This page was created by Geoff Miller, a Religion teacher at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. Dr. Miller has worked in Jesuit education for 14 years at both the high school and college levels, and he previously served as the Provincial Assistant for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education for the Central & Southern Province of the Society of Jesus.
For educators spearheading an Ignatian formation program at their school, please consider this website a useful resource to helping newer and veteran teachers learn more about Ignatius’s approach to education and spirituality. For those looking to begin such a program from scratch, here are some helpful guidelines:
- Structure time throughout the year for Ignatian formation opportunities. Avoid making these purely optional but infuse them in already existing programs. For example, include a healthy introduction to Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy in new faculty orientation in August; incorporate formation into several faculty inservices/meetings throughout the year; make time for a faculty/staff Day of Reflection and/or retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises; find opportunities for Ignatian Evenings and/or an Ignatian Day of Service.
- For faculty in their first 3-5 years, arrange times for such formation during the school day when the whole cohort (e.g. all 2nd-year teachers) is free, such as a common free period or lunch. Also consider pairing each newer teacher with a veteran teachers as a mentor or “companion,” and arrange for periodic meetings with the mission officer or the assistant principal for mission/formation.
- For boards of trustees, include some Ignatian formation as part of every new member’s orientation, and include substantive formation (at least 15 minutes) at each board meeting. Hold an annual Day of Reflection or overnight retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises.
- The director of Ignatian formation should employ Ignatian pedagogy during each session. He/she should also include examples of how Jesuit spirituality has enhanced his/her faith life and how Ignatian pedagogy has improved his/her teaching.
- To maximize the impact of the formation, be sure to have faculty/staff read the materials beforehand so that much of the session can be devoted to faith sharing.
- Encourage all faculty/staff to participate in programs offered by your province and the Jesuit Schools Network. The JSN offers cohort gatherings and Seminars in Ignatian Leadership as well as a triennial colloquium. For a listing of programs available to your school, please check with the province office in your region. For the East Coast, a good starting point is the Office of Ignatian Spirituality.
The premier program for Ignatian formation is an Ignatian pilgrimage to Jesuit sites in Spain and Rome. This trip typically includes a visit to Ignatius’s hometown of Loyola, the cave in Manresa where he composed the Spiritual Exercises, and the Jesuit curia in Rome where Ignatius’s office and quarters were located during his last years as Superior General of the Jesuits. Sometimes a pilgrimage will also include a walk along the Camino Ignaciano in Spain where Ignatius made the arduous journey from Loyola to Manresa. Several organizations lead laypeople on these Ignatian pilgrimages, so please contact your school administrator to see how you might participate.
Please also enjoy pictures of these sites taken from an Ignatian pilgrimage through the Midwest Province in June 2018.