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May 25, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 18

CIS to Lead Nicaragua Immersion Trip Next Month

Thirteen Boston College faculty and staff members will take part in a nine-day educational immersion trip to Nicaragua next month - an undertaking that promises to reap benefits far exceeding those of a typical summer vacation excursion.

The group will participate in the fourth annual faculty/staff immersion trip to the Central American nation sponsored by the Center for Ignatian Spirituality. The group will visit the University of Central America in Managua, a Jesuit institution, and will experience a first-hand look at the economics, politics and social-political and religious realities of a developing nation, the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti.

"We feel strongly that the strength of Boston College as a Jesuit and Catholic institution is educational. This journey allows our faculty and staff to learn experimentally the complex reality of a poor nation served by the educational strength of a sister Jesuit institution," said Center Director Julio Giulietti, SJ.

"Our Boston College colleagues can learn on an educational and spiritual level how poverty and powerlessness affect the Nicaraguan people. It is a learning experience that affects the mind and heart at many levels. Encountering their colleagues at another very different Jesuit university can help them understand and be proud to be part of the worldwide Jesuit and Ignatian struggle for justice and peace."

Alumni Association Campus Minister Daniel Leahy has coordinated each of the four trips to Nicaragua and has seen the positive results that participants have brought back to Chestnut Hill. "Some faculty members have come back and augmented their courses, introducing a new reality into their teaching.

"I think we have six or seven spin-off projects on campus because of these trips," Leahy added. "For example, the Connell School of Nursing is putting together a service/immersion program and they are working towards a semester abroad clinical program for their undergraduates. We are also planning to host three faculty members from the humanities department at UCA."

In addition, Leahy said, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joseph Quinn and Lynch School of Education Development Director Lisa Hastings have been working on devising a scholarship program to help students in the rural area BC visits, and Assoc. Prof. Pat McQuillan (LSOE) has a fundraiser in his home every year to benefit one of the communities.

This social awareness and activity is no surprise to Fr. Giulietti. "Spirituality in the Ignatian tradition values experience, reflection and prayer - all of which leads to a discernment that opens new choice for service.

"The Nicaraguan experience has consistently benefited professors and staff in daily life at Boston College. It's reflected in how we talk with our students, how we talk with each other and how we understand the people of God at home and abroad."

-Reid Oslin

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