Jesuit Mission Orientation Videos

Welcome to the Center for Jesuit Education’s online Jesuit Mission Orientation at Seattle University. Here you can begin a journey on the way to understanding the Jesuit Catholic identity and mission of Seattle University.

Originally intended as an orientation for our Board of Trustees, these videos, texts, and questions are suitable for a wide variety of audiences interested in understanding our Jesuit Catholic mission more deeply. We are grateful to Xavier University in Cincinnati for allowing us to adapt materials they had developed. 
Please feel free to share these resources and contact us with questions and feedback. 

Jesuit Mission Orientation Videos

Welcome to part 1 of a series of on-line orientation sessions providing a brief overview of Jesuit heritage and education. Each section includes a short video, selected readings, and reflection questions. Before beginning the video or biography, you may want to take a moment to review and reflect on the questions at the bottom of this page. As you go through each session, the reflection questions will help to frame and deepen your understanding of Jesuit heritage and education. 


A brief biography of St. Ignatius by George Traub, SJ and Debra Mooney, Ph.D. is  available online at Xavier University. Within the biography are hyperlinks to access the Glossary of Jesuit Terms provided by Xavier. 

Life of Ignatius, adapted from Xavier University’s Trustee orientation, text written by George Traub, S.J. and Debra Mooney, Ph.D., and revised by Peter B. Ely, S.J., video narrated by Peter B. Ely, S.J. 

Reflection Questions: 

  • What experiences in St. Ignatius's early life helped him to be the leader that he was in the last 16 years of his life?  
  • What are some key events (i.e., circumstance, decision, coincidences) in my life that have led me to be the leader that I am today? 
  • What life circumstances, leadership qualities, and/or governance styles do I have in common with St. Ignatius?  
  • Why did I accept the invitation to serve in the role I have at Seattle University today? 

This session provides an overview of Ignatian Spirituality, including the introduction to Contemplatives in Action by William Barry and Robert Doherty, reflection questions on the content of the video, and the video itself. Also included with this session is a week-long daily reflection entitled Worldly Reflection shared by our colleagues at Xavier University.    


The introduction to Contemplatives In Action by William Barry and Robert Doherty.* 

Reflection Questions: 

  • What insights did I gain about myself personally, professionally and/or in my role at Seattle University through the process of Ignatian reflection?
  • What are the guiding principles and practices that sustain me in my personal and professional life? 

Reflection for the Week:  
A week long reflection experience entitled Worldly Reflection for Video (Click on title to open in a new window.) 

*Please contact the Center for Jesuit Education to find out about the availability of this document. 

The third orientation session focuses on the articulations of the Jesuit educational mission coming from recent General Congregations of the Jesuits and from the Superior Generals of the Society. The General Congregations - periodic gatherings of Jesuits from around the world - and the writings of the Superior Generals guide the Society of Jesus in reading the signs of the times and following the directions they indicate. 

Reading Selection:  

To begin the orientation, please follow the link provided for a 3-page reading from America Magazine, “Higher Standards,” by Dean Brackley, S.J.   

Reflection Questions:  

  • Does this recent Jesuit emphasis on the social justice orientation of a university education seem appropriate?  Does it distort the traditional aims of education as you have known them?
  • Which of Dean Brackley’s seven “higher standards” do you find most appealing and most appropriate for Seattle University? 

If you are interested, more information on the Official Decrees of General Congregation 35 is online.  

Session 4 of this orientation series speaks of a Jesuit university’s mission as “Developing people of Competence and Compassion.” First read through "The Ignatian Vision" below, compiled by George Traub, SJ from Xavier University. Think about how this vision is carried out in your experience at Seattle University. 


“The Ignatian Vision” by George Traub, S.J. 

  • Sees life and the whole universe as a gift calling forth wonder and gratefulness.
  • Gives ample scope to imagination and emotion as well as intellect.
  • Seeks to find the divine in all things - in all peoples and cultures, in all areas of study and learning, in every human experience (and, for the Christian, especially in the person of Jesus).
  • Cultivates critical awareness of personal and social evil, but points to God's love as more powerful than any evil.
  • Stresses freedom, need for discernment, and responsible action.
  • Empowers people to become leaders in service, "men and women for others," "whole persons of solidarity," building a more just and humane world. 

    Reflection Questions: 
  • After viewing the video, reflect on the following questions:   
  • Which characteristic of the Ignatian Vision speaks most strongly to you? Why? 
  • How effectively do you think Seattle University is responding to the vision expressed in this video? ---Does the vision of “competence and compassion” make sense to you as a way of expressing SU’s mission? If so, do you see ways for the group you work with to help in assuring this vision?   

Session 5 in our orientation series will focus on what it means to be a Jesuit Catholic university today. The mission of Seattle University is that we are dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world. This session looks at how our identity as Jesuit and Catholic is part of our academic strength. 

A brief article titled "What Makes Our Colleges Catholic?" by Monica Hellwig from the "Mission and Identity Handbook for Trustees" put out by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). * 

Reflection Questions: 

  • Does John Paul’s understanding of a Catholic university found in Ex Corde Ecclesiae do justice in your mind to the notion of university and the particular role of a Catholic university?  He says that a university is a place for seeking and disseminating truth; a Catholic university tries to unite the search for truth (reason) with belief in the ultimate source of truth (faith). Does this make sense? 
  • From what you know of Seattle University, does it seem to be a place that combines reason and faith?
  • What practical consequences flow from Seattle University’s identity as a Catholic university? 

You can learn more about our university core curriculum on their webpage.  
* Please contact the Center for Jesuit Education to find out about the availability of this article.   

Session 6 on the Jesuit Catholic character of Seattle University’s mission takes us on a tour of the “Saints and Structures” that surround us as we learn and work together in this unique place. Our Jesuit Catholic heritage is the framework in which we are rooted and nurtured in our development as men and women for others. 


This session’s reading, SU Seal, tells a brief history of the seal of Seattle University with an explanation of the symbols it contains.  

Reflection Questions: 

  • How important is it for our students and the campus community to know the stories behind the names of our buildings?
  • How can we make sure these stories and the Jesuit Catholic values they express are known by our students, faculty, and staff?
  • Have we done a good job of highlighting the external expressions of our Jesuit Catholic Character? 

We continue with our orientation sessions on the Jesuit Catholic character of Seattle University’s mission. The first session reviewed Ignatius’ life and the beginnings of the Jesuit educational mission. Session 2 provided a brief introduction to Jesuit spirituality. Session 3 focused on the articulations of the Jesuit educational mission coming from recent general congregations of the Jesuits. Session 4 spoke of a Jesuit university’s mission as “developing people of competence and compassion.” Session 5 focused on what it means to be a Jesuit Catholic university today. Session 6 took us on a tour of “Saints and Structures” that identify the campus with our Jesuit Catholic heritage. Session 7 treats the idea of leadership in the Jesuit tradition with a focus on the notion of discernment that is so integral to Ignatius’ idea of leadership. 

Ignatian Communal Discernment 

Reflection Questions: 

  • Do you agree that all of us are leaders in one way or another? 
  • Does the idea of leadership in the Jesuit tradition presented here make sense to you?
  • Can you identify ways in your own leadership performance where you practice discernment? 

Contact Us

Center for Jesuit Education