What Is Jesuit Education?

Learning to find God in all things, advocating for the poor and underserved, and using rigorous scholarship to engage with global issues—these are a few of the hallmarks of a Jesuit education, inspired by the life and teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola.

The Ignatian Approach

Drawing on the Ignatian spiritual and educational tradition assists us in meeting the challenge of the Magis: to be ever more attentive, reflective, and loving women and men for others as we engage in the serious study of theology—understood as “faith seeking understanding” (St. Anselm).

Who are the Jesuits?

A Basque courtier and soldier, Iñigo de Loyola was gravely wounded during the battle of Pamplona in 1521. During convalescence, he experienced a profound spiritual conversion that began his lifelong commitment to God and service. Under his direction, the Society of Jesus established schools and, over time, emerged as the largest religious order in the Catholic Church. From his personal experience and prayer, St. Ignatius Loyola articulated a guide for finding God and self called the Spiritual Exercises that for centuries has enabled individuals to grow in faith and willingness to work for the greater glory of God. Today, the Society of Jesus ministers in more than 100 countries.

What distinguishes the Ignatian tradition?

The Ignatian tradition, originating mostly from St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises, emphasizes finding God in all things—discerning God’s presence in our lives, every day. The Ignatian tradition—both a spirituality and a way of being—is characterized by:

Jesuits & Social Justice

St. Ignatius Loyola emphasized improving the world through education, advocacy for the poor, and missionary work—establishing a precedent for the Jesuits to work toward reducing the gap between rich and poor, combatting hatred, and helping those who have suffered or are still suffering to heal.

What kinds of work do Jesuits focus on?

In 2019, the Church established four Universal Apostolic Preferences—focus areas for service to God and the world. These include showing the way to God, accompanying young people in the creation of a hope-filled future, caring for our common home, and walking with the poor, the outcasts of the world, and those whose dignity has been violated—in a mission of reconciliation and justice.

How does CSTM address racial justice?

At the conclusion of a school-wide assessment involving faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni, the CSTM Committee on Race and Ethnicity developed the Formation for Racial Justice Strategic Plan, which established four focus areas:

Curriculum & Pedagogy: The CSTM curriculum requires students to engage with scholars of color and to minister to multiracial and multicultural communities. 

Formation & Training: The CSTM community engages in critical reflection and honest dialogue around issues of racial injustice and works to create racially just communities of faith.

Representation: Students, faculty, staff, and administrators reflect the multiracial, multicultural communities that make up the global church.

Communication & Accountability: CSTM publications, reports, physical spaces, and social environments define our commitment to and identity as a racially just theological institution.

Contemplatives in Action

Jesuits are contemplatives in action who use rigorous scholarship and sustained intellectual inquiry to engage with the world's most pressing challenges. Jesuits look inward and turn outward, transforming their reflection into action through ministry and service to the Church and world. God has endowed each of us with gifts and aspirations to be channeled through a life of service to His vision of love and justice—nurtured, cultivated, handed down, and practiced in the context of an ecclesial community.

What do we mean by "ministry"?

Ministry is service rooted in faith and marked by a sense of vocation. Such leadership can manifest in ways we might traditionally understand as ministry: working at a parish, teaching theology/religion, or serving as a chaplain in a school or hospital. Our understanding of ministry includes these paths and extends beyond them. To us, ministry is as diverse as the backgrounds and experiences of our students and includes the academy, social services, non-profit work, and even digital media.
a teacher stands in front of students

Learn about supervised ministry at CSTM.


A community blog from the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry

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