Loyola University Chicago Celebrates Ignatian Heritage Week
Tags: Ignatian Heritage Week, Jesuit, jesuits, Loyola University Chicago
Earlier this month, many students at Loyola University Chicago participated in Ignatian Heritage Week, a weeklong opportunity to explore and recognize the diverse gifts received from the living legacy of St. Ignatius Loyola and the traditions of the Jesuits.
“I think Jesuit Heritage Week is important, because it reminds us all of the Jesuit institution and why we go to the university,” said Sean Barry, a junior, who hopes to someday become a Jesuit himself. “This is time set aside for us all explicitly to understand the Jesuit charisms.”
Those pursuing life as a Jesuit often have distinct inspirations and experiences that motivate them to devote their lives to God.
“I wanted to commit myself to something much larger than myself,” said Jesuit Father Brendan Horan, who is a professor of political science and a special assistant to Jesuit Father Michael J. Garanzini. “The opportunity to live and work in a number of other countries and experience their diverse cultures has been a particular blessing.”
Fr. Charles Jurgensmeier, S.J., director of Loyola’s music program, remembers his own experience of becoming a Jesuit, which included many interviews, a physical and an appointment with a psychiatrist to make sure that he was “mentally fit” for the lifestyle.
The interview process is thorough, Jurgensmeier said, because the Jesuits want a complete picture of the applicant before he is admitted.
“They really get to know you, asking questions about your prayer life, how often you go to mass, about the faith itself and your relationship with Jesus,” he said. “They also asked about my family, schooling, health and background.”
Many Jesuits work at Loyola, teaching and helping out at events on both the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses. And because Loyola is a Jesuit Catholic university, its mission coincides with the five characteristics of a Jesuit education: commitment to excellence, faith in God, service that promotes justice, values-based leadership and global awareness.
Jurgensmeier said that part of his responsibility as a Jesuit is to help others seek the truth he said he has found.
“Cura personalis, or ‘care for the person,’ is the mission of the university, regardless of who the person is,” he said. “We challenge students’ points of view by having them take classes in disciplines that they normally wouldn’t.”
The question he asks is: “Where do I find God in all of this?”