Saint Ignatius' Idea of a Jesuit University: A Study in the History of Catholic Education, Including Part Four of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus

Saint Ignatius' Idea of a Jesuit University: A Study in the History of Catholic Education, Including Part Four of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus

Saint Ignatius' Idea of a Jesuit University: A Study in the History of Catholic Education, Including Part Four of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus

Saint Ignatius' Idea of a Jesuit University: A Study in the History of Catholic Education, Including Part Four of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus

Excerpt

The present book has sprung from many years of interest in St. Ignatius of Loyola and in Jesuit education. There are abundant and excellent books about Jesuit education in general, especially as it was carried on during and after the formulation of the well-known Ratio Studiorum of 1599. But, strangely enough, there is no book which has as its principal theme the educational theory of St. Ignatius himself, the one who first molded the Jesuit view of education and bequeathed it to his followers. Hence, I thought it profitable here to seek his ideas on education chiefly from the primary sources of his own writings. The chief task in interpreting his writings has been, of course, to learn what his remarks meant to his contemporaries. For this, much use has been made of such scholarly secondary sources as Pastor, Rashdall, Burckhardt, Woodward, and others.

The writing of this book has been a source of great pleasure and profit to me. But at times it was somewhat disconcerting, too. For, now and then the growing light of historical evidence compelled me to modify or even abandon educational theses which I once thought were part and parcel of Jesuit educational theory, and which I formerly defended with sincerity, even in print. Common and sincerely propounded as these theories may be in much non-Jesuit and Jesuit writing of the past fifty or seventy-five years, they were found to stem not from Ignatius' writings, but often from no farther back than the times of John Locke (1632-1704). But this discovery, uncomfortable as it sometimes was, was liberating to the spirit. It also helped to reveal how clearly Ignatius conceived practical educational goals, how ingeniously he devised means truly adequate to attain them, and to what an eminent degree his greatness as an educator consisted in his molding an educational system which was above all practical and well adapted to the emerging needs of his changing times. To try to capture his spirit by observing his mind at work on that task is especially stimulating, inspiring, and challenging to American Jesuits.

Ignatius' schools produced a great effect in the social and cultural order of his century. In these pages my aim is not the superfluous one of justifying or glorifying the procedures of the past, and much less is it the impossible one of restoring those which have grown obsolete. Rather, my objective is to advance . . .

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