Program Vision & Overview
Arrupe International Immersion Program
The Arrupe International Immersion Program empowers participating students, primarily through Arrupe undergrad "Student Leaders", with support from Arrupe posy-undergrad Arrupe "Mentors" and other mentors, to build intentional life- and faith-sharing communities through which Students and Mentors open themselves to:
- Learn about the complex reality, from a historical, social, economic, political and religious perspective, of people of another country who struggle in poverty.
- Humbly encounter, hear, and deeply respect the stories of people from this country in their own words.
- Develop a sense of compassion and responsibility for those who suffer, both in the country visited and all throughout the world.
- By tapping the wisdom of Catholic Social Teaching and Ignatian Spirituality, deepen their faith – especially as it relates to engaging the world in agapic love through service and social justice – and in the process, deepen their understanding of themselves and discern their life’s vocation(s).
- Translate their learning into action by developing a commitment, a capacity, and the accountability necessary to freely and authentically give their passions, talents, and abilities joyfully to a world in need.
Anitmating Principle: "Fall in Love, Stay in Love, and It Will Decide Everything"
It’s difficult to graduate from a Jesuit school without being exposed in some way to the now famous statement by former Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Fr. Arrupe’s inspired words actually provide a helpful framework for articulating a desired outcome for someone participating in the Arrupe Program. In his book Doing the Truth in Love B.C. theology professor Fr. Michael Himes articulates that God is “least wrongly” defined as agape, as “pure self-gift,” and that “only by participating in “self-gift” can one come to know what we are trying to designate by the word ‘God.’ If you want to know who God is, give yourself away.” (p. 18). This is what we aim to do through the Arrupe Program: we aim to “give ourselves away” i.e. we aim to practice “agape.”
With this in mind, we hope that those involved in the program will “fall in love” – i.e. fall in “agapic love” through the many opportunities to what we call “break bread” with one’s B.C. peers, as well as with the people one meets in the country visited during an Arrupe immersion trip, and then with the many others with whom we are in relationship as any of our notion of “community” tends to expand and deepen.
After an Arrupe trip, we invite Participants to begin the slow, difficult work of choosing to “stay in love,” which involves seeing with a new sense of imagination, with a new vision, through the lens of the possibility and reality of agape. Through this new lens, ideally each of us is inclined to make new commitments in our lives, which are based on fostering loving relationships, with oneself, with others, and ultimately, with God.
Once we recognize this love, and recognize our desire to know it more deeply, we become more attentive to the possibility of inspiring opportunities for it. Thus, practicing agape, a joyful human endeavor, “will decide everything.”
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than Falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in Love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, Stay in Love, and It Will Decide Everything.
Arrupe Program winter break trips run for 8, 9 or 10 days during the last part of winter break, each trip beginning sometime after January 1 and ending sometime before the spring semester begins. All Arrupe trips travel to different destinations in Latin America – Mexico, Central America, South America, as well as the Caribbean.
Application Process for Undergrad Student Leader and Post-Undergrad "Mentor" Candidates
Undergrad “Student Leaders” coordinate a particular Arrupe program as a partnership, and are supported by a pair of “Mentors.” Mentors are post-undergrad adults affiliated with BC as administrators or grad students (and more rarely faculty). Each pair of Mentors accompanies a particular “Small Community” throughout their full-year experience, including the winter break immersion trip.
The Student Leader and Mentor selection process begins in November (more than a year prior to trip departure dates) for candidates who are at BC during the fall semester and who will be studying abroad during the following spring semester, and in January for candidates who are at BC during the spring semester. After submitting an application and interviewing, Student Leaders and Mentors are selected, 2 for each Arrupe program, ideally before spring break.
Application Process for Undergrad Student Participant Candidates (i.e. Non-Student Leaders)
The Participant Selection begins in March, typically right after spring break, with campus-wide publicity and a series of information sessions facilitated by Arrupe Program Coordinators and Student Leaders. Applications for Participants Applicants are due via an on-line process typically in late March and, after a review process by each program’s selection committee, comprised of that program’s Student Leaders, Mentors, and other mentors, interviews are conducted in early to mid April by members of this committee. Each Arrupe "Small Community" is selected by late April, and Arrupe undergrad Students immediately launch their collective effort to raise funds , beginning with the “Solidarity Letter Campaign.” Each Arrupe Student continues to raise funds throughout the summer, and begins to prepare for their Arrupe experience by learning about the country which they will visit the following January.
Beginning in September
Each Arrupe "Small Community" of 14 to 16 people, including the 2 Student Leaders and 2 Mentors (BC-affiliated faculty members, administrators and/or graduate students who accompany Arrupe Students throughout the entire experience) meet for a full-weekend Pre-Trip Retreat and then continue to meet weekly, typically for two hours, as well as for periodic presentations on relevant topics and other activities. Throughout the trip preparation process Student Leaders lead their particular Small Community in the process of building an intentional community of trust and inquiry. Since Boston College’s Campus Ministry sponsors these faith-based international immersion experiences, prayer, reflection, and conversation – influenced by BC's Jesuit Catholic tradition – are vital components of each program, of the retreats and weekly meetings. During the preparation process and the trip, Participants are invited to reflect on and share about their life experience and the insights they've gained from this experience, while in conversation with a variety of wisdom sources, including Catholic social teaching and Ignatian Spirituality.
After the trips happen and everyone returns to campus:
Each Small Community continues to meet for a Post-Trip Retreat and for weekly meetings and periodic presentations, to process their overall Arrupe experience and to begin to discern ways in which they can integrate their trip experience into their everyday life and future aspirations. Ideally, each Arrupe Student begins to learn how they might strive to live in solidarity with the people they met in-country and with the rest of their brothers and sisters throughout the world, especially those who suffer and experience marginalization.