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Pillar - Spiritual Growth and Formation

The development of an adult spiritual life is one of the cornerstones of UCCE and the ExCEL program.  Drawing on the Jesuit tradition of balancing lives of contemplation and action, students admitted to the program are expected to proactively attend to their spiritual lives through formal and informal prayer and reflection.  SCU will assist in the spiritual, mission and vocational transformation of the program participants.

Beyond daily, personal practice of prayer, ExCEL members commit to participating in several regular (i.e., repeated) activities meant to promote their development as spiritual beings and followers of Christ. 

Members attend a retreat once in the summer and again in the winter.  While the summer retreat is meant to build expectations for community and establish a sense of belonging and solidarity, the winter retreats provides an opportunity for deep spiritual reflection and a “re-missioning,” or opportunity to return to the underlying reasons for engaging in the vocation of Catholic education.

Each month, members commit to attending a Mass together as a program.  Known as “Mass-and-Lunch,” members use this participation in the sacrament of Communion to reaffirm their collective spiritual journey and their collaboration efforts toward building the Kingdom of God here today.

Members also commit to meeting once a month in their small communities with the specific intent toward engaging in spiritual reflection.  While these “spirituality nights” may include a variety of activities (e.g., attending a campus ministry event, reading and discussing scripture or other spiritual writings, engaging in mindfulness in the Jesuit tradition, reflecting in the presence of nature, etc.), they nearly always involve some time in personal and group prayer and/or reflection.

Members participate in Jesuit spiritual reflection activities that begin and end their External Practicum courses at Santa Clara University.



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"Spiritual development is an essential part of being a teacher in ExCEL. Christ sets the perfect example of how to love one another as he has loved us; one that we’re asked to undertake. Each day as teachers of ExCEL, we grow closer to God by showing all of our students’ true compassion and taking a genuine interest in their overall well-being."

Katie Kidd, ’18