The Jesuit Way
To approach the world with a disposition of nurture: That is the Jesuit way.
Lindsey Pelucacci, The University of Scranton ‘15
Having become acquainted with Jesuit schooling upon my entrance to Scranton Preparatory School in Fall 2007, and having graduated from The University of Scranton last May, I am now preparing for life as a master’s candidate at Fordham University. If I graduate in Spring 2017 [according to schedule], then I will have to admit that I have spent a decade of my life within the Jesuit education system.
Yes, I have a habit of attending Jesuit schools. And, sometimes against my will, Jesuit schools have a habit of attending to me. Jesuit education has become my culture.
In many respects, a Jesuit school is a standard academic institution. Its campus contains students who groan at alarm clocks; who gallivant with friends; who study desperately to increase their GPAs. Aside from hearing arson-related jokes about one of the mottoes of the Society of Jesus, an unaware passerby would not notice any peculiarities.
But I have found that Jesuit education offers a special way to navigate through the selfishness of youth. Although an attending student may choose to ignore or reject the atmosphere that encourages autonomous decisions, he or she can also procure a wonder-filled experience and reap a harvest of benefits simply by welcoming the Jesuit challenge:
Think more. Pray more. Act more. And do it all for others. That is the Jesuit challenge.
Jesuit schools have a way of strengthening their students by humbling them. I first became conscious of this tactic upon embarking on my high school’s Kairos retreat, a four-day opportunity for reflection and conversation that every teenager ought to have the privilege of experiencing. For me, this retreat meant acknowledging the love and blessings that have filled my life since birth.
“Of those to whom much has been given, much is expected.” From within a University of Scranton building, Jesus’ words taunted me.
So far, I have tried to work hard academically (never mind the breaks of Netflix and mindless Google searches). I joined The University of Scranton’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts (SJLA) Honors Program, which offered me a more rigorous way to fulfill general education requirements and glut my schedule with perplexing philosophy courses. Sometimes the assignments were daunting; for example, in our sophomore year, my classmates and I stood in the middle of my school’s busy student center, clad in homemade togas, reciting portions of Plato’s Phaedrus.
Truthfully, I continue to fall more in love with an environment that houses priests who offer entertaining and thought-provoking homilies, teachers who look at students as creatures of depth, and peers whose hearts quicken as they attempt to answer, “What is the meaning of it all?”
Of course, I cannot answer that timeless question; I am merely a young adult who fluctuates between idealized and cynical outlooks of the world. But Jesuit education, while prompting me to acknowledge my limitations, pushes me to continuously struggle to discern the truth. And one day, perhaps, I will have acquired enough wisdom to help others.