With international experiences in education between Tokyo, Chicago and New York, Father Stefano Dal Bove is the right person to offer us a general overview of the colorful educational world of the Society of Jesus.
For three days, Father Stefano accompanies us in a course in which lectures, moments of individual reflection, film clips, face-to-face interviews and group sharing – for direct connections with the UFOs Father Stefano is still gearing up – offer stimuli and food for thought for the next 1000 years. We – with excessive zeal and boundless ambition – will try to put it to good use in the years that God will grant us in the service of the Society.
These three days are full of solicitations that outline the contours of a complex world like the Jesuit educational universe. From the Georgetown University in Washington to the Gregorian Consortium in Rome, from the Heskima College in Nairobi to the Leone XIII in Milan, from the Sophia University in Tokyo to the South American Fe Y Alegria, we see fragments of a multifaceted reality.
With a daily “Exercise of Admiration” we meet great Jesuit thinkers including Michel De Certeau, Bernard Lonergan and Carlo Maria Martini. In particular, Martini’s educational approach – not “to” but “with” the young – is very interesting for its modernity; it shows the desire for an education based on a listening relationship.
The encyclical expression “reality is superior to the idea” is also valid for education. There are guidelines, methodologies and approaches that is important to follow, but every circumstance has specific characteristics to consider. And here lies the importance of discernment and the added value that Ignatian spirituality – aimed at the human person as a whole – can offer to education.
In addition to the educational consistency of the course, the anecdotal parentheses are singular. Father Stefano tells us stories that highlight the unpredictable Jesuit fauna and biodiversity, a richness and an incomparable attraction for naturalist scientists.
We thank Father Stefano for the breath of fresh air and stimuli that he brought to the novitiate and let’s hope to see him soon!