Two Red Cloud staff members attend global Jesuit summit

posted on August 14, 2012

Red Cloud Indian School Curriculum Director Moira Peckskamp and spiritual formation teacher / campus minister Brad Held, SJ traveled to Boston College in Massachusetts last week to participate in the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education (ICJSE), the first-ever global meeting of Jesuit secondary schools in the 450 year history of the Jesuits.

371 educators from 61 countries on six continents attended the event. Attendees represented schools from Australia, the Congo, China, El Salvador, Italy, and many other countries.

“As an educator, this is a truly remarkable opportunity,” said William Kemeza, president of Boston College High School, the host of the summit. “The Jesuit network of secondary schools possess extraordinary potential to shape students from across the globe into truly global citizens. Our collaboration will make our schools stronger and broaden the perspective of the students we serve.”

Peckskamp and Held were encouraged to attend the conference by Red Cloud Indian School president Fr. George Winzenburg, SJ, who felt it would be a unique opportunity for them to meet and learn from people who are working in Jesuit secondary education across the globe.

Held said he found the keynote speakers particularly illuminating, saying, “The speakers clearly articulated the mission of Jesuit education and entreated each institution to not labor in isolation. The challenge is to embrace the reality that Jesuit education is taking place in institutions all around the globe and to network with each other to enhance the work we are able to do.”

When asked what stuck in his mind as something particularly memorable that he learned at the summit, Held talked about being challenged to reflect on the notion of “Magis” in Jesuit education. He said, “Yes, Magis literally means ‘more’. But one of the Jesuit Superior General’s assistants reminded us that Magis is not about competition. If it were about competition, we would do the same thing that everyone else does, only better. Rather Magis is about creativity, which is something we are challenged to cultivate here at Red Cloud – to be creative in our approach to educating Lakota youth in Catholic and Lakota values.”

The ICJSE seeks to strengthen the global network of Jesuits schools by providing a venue to share ideas, discuss common strengths and challenges, examine our Jesuit mission and identity, and focus on how Jesuit school educators can prepare students to become global leaders.

“The enormous challenges to Jesuit education today require our best efforts in order for us to serve the mission that has been entrusted to us,” said Superior General Adolfo Nicolas, SJ, head of the Jesuits. “By gathering as a global body of Jesuit secondary schools for the first time we can begin to establish ways of collectively preparing our students and school communities to address the welfare of the entire world and its development in a sustainable and life-giving way.”