The Arrupe International Immersion Program empowers students to build intentional life- and faith-sharing communities through which they are able to:
- Learn about the complex realities of people from another country who struggle in poverty from a historical, social, economic, political and religious perspective.
- Humbly encounter, hear, and 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.
- Deepen their faith — by tapping the wisdom of Catholic Social Teaching and Ignatian Spirituality, 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.
"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 inspiring words provide a helpful framework for articulating a desired outcome for someone participating in the Arrupe Program.
In his book Doing the Truth in Love, Boston College 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 “break bread” with one’s peers at BC, 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 relation with as 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.
---- Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.