This month, Magis introduces you to Jesuit-educated alumni Nancy and Clay Walton–House, a mother and son duo who are "Living the Mission" of Jesuit education in their everyday lives. Having both graduated from Seattle University (1964 and 2007, respectively), Nancy and Clay remain connected to their Jesuit-education through Magis programs and the community it offers, as well as how they live the sense of Magis as a way of being.
For Nancy, Magis at Seattle University has allowed her to meaningfully connect with alumni who can "share an Ignatian approach to being and doing." She feels this helps her to "remain committed and focused on what matters the most in life – being a person for others." Over the last five years, Nancy has participated in Magis programs such as the Justice Education Forum, Alumni Day of Prayer and Engaging Justice Advocacy Workshop. When asked what the term Magis means to her in her everyday life, Nancy responds: "Magis inspires and challenges me to live the values and practice the behaviors called for by our faith tradition… [it] requires me to embody my faith everyday in every way possible… [and] calls me to choose justice and the common good whenever possible." A moment of Nancy's living the out the sense of Magis in her life was during her experience as a facilitator of a weekly counseling group at Monroe Reformatory for two years. She learned a lot about the inmates' personal histories and how a lack of love and attentive parenting affected their choices and behavior. She claims "This was one of the best learning experiences I've ever had and I became a more compassionate person because of it."
Nancy is not the only one who has been shaped by their experience of Magis at Seattle University. Clay's primary involvement with Magis has been through the Contemplative Leaders in Action Leadership Program, otherwise known as C.L.I.A., a two-year cohort program of eighteen Jesuit-educated alumni in their 20's and 30's, and is comprised of alumni from universities such as Gonzaga, Creighton, Santa Clara, Boston College, Xavier, Saint Louis University, and Seattle University. Clay actually found out about the C.L.I.A. program through his mother, who had read about the opportunity in the Magis eNewsletter. "This program has been an incredible experience that is helping me drive my own personal development in a way consistent with Jesuit teaching, as well as my own personal and professional goals… the group has become a tight-knit support network for each other", says Clay. Further, Clay talks about C.L.I.A. and other Magis programs as a sort of "home coming", since after graduating, he had less frequent contact with a Jesuit based faith community. "CLIA has given me a group of incredibly intelligent, insightful, and faith-based people with whom I'm able to draw immense energy and inspiration to do good in this world for myself, and for others." For him, Magis means "perspective", and challenges to ask the question, "How are you incorporating your faith, values, and mission into your life to the extent that you see and interact with the world differently?" This question is one he is currently exploring through his involvement with Magis at Seattle University.
For both Nancy and Clay, Magis has clearly had a great impact on their lives, and they are hopeful that other Jesuit-educated alumni will join the growing Magis community in the Puget Sound. "If we build a strong community and work collaboratively, we could be a very positive and significant influence for justice and peace in our families, workplaces, communities, country and world." Clay's hope is that more individuals would experience the "home coming" that Magis has to offer. "Our Jesuit educations prepared us for a life of mission, but as we leave those university institutions we often find ourselves growing distant from the fire that was once lit within. Magis offers to reignite that flame, and as C.L.I.A. has done for me, I hope the same can be done for others."