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Jesuit Values in Action Project

Background

The Jesuit Values In Action Project came out of the Unity 4 forum on October 18, 2016. After a hard start to the quarter the forum was used to discuss the troubling symbols put up in the da Vinci Residential Learning Community (RLC)l and knocking down silhouettes as part of the art installation representing the 43 Mexican students kidnapped in 2014, and presumably killed. Students were encouraged to ask question and express their opinions. The students used their voices, often frustrated, angry, and disillusioned with SCU and the community of which they are a part.

One student spoke up that they felt as if they were sold a false bill of goods – that the SCU they chose, intentionally because of the Jesuit values, were not showing those values in action.

The Jesuit Values In Action project is an opportunity for students to share their own story and experiences and the ways that one of the six selected Jesuit values have guided them. Selected students were nominated by the Center for Student Involvement staff as active leaders who they felt embodied these Jesuit values. Through interviews with CSI, these students were given the space to reflect on impactful experiences at SCU, dive deeper into what the Jesuit values mean, and curate one of these experiences that exemplifies a Jesuit value to be shared with the larger SCU community.

Jesuit Values

Since Santa Clara University does not have an explicit list of Jesuit values that define the Jesuit identity of SCU, the following values were chosen from a fellow Jesuit institution, Regis University, who lists these 6 in their “Key Values in Jesuit Higher Education.”

  • Cura Personalis: Latin phrase meaning "care for the person," cura personalis is having concern and care for the personal development of the whole person. This implies a dedication to promoting human dignity and care for the mind, body and spirit of the person.
  • Magis: Latin meaning the “more,” magis embodies the act of discerning the greater good in a given situation to better glorify or serve God. Magis does NOT mean to always do or give “more” to the point of exhaustion. Magis is the value of striving for the better, striving for excellence.
  • People For and With Others: This value embodies a spirit of giving and providing service to those in need and standing with the poor and marginalized.  We are encouraged to pursue justice on behalf of all persons. Regis uses “Men and Women” instead of people. We are adopting “people” to be more gender inclusive.
  • Unity of Mind and Heart: Our hearts and minds are not divided; they are congruent when the whole person is educated and engaged. This speaks to the diversity of people who go forth to set the world on fire with the Ignatian mission all across the world.
  • Contemplatives in Action: Although we are thoughtful and philosophical, we do not merely think about social problems, we take action to address them. Developing the habit of reflection centers and strengthens one's spiritual life and guides our actions.
  • Finding God in All Things: This may be the one phrase that sums up Ignatian Spirituality. It invites a person to search for and find God in every circumstance of life; God is present everywhere and can be found in all of creation. As SCU seeks to be an inclusive campus to people of all faiths and spiritualties, including those who are atheist and agnostic, we encourage students to define who or what God is to them in this value within this project.

The goal of this project is to show that the Jesuit values can and do exist within the lives of all students, not just those who believe in the Catholic understanding of God. These values exemplify our community and are accessible and applicable to all students, and in role modeling them as students, there is an ability to have a profound impact on the campus community. Through the use of these values and how they make a real difference in the lives of students, we hope to engage a larger conversation of Jesuit identity and how students apply them to real life, often including messy situations. We hope for these posters to serve as a snapshot of just a few of the ways these values are alive on our campus.