“A meditation by people in the field” is how Professor Daire Keogh described The Characteristics of Jesuit Education when he launched the book edited by Brian Grogan SJ, in St Patrick’s College Drumcondra on Thursday 22 January.
He commended all the contributors including teachers, Jesuits, parents, management and board members who shared their own experience and insight into the nine characteristics of Jesuit education outlined and developed in the book. Underpinning these characteristics which include the individual care of students whilst forming them as a ‘people for others’, is the belief that God’s plan for the world is to bring people to the fullest flourishing of their gifts and humanity for the benefit of all and the coming of the Kingdom.
Daire Keogh is President of St Patrick’s College of Education and regarding Catholic education in general he noted that “We live in age of flux, uncertainty and consolidation when we have to actually justify the existence of Catholic Schools”. This was rightly the case, he added, “if we expect tax payers money to fund our schools. And this book certainly makes the case powerfully regarding what Jesuit education is all about. The vision and mission becomes clear through the voices of the many who contribute to this book from a wide variety of perspectives.”
He concluded by not only recommending the book to those gathered but to all those educators in Catholic schools whom he said, might profitably follow the example and challenge set by the book.
Also speaking at the launch, book editor Brian Grogan SJ said that regardless of culture or historical epoch, there was always a distinctive spirit underpinning the pedagogy, curriculum and school life of a Jesuit institution. “The description of this spirit given here is intended for Jesuits and lay staff working in Jesuit schools as well as for boards of management, parents, pupils and past pupils.” But most importantly he noted that the book was not the final word but rather a means of encouraging discussion, debate and further exploration what underlies a Jesuit education.
The book is published by Messenger Publications, is available online and from The Messenger Office.