Page 1


jesuit values


as a graduate student

the Way

Enhancing Your Education


his book was written by graduate students for graduate students as a means of introducing the values and beliefs for which Jesuit education is best known. As you read each essay, you are invited

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. ď ľ Herbert Spencer

to reflect on its theme and its impact on your work and personal experience. Ultimately our hope is that this guide helps you gain a deeper understanding of the core Jesuit principles, and you are able to incorporate them into your studies so that you might get the most out of your graduate education.

introduction 1

Cura Personalis


hen given this assignment, I felt my anxiety level rise. Writing an essay on the application of Ignatian principles in my life was going to be a challenge. I’m not a religious person. I don’t attend church every Sunday, nor do I pray on a daily basis. I wouldn’t even classify myself as a spiritual person. If you asked me to define a spiritual person, I probably would say someone having a solid, faithful connection to their religion. In preparing to write this, my definition has changed.

The term cura personalis—Latin for “care of the whole, individual person”—is the most intriguing part of the Ignatian principles for me. Being a nurse, this concept should have been instilled deeply in me. The thought should be natural that we need to care for the entire person. However, in today’s society, we become so focused on one thing that we tend to lose sense of our surroundings. If a patient has an acute infection such as pneumonia, we focus our concerns on improving lung sounds, oxygen levels and respiratory rates. In doing so, and we miss how the infection may be affecting the “whole person,” how it affects other areas of his or her life, such as emotional needs—becoming depressed due to the loss of energy, feeling a loss of environmental control, being isolated from loved ones, suf fering from a loss of income due to their inability to work.

Related quotes If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  Dalai Lama

Civilization is a method of living and an attitude of equal respect for all people.  Jane Addams

There is more to life than increasing its speed.  Mahatma Gandhi

The honorary duty of a human being is to love.

The same thing happens to ourselves. We become so focused on family, work, school and community obligations that we often  Maya Angelou lose sight of caring for ourselves. What put this into perspective for me was a quote from Eddie Cantor: “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” As I get older and learn from life experiences, I now realize that if we don’t care for ourselves—mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and, now I will add, spiritually—we are not going to be able to care for others. I believe our society, community and world shape who we become. Most people can succeed at reading, studying and taking a test, but to take the learned knowledge and apply it to society really determines the achievement of academic studies. I thought this quote by B.J. Palmer summed up the subject perfectly: “You never know how far reaching something you think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”

Julie Sininger | Nursing

cura personalis

After preparing to write this essay, it is clear to me that I am, in fact, a spiritual person. I was just not properly defining the term “spiritual.” To me, being spiritual means one has compassion, love and integrity; a person who is trustworthy and willing to give. “We make a living by what we get,” Winston Churchill said, “we make a life by what we give.” How true.




ur lives are made up of an endless intersection of choices, and it is up to us as individuals to decide which path to follow. We need to be aware, understand and take action on the choices set before us, and know that God is ultimately involved in the journey with us. Each path we are given, each choice we make, each action we take influences our lives personally, professionally and spiritually. It is not an easy task to be able to untangle and identify life’s “right” path. The process of discernment enables us to sort through the internal struggles and begin to understand what God wants us to do with our lives and take action on that understanding.

Related quotes

When facing a turning point in our lives, it is often very difficult to try to hear God’s voice while listening to the expectations of others and comparing those expectations to our own wishes. Discernment is giving conscious attention to our inner feelings, our intellect and our will.

 Ignatius Loyola

Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.

For example, my choice to leave my job and become a graduate student was part of a discernment process that involved deciding whether I should stay in the “for profit” business world—a world in which  Mahatma Gandhi I was successful politically and professionally but not satisfied personally—or whether I should select the “nonprofit” route where I could use my talents to make an impact with a different focus. After weighing my options and really listening to my inner core, I made the decision to return to school and pursue my master’s degree in human resource development. Through my own faith in God, my loving family and close friends, my final decision became much clearer to me after I had time to reflect, assess and understand what God was directing me to do. The discernment process gave me a sense of confidence and resolve in knowing that my choice to change careers was the right one for me. Since high school, I’ve had the privilege of a Jesuit education, which has played a large role in developing me into the person I am today. The core values that Jesuit schools emphasize within their community of scholars, from “cura personalis” to “men and women for others,” has given me the fortitude to act upon my decision to change my life’s vocation. For that, I am truly grateful.

We [need to be] aware… of our temptations and fears, the consolations and lights given to us by God, and the various movements that happen within us.

Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.  Julia Child

Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, and integrated wholeness.  Stephen R. Covey

Jonathan Andrew Beres | Human resource development

discernment 5

Finding God in All Things


he Jesuit commitment to “finding God in all things” has a significant impact on the ways in which Jesuit universities approach the task of educating students. Jesuit education challenges us to recognize that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” And, as we seek to build our knowledge in a given area of study, we are encouraged to ask, “How does this recognition determine my approach to my subject, as well as my research and work in that field?”

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, reminds us that there is more to university education than providing an arena for people to “learn more and more about less and less until they know everything there is about nothing at all.” Education is not about the accumulation of facts; rather, Kolvenbach suggests, education is a process of listening and discernment. The Jesuit perspective calls us to move beyond a functional approach to education. The tools we receive become resources for deepening our relationship with God. Work and school assignments are not tasks to complete; rather, they are creative opportunities to enter into and share the mystery of God. Ultimately, we are taught to see our profession as a vocation. The writings of Alfred Delp, a Jesuit priest executed by the Nazis in 1945, have profoundly affected my sense of vocation. Delp reflected in his prison journals, “There are genuine creative dreams that entice us on and drive us out of the rut of routine. Woe to youth if it should ever lose its capacity to conjure up glorious visions and to feel the breath of the Holy Spirit.”

The fullness of Joy is to behold God in everything. 

Julian of Norwich

An authentic life is the most personal form of worship. Everyday life has become my prayer.  Sarah Ban Breathnach

God communicates with us by way of all things. They are messages of love.  Ernesto Cardenal

In the shadow of death may we not look back to the past, but seek in utter darkness the dawn of God.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

We experience the darkness of life’s challenges in light of the fact that the tomb was found to be empty and that the risen Christ promised, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

finding god in all things

Jesuit education forms us with the imaginative capacity to find “resurrection moments” amidst the routines of our day, and it calls us to transform them into possible moments of revelation. The Jesuit vision of education calls us to seek and discover the God of peace and justice, and be a prophetic witnesses to that God in our academic and professional careers. And the grace and the challenge of the Jesuit academic experience is the way in which it forms students with a willingness to allow ourselves, our thought and work, to be interrupted and surprised by the voice of God. Edward Sloane | Theology

Related quotes




Ignatius used the term magis (Latin for “more”) as a call to excellence, a push beyond “good enough.” Graduate education ideally encourages students to strive for magis with their minds as well as their hearts.

Many people pursue graduate degrees to learn more. We seek intellectual stimulation, an increased depth and breadth of knowledge, and a level of expertise in our fields of study. As a doctoral student in clinical psychology, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined about the causes, effects and treatment of mental illness. I have been challenged to look beneath the surface and consider biological, psychological and sociological factors that contribute to the development (for better or worse) of each of the clients I encounter.

When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

Magis, however, is not just about acquiring knowledge for its own sake. I believe it is about learning more in order to do better for others and for God.

The Jesuit concept of “service in the context of scholarship” speaks to this understanding of magis, as does the commitment of the Jesuits and those  Helen Keller trained at Jesuit universities to serve the underserved. The poor, marginalized and vulnerable often receive the worst and least from society. In the mental health field, they seem destined to receive care from those with the least amount of training and experience, as well as with the largest caseloads. The spirit of magis encourages me to utilize all that I have learned in the classroom to provide the best possible care to those who are accustomed to getting the worst.

Related quotes The Latin root for the word ‘perfect’ means only ‘finished,’ not ‘without flaws’ … to be whole doesn’t mean we have to be perfect.  Sue Bender

Do all the good you can by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.  John Wesley

Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer in action.  Richard J. Foster

High quality care requires more than just intellect and information. It also necessitates a generous and open heart. Magis, then, is a challenge to spiritual as well as intellectual excellence. It is a call to do, feel and be “more” for those most in need. Shelby Spare Werner | Psychology

magis 9



here is no Jesuit education without reflection. It was through reflection that St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit order, came to the conclusion that he would serve his church through the power of education. Reflection is carved into Jesuit education. It calls for us to slow down and think deeply. It is an invitation to look at ourselves as a part of a whole and to contemplate how our actions, thoughts and beliefs affect those who surround us. The nature of the Jesuit education that St. Ignatius envisioned involves the intellectual growth of a student as well as the development of his or her character. There cannot be od knows us from one without the other.


within ourselves,

Jesuit pedagogy conveys different perspectives, not as objects not allowing room to think and as strangers not as reflect morally, intellectually and spiritually. A rigorous intimates but as our curriculum provides opportunity to conduct an own selves in-depth analysis of the subject studied. Teachers  Thomas Merton are at the core of the mission and it is their duty to inspire students to want to learn and to serve.

, ,



As a student working on a master’s degree in education, I welcome and value the Jesuit model of education. I am aware of the rigorous and challenging courses that my program requires, and I am also conscious of—and grateful for—the benefits of hard work. During my studies, I came to realize that the Jesuit philosophy has changed the way I look at literature. When I read certain books, it is no longer for pleasure only, but has a specific purpose in the classroom. I find myself seeking effective literature that can be presented to my students to create awareness, make connections and inspire service. My teachers have transformed my view on literature by carefully selecting material that has brought knowledge and understanding, and given me a perspective I never before considered. They have inspired me and invited me to reflect on yet another point of view, and they have provided me with opportunities for discussions so as to give voice to my thoughts.

Related quotes I’m fulfilled in what I do...I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes–the finer things of life–would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.  Coretta Scott King

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Personal answers to ultimate questions. That is what we seek.  Alexander Eliot

The word reflection may have not appeared in any of my course descriptions, but it was, no doubt, a prerequisite. Yngrid Thurston | Education

reflection 11

Service Rooted in Justice and Love


is a commonly held belief that individuals holding a master’s degree earn more money than those who do not. I ask a simple question: What will you do with the added income?

A Jesuit education can facilitate the answering of this question. But to resolve this question, you must be willing to undergo St. Ignatius’ “Examen,” a process of evaluating, reviewing and discerning for the sake of improving one’s performance. Such reflection is a core principle of Jesuit education, and I have found that when reflection becomes a staple of one’s life, the answers to life’s questions become clear more readily. My time in graduate school has continued to fuel the passion to learn, lead and serve. But my Jesuit education has also helped me realize that my passions in life must be connected to my purpose, just as DNA strands come together to form a double helix. Once you have identified your passions, purpose and strengths, the question becomes: What will you do with them?

A Jesuit education focuses on educating and preparing the entire person, but it also reat acts are made challenges you to use your degree to change the up of small deeds world around you. Oscar Romero, a Jesuit priest who  Lao Tzu became archbishop of El Salvador, could have aligned himself with the “ruling” families that controlled the country’s wealth and lived a comfortable life. Instead, he aligned himself with the poor and oppressed, and he used his position to improve the lives of the Salvadoran people.



As a student, I was presented the opportunity to serve the poor and underserved, both in education and health care settings. The experience of standing in solidarity with those in my community, coupled with the didactic work of a Jesuit education, has helped me answer my own question: What will I do with my passions and income? And the answer is this: I will conduct my life in such a way that I am standing in solidarity with the poor, working to change social structures that breed injustice, and to use my resources to improve the community in which I live.

Related quotes We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives, so best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt, that peace and abundance may manifest for all.  Dorothy Day

Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.  Rosa Parks

As we serve others we are working on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine compassion naturally nourishes our own hearts as well. It is not a question of who is healed first. When we attend to ourselves with compassion and mercy, more healing is made available for others. And when we serve others with an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us.  Wayne Muller

Nathan P. Diller | Business Administration and Health Services Administration

service 13

Solidarity and Kinship


he goal of Jesuit education is to challenge students to go beyond the pursuit of knowledge in the classroom and apply that knowledge to the issues that confront society. Jesuit graduate programs exist to meet particular societal needs. Our experience is in the graduate program in health services administration, which addresses society’s health needs by developing values-driven leaders of health-related organizations. One of the core Jesuit values is the development of men and women for others. This means living in solidarity with fellow human beings, being selfless and working for positive change in one’s society. It is an opportunity to practice the principles of social justice, humility bone to the dog is and action.


Social justice is central to solidarity. Health is the bone shared with services administration students have a social responsibility to ensure the dog when you the just distribution of are just as hungry health care services. For example, in our program as the dog we collaborate with two organizations that  Jack London work with underserved populations. Urban Health Project (UHP) places medical students in internships at local not-for-profit health care organizations. Medical Volunteers of the University of Cincinnati (MedVoUC) runs a free health clinic at Cincinnati’s largest homeless shelter. We practice social justice by working with physicians and medical students to ensure the effectiveness, sustainability and growth of these organizations.

not charity.




Humility starts with selflessness, which is a precondition for being a man or woman for others. This cannot happen unless one is willing to look beyond one’s own needs to focus on the needs of others. As future health care leaders, we must have a twofold humility. First, we must be humble individuals as we make decisions that affect others. Second, we must be humble leaders of the health care organizations that exist to serve their communities.

Dan Laughlin and Laura Leighton | Health Services Administration

Solidarity is not only a spontaneous movement of the heart that responds immediately, but also a decision to take action to join with, to form community with, those who are suffering.  Marie J. Giblin

Solidarity is learned “through contact” rather than “concepts.” When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Personal involvement with innocent suffering, with the injustice others suffer, is a catalyst for solidarity which then gives rise to intellectual inquiry and moral reflection. Students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively.  Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.


Finally, solidarity requires growth through action. Our leadership roles with UHP and MedVoUC have afforded us the opportunity to develop our sense of social justice by immersing ourselves in the community. We do these things because we are part of a larger society; we do not do them for ourselves. This experience has made us acutely aware of our community’s health care needs that remain unmet daily. By working with future physicians, learning from each other and combining our skills, we can achieve our shared goal of ensuring the just distribution of health care services.

Related quotes


Personal Reflection Questions to consider as you continue your

How do I incorporate cura personalis into my personal life and among those with whom I work?

graduate education

How does Ignatian discernment aid me when considering options or choices? Where have I been surprised to find God in the world around me? How does living in a spirit of magis impact my outlook on life, or my personal and work relationships? How does taking time for reflection impact my scholarship and research? How does “service rooted in justice and love� impact my work and world view? How do I consider myself in solidarity with others around me or with those in different professions or distant lands? What new ideas did I gain from reading the experiences of my graduate peers? What new perspective have I gained regarding my major, work and personal life?

personal reflection 17

0613 2500 RPI | Š 2013 Xavier University

Scan the code to view online seminars and other free online resources about Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality.

Lighting the Way: Incorporating Jesuit Values as a Graduate Student  
Lighting the Way: Incorporating Jesuit Values as a Graduate Student