“Jesus of Arrupe College” Depicts Diverse Students of Loyola University Chicago Two-Year College

Jesus of Arrupe College by Janet McKenzie (1)

BY ISN STAFFAugust 9, 2016

CHICAGO, IL – Loyola University Chicago’s Arrupe College unveiled a powerful new piece of religious artwork entitled “Jesus of Arrupe College.” Earlier this year, Fr. Steve Katsouros, S.J., Dean and Executive Director of Arrupe College, commissioned artist Janet McKenzie to create a piece of religious artwork that depicted Jesus and his companions in ways that represented the racial diversity of the Arrupe College student body. Fr. Katsouros shared pictures of our students with McKenzie to help her with her design and planning process. The painting will be housed in the lobby of Arrupe College located in the Water Tower district of downtown Chicago.

I strive to depict young people with strength, courage, presence, and dignity. The work has been a labor of love, complicated, and sincerely from the heart, and I hope and pray that [Arrupe College] students will feel welcomed, uplifted, and affirmed.

Janet McKenzie, artist

Jesus of Arrupe College by Janet McKenzie (1)

Jesus of Arrupe College by artist Janet McKenzie [Arrupe College, Loyola University Chicago]

Reflecting on the artwork to Arrupe College community members in an e-mail to Fr. Katsouros, McKenzie said, “I strive to depict young people with strength, courage, presence, and dignity. The work has been a labor of love, complicated, and sincerely from the heart, and I hope and pray that your students will feel welcomed, uplifted, and affirmed.”

McKenzie, a native of New York City now residing in Northeast Vermont, is best known for artwork depicting women, and in the mid-90’s began incorporating more intentionally incorporating diverse figures and children into her work. Her painting, “Jesus of the People,” was selected winner of the National Catholic Reporter’s competition for a new image of Jesus at the Millennium by judge, Sister Wendy Beckett, art historian and BBC television host. Her interpretation of Jesus pays homage to two groups usually left out of such imagery, African Americans and women. In the words of Sister Wendy, “This is a haunting image of a peasant Jesus – dark, thick-lipped, looking out on us with ineffable dignity, with sadness but with confidence. Over His white robe He draws the darkness of our lack of love, holding it to Himself, prepared to transform all sorrows if we will let Him.”

Arrupe College is a two-year college of Loyola University Chicago that continues the Jesuit tradition of offering a rigorous liberal arts education to a diverse population, many of whom are the first in their family to pursue higher education. Using an innovative model that ensures affordability while providing care for the whole person—intellectually, morally, and spiritually—Arrupe prepares its graduates to continue on to a bachelor’s program or move into meaningful employment. Heeding the call of its namesake, renowned Jesuit leader Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the college inspires its students to strive for excellence, work for justice, and become “persons for others.”

Arrupe College addresses a serious problem in higher education across the country—the need to increase access to, and completion rates of, post-secondary education degrees for students from low-income families. To achieve this, the college is focused on affordability and a unique education model that includes extensive, one-on-one contact with experienced, full-time faculty members.

Arrupe College’s education model includes:

  • Enhanced summer pre-enrollment orientation
  • A strong cohort and holistic, integrated series of supports for students to optimize their chances for academic and social success
  • Intensive one-on-one contact with specialized faculty
  • Significant increase in availability of faculty and staff due to small class sizes
  • A financial model that permits students to finance the majority of their education with state and federal aid and assume little to no debt.

Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 16,000 students. Loyola University Chicago is an 2015-2016 Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) Institutional Member.  Students, faculty, staff regularly engage in ISN programs.

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