Saint Ignatius of Loyola had many things to say about leadership, so it’s not hard to imagine why Jesuit-educated people of faith take those lessons and apply them to leadership roles within the broader Church; nor is it hard to imagine that Jesuit-educated people of faith would contribute their talent to institutions working Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, for the greater glory of God. John Liston, executive director of Serra International and a Loyola University Chicago law graduate, has dedicated his life to his work int he promotion of vocations. Liston says, “I rely on the theological under pinning sinter woven into my education in the law. The Jesuit idea of meeting people where they are is so important to Serra now, because potential vocation discerners interact differently through social media and other channels…We need to lift the works of so many unsung heroes—priests who live great lives, relatable priests—so that young people can imagine themselves in the role. “Effective leadership must speak to the moment and the context. Much has been written about situational leadership, but our rapidly changing world calls those concepts to the forefront. Brian Collier, director of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network and a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, said in these times, “We are very involved in truth and reconciliation projects and want to work closely with the Church and other
institutions…we are not just pushing religion, but we value these cultures, and look for the overlap between culture and spirituality. Vatican II was successful because it recognized we needed to meet people where they are and become culturally responsive. This is so important—now more than ever. “Sister Donna Markham, OP, CEO of Catholic Charities USA, is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy. She has also responded to the call to provide meaning full leadership for the moment: “catholic Charities is facing an unprecedented need for our services across the country as more people are out of work, lacking sufficient food, in danger of losing their homes, and facing serious emotional consequences related to the pandemic. Ours is sacred work.” As for her Jesuit education, Sr. Donna said, “All my professors were deeply committed to providing solid, values-based training that prepared us well to assume leadership roles in society, Church, and professional spheres.
Jesuit Fr.Mitch Pacwa, founder of Ignatius Productions and host of the EWTN (a global Catholic media network)flagship program EWTN Live, is a graduate of Loyola University and University of Detroit Mercy, and he also expressed deep gratitude and humility about the wonderful care he received from his Jesuit teachers. He saw tremendous academic growth because of their Cura Personalis, care for the whole person. Father Pacwa cites Fr. John O’Malley,SJ, who taught him about the works of St. Augustine, and Fr. Ted Ross, SJ, who encouraged him to always seek out and read the original text, as opposed to writings about the text. He says there were many others, and the background they gave him “was priceless.” Patrick Kelly, Deputy Supreme Knight of theKnights of Columbus and a Marquette University undergraduate and law grad, said, “My Jesuit education helped develop the analytic and discernment tools necessary to make decisions that are in accord with the will of God and serve the common good. “As for the Jesuits at Marquette, Kelly says, “I came away from these experiences with a profound respect for th
ese men. I was so impressed by their love of God and the care they showed for their students, and importantly for what was happening in our lives. “All emphasized the high value they placed on their Jesuit Catholic education and how it had enabled them to be better, more analytical decision makers. Brian Collier cites Fr. Michael ], renowned theologian and professor at Notre Dame and Boston College, as having a profound impact on him.“In his final lecture, Fr. Himes paraphrased Chaucer at the end of his Canterbury Tales: ‘If I have done any of you any good, I ask you to give thanks to God. If I have done any of you any harm, I ask you to credit my lack of ability, not my lack of will, for I’d have gladly done better if could, but it was the best I had in me.’” For Collier, those words guide his work. As for Fr. Pacwa, he plans to continue to heed the words of Ecclesiastes 11:1and to “cast his bread on the water” as he brings the person of Christ to his work. Undoubtedly Kelly, Markham, Liston, and Collier will be doing the same