A Global Partnership Initiative of the Jesuit Schools Network
Global Citizenship News
On April 4, the Jesuit Schools Network (JSN) hosted the Inaugural Ignatian Inquiry After School Virtual Symposium, entitled "The Power of Women in Jesuit Education: A Conversation on the Realities of Professional Women in a Pandemic World, Bringing Together Female Educators to Reflect on their Experience and Celebrate their Impact." The JSN seeks to be a supportive resource to our schools, and this new format of a Virtual Symposium was designed to be just that: a carved-out space to listen, to learn, to be curious and to engage with colleagues across North America.

As context, women serve and lead in every facet of our JSN school communities: from the first-year teacher to the office manager; from the seasoned president to the service director; from the finance office to the English department, and every staff, faculty and administrative role in between. Historically, Jesuit schools have been predominately male organizations, remembering that for much of their histories in many schools, Jesuit institutions were staffed mostly by Jesuit priests and brothers; the first women did not start working in many of our schools until the late 60s and early 70s. Every day, the women in our communities are making tremendous contributions to enlivening and embodying the mission of our schools.

All of us have lived through over two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, navigating in real time the many resulting disruptions to our lives, which have included but are not limited to: concerns of our health and the health of our family members, childcare and eldercare disruptions, and constantly changing work and home lives. Of course, we are hopeful this is beginning to come to an end, but we are not there yet and there is much to unpack of the time from which we are emerging. The conversation explored in the Symposium is an effort to dig into this particular moment, with a lens of gender, focusing on the realities of professional women in a pandemic world. How has the pandemic effected the lives of women in our schools? How has it unearthed the power of women in Jesuit education and brought to light all that women balance every day?

In a supportive and informative conversation with Ignatian colleagues, we brought together female educators from in and around the JSN to reflect on their experience and celebrate their impact. Led by Kristin Ross Cully, JSN’s Director of Inquiry and New Ventures, the JSN welcomed six panelists who shared their work and insights as female educators and researchers who have leaned-in to various dimensions of the experience of professional women in a pandemic world. The gift of the virtual stage allowed our panelists to join the Symposium from Milwaukee, Palo Alto, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Jose and Denver. We benefitted from the experiences of women working at Marquette University, Stanford University, Xavier University, Regis Jesuit High School, Sacred Heart Nativity School and the Midwest Province PASE office. Our speakers shared about recent research on American parents' lived experiences during the pandemic, about the invisible labor of women in education, and insights on how professional women may support each other.

Our time together in the Symposium served to inform, to affirm, to transform, to challenge and to inspire each of us as we navigate these unusual times. We shared experiences and learning that may serve to make you feel connected to other women across the JSN, that may serve to make you feel as if your experience these past few years has resonated with others, that may offer language and meaning that helps to articulate our collective experience, ultimately serving to open our eyes to the incredible impact of women in Jesuit education every day.

Please see the full recorded Symposium; schools are encouraged to share this video widely within their own communities.
Women from around the Network gathered to watch "The Power of Women in Jesuit Education Symposium" together, and the response to the conversations raised has been extraordinary. It has inspired many Ignatian colleagues to consider how we can best follow up and learn from the important conversation that was raised in the Inaugural Symposium. When we think of the power of women in Jesuit education, what comes next? What more can we all do to support? How can we help each other reach our place of most potential?

Here are some reflections from participants:
By Meg Donovan from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA

On April 4, the women of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School gathered to enjoy Philadelphia soft pretzels and to attend the virtual symposium “The Power of Women in Jesuit Education.” Listening to the speakers from all levels of Jesuit education and from all across the country, the women of the Prep reflected on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education and our daily work, the informal power of women in leadership as we prove an example to our students and colleagues, and our place as women in the Church.

English teacher Ms. Susie Cook reflected, “We found ourselves inspired by the speakers’ very practical innovation to our centuries-old Ignatian tradition. Surely, far from an act of selfishness, the virtue of ‘cura propria’ as introduced by Dr. Debra Mooney addresses the ‘invisible work’ females take on at schools and at home to support what Ignatius might call a ‘hope-filled future.’ The seminar's emphasis on caring for self as a moral good made sense to us as female colleagues, mothers, teachers, daughters, counselors, spouses and, most importantly, women of faith.”

The women of the Prep were inspired by the words of presenter Jen LaMaster: “We all have a place. To be a woman in the Church means to be myself.” We will carry these thoughts in our daily work in teaching, counseling and administration as we educate the next generation in Jesuit education.
By Elizabeth Wise from Loyola Blakefield in Towson, MD 

On April 4, a faculty and staff group of five women and two men at Loyola Blakefield watched "The Power of Women in Jesuit Education" together in a conference room with warm pretzels. This webinar, which included mini talks by a variety of women leaders in education and was expertly facilitated by Kristin Ross Cully, Ed.D., Director of Inquiry and New Ventures at the JSN, gave recognition to the struggles that women are facing both personally and professionally in Jesuit institutions as we (hopefully) emerge from a pandemic. 

Data surrounding women in the workplace was shared, and mechanisms of bias were named and then challenged with helpful strategies. As the speakers encouraged women to be self-aware, supportive of others, and confident in finding and inhabiting their unique places in the Church and in her Jesuit schools, participants were actively practicing what Dr. Debra Mooney of Xavier University calls cura propria (care for oneself), a practice all Ignatian educators need to model, both for the health of their schools and students. 

Quite simply, from start to finish, this was the most informative and inspirational webinar I have ever attended, and I encourage individuals and schools to watch it and host discussions.
By Kaija DeWitt-Allen from Xavier High School in New York, NY

Having spent 19 years in Jesuit education, I was surprised at how startling it was to hear Kristin Ross Cully use her when speaking about professional experiences in Jesuit schools. How wonderful to be together and see the names and faces of women deeply engaged in our network. It was helpful to hear Jen LaMaster remind us that the work of women in Jesuit schools is "not a solitary journey."
The Commission on the Role and Responsibilities of Women in the Society of Jesus marked its first anniversary on March 8, 2022, International Women’s Day. The Commission was established by Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ, to: 1) evaluate the appropriation of GC 34’s Decree 14, Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church & Civil Society; 2) evaluate the participation and position of women and the structures of collaboration at all levels in institutions of the Society of Jesus and its apostolic works; and 3) make recommendations to the different levels of leadership in the Society of Jesus to strengthen the mission of the Society with the active participation of women.
This past year, the Commissioners have met regularly to familiarize ourselves with each other’s individual regional and cultural contexts. The Commission is partnering with a research team from the University of Ateneo, Manila who will assist us in designing the research process for our global work. Click here for more information.
I had a “cannonball moment” back in July 2017, when one of the Jesuits I work with asked me directly, “What is it you desire for yourself?” The question left me speechless. This article is part of my journey for spiritual freedom in the context of a women who has raised children and is established both personally and professionally. I wish to reflect on the tremendous appeal of Ignatian spirituality to women like myself and the idea of spiritual freedom and making choices in life that promote greater freedom.  
On March 25-26, I had the opportunity to attend the first International Symposium “Educating as a Global Network: An Act of Hope” (Simposio Internacional Educar en Red: Un Acto Esperanzador) in Bucaramanga, Colombia. It was organized by San Pedro Claver School and ACODESI (Colombian JSN). Over 300 people attended the Symposium which focused on themes related to Global Citizenship and the vital importance of networking. It was exciting to be part of the group that came from a diverse set of Jesuit schools across Latin America. The symposium exhibited how we are all united by our Ignatian charism and the UAPs despite our regional, linguistic and cultural differences.

The importance of networking in 21st-century Jesuit education was a primary focus of the keynotes, followed by targeted breakout groups. I was invited to lead a breakout discussion about our Ignatian Scholars Program at Walsh Jesuit which includes an Ignatian Pilgrimage for students to Europe. We discussed how pilgrimage can be a means to bring alive the UAPs for our students. There was an exciting intercambio/exchange in my breakout, which demonstrated the exciting opportunities that can result from networking with our global Jesuit network. There is a strong desire for collaboration from FLACSI schools with JSN schools, and their future hope is to offer a student pilgrimage program to the Jesuit Missions in South America.
I was very impressed with the prominent role that women played in leadership in the Colombian Jesuit schools. Many of the principals and administrators I met were women. One of the five keynote speakers, all en español, was our own Catharine S. Steffens representing JSN. Her presentation was entitled, “Networking as an Opportunity for the Formation of Educational Leaders.” In her keynote she explained the relationship and structure of Jesuit secondary and pre-secondary education networks with a focus on current JSN initiatives like the Ignatian Global Scholars Program. The group was very attentive to her comprehensive and thought-provoking presentation.
This month Pope Francis met privately with Inuit, Métis and First Nation Canadian delegations where he offered an apology for the Church’s role in the Canadian residential schools that abused Indigenous children. Our very own Stacy Dainard, of St. Paul's High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, shared a moving article and presentation on Canada's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in the October issue of JSN Hemispheres.
Stacy's wife, Jennifer Moore Rattray, a proud citizen of Peepeekisis Cree Nation in Canada, shared this moving reflection with Canada's national radio station, the CBC. Generations of her family and extended family attended Brandon Residential School, and several of the children who attended never returned home. She is the former Executive Director of Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and currently Chief Operating Officer with Southern Chiefs’ Organization. 
The Integrated (Holistic) Perspective Webinar Series is an initiative promoted by the Secretariat for Education of the Society of Jesus in collaboration with ICAJE and Educate Magis, with the goal of fostering learning and reflection of contemporary Jesuit education among educators from schools and education networks of the Jesuit Global Network of Schools (JGNS).

The series will comprise 10 webinars, each hosted by a conference network of the JGNS and dedicated to reflect on a Global Identifier from the document Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century.

The first webinar was hosted by JCAP-Education on March 31 on “Promoting Justice in the Age of Fake News.” 
“The media needs to improve. Our U.S. government institutions need to improve, and we have got to help Americans understand what the facts are. If we don’t, we are lost. We will become two separate — maybe three separate worlds in the United States.” 
Those words from Clint Watts, the former FBI counter-terrorism expert, to the Senate Intelligence Committee have not let me go since I first heard them on the radio in March 2017. My very first thought was: “Someone should do something about this!” Followed pretty quickly by my next thought: “I’m an Ignatian educator; that someone is probably me.”
So, I did this one small thing. In the context of my Scripture class for sophomores, I instituted a series of what I have come to call “Media Literacy Fridays,” where the students use our school’s periodical databases to find and read an article on a contemporary justice issue that intersects with a biblical story. Think environmental justice paired with the Genesis creation stories or the Book of Exodus’ bearing on immigration.
Beyond helping the students make connections between the Bible and our world today, I include a section in the day’s worksheet where the students can evaluate the credibility of the article they are reading by ticking off some qualities of reliable sources. My hope is the students start to recognize these hallmarks of good journalism in their everyday reading.
More needs to be done, but if you’re looking for a place to start, here’s one way to bring media literacy skills into your classroom. Try it now — or this coming Friday.
On March 22, Maura Toomb Estevez, chair of the theology department at Regis High School in New York City, presented on the topic of ecological education (Goal 5 of the Laudato Si' Action Platform) for the Ignatian Solidarity Network's Renewing the Earth group members.

During the presentation, Maura shared insights from her environmental theology class. She provided an overview of the course and the institutional change project that her students completed. Students were invited to imagine an institutional change Regis could make to better "care for our common home." A requirement of the project was for students to explain how their proposed change aligned with UAP 4 and the "Caring for Our Common Home: An Ignatian Perspective" document.

Students generated thought-provoking projects that varied from suggested curricular changes to proposing a compositing program on campus. One group even proposed a formational change in which the students asked themselves and administrators how Regis could demonstrate its values by providing "Sabbath time" to students and by intentionally uplifting alumni who promote care for creation in their career paths.

The presentation was practical and enlightening. If you missed the gathering, you can access a recording of the conversation. Maura has also generously shared her slides and curriculum outline with conversation participants.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA's Advocacy Day
Early in April, students from Belen Jesuit and Georgetown Prep joined JRS in speaking on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers to members of the U.S. Congress. You can read the wrap-up story here.
Please reach out to Josh Utter if you would like to discuss ways your students can support JRS/USA's advocacy efforts in the upcoming school year. JRS/USA's Advocacy Day is every April! 
Support for Ukraine
Jesuit Refugee Service continues to respond to individuals and families displaced by the conflict in Ukraine. You can learn more on how your community can support our efforts by visiting this page. In partnership with Charity Footprints, we have extended our #United4Ukraine campaign until May 8. Students can sign up for free here. Consider sharing this campaign with track & field coaches as a way to raise awareness. 
#JesuitSchools Spotlight
Tag your social media posts with #jesuitschools and share your global journeys in & out of the classroom.
A closing prayer...
Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Jesuits, lights candles for peace in front of the tomb of St. Ignatius at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.

As we embark on our Easter pilgrimage, let us ask God to enlighten our minds and break open our hearts as we embrace our call to carry God’s light to all people.

Each of us has a unique part to play in the Easter story. As we reflect on our role, let us ask: Who am I? Whose am I? Who am I called to be? 

Each of us has a story to tell — a story that can change our lives and our world. But too often, fear, shame or feelings of insignificance keep that storied buried inside of us. In his new book, "Cannonball Moments: Telling Your Story, Deepening Your Faith," Eric Clayton invites us to share our stories and discover that God has been at work in the stories of our lives all along, delighting in us. Using Ignatian spirituality, Eric proposes three questions that each of us can use in reflecting on our stories: Who am I? Whose am I? Who am I called to be? Available through Loyola Press
The Jesuit Schools Network promotes the educational ministry of the Society of Jesus in service to the Catholic Church by strengthening Jesuit schools for the mission of Jesus Christ.