Did you know that Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, is placed with educators from Socrates to Dewey as one of the world’s great innovators of education?
After his famous conversion at Manresa, Ignatius gathered around him an energetic band of well-educated men who desired nothing more than to help others find God in their lives. It was Ignatius’ original plan that they be roving missionaries like Francis Xavier who would preach and administer the sacraments wherever there was the hope of accomplishing the greater good. When, however, hundreds of young men joined his new religious order Ignatius had to provide for their education. He started schools for them but also admitted non-Jesuit students It soon became clear to Ignatius that these schools offered the greatest possible service to the church, by moral and religious instruction, by making devotional life accessible to the young and by teaching the Gospel message of service to others. Ignatius quickly realized how critical changes in a whole society could come through education, so he made a momentous decision, revised his original plan and became an enthusiastic champion of systematic education.
According to St Ignatius education can become an effective agent of transformation. Our institutions can be and should be agents of change in a society riddled with discrimination, corruption, denial of human rights, greed for money, power, position, ethnic riots.
President Abdul Kalam has words of high praise for the Jesuits. “The Jesuits are doing something holy, something sacrosanct by working in the field of education. Education gives one the ultimate human value. They have made excellent contributions not only in India but the world over.”
Following in the great tradition of their companions the world over, Jesuits in Pune too are committed to the cause of education both in the urban and rural areas.