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En camino is a phrase that captures the dynamic energy of experiencing a pilgrimage; a sacred journey made with hope and intention. Pilgrims often find in one another a sense of solidarity and belonging. St. Ignatius of Loyola, our school’s patron saint, refers to the idea of el camino - the way - in his Spiritual Exercises. Like companions en camino, the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST-SCU) is on the way. Together, we are rooted confidently in our mission and identity while proceeding prayerfully toward a hope filled future. In doing so, we endeavor humbly to become the JST-SCU that only God can imagine.


Where we have been: a rich history

The Jesuit School of Theology was established in 1934. Formerly named Alma College and located in Los Gatos, California, the school was founded to serve the needs of two Jesuit provinces, California and Oregon.

In February 1969, in response to the call of Vatican II, the school relocated to Berkeley, California to become one of the member schools of the Graduate Theological Union, adjacent to the University of California. In the same year, the school’s name was changed to the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (JSTB). In 2009, JSTB became integrated as a graduate school of Santa Clara University (SCU).

Where we begin: a solid foundation

The identity and mission statements that were established in JST-SCU’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, as well as the school’s commitment to the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (2022), provide a solid foundation to build upon.

Identity: The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University is an international center of scholarly and ministerial formation. The faculty and student body are comprised of lay men and women, Jesuits, clergy, and members of other religious orders. Rooted in the Catholic and Ignatian traditions, we engage in ecumenical, interfaith, and intercultural dialogue through the Graduate Theological Union. Distinguished faculty encourage students to think critically about theology and how to justly live out their faith in service of the Church and the global community.

Mission: The Jesuit School of Theology educates scholars and ministers to serve the Church and society by enlivening faith, promoting reconciliation, laboring for justice, and participating in God’s mercy. We bring theology into dialogue with communities, with their particular histories and cultures, serving people and learning from them in a spirit of solidarity.

Laudato Si’: In May 2023, JST-SCU adopted its Laudato Si’ Action Plan, which commits the school to academic, co-curricular, and operational activities that align with the Seven Goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, as articulated by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. These goals include responding to the cry of the poor; responding to the cry of the earth; ecological economics; ecological spirituality; ecological education; adoption of sustainable lifestyles; and community resilience and empowerment.

Where we are going: mission narrative

For decades, the Jesuit School of Theology has responded to the signs of the times. Such adaptation remains critically important, particularly as the landscape of graduate theological education is rapidly changing. While many theological schools are struggling to meet the demands of current realities, JST-SCU is charting the course for a compelling future that builds upon the school’s rich history and solid foundation.

At the start of the strategic planning process in summer 2023, the JST-SCU Strategic Planning Committee developed framing statements to guide the school’s inquiries and exploration. As the school’s strategic planning process unfolded during fall 2023, two related events were occurring, which provided an opportunity for institutional alignment. Santa Clara University was in the midst of a university-wide strategic planning process and the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, commonly called the Synod on Synodality, occurred.

Framing Statements

The following framing statements were informed by: 1) JST-SCU’s existing mission, vision, and values rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; 2) feedback from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States regarding the criteria for a desired theologate and criteria desired in the formation of its students: Jesuits, religious, and lay; 3) feedback from the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, S.J., regarding his vision for the future of global theological education.

  • JST-SCU is an international center of scholarly and ministerial formation, with a faculty and student body consisting of lay women and men, Jesuits, clergy, and members of other religious orders. Each of these groups comes to JST-SCU with unique and distinct needs that must receive particular attention.
  • JST-SCU is an ecclesiastical faculty sponsored by the Society of Jesus. As such, the school derives its raison d’êtrefrom the Church and is guided by the orientations outlined in the Universal Apostolic Preferences. The school educates and forms students who will worship, minister, and serve in their local communities and in the global Church.
  • JST-SCU is strategically positioned to facilitate and lead a Global Theology Initiative that harnesses the opportunities of the global network of Jesuit theological centers to advance and realize our vision and the mission of the Society of Jesus and the Church.
  • To remain relevant, viable, and sustainable, theological education and pastoral formation must embrace emerging learning modalities and innovative academic programming models.

Institutional Alignment

Intentionally aligning the strategic planning processes of JST-SCU and SCU created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to explore new possibilities to strengthen the integration of JST-SCU and SCU in ways that benefit both the University and the school while also leveraging the strengths and resources of each. The first strategic priority within Impact 2030: Santa Clara University’s Strategic Plan is, “Reach on a global scale.” Within that priority, the first goal audaciously declares that the University will become home to “the leading Jesuit theologate for the changing face of the global Catholic Church.” JST-SCU’s strategic plan boldly advances this university-wide priority.

The Synod on Synodality provided a model for a way of proceeding that JST-SCU embraces. Moreover, the synthesis report of the Synod, A Synodal Church in Mission, offers insights that are important for all Catholic theological schools, including JST-SCU, to consider. There are two components in the report that are particularly aligned with our school’s strategic planning.

First, the Synod affirms, “All the missionaries -- laymen and women, those in consecrated life, deacons and priests, and particularly the members of missionary institutes and fidei donum missionaries -- are an important resource for creating bonds of knowledge and exchange of gifts” (Part II, Section 8, Convergence G).

This call echoes at JST-SCU, where we value the vocation of every missionary disciple and the fundamental importance of educating and forming them in shared spaces that honor their gifts.

Second, the Synod declares, “Openness to listening and accompanying all, including those who have suffered abuse and hurt in the Church, has made visible many who have long felt invisible. Addressing the structural conditions that abetted such abuse, remains before us, and requires concrete gestures of penitence” (Part 1, Section 1, Convergence E).

JST-SCU is committed to creating just and equitable structural conditions and, in doing so, will work to establish JST-SCU as a theological center that focuses on the inclusion and education of lay women and religious sisters for leadership and ministry.

This strategic plan boldly prepares JST-SCU for a future that does not yet exist, one that is en camino. In the spirit of pilgrimage, the following strategic priorities, goals, and initiatives are an invitation to join us on the way as we humbly endeavor to become the JST-SCU that only God can imagine.

Strategic Priorities and Goals

En Camino identifies four Strategic Priorities that will focus attention and resources as the school strives to become the leading Jesuit theologate for the changing face of the global Catholic Church.

  • Culturally contextualized theology in a global context
  • An integrated graduate school of Santa Clara University
  • A community of hospitality, human flourishing, and ecclesial belonging
  • Resources, collaboration, and partnership for success

Each strategic priority has a series of goals and initiatives. For complete details, please read the full strategic plan.

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