Be Inspired: 5 Great Jesuit Commencement Faith & Justice Quotes

BY CHRIS KERRMay 24, 2015

It’s graduation time at Jesuit colleges and universities across the country.  In other words, it’s time to be inspired by powerful speakers with powerful messages. Our staff has collected a few of the best faith and justice quotes from the commencement addresses across the country — enjoy and be inspired!  Check out the commencement speakers for all 28 Jesuit colleges and universities via the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

commencement oneill

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Sr. Peggy O’Neill, S.C., spoke to graduates at Marquette University on May 17.  Sr. Peggy  has been living in El Salvador for the past 25 years, during which time she was an active member of the Pastoral Team, Santa Lucia Parish Suchitoto. She is the director of Centro Arte para la Paz (Center of Arts for Peace), a regional educational cultural center promoting peace through dance, art, and theological reflection, in Suchitoto, El Salvador.

Sr. Peggy spoke at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in 2013.   You can watch her address at Marquette University here.





commencement boyleFr. Greg Boyle, S.J., spoke to students at Gonzaga University on May 18.

As the founder and CEO of Homeboy Industries, Fr. Boyle has dedicated his life to helping LA’s most marginalized individuals find a place in society’s ranks.

Fr. Boyle is also the author of “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” where he offers essays about universal kinship and redemption as moving examples of the power of unconditional love and the importance of fighting despair.

You can watch Fr. Boyle’s address at Gonzaga University here.



commencement lewis quote

Rep. John Lewis (GA-5) spoke to graduates of Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy on May 14th.

Often called  “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” Congressman John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America.   His dedication has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Congress.  John Lewis is the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy MARCH.

You can watch Rep. Lewis’s address to graduates here.



commencement martin

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Fr. James Martin, S.J. spoke to graduates of Fairfield University on May 17.

Fr. Martin is a Jesuit priest, author and Editor at Large at America, the national Catholic magazine. Father Martin is the author of several award-winning books. His most recent book is Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual LifeThe Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life, and his most recent book, “Jesus: A Pilgrimage.”

Fr. Martin spoke at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in 2013.   You can watch his address to graduates at Fairfield University here.



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Archbishop Blase Joseph Cupich spoke to graduates at Boston College’s undergraduate commencement on May 18.

Archbishop Cupich was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Omaha on August 16, 1975. He was pastor of two parishes in Omaha before being appointed Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 7, 1998. In 2010,he became Bishop of Spokane, Washington, and in 2014 was installed as the ninth Archbishop of Chicago, Illinois.

You can can read Archbishop Cupich’s address to the graduates at Boston College here.

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