of creation.
Jesuit Education insists on individual care and concern for each person; encourages life-long openness to growth; and emphasizes activity on the part of the student.
3. Because of sin, and the effects of sin, the freedom to respond to God’s love is not automatic. Aided and strengthened by the redeeming love of God, we are engaged in an ongoing struggle to recognize and work against the obstacles that block freedom, including the effects of sinfulness, while developing the capacities that are necessary for the exercise of true freedom: (a) this freedom requires a genuine knowledge, love and acceptance of self-joined to a determination to be freed from any excessive attachment to wealth, fame, health, power, or even life itself; (b) True freedom also requires a realistic knowledge of the various forces present in the surrounding world and includes freedom from distorted perceptions of reality, warped values, rigid attitudes or surrender to narrow ideologies; (c) To work toward this true freedom, one must learn to recognize and deal with the influences that can promote or limit freedom: the movements within one’s own heart; past experiences of all types; interactions with other people; the dynamics of history, social structures and culture.
Jesuit Education encourages a realistic knowledge, love, and acceptance of self; provides a realistic knowledge of the world in which we live; and is value-oriented.
4. The world view of Ignatius is centered on the historical person of Jesus. He is the model for human life because of his total response to the Father’s love, in the service of others. He shares our human condition and invites us to follow him, under the standard of the cross, in loving response to the Father. He is alive in our midst and remains the Man-for-others in the service of God.
Jesuit Education proposes Christ as the model of human life; provides adequate pastoral care; and, celebrates faith in personal and community prayer, worship and service.
5. A loving and free response to God’s love cannot be merely speculative or theoretical. No matter what the cost, speculative principles must lead to decisive action: “love is shown in deeds”. Ignatius asks for the total and active commitment of men and women who, to imitate and be more like Christ, will put their ideals into practice: in the real world of ideas, social movements, the family, business, political and legal structures, and religious activities.
Jesuit Education is preparation for active life commitment; serves the faith that does justice; seeks to form “men and women for others;” and, manifests a particular concern for the poor.
6. For Ignatius, the response to the call of Christ is in and through the Roman Catholic Church, the instrument through which Christ is sacramentally present in the world. Mary the Mother of Jesus is the model of this response. Ignatius and his first companions all were ordained as priests and they put the Society of Jesus at the service of the Vicar of Christ, “to go to any place whatsoever where he judges it expedient to send them for the greater glory of God and the good of souls”.
Jesuit Education is an apostolic instrument, in service of the church as it serves human society; and, prepares students for active participation in the church and the local community, for the service of others
7. Repeatedly, Ignatius insisted on the “magis”—the more. His constant concern was for greater service of God through a closer following of Christ, and that concern flowed into all the apostolic work of the first companions. The concrete response to God must be “of greater value”.
Jesuit Education pursues excellence in its work of formation; and witnesses to excellence.
8. As Ignatius came to know the love of God revealed through Christ and began to respond by giving himself to the service of the Kingdom of God he shared his experience and attracted companions who became “friends in the Lord”, in the service of others. The strength of a community working in service of the Kingdom is greater than that of an individual or group of individuals.
Jesuit Education stresses collaboration; relies on spirit of community among teaching staff, administrators, Jesuit community, governing boards, parents, students, former students, and benefactors; and takes place within a structure that promotes community.
9. For Ignatius and for his companions, decisions were made on the basis of an ongoing process of individual and communal “discernment” done always in a context of prayer. Through prayerful reflection on the results of their activities, the companions reviewed past decisions and made adaptations in their methods, in a constant search for greater service of God (“MAGIS”).
Jesuit Education adapts means and methods in order to achieve its purposes most effectively; is a “system” of schools with a common vision and common goals; and, insists in providing the professional training and ongoing formation that is needed, especially for teachers.
(With permission from “Go, Set the World on Fire,” Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan High School)
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