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Course Descriptions

In the Footsteps of Leaders
Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. and Seth Meehan, PhD
3 credits

This course considers the distinctive methods of Jesuit leadership, situating them in their historical and geographic contexts. While in Spain and Rome, participants use readings and discussions, to critically reflect upon the decisions and actions of the earliest Jesuits. Students consult primary sources—such as the letters of Ignatius and Xavier and the observations of Polanco and Ribadeneira—as well as secondary literature in historically significant settings, such as at the childhood homes of Ignatius and Xavier, the cave at Manresa, and at the Gesu and the Jesuit curia in Rome. At Boston College, this course continues with lectures, discussions, and case-study analysis by distinguished leaders in Jesuit apostolates. Topics include the challenges and opportunities experienced by administrators and teachers at secondary and higher education schools; the ways in which Jesuit apostolates relate with one another and with other religious and secular institutions; the Ratio’s educational tradition and the features of Jesuit education today; and the development and maintenance of a community’s mission and commitment to ministry. Coursework features selected readings, workshops, and projects to be completed at the participants’ places of employment.

The Conversational Word of God and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius  
Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J.
3 credits

This course explores the dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises, the pathway to God that Ignatius of Loyola authored, the fruit of his religious conversion. It was through the Exercises that he was able to accompany others in their desire “to overcome oneself and to order one’s life,” and it was through the Exercises and the spiritual fruits drawn from them that Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus. The course examines the key elements of the Spiritual Exercises—for example, the principle and foundation and the two standards—and how they relate directly to the ministry of spiritual direction. Readings include the careful study of the primary text along with secondary readings that will enable students to more fully understand the important scholarly developments as Jesuits and their colleagues have engaged the Exercises in different settings. Through this course, students will gain foundational knowledge and practical experience to encourage further study of and engagement with the charism of the Spiritual Exercises

The History of American Jesuits
Seth Meehan, PhD
3 credits

This course offers an introductory yet comprehensive survey of the Society of Jesus’s 475-year history with particular attention given to various Jesuit enterprises and enterprisers in America to answer the question: What have been the characteristics of successful—and unsuccessful—Jesuit leadership? The course examines the Society’s origins, developments, expansion, suppression, and restoration before considering the contributions of American Jesuits and Jesuit apostolates in such fields as education, theology, public affairs, and social justice. Students will engage primary materials and secondary literature, writing frequent book reviews, and completing a larger historiographical paper on topics of their choosing. Through this course, students will gain an understanding of the dynamic history and historiography of the Society of Jesus well as an ability to critically assess that history and historiographical trends.