Jesuit Tradition


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Chicago/Detroit Province 
Walsh Jesuit is a member of the chicago/Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus
 
Vocations 
Information on vocations to the Society of Jesus
 

Walsh Jesuit High School traces its Jesuit tradition to St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Spaniard who died in 1556.

Born in 1491, Ignatius was the youngest of 13 children in the noble Basque family of Loyola, Spain.  At the age of 26, he was serving as a soldier and defending the town of Pamplona against the French when a cannonball shattered his leg.  He experienced a dramatic religious conversion when, during his long and difficult period of recovery, he read books on the life of Christ and found himself drawn away from thoughts of chivalry and warfare and toward the idea of serving Christ.

After his wounds healed, Ignatius attempted a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but stopped in Manresa, Spain, where he spent nearly a year reflecting on his life.  Ultimately, Ignatius experienced a great enlightenment and devoted himself to serving God and others.

Realizing that an excellent education was necessary in order to fulfill his goal of working for Christ and the Catholic Church, Ignatius returned to school, studying Latin and theology.  During this time he wrote a manual of spiritual direction called the Spiritual Exercises.  Through sharing the Exercises, he gathered about him a group of companions who shared his love for God and zeal for service.  These “friends of Jesus” became the first Jesuits and quickly responded to the needs of the Church through mission work, pastoral ministry, and education.

The new religious order was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 and was called the Society of Jesus.  Today, the Society of Jesus is the Catholic Church’s largest religious order, with more than 20,000 members worldwide.

Although not originally founded to operate schools, the Jesuits responded to numerous requests for places of learning and observed that educating young men enabled them to make a more generous response in the service of God and fellow man.  Thus, the Jesuits came to value education as an effective way to advance the Kingdom of God and became the first religious order in the Catholic Church to engage in education as a major ministry.

The early years of Jesuit education led in 1599 to the establishment of a plan of studies, the Ratio Studiorum, which shaped a network of Jesuit schools, colleges, and universities that today serves more than 1.5 million students worldwide.

St. Ignatius knew that education involved more than a simple memorization of what is familiar.  Under the guidance of his or her teachers, a student must be broadened by new ideas.  And the end of Jesuit education is to produce graduates committed to fostering a society in balance with God’s intentions for humanity.

The Jesuit motto of Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam means “For the Greater Glory of God” and reflects Walsh Jesuit’s heritage.  Often abbreviated as A.M.D.G., the phrase reflects a Jesuit school’s desire to better serve God and God’s purposes by leading students to see not only their own dignity but the dignity of all humans.

Come join us at Walsh Jesuit High School, where we strive to do all things A.M.D.G.!