The writings of St Ignatius
‘If you get two Jesuits in a room then you will get three opinions.’
Last weekend and on Monday I met with Principals of other Jesuit and Companion Schools (JACSA) in Queensland. We meet three times per year and meetings are always hosted by one of the 10 JACSA schools. I try and attend all meetings, but it can be a challenge given our other commitments to the Loreto Network and Catholic Education WA.
Our meetings contain important ‘business agenda’ items but we try to limit the pragmatic discussions so that we can focus on aspects of formation to enable us to evolve as Catholic School leaders.
There is always healthy debate and the occasional divergence of opinion as reflected by the quote above. My own spiritual background and development was largely informed by other Charisms within the Catholic Church and I am now fascinated and constantly learning from the Ignatian tradition.
I learned that St Ignatius of Loyola himself wrote over 7000 letters. He even wrote letters on how to write letters. His correspondence often had a pastoral value and reflected ‘finding God in all things’.
Ignatius also taught of the importance of listening:
‘In your dealing with all, be slow to speak and say little... Be ready to listen for long periods until each has had their say.’
There are good lessons here for us all. When I think of people of great wisdom I often reflect on their capacity to listen and to discern. Discernment, according to the Jesuits, is not about discerning ‘right from wrong’; that is a matter for conscience. Rather it is a matter of determining the ‘better’ of the ‘good’ options. It is that time of the year when our Year 12 students are contemplating future study, work and training opportunities. We wish them well and pray that they may be granted the gift of discernment.
PASSING OF SAVANNA ADDIS
During Term One this year we had the privilege of Savanna being a year 11 student at the College. Last week we were advised that Savanna had passed away after a lifetime of health challenges. Our thoughts and prayers are with Savanna and her family at this difficult time. I am also very grateful for our students and staff for their respect and reverence during a Prayer Service at the College and Savanna’s funeral. May she rest in peace.