November 2018 Connections:
Jesuit Schools Trace the Path of St. Ignatius
My first exposure to Ignatian pilgrimages came during the summer after my freshman year at Fordham University. As a member of the University Choir, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Spain and trace the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola by foot, by bus and by song. While I still don’t know if Ignatius was much of a vocalist himself, I like to think that he would have gotten a kick out of hearing a concert sung by American college students in his native town, nearly 500 years after his birth.
The November 6 mid-term elections led to a surprise “blue wave” across the nation. Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives while Republicans retained control of the U.S. Senate by wider margins than in the 115th Congress. Two races are still outstanding: one in the House and one in the Senate. As of this writing, House Democrats have acquired 39 new seats and Senate Republicans lead by 52 seats.
This past summer, Le Moyne College President, Linda LeMura, Ph.D.; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rev. Joseph Marina, S.J.; and Vice President for Mission Integration, Rev. David McCallum ’90, S.J., traveled to the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, where they joined approximately 300 colleagues from 189 Jesuit institutions of higher education from around the world, to attend the inaugural meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU).
Over the course of its nearly 150-year history, many alumni of Saint Peter’s University have expressed that they would like to learn more about the founder who played a major role in their life experience. In 2014, the Office of Alumni Engagement at Saint Peter’s responded to that call with the University’s first-ever trip to walk in the footsteps of St. Ignatius.
Since the summer of 2017, The University of Scranton’s Jesuit Center has taken groups of faculty and staff on the “Footsteps of Ignatius Pilgrimage” to Spain and Italy to visit the important sites in the life of St. Ignatius and other prominent Jesuits. The faculty and staff cohorts begin with a nine-month on-campus Ignatian Leadership Program, designed to prepare participants for the experience along the Camino Ignaciano – the path of St. Ignatius – from Bilbao, Spain to Rome, Italy.
In the heart of Rome, lies a building with several rooms where St. Ignatius of Loyola spent the last decade or so of his life. It was there, in those rooms, that I and 29 others affiliated with Creighton University, spent our first afternoon in Rome, having already visited a number of other important sites in Spain on a summer pilgrimage following the footsteps of Ignatius and the early Jesuits.
The bus from Bilbao rolled into the quiet Basque town of Loyola as I listened to the second movement of Franz Schubert’s Fifth Symphony. Like the mood of the music, it was cloudy, misty and dreary, yet immensely full of life. I was thousands of miles away from my academic home, Loyola Chicago, but I immediately felt that Loyola, Spain was my home. After all, I’d discovered my Jesuit vocation in Europe, and now I was returning to rediscover it in the place where everything Ignatian began more than 500 years ago.
One student called it “easily the best academic experience I’ve ever taken part in.” Another trekker found it, at times, “demanding, boring, exhausting and discouraging.” Not the most compelling advertising pitch? Well, here’s what the second trekker said next: “But it also provided great happiness, enormous satisfaction and…when the walking was joined with our inner voyage…the pilgrimage brought much peace.”
AJCU Connections Archive
September 2017: How Jesuit Institutions Serve Under-Served Populations
October 2017: Jesuit Business Education
November 2017: Breakthroughs in Faculty Research
December 2017: The Mission of Jesuit Medical & Nursing Programs
January 2018: Young Jesuits in Higher Education
March 2018: Forming Ignatian Leaders on Jesuit Campuses
April 2018: Finding God in All Things: Prayer Spaces on Jesuit Campuses
May 2018: Building a Culture of Philanthropy
AJCU Higher Ed News Archive (2018)
September 2016: Town & Gown Partnerships for Jesuit Schools
October 2016: Election 2016 on Jesuit Campuses
November 2016: Distinguished Faculty on Jesuit Campuses
December 2016: Impact of GC36 on Jesuit Education
January 2017: Social Innovation on Jesuit Campuses
February 2017: Fostering Mission & Identity on Jesuit Campuses
March 2017: Honors Programs at Jesuit Institutions
April 2017: Celebrating Student Scholarship at Jesuit Institutions
May 2017: Marketing the Mission of Jesuit Education
September 2015: The Impact of HEA Reauthorization on AJCU Campuses
October 2015: 100th Anniversary of Alpha Sigma Nu
November 2015: The Jesuit Mission of Graduate & Professional Programs
December 2015: Celebrating the Arts on Jesuit Campuses
January 2016: The Impact of STEM Programs on Jesuit Institutions
February 2016: Diversity on Jesuit Campuses
March 2016: The Jesuit Mission of Athletic Programs
April 2016: Eco-Jesuit: Campus Responses to Laudato Si'
May 2016: How Jesuit Institutions Help Alumni Live the Mission