Jesuit schools are fortunate to be guided by a well-developed statement of the characteristic features which contribute to a recognizably Jesuit style of education:
The Characteristics of Jesuit Education, published in 1986 for worldwide use across all 3,780 Jesuit schools, colleges and universities. Our model of chaplaincy stems from this but has been specifically developed to meet the needs of students and staff at St Ignatius. There are eight key areas that we can identify:
1. Spiritual and Pastoral Care
4. Social Outreach
6. Involvement in the Life of the Church
7. Encounter with the person of Jesus Christ
The Chaplaincy and whole school are involved in a number of social outreach initiatives. The Youth Chaplains help to plan and run fundraisers throughout the year for local and international charities. Last year money was raised for the Westminster Children’s Crises Fund and for a Chinese Orphanage. There is also an annual collection of food for Enfield food bank.
St Ignatius also raises money to support a school in Tanzania. Each year staff and students from St Ignatius either visit the school or arrange for our Tanzanian friends to visit us.
The Youth Chaplains are each given responsibility to prepare the reflections and to lead the Rosary and Lenten services which take place during the year. Older members of the team train and teach the younger members to Altar Serve. They also help to prepare and lead assemblies.
Each year the College Captains and Vice Captains attend a Leadership Conference at one of the Jesuit Schools. The conferences are run by the College Chaplains and are hosted at a different school each year. This provides the boys with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a variety of mediums including, debating, critical thinking and preparing and delivering presentations. It also gives them an opportunity to meet other Jesuit Captains and to make new friends.
Involvement in the life of the church
The Youth Chaplaincy Team visit Westminster Cathedral and other religious sites of interest throughout the year.
Direct links are being developed with local parishes and priests from the local deanery are beginning to visit the school regularly. Reconciliation Services are take place during Advent and Lent and are attended by local priests.
A number of students and staff have been trained as Eucharistic Ministers and many of the students are readers and servers at Mass.
Encounter with the person of Jesus Christ
The whole school day offers students’ and staff opportunities to encounter Jesus Christ. There are set times of prayer and reflection. Each piece of work that the students prepare is marked at the top with AMDG, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, (for the greater glory of God).
The College also makes provision for the students to take time out from their busy schedules and to have a day of retreat/reflection with their individual form classes. During this time the students learn about mediation and personal prayer and are provided with the opportunity to experience Ignatian meditation in order to encounter Christ.
Personal philosophy of life
Jesuit education places an emphasis on, and assists in, developing the role of each individual pupil as a member of the human community. Students, teachers and all within the community are encouraged to build a unity with others that goes beyond race, culture and religion.
The Ignatian Pedagogy presents the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, a model for teaching and learning in Jesuit schools. This model identifies three key components of Jesuit teaching and learning:
- Drawing on experience
- Reflecting on that experience
- The action that follows from learning
Jesuit education also stresses the importance of understanding the context in which teaching and learning takes place, and the need to constantly evaluate the power and value of what has been taught.
Students and staff are encouraged to continually find ways to develop and improve. The Magis (more) underpins all aspects of learning and development. This is the Jesuit philosophy linked to Ad Maiorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God), by doing more for God the rest of society benefits. The pursuit of academic excellence is appropriate in a Jesuit school, but only within the larger context of human excellence. The success of Jesuit education is measured not in terms of academic performance of students or professional competence of teachers, but rather in terms of human flourishing.
Across the world, Jesuit schools seek to form the spirit of their pupils through reflection and the art of discernment, as schools of prayer and faith. There is an attentive care and knowledge of our pupils as individuals ‘cura personalis’ (the whole person) which allows them to flourish and provides support and encouragement when life at home or at school is difficult.