Developing Ignatian Leaders among Faculty and Staff
The mission at Marquette is understood and lived by many faculty members, administrators and staff. The next step in the process of the integration of the mission into the way we lead, teach and live is to appropriate the spirit which underlies and animates the mission statement. This spirit comes from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and the way the Society of Jesus has reflected upon its mission and understood it for the 21st century.
Jesuit Education involves more than another method of teaching or a sequence of academic courses, but a vision of life and a way of living that is rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Spiritual Exercises are a series of prayer experiences in a retreat context, resulting in a world view in which God is alive and active in everyday experiences. The Spiritual Exercises promote respect for an individual in her/his search for truth and faith, the need to live a reflective life and the reverence for the whole of one’s experiences: intellectual, emotional and physical.
Five years ago, the leadership of the twelve Heartland Delta universities and colleges initiated a program (The Ignatian Colleagues Program or ICP) for leadership development for individuals from Jesuit universities and colleges in the United States. This program is available to senior administrators selected by each school. The program extends over a year and a half of group learning and online education.
The Office of Mission and Ministry has adapted this program for Marquette. The abbreviated form allows more people to experience some of the benefits of longer program.
Based on the four learning components of the Ignatian Colleagues Program, the four components of the Marquette program are: An Experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; Learning Component; Immersion Experience; and Practical Application.
The first two components of the program give a person the experience and understanding of the how the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatian Pedagogy and Ignatian Spirituality coalesce. The third component flows from the understanding that what one learns and experiences are not for self-aggrandizement but to serve others and make this world a better place.
The fourth and final component of the program is practical. How will this knowledge and exercise change the way I think and act? And how will this affect the way I exercise leadership?
Experience of the Spiritual Exercises
The group experience is a one day, 8:30am-3pm, day of retreat away from the University in which there is conversation about the Autobiography of St. Ignatius and talks on the Spiritual Exercises. The day includes time for reading, reflection and prayer.
The group has four input and discussion sessions lasting ninety minutes each. Sessions involve reading beforehand. The topics include:
a. Ignatian Discernment
b. How the Jesuits got into education and Jesuit Education Today
c. Catholic and Jesuit identifying us as a university
d. Mission of the Jesuits: Promoting a faith that does justice
The group spends a day working with the poor in Milwaukee. This day concludes
with a reflection on the experience and its connection to components one and two.
Individuals come to the final session with a one page reflection about what they have learned and how they will use this knowledge to inform how they lead. They will also evaluate the program to make it better for the next cohort.