The Jesuit way of life

The JESCOL program is designed to educate teachers about the Jesuit way of life. It explains the purpose of education- imparting knowledge, skills and most importantly attitudes that Jesuits endeavor to build in their teachers and students. The programme was held from January 28 to 30, 2021. It commenced with a prayer by Prof. Clement and the SJC team, followed by scripture readings from the Bhagavat Gita, Koran and a hymn by Prof Raj Kiran and colleagues. The seminar was inaugurated with the traditional lighting of the lamp.

Fr. Victor Lobo, Principal of SJC delivered a welcome speech. He outlined the characteristics of Jesuit education, stressing on the role of the teacher as not just as an imparter of knowledge, but as a facilitator, a changemaker and a catalyst. He summed up the purpose of JESCOL- to imbibe Jesuit values and to inspire and encourage Jesuit collaborators.

JESCOL strives to create meaningful networking among all the Jesuit institutions, to encourage teambuilding and discernment in decision making.

Jesuit History: Origin and Growth:
Fr.Denzil Lobo outlined the story of Ignatius from his early childhood until the formation of the Society of Jesus. He spoke extensively on Jesuit pioneers like Christopher Clavius, Adam Schall and Mateo Ricci and their contributions towards mathematics and astronomy. He explained in detail Ignatian principles:

• Forming men and women for others
• MAGIS – More (continuous improvement)
• CURA PERSONALIS – Personal care
• AMDG – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – (For the Greater Glory of God)
• Finding God in all things

Panel Discussion
Sharing of Experiences on collaborators with Jesuit Institutions:
Dr. Albert Smith- SJEC
Prof Alexander Cherian, SJC
Ms. Gowri Achanta, SJBHS
Dr. Nirmala Joseph, SJCC

Our esteemed panelists gave us some invaluable insights with respect to the work culture at Jesuit institutions. They shared their personal experiences with the audience by highlighting the progressive work ethics and modern, outward thinking atmosphere cultivated at all Joseph’s institutions. Ideals like secularism, women empowerment, personal growth, merit-based promotions, mentorship and readiness to adapt to change. The elite panel regaled the BJES faculty with humorous anecdotes and real-life situations – all on par with the excellence and diligence accorded to Jesuit values.

Characteristics of Jesuit Education:
Fr. Swebert D’Silva emphasized that Jesuit education starts with God. The premise is that all of us are God’s creations and hence we are all EQUALS. Therefore, there exists no class or caste discrimination in any of the Jesuit institutions. The ideals are thus:
• Compassion
• Competence/Excellence
• Conscience
• Commitment

Jesuit Leadership and Governance:
The vastness of the Jesuit empire was efficiently showcased by Fr. Joseph D’Mello. He deftly ran through the numerous Jesuit institutes, colleges schools, faculty and students all over the world. The administrative structure was explained: Superior General -> Provincial -> Rector -> BJES -> Principal Jesuits function in communities. In Bangalore we have Jesuit Niwas, Arrupe Niwas and Mount St. Joseph.

Jesuit Formation:
‘Walk the Talk’-The Jesuits stand apart from the rest, because of the intense training and studies they undertake. It takes 11-17 years to complete Jesuit formation- the longest of any religious order.

Examination of Consciousness:
The practice of ‘taking stock of ourselves’ on a daily basis leads to self-awareness. The ability to look inward helps us focus and find peace. This maximizes personal capacity and makes our life and work more fruitful. This intense yet simple act of keeping in touch with our inner thoughts was ably explained by Fr. Joseph Lobo. Mindfulness leads to GOD CONSCIOUSNESS.

Group Work:
Fr. Leo Fernandes collated all the common ideas that came forth - character building, encouraging children to be non- judgmental, acceptance of differences in culture, language, religion and thus promoting secularism. The Ignatian ideals of MAGIS and CURA PERSONALIS leads to competency and compassion. Team work and collaboration also allowed for greater efficiency, commitment and creativity.

Collaboration and Networking:
Fr. Joseph Lobo explained that no one person has the resources, experiences and knowledge to do an important task all by himself. Education is a complex issue. It requires different types of expertise. The collected wisdom of committed collaborators leads to a multi-pronged approach. It needs meticulous planning, rigorous implementation and honest evaluation.

Jesuits and the Poor:
Fr. Francis Guntipally, enlightened the audience on the need to be proactive citizens. The world does not need words, but lives, which can be explained through faith and love for the downtrodden- the lost, last and least of society. ‘Only by being a man or woman for others

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