BY ISN STAFF | July 19, 2015
CHICAGO, IL – In late June the Ignatian Solidarity Network welcomed nearly thirty immersion experience coordinators from Jesuit universities, as well as partner Catholic institutions, for a 3-day summit to network and discuss the role of Ignatian spirituality in immersion experience programs. Presenters included numerous summit participants as well as James Menkhaus, Ph.D., a professor of theology at Gannon University, who speaks regularly about the role that Ignatian spirituality can play in the formation of a student commitment to solidarity.
“Immersion experiences have become a core element of Jesuit higher education,” said Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Kerr continued, “Creating the space for this group allowed for important conversations about the strengthening of these programs in their commitment to forming students commitment to solidarity. We also know from our previous Summit that greater resource sharing and collaboration across institutions will develop among the attendees afterward.
Immersion experience became increasingly present at Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. in the early 2000’s. Then Jesuit Superior General Very Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach challenged Jesuit college and university educators worldwide to engage students in the “gritty reality of the world,” during a speech at an international conference held at Santa Clara University in 2000. ISN first held an immersion summit in 2012 that gathered a similar number of staff from Jesuit and partner schools.
The immersion experience coordinators summit brought together representatives from: Boston College, Canisius College, Creighton University, DePaul University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, John Carroll University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola University Maryland, Loyola University New Orleans, Marquette University, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, The University of Scranton, University of San Francisco, Villanova University, Wheeling Jesuit University, and Xavier University.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) is a national social justice education and advocacy network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners.