"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, 
a revolution which has to start with each one of us." 
 - Dorothy Day

Burry Heights, Day 1 of Kairos Retreat, 2016

A young Jesuit recently described Jesuits as "seekers who search for faith, hope and love in those places that are hidden and lost."  Reading this, I wondered what the implication of this description would be for understanding a Jesuit school and Jesuit education.  Reflection brought me to the meaning and role of Campus Ministry in a Jesuit school.
 
Campus Ministry is about facilitating relationships of encounter for students and staff through which they might find invitation to experience Love in their everyday.  Campus Ministry is also about helping students and staff with the tools to reflect on those experiences so that God's presence might be more recognizable and so that we might come closer to a relationship with meaningfulness in our lives.
 
Everyone in a Jesuit school participates in Campus Ministry to the extent that we are all "seekers" searching for "faith, hope and love" first in our local community and then in the community of the larger world.  Building the skill, confidence and resolve to move from the former to the latter is the aim of a Campus Ministry Program.
 
To that end, we have had a busy first term building new relationships and strengthening old ones as a necessary part of our Jesuit education.  Relationship with ourselves, with others, with the world and with God are the themes we return to and work with in all our endeavours.
 
What follows are some highlights of our term one endeavours in seeking out meaningful relationship building.

David Martino
Director of Campus Ministry
2016 Kairos Retreat Participants
Building Relationship through Retreats

Retreats are an opportunity for students and staff to take time out of the business of daily life.  When we slow down we are better able to approach the everyday, as well as people in our lives we might otherwise take for granted, with new lenses that might reveal what otherwise might have been overlooked.  When we begin to see 'things' differently, we often end up seeing ourselves differently as well. 
 
During retreats these layers of relationship are explored as senior students work with staff to design retreat days for students that offer a mix of community building and reflection time.
 
To read what some of our students have said about their term one retreat experiences please click HERE.
Students present cheque to
The Gathering Place
Building Relationship through Christian Service (CSP)

The CSP is one of the key formative experiences at St. Bon's.  By providing experiential opportunities for metanoia, the radical transformation of the hearts and minds or our young women and men, we move closer to the aims of Jesuit education. 
 
The four community groups/programs that our school works with are The Gathering Place (Breakfast Program), Emmaus House Food Bank, The MacMorran Centre (tutoring program) and Computers for Seniors.

Our objective is to place students with groups that:
Students volunteering at 
MacMorran Centre

a) allow for direct contact with those who are marginalized in our society;
b) expose the root causes of marginalization;
c) work to counter the effects and/or causes of marginalization;
d) enable students to reach out to others in Christian fellowship.

During term one all four of our service sites came online.  By fostering, forming, and reflecting upon relationships with individuals from poor, marginalized, and/or disadvantaged populations, opportunities for transformation can take place.

Beginning in January, our students will begin monthly reflections on their service experiences.

To read reflections from Hailey Barrett '17 & Ms. Mallay on their experience click HERE.
Family Groups working on a project
Building Relationship through Family Groups

Family Groups is a special opportunity that being a K-12 school affords our students.  Comprised of students from each grade level and teachers, but run by senior students, the family group is an informal way to foster the culture of our school. As part of the Ignatian Carbon Challenge we are coupling each Family Group day this year with a "Litterless Lunch" to promote awareness and sustainable practices.
 
We used our December Family Group day to promote social justice values by working with the Mercy Sisters to have family groups create Christmas cards for families of inmates, as well as to make crafts for auction to raise money for Christmas donations.
Fr. Earl Smith, SJ leading Ms. Prior's Class in a Teaching Mass 
Building Relationship through Liturgy

Liturgical experiences offer a ready opportunity for relationship with the divine, and with a faith community.  From masses to clergy visits to the school, over the first term students were invited to enter into these experiences of encounter in a respectful and open way.  We have very much taken these experiences as opportunities for learning, and so have tried to make mass preparation a process for student servers to come to a deeper understanding of the aims of mass, its symbols and rituals, as well as by inviting clergy into the school to have teaching opportunities that will deepen the student body's understanding and experience of mass in the future.
 
Fr Earl Smith, SJ has been in with both Kindergarten classes to talk about the sacredness of Chapel space, and about what happens when we are invited into the Church for mass.  The intention is for Fr. Earl to visit with each class in Holland Hall to be able to engage classes at their developmental level in a conversation about what mass "does", and about what we are invited to do at mass, and why.
St. Bon's 160th Anniversary Mass
 
Fr. Cecil Critch, former Principal of St. Bon's, returned to Ms. Mallay's Grade 8 Theology class during term one to teach them about the mass.  The class has been invited to prepare their own mass by selecting readings and music that speak to their own situations and that they might like to offer at a mass.  Fr. Critch will return in term two to complete this mass with them, as well as to have teaching masses with grades 7 and 9s.
 
In each of these instances, we have been trying to help students personalize their private and communal relationship to prayer, faith and mass celebrations.
 
During the second term we hope to continue our renewal of our music program's relationship to our liturgical celebrations as we aim to bring a few masses back to the school gym.   A Liturgical Committee has been created with a number of teachers entering into dialogue about how to make our school mass celebrations reflective our students' voices and experiences so that we continue to challenge ourselves to foster the meaningfulness in all aspects of school life.

St. Bon's with other
Canadian Jesuit delegates
Building Relationships with Self and World through the Jesuit Network

Given our relative geographical isolation, we often forget that the Jesuit Network to which St. Bon's belongs is global in its organization, in its opportunity and in its vision.    This means that the formation of any individual student at any individual Jesuit school is always already related to a larger vision of the world.    What binds this relationship is the ideal of Justice.    In term one, two teachers and eleven students were reminded of this reality, and of the struggles involved to realize it, through their opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C, to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.    The Teach-In is an opportunity to cultivate and nurture the Ignatian vision and Jesuit mission of forming young
St. Bon's delegates discussing 
social justice issues
women and men of competence, conscience, compassion and commitment to a just global society on an international scale.
   As you will read in the write-ups from Mr. Connors and from Claire MacLeod '17, the historic context of this year's meeting helped frame the importance of this event on both personal and professional levels.

To read Mr. Connors & Claire's reflections, please click HERE.
Teachers volunteering at 
St. Patrick's Mercy Home

Teachers clean up leaves from
 the field for composting

Building Relationship through 
Staff Professional Development and Service


Working in conjunction with both the President's and Principal's offices, the Campus Ministry Program has facilitated staff PD over the first term.  The final PD, which was on particular principles of Jesuit Education, offered staff an experiential opportunity to deepen their understanding.  Whether helping with leaves for composting, helping with seniors at St. Pat's, helping at the Gathering Place or helping by meeting with refugees, staff were invited to enter into relationships that would call forth the same values we seek to call out of our students.

To read Mr. Parab's reflection on his experience during the last PD session click HERE.