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Advancing Jesuit Studies

New Institute Answers Growing Call for Jesuit Instruction and Formation

Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. and Robert Maryks
The Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies will help drive the University's distinctive mission forward and will be led by Casey Beaumier, S.J., right and Robert Maryks.

It’s found in the classroom and in the research lab. It’s felt in the library and on the playing fields.

Across the Heights, there is a powerful sense that the University lives its Jesuit, Catholic ideals—and remains committed to the distinctive learning environment that has made BC an institution of global ambition and reach.

Now, energized by the Light the World campaign, Boston College stands ready to advance its distinctive charge with the launch of a new Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies. The multifaceted enterprise is positioned to become the premier resource for all engaged in Jesuit-led educational and spiritual ministries.

“I am confident that the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies will deepen understanding and appreciation of the history, spirituality, educational heritage, and pedagogical approach of the Society of Jesus in the United States and around the world in the coming years,” says University President William P. Leahy, S.J.

“I also believe it will contribute significantly to the Jesuit, Catholic dimensions of Boston College’s mission.”

Fulfilling A Need

Programming will center on key areas of education and training for Jesuit and lay leaders, the practical application of Ignatian spirituality, and the publication of books and other material promoting the order.

“It’s a pivotal time for the Jesuits and Jesuit education,” says the institute’s inaugural director, Casey Beaumier, S.J. “Our numbers are declining, but there remains a tremendous demand for Jesuit instruction, which challenges individuals to live a life of reflection and service. Boston College has the resources and depth of knowledge to fill this sizable void and to help promote the distinctiveness of the Jesuits to the global community.”

Beaumier recently earned his PhD in United States religious history from the University and envisions collaborations among BC faculty, staff, and students as integral to the success of the institute, which is located with the School of Theology and Ministry on Brighton Campus.

Last summer, the institute introduced a Jesuit immersion trip that began with a 10-day pilgrimage tracing St. Ignatius’ footsteps in Spain and Rome, followed by four-week courses on the historical, spiritual, and pedagogical aspects of the Jesuit order. Beaumier envisions such programs and associated courses will attract senior leaders of Jesuit secondary schools and service organizations, practitioners who seek rigorous training in the Jesuit tradition, and BC undergraduate and graduate students.

Similar programs will engage high school juniors and seniors, presenting them the opportunity to explore the value of a Jesuit education.

Other centerpieces of the institute will be the International Symposium on Jesuit Studies, with the aim to attract top scholars for this interdisciplinary academic exchange, and an online, searchable library that archives every written reference to the Jesuits since their founding in the 16th century.

To complement and advance these ambitious endeavors, the institute will house the Institute of Jesuit Sources, which was relocated to BC from St. Louis and publishes texts, journals, and other material on the Jesuit mission.

Robert Maryks heads this branch and arrives at BC as the editor in chief of the Journal of Jesuit Studies and its companion book series. He curated two Jesuit-related exhibitions at Burns Library last spring.

The first campaign commitment to the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies recently arrived from Peter F. Negri ’68 and his wife, Elizabeth, P’96, ’00, ’03, who view their endowed and current-use gifts as a way to make an immediate impact in an area of considerable need.

“The Jesuits are great educators—I learned this firsthand. But their ranks are dwindling, and it’s up to the BC community to embrace a leadership role and to ensure that our Jesuit values and traditions remain strong,” says Peter Negri.

Brothers James and John Pedicini also felt the pull of their BC experiences in making their joint leadership gift to the new institute. Both are graduates of the Class of 1973 and wanted to have a foundational impact on this new endeavor.

“We gave because we believe in Fr. Leahy’s vision for Boston College and its place in the world,” says James Pedicini. “We view our gift as an investment in both BC’s traditions and its bright future.”

Currently, there are opportunities to strengthen the institute through the endowment and targeted sponsorship of immersion programming, academic courses, spiritual retreats, and leadership initiatives, among other focal points.

“The institute will have a multiplier effect,” says Beaumier. “It will help transform lives at Boston College and reach those far beyond Chestnut Hill. BC will become the destination for those looking to lead and grow in the Jesuit tradition.”

▶ Considering a gift? To learn more, contact Beth McDermott, associate vice president of development, at 617-552-9151 or beth.mcdermott@bc.edu.

Boston College Alumni and Friends