International Seminar on Ignatian Pedagogy and Spirituality (SIPEI)

By Joseph Petriello 
Assistant to Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education

The cave of St. Ignatius was where the saint lived for 11 months to pray and discern what his calling.

The cave of St. Ignatius was where the saint lived for 11 months to pray and discern his calling.

The International Seminar on Ignatian Pedagogy and Spirituality (Seminario Internacional sobre Pedagogía y Espiritualidad Ignaciana – SIPEI) took place at the Cave of St. Ignatius in Manresa, Spain from November 2 to 8. Organized by the Secretariat for Education of the Society of Jesus, SIPEI is a new opportunity to update and renew the dialogue between two essential dimensions of the Society of Jesus and its apostolic works. This international seminar was a continuation of the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education (ICJSE), which took place in Boston in 2012.

There were 80 experts in Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education who participated in SIPEI, representing 31 countries from the six Jesuit regions throughout the world: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, South Asia, and Asia Pacific. They met with the following objectives in mind:

  • To facilitate dialogue between those dedicated to the educational apostolate and those dedicated to Ignatian Spirituality within the tradition of the Society of Jesus
  • To encourage dialogue among some of the most significant contemporary educational trends, Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality
  • To contribute to the pedagogical renovation of Jesuit Education within the framework of the construction of a global network of Jesuit secondary and pre-secondary educational institutions.

Kemeza, Petriello, Fassett (l to r)

From left to right: William Kemeza, Joseph Petriello, and Edward Fassett, SJ, listen in on one of the sessions during the International Seminar on Ignatian Pedagogy and Spirituality.

SIPEI consisted of five days of deep conversation around the meaning of forming persons of conscience, competence, compassion, and commitment within the general framework of our global network of Jesuit schools. Each day a different theme was introduced by a keynote speaker, followed by two experience presentations, personal time for reflection, discussion in small working groups, and a concluding summary of the day. The in-person participants were joined by over 4,000 participants via social networks and live streaming, representing all corners of our vast Jesuit network of schools. Video of all presentations and seminar discussions can be accessed online by registering on the SIPEI website.

The conversations at SIPEI took seriously the call of General Congregation 35: “serving Christ’s mission today means paying special attention to its global context. This context required us to act as a universal body with a universal mission, realizing at the same time the radical diversity of our situations. It is as a worldwide community—and, simultaneously, as a network of local communities—that we seek to serve others across the world.”

As part of a mid-week retreat day, SIPEI participants visited the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat, where St. Ignatius Loyola held vigil before the altar of Our Lady of Montserrat in March 1522. They also visited various locations in Manresa during Ignatius’ stay from March 1522 to February 1523. The week ended with a visit to the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona, where the group celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Crypt. The Seminar concluded with a visit to Jesuïtes Sarrià-Sant Ignasi, a Jesuit school founded in 1892 that currently serves 3,000 students from early childhood education through high school.

SIPEI Group visiting Montserrat

The SIPEI group visiting Montserrat.

Fourteen representatives from North America participated in SIPEI:

  • Donna Andrade (Academic Dean, Fairfield College Preparatory School)
  • Casey Beaumier, SJ (Director, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, Boston College)
  • James Bopp (Assistant Principal for Technology and Instruction, Brophy College Preparatory)
  • Dan Carmody (Director, Hyde Center for Global Education, Boston College High School)
  • Joseph Carver, SJ (Superior, Ravalli Jesuit Community of Montana)
  • Timothy Casey, SJ (Jesuit Scholastic, New England Province of the Society of Jesus)
  • Paul Donovan (Former Principal, Loyola High School, Montreal)
  • Edward Fassett, SJ (Secretary for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education and Partnership Formation, Jesuit Conference of the United States)
  • Marianne Gallagher (Religion Department Chair, Georgetown Preparatory School)
  • William Kemeza (President, Boston College High School)
  • David Laughlin (President, St. Louis University High School)
  • Peter Musso (Director of School Support, USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus)
  • Joseph Petriello (Assistant to Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education, New York Province of the Society of Jesus)
  • Jim Stoeger, SJ (President, Jesuit Secondary Education Association)

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