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James Martin, S.J.November 10, 2009

It's always interesting to hear what the secular media makes of Jesuit education.  Here's a great piece by Amy Sullivan of Time on University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy (fondly known as U of D High).  It focuses primarily on the school's commitment to educating youth in inner-city Detroit, but also calls attention to the school's Jesuit heritage and Christian values.  I love the end, where the writer and students reflect on Pedro Arrupe's ideal of "men for others."  (Now, in most of our co-ed schools, called "men and women for others.")  It's honest and touching.

Students are told hundreds of times during their education at U of D that they are training to become community leaders, what the Jesuits call "men for others." The phrase comes up in nearly every conversation with current and former students. "It's kinda corny," says Keith Ellison, class of 1981 and a Democratic Congressman from Minnesota, "but that motto really made me think about service. And it set a course for what I'm doing with my life now."

The Jesuit ideal can also be found in more recent graduates like Will Ahee and Tom Howe. Both grew up in tony communities — Grosse Pointe and Birmingham — that may be geographically close to Detroit but are worlds away culturally. Through U of D, they volunteered with Earthworks, an urban garden project that is reclaiming for sustainable agriculture some of the thousands of acres of abandoned lots in Detroit. When they graduated a few years ago, Ahee and Howe could have had their pick of universities. They chose to stay in Detroit and attend Wayne State University, where they study comprehensive food systems. How do these college kids spend their weekends? Working in a community garden they started near Elmwood Park, nine miles from U of D.  

And, for those who are interested, Father Arrupe's landmark address, from Valencia, Spain, in 1973: "Men for Others." 

James Martin, SJ

 

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david power
13 years 6 months ago
Fr Jim,you have got to be having a joke.The class of 81 guy who is put in as an example of Jesuit education converted to Islam and does not even respect the sanctity of life.Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the schools ability to introduce students to a catholic vision. "Men for others" might have meant something christian to Fr Arrupe but it is too elastic not to be abused.
Jacob Torbeck
13 years 6 months ago
David,
Why would this be a joke?  Is the earnest desire to serve so sacred that only someone who remains Catholic should have it?  If all other trappings of faith fall away yet the desire to serve remains, has not a valuable lesson still been taught?
If a Muslim says he is a ''man for others,'' and that does not mean anything specifically Christian to him, then so be it... however, he would be lying to himself if he did not remember well that Christian men taught him to be so.
Perhaps this is not the perfection of formation that one would hope for, but a blessing is a blessing, and in a vastly apathetic society, I count any that are willing and wanting to serve others as a true blessing.
all peace,
Jacob
david power
13 years 6 months ago
Jacob,I would not disagree with your comments and agree with them for the main part.But it is not the trappings of faith that have fallen away but faith itself,if he ever had it.Being a Muslim is a good thing and a practising Muslim is a man of God.But when the "others" do not reflect those without a voice we come to understand how different he approaches the meaning than does Fr Arrupe.It can be seen as an empty expression,void of meaning and certainly with nothing especially Christian about it.Unless you insist upon it.If the "others" is not all embracing ,and is just an ideological prop for those with a partial vision we see it is far removed from the concerns of catholicism and also from Fr Arrupe. "Man for others" can mean anything you want it to mean and can serve to bless your every venture.
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
13 years 6 months ago
I will simply say that I love the tone and spirit of Fr. Arupe's words in the link and how that is expressed in the Time magazine piece.
 
Thanks for posting this - I had read Time, but this context and the link really made a difference.
 
 

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