The University of San Francisco sits on the Pacific Rim in California and has long enjoyed reciprocal relationships with Jesuit Colleges and Universities from around the world. There is a wonderful saying that I often repeat about our worldwide network of Jesuit institutions of higher education: each school is anchored in the city and region where it is located, and each school is made unique by this project of inculturation, yet if you step onto any of our campuses, you will perceive a strong “family resemblance” to all of our other Jesuit schools. Because they are Catholic, our Jesuit institutions teach and add to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; they foster and apply the Catholic Analogical Imagination; and they integrate Catholic Social Teaching into all of their programs. What sets Jesuit institutions apart is the Ignatian approach we take to fulfilling this educational project.


Our Ignatian spirituality supports us as educators to offer pedagogies and curricula that inspire our students to follow their heart, their conscience, and their reason. We offer a holistic education that produces leaders who think critically with intellectual rigor, who are ethical, who are passionate about the projects and the people they lead, and who seek to fashion more just, humane and sustainable political, social, and economic structures. Key aspects of our Ignatian tradition guide us today.


Cura personalis – the care of the person – was the phrase used by Ignatius to describe the responsibility of the Superior to encourage the fullest possible development of all of the talents of each Jesuit and to also know and to overcome the challenges besetting each Jesuit, in order to help that person to advance in holiness and be available for work. We aim to do this with and for all of our students and with each other as partners in mission.


Cura apostolica – the care of the work – balances and completes the care for the person. Administrators, faculty and staff colleagues of Jesuit schools aim not only for their own personal good but also for the common project. Teaching and leadership in the Ignatian tradition care for the individual person always and only within the framework of caring for the common good.  


The Magis for Ignatius meant "the more." It is taken from ad majorem Dei gloriam, "for the greater glory of God." Magis refers to the fruit of discernment, wherein God invites one to do the better thing, for Christ, and therefore for others. Magis is an inspiration and an aspiration, for it means the more apt, the more holy, the more suited. As such, it is the fruit of prayer and not merely of calculation.


Discernment of spirits – as teachers, staff and administrators, we need to re-center ourselves on a daily basis. What are the temptations that would derail my engagement? Do I give in to social pressures? Do I avoid transparency? What are my character flaws that could be exploited by my enemies – vanity, anger, fear? What are the graces that will protect me and keep me true to myself and my mission? As important as this is to us, it is equally important in the present and future lives of our students.


Magnanimity means having a great soul. It is both self-full and selfless. It discounts false honors and empty riches so as to resist the temptation of sinful pride; and it embraces integrity and generosity so as to achieve spiritual humility.


Tantum quantum – “so far as” – a term in the First Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises, referring to the right use of creatures: "We are to use all the things of the earth in so far as [tantum quantum] they lead us to our ultimate end, and be cautious of them in so far as [tantum quantum] they hinder us in the pursuit of the end for which we were created." It is a species of discernment that has never been more apt than it is today in the context of global warming, climate change and Laudato si.  


The Contemplatio is the culmination of the Spiritual Exercises and of Jesuit education. We hope, we plan, and we work so that our graduating students may have developed a deep, ongoing sense of freedom and generosity. Our graduates should have the habit of reflection about their place in the world. How will I use my gifts and talents for the betterment of humanity, with a preferential regard for the plight of the least advantaged? Where will my heart lead me so that the project that I will undertake fits not only into the Common Good in human terms but also into God’s greater project of salvation history?


In every Jesuit institute, college and university, lay and Jesuit administrators, staff, faculty and trustees/advisors have the joyful burden of renewing Jesuit education to respond to the signs of the times. That we are one international network, with the closer support of regional colleagues, gives us reasons to be hopeful that this great project will continue to bear much fruit.