The Jesuit mission from its very beginning has been oriented by a global vision. In the 16th century, Saint Ignatius and his diverse group of companions from the University of Paris became involved in the educational apostolate to aid students, “…to the knowledge and love of God and to the salvation of their souls." . The early Jesuits experienced how a profound a conversion of heart can occur when one’s love of God leads one to engage suffering and injustice. Furthermore, they understood that their call to be ‘men for others’ expanded beyond cultural, economic and national boundaries.
In 1975, the 32nd General Congregation (GC 32) further elaborated on the mission of ...view middle of the document...
As the number of Jesuit decline traditional concepts of mission and identity are not always understood or appreciated by an increasingly pluralistic faculty, administration and student body. The desire of Jesuit universities to have the best minds in their respective fields often means recruiting faculty and staff who are not necessarily Catholic, Christian or religious. Additionally, efforts to share the Ignatian charism with new faculty and staff often proves challenging as many faculty in their quest for tenure have little time to engage in subjects outside their specialized field.
Furthermore, among those who are Catholic there is a growing polarization over a wide range of topics from liturgy, to moral theology, to ecclesiology, to missiology, and interreligious dialogue to name a few. This polarization reflects even divisions within the wider society along political, gender, racial, religious and socioeconomic lines. In this current context within Jesuit educational institutions is there any realistic hope that conversation about mission, identity and student formation could be infused with an authentic Ignatian global vision ?
I claim that, in the co-existing contexts of a globalized contemporary culture and Jesuit university and college life within the United States, there is not only hope but also even great opportunity to realize the Ignatian global vision in new and important respects, especially when the Ignatian charism is placed in dialogue with the tradition of cosmopolitanism. My thesis proposes Jesuit universities and colleges promote Ignatian Cosmopolitanism as the suitable disposition for pursuing their mission.
Synopsis of Intended Work
In order to argue for Ignatian cosmopolitanism in Jesuit higher education this thesis highlights parts of the historical relationship between cosmopolitanism, Christianity and the Society of Jesus. This history offers insights into how, in the context of globalization, many of the challenges facing Jesuit universities and colleges might be addressed.
The first chapter explores the origins and development of Cosmopolitanism in relation to Christianity. The second chapter examines how the relationship between Ignatian spirituality, early Jesuit missionary activity and Jesuit education reflected cosmopolitan themes. The final chapter answers the question why combine the Ignatian charism with cosmopolitanism? I briefly analyze the major philosophical tensions surrounding contemporary cosmopolitanism, how the Ignatian charism can serve as a fertile tradition in which to situate cosmopolitanism and practical ways the Ignatian cosmopolitan sensitivity promotes the mission of Jesuit higher education in light of the challenges posed by Globalization.
CHAPTER I. COSMOPOLITANISM
All of you who are here present I reckon to be kinsmen and friends, and fellow-citizens; for by nature and not by convention; for by nature like is akin to like, whereas law is the tyrant over mankind,...