The Society of Jesus began, appropriately enough, with a bunch of college students living far from home.
A little over a decade later, the first Jesuit school opened in Messina, Sicily, in 1548. Today, 3,730 schools carry on this tradition all around the world, caring for 2.5 million students in places ranging from Egypt and Kenya to Nepal and Belize. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 81 pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society.
One distinctive aspect of Jesuit education at all levels is the emphasis on teaching “the whole person” — mind, body, and spirit.
The schools foster not only intellectual development, but also moral and spiritual growth. At the high schools, the aim is to produce students who are “open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice” by the time they leave. Those are five characteristics pinpointed by the periodically updated Profile of the Graduate of a Jesuit High School at Graduation, better known as the “Grad at Grad” report.
Men and Women for Others
Service and justice are key priorities of Jesuit education. Pedro Arrupe, a beloved Superior General of the Jesuits (1965–83), said the principle objective of Jesuit education is to form “men and women for others, men and women who will not live for themselves but for God and his Christ … men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.”
In recent decades, Jesuits have broadened this mission in part by reaching out to high school students in urban America. Dozens of these schools — either sponsored by the Society or otherwise modeled on Jesuit education — have been started around the country. Geared toward students in high-poverty neighborhoods, the schools offer high-quality education and charge little or no tuition. Their graduates go on to selective colleges — ready to serve and develop their full potential.
And so, these and other Jesuit-related schools reflect a contemporary Jesuit mission: advancing the faith through the promotion of justice.
- Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School (Indianapolis, IN)
- Chicago Jesuit Academy (Chicago, IL)
- Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School (Chicago, IL)
- Creighton Preparatory School (Omaha, NE)
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Chicago, IL)
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Milwaukee, WI)
- Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Minneapolis, MN)
- Gesu Jesuit Catholic School (University Heights, OH)
- Gesu School (Detroit, MI)
- Jesuit Academy (Omaha, NE)
- Loyola Academy (Wilmette, IL)
- Loyola High School (Detroit, MI)
- Marquette University High School (Milwaukee, WI)
- Nativity Jesuit Academy (Milwaukee, WI)
- Our Lady of Lourdes (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD)
- Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD)
- Saint Ignatius College Prep (Chicago, IL)
- Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland, OH)
- St. John’s Jesuit High School & Academy (Toledo, OH)
- Saint Thomas More Catholic School (Saint Paul, MN)
- St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati, OH)
- University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy (Detroit, MI)
- Walsh Jesuit High School (Cuyahoga Falls, OH)