August Newsletter: Showing the Way to God*
- President's Post
- 2020 Summer Institute updates
- Moment for Mission
- Network News
- August Blog: Dr. Timothy Leyson, Santa Clara University
*In light of the Universal Apostolic Preferences recently released by the Society of Jesus , the next four newsletter themes will highlight each preference - this is explained more fully in the President's Post and in our Moment for Mission.
This month we shift our focus and our imagination a bit, as we begin attending to the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. These four preferences, emerging out of a two-year discernment process across the globe, will guide the work and the intention of all Jesuit “works” for the next ten years. When Pope Francis confirmed the document presented by Father General Sosa, these preferences were brand-new in many ways and timeless in several other ways. They point to the urgent needs of our particular time, and also to the truths that have animated Jesuit ministries and Jesuit education for almost five centuries.
Over the next four months, we will explore the preferences in the order they’re generally presented. That means that August is all about “Showing the Way to God”. This first preference notes the centrality of the Spiritual Exercises and of the process and habit of discernment. It is also quite direct in pointing to what sets our work apart – a loving and active God, and a centering faith tradition that charges our Jesuit institutions with meaning, purpose, and depth.
What is it about our work in Jesuit student affairs that can reflect this preference? How do we balance an enthusiastic embrace of our centering Catholic and Jesuit tradition, with a genuine openness to other faith traditions and humanist worldviews? What elements of our daily practice and our messages that can bring this principle to life? How do we engage and empower our colleagues to carry out this work in thoughtful and welcoming ways? These are some of the questions we might consider in the weeks ahead, as we conduct our orientation programs, open up our residence halls and recreation centers, and accompany our students in their new year of learning and growth.
I will close with one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes, which reflects the sense of wonder in this first preference: “There are two ways of looking at the world. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”. One of the gifts of our Jesuit tradition should be an opportunity to choose the second way of seeing.
If this post featured a homework assignment, this month’s task would be for each of us to look for, listen for, and be open to the miracles that are happening all around us, and within us, as we live out our vocations. So, as we prepare to launch another academic year, I invite you to do your homework, take good care of yourself, and have a wonderful start to the new year!
Todd Olson, Ph.D.
2020 Summer Institute
The countdown is on! It’s hard to believe we are less than a year out from our JASPA 2020 Summer Institute. The Programming Committee completed a site visit last month with our incredible co-chairs of the LUC Host Committee, Tim Love and Susan Haarman!
Did you catch our social media takeover on JASPA’s Instagram? If not, check out our committee member profiles and Site Visit Highlights on the JASPA Instagram account!
The Call for Programs will be sent out in the coming week, so watch your inbox for the release! Details will be sent to members via email, in addition to being posted on our JASPA 2020 Summer Institute webpage. Stay tuned!
Moment for Mission
In the March 2019 newsletter, I shared a link to America Magazine's Vatican Dispatch article describing the four apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus that were approved by Pope Francis in February. These preferences, presented by Arturo Sosa, S.J., will guide the Jesuits and lay collaborators over the next 10 years.
Since that time, our institutions have initiated a range of conversations and initiatives related to the implementation of these preferences. The Society of Jesus has a robust website that offers goals, practices and stories related to each of the preferences:
- Showing the way to God through discernment and the Spiritual Exercises;
- Walking with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice;
- Accompanying young people in the creation of a hope-filled future; and
- Collaborating in the care of our Common Home.
As we begin to imagine our time together at the JASPA 2020 Summer Institute, we will focus our next four monthly newsletters on each of the apostolic preferences.
To begin that work, consider the following:
- As a Jesuit student affairs educator, how will I be guided by these preferences in my daily work?
- How will I work with campus colleagues to bring these preferences to life in service to our students and institutions?
What might you do to move beyond the surface - to go more deeply in conversations and actions - in exploring these preferences?
Santa Clara University
Past President, JASPA
August Blog: Seeking the Magis
I have been working in the field of higher education for close to 10 years, primarily working at large public research institutions. Within the last few months, I made the transition to Santa Clara University. In this first month of working at SCU, I have learned a tremendous amount about the life of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit value of cura personalis. In my personal discernment, I believe great leaders are called to do more... and then some, with intent and purpose. Now throw in this term ‘magis,’ what does this mean? There are varying definitions, philosophical approaches and historical understanding of the magis. As I continue to become an active scholar of pragmatic thought and process, all I can deduce is the magis means seeking a greater purpose.
As an action researcher, I find ways of connecting theory to scholarship to practice of my work as a Student Affairs educator. Magis is not the simple manifestation of adding more projects or initiatives to our working lives – rather, magis places a greater intentional focus on our vocational calling. Seeking the magis allows practitioners to be grounded in how they interact and engage with students to provide an intentional space of identity formation. The magis allows practitioners to be a greater champion to create equity and safe spaces for our students. The magis allows practitioners to critically examine how institutional experiences connect to our Jesuit values. The magis allows practitioners to move the needle from good to great.
The magis allows Jesuit institutions to critically examine how our Jesuit values continue to shape the minds of students in this current society. In my transition to SCU, I have learned even though this will be my first time working at a Jesuit institution, my vocational calling stays the same. The call to do and be greater is not simple and I am challenged to examine how I will be greater for students, staff and my fellow colleagues. However, what I can do is allow students to discern with intention and purpose their own personal calling through understanding their whole self.
Dr. Timothy P. Leyson is an Associate Director of Residence Life at Santa Clara University. He has 10 years of experience in academic affairs and student affairs within residential education. Dr. Leyson holds a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation with a focus in Higher Education Change Leaders, a Masters of Education Degree in Counselor Education: College Student Development from NC State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from Greensboro College.