What does the term ‘Jesuit Education’ mean to me? I was thrown into a Jesuit school by my parents at the very beginning of my school life, and now that my crucial first seven years of scholastic life were already thrust into the hands of Jesuits, like it or not, I am one of those who are ‘Jesuit moulded’! I salute the late Rev Father Victor Tucker SJ, my very first principal, founder of St. Xavier’s School, Doranda (Ranchi), who went on to guide many thousands of students and educationists in the land of Sikkim.
I would say that Jesuit education, provide in Jesuit schools and colleges are based on Jesuit values. Now, what are the Jesuit Values?
In my understanding, the six values that are known as the principles of the Jesuits can be listed as:
[a] Magis: Meaning “more.” This is the challenge to strive for excellence. Even while a Jesuit educator, or a Jesuit institution does its best, there is always the underlying question, can we somehowmake this better? Can we do more?
[b] Women and Men for and with Others: Sharing gifts, pursuing justice, and having concern for the poor and marginalized. While we network, share our talents and knowledge, we are tuned to the needs and the aspirations of the most deprived, regardless of caste and creed and gender. Though in the Indian context, where caste discrimination is very evident in some places, it is but natural for the Jesuits to take up the causes of the poorest from the ‘depressed classes’.
[c] Cura Personalis: “Care for the individual person.” Respecting each person as a child of God and all of God’s creations. Even if I may not be a ‘religious person’, but as a collaborator, a partner, or an employee in a Jesuit institution, the bottom line is that I grant each and every person respect and dignity in the same way that I expect to be given respect and dignity.
[d] Unity of Heart, Mind, & Soul: Developing the whole person and integrating all aspects of our lives. This works both ways: ensuring the all-round development of those whom we serve, as well as working on our own personal development.
[e]Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG): For the Greater Glory of God. Actually, Jesuit educators should be less of ‘I-specialists’ Whatever achievements one attains is for the greater good of humanity ad the institution.
[f]Forming & Educating Agents of Change: Teaching behaviours that reflect critical thought and responsible action on moral and ethical issues. My classroom should be a place where critical reflection is encouraged, not religious dogmatism or moralistic narrow-mindedness. Stereotyping, prejudice, blind faith and superstition should be addressed, and students allowed to examine value systems in a way that leads to greater understanding and community among cultures and faiths, including atheism and rationalism.
[The writer is a well known communicator and media trainer]
Xavier,a gallant name, Xavier, Doranda’s Fame
Long May your glory, everywhere be spread
School of our high endeavour, School by the shining river
School of our hearts forever
School of the brave!