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All Things Jesuit

All Things Jesuit connects faculty and staff with current news about Jesuit education, as well several resources for understanding the Ignatian tradition.

A collaboration between The Commons and the Center for Jesuit Education, this section covers Jesuit initiatives on SU's campus as well as news and information from the wider community of Jesuit higher education.

Alpha Sigma Nu inducts new members

April 2, 2019

Alpha Sigma Nu, the Seattle University Chapter of the Jesuit Honor Society, will induct its newest members on April 11, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., announced today. Following is a list of the 2019 inductees.


Mary Kay Brennan (Social Work), Bryan Adamson (Law), Jennifer Marrone (Albers), Mary Yu (Law) and Maria Bullon-Fernandez (Arts and Sciences).


Undergraduate Members: Macheddie Baker, Taylor Budig, Vanessa Brimhall, Sharon Ideguchi, Allison Saunders, Todd Schaffer and Jorge Vargas

Graduate Members: Mohammed Alturki, Wen-juin Ang, Julie Fergus, Swati Jain, Russell Key, Vlad Melnic, Payne Mullins and Ross Trevino


Undergraduate Members: Allison Alderman, Courtney Baker, Lindsey Burton, Brenalee Campbell, Tiffany Carpenter, Cameron Casey, Joy Chun, Sarah Dipprey, Flora Fattahi, Amanda Fawcett, Nicole Freitas, Allison Gibbons, Mary Belle Gresh, Mariana Renteria Hernandez, Jovanka Lazovic, Ricki Lieu, Claire Lucas, Chhavi Mehra, Jane Rohr, Julia Rosenberg, Amelia Serafin, Margaux Thompson and Michael Trask

Graduate Members: Julia Bonnheim, Emily Dennis, Shaterra Overton, Ana Rusness-Petersen, Elisabeth Walls and TyKera Williams


Michelle Barreto, Barbara Bendrick, Catherine Burges, Erik Engstrom, Kimberly Erickson, Dane Fukumoto, Christina Hughes, Soo Kim, Chloe Kimiai, Willa Kurland, Aidan McIlhenny, Paulette Rigali, Lilian Shafer, Kaitlyn Vallance and Sarah Yeider


Hannah Calas, Cloie Chapman, Aaron Dickinson, Brian Ernst, Destinee Evers, Alexandra Gorton, Joshua Harms, Michael Harris, Bryce Herman, Klien Hilliard, Sydney Hitchcock, Neeka Hodaie, Christina Holman, Ian Leifer, Carolyn Mount, Evanie Parr, Jordyn Sifferman, Reux (Samantha) Stearns, Erika Vranizan, Frederick Vranizan and Heather Wilson


Undergraduate Member: Gerald Cervantes


Undergraduate Members: Julia Davis, Nicole Gerber, Farhia Hassan, César Rios III, Stephanie Sanchez and Jessica Strong

Graduate Members: Elizabeth Gallagher, Valorie Orton and Michele Randazzo


Haley Ballast, Charity Laughlin and David Wells


Undergraduate Members: Heather Bergey, Inaara Bhola, Kristi Kimura, Zoe Munsey, Gwyneth Potter, Jonathan Pangelinan, Neipori Pelle, Hannah Potgieter and Camille Zaug

Graduate Member: Andrew Reed

Becoming a Jesuit

March 13, 2019

Ever wonder what it takes to become a Jesuit? Well, the short answer is, it’s a 12-year spiritual journey that follows the precepts of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus. Following are the specific phases of the process. 


Novices live in community, learning the traditions of the Society of Jesus. They make the 30-day Spiritual Exercises retreat and engage in ministries that include serving the poor. (Two years)

First Studies

Jesuits take graduate coursework in philosophy and theology. (Three years)


Jesuits work in ministry and live in community. (Two or three years)


Scholastics undertake an intensive study of theology. (Three years)


At the conclusion of their theology studies, Jesuits called to the priesthood are ordained.

Special Studies

As part of their ongoing formation, Jesuits may pursue enhanced studies in a particular academic or educational field.


This is a period of preparation before Jesuits take their final vows.

 * Source: Based on a publication by the Jesuits West province

Things to Do for Lent (Besides Giving up Chocolate)

February 28, 2019

The Seattle University is invited to participate in the following during the season of Lent. 

Seattle U Choirs Lenten Prayer Concert
Saturday, March 9, 8 p.m.
Chapel of St. Ignatius

The Seattle University Choirs, with newly appointed director, Leann Conley-Holcom, Ph.D., will present their annual Lenten Prayer Concert. This year’s program includes meditative, contemplative, celebratory works by Ola Gjiello, Felix Mendelssohn, Andre Thomas and others. The concert is structured around four contemplative Taize chants to be sung by choir and audience intermittently throughout the program. Among the featured works are musical settings of beloved hymns and spirituals that will help to usher in the Lenten season. Admission is free; donations will be accepted for the Daughters of Mary (Uganda). The concert is open to the public. Sponsored by the Department of Performing Arts and Arts Leadership - Music Division. For more information, contact Lee Peterson at 

Novena of Grace 2019
God Walking with Us
Tuesday, March 12-Wednesday, March 20

Deepen your experience of Lent this year by entering into Novena of Grace, a retreat that can be made amid the busyness of daily life. Take just one hour a day to attend the retreat either at the Chapel of St. Ignatius for liturgy with Eucharist or St. Joseph Church for contemplative prayer, or make the retreat online. Be inspired by the preaching of three presenters steeped in the Ignatian tradition and vision, offer up your deepest desires in prayer and join a faith-filled community. Presenters are Matt Holland, S.J., JoAnn Lopez and Ross Hays. Attend one, any or all of the nine days to experience God’s abundant grace. The schedule is as follows:

Weekdays: 12:30 p.m. at Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University (Eucharist) or *6:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, Seattle (Contemplative Prayer) *Please note a new time and format for weekday evenings
Saturday: 1 p.m. at St. Joseph Church (Eucharist)
Sunday: 1 p.m. at Chapel of St. Ignatius (Eucharist)

Sponsored by the Ignatian Spirituality Center, a partner with the Center for Jesuit Education.

Lenten Taizé
March 12 and 19, and April 2 and 16 (Reconciliation on April 9)
7-8 p.m.
Chapel of St. Ignatius

Join Campus Ministry for a Lenten prayer opportunity offered Tuesdays throughout Lent.This ecumenical and meditative prayer form includes music, scripture, prayers, candlelight and silence.

Ash Wednesday is March 6

February 25, 2019

Ash Wednesday is March 6, 2019. The distribution of ashes on campus will take place at Catholic Masses held at the Chapel of St. Ignatius at 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. All are welcome!

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, alms giving, and repentance for Christians before the celebration of Easter. People receive ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a remembrance of our mortality and a sign of our desire for reconciliation.

From the Archives: In a 2011 article, "A Time for Repentance," Pat Howell, S.J., currently with the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, elaborates on the meaning and significance of Ash Wednesday.

(Photo by Sy Bean)

Top Priorities

February 22, 2019

This week, the Jesuit Superior General, Rev. Arturo Sosa, S.J., announced four universal apostolic priorities for the Society of Jesus over the next decade: 

  • Discernment and the Spiritual Exercises
  • Walking with the Excluded
  • Caring for Our Common Home
  • Journeying with Youth 

Click on the video here to learn more (video is in Spanish with English subtitles).

Additional coverage can be found on and in a detailed analysis from America.

The mystery of the Epiphany

January 17, 2019

On Jan. 6, Catholics worldwide gathered for the Feast of the Epiphany. Commemorating the visit of the Magi—the Three Kings or Three Wise Men—to the newborn Jesus, the Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God. 

At Mass that day, Tom Lucas, S.J., rector of the Jesuit Community at Seattle University (right), delved into the mystery of the Epiphany and the gifts of the Magi to reveal the healing balm of God’s mercy and love poured out for all—especially during times of trial, upheaval and sorrow. As he shared in his homily: 

“This moment in the life of our society, our church, and in the life of nations, is a time of Myrrh. ‘Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying’ we sing in ‘We Three Kings.’ In the past months we have experienced that in the shame we as Catholics have been forced to face anew. There is so much that needs to die away: cultures of privilege and carelessness, of self-interest and self-protection. Those cultures need to be laid to rest. And there are wounds self-inflicted and inflicted by others, sorrows and wounds that still desperately need to be healed. We need this gift of myrrh, this medicine whose bitterness is also strangely sweet. We need to acknowledge and own and confront death and diminishment around us in our church, in our society, and apply the healing poultice of bittersweet repentance and forgiveness.” 

You can read the full text of Fr. Lucas’s homily at Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.

Men’s Basketball, the Seattle U-Jesuit Way

December 7, 2018

By Jim Hayford and Pat Kelly, S.J.

A note to readers: Soon after Coach Jim Hayford arrived at SU, the men’s basketball coaching staff has been meeting regularly with Pat Kelly, S.J., associate professor of theology and religious studies, to talk about the meaning of the work they do as coaches – to have what Jesuits have traditionally called “spiritual conversation.” Over this time they have discussed the flow psychology theory, the Ignatian examen of consciousness, Phil Jackson’s book Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior and Villanova coach Jay Wright’s book Attitude. They also had a Skype session with Villanova basketball chaplain Fr. Rob Hagan, OSA about the values and culture of the Villanova program, which provided them with the opportunity to articulate their own values and the kind of culture they want to develop at Seattle University as a Catholic, Jesuit university.

The article below is an articulation by Coach Hayford of the meaning or significance of basketball and its relation to the Jesuit educational mission at SU, woven together with reflections from Fr. Kelly.

Basketball is fun, first of all. At Seattle University, we play a style of basketball that is fun to coach, fun to play and fun to watch. It is important that our players continue to love the game, and have a passion for it. Enjoyment and excellence are not opposed, as the flow theory and other recent psychological studies make clear. People who excel in their fields love what they do. This is the reason they go beyond minimal requirements and end up breaking new ground. For us as well, it is fun to go beyond where we were, to be getting better, individually and as a team. We tell every player we recruit, “We will coach you to be your best and we will be consistent in asking you for your best every day at practice.” It is our hope that the games are also fun for students, faculty, administrators and alumni to watch. After all, a Catholic, Jesuit university campus that does not have joy is missing something fundamental to human life and the Christian life.

A person who enjoys what they do has to be disciplined and practice their craft over many years in order to develop the skills needed to excel.  In order to develop the individual and team skills needed to be successful at the Division 1 level, we continually remind our players that such discipline is required – and, of course, practice. In contrast to the internet age young people have grown up in, where what they want is available quickly and there is little waiting, real growth or progress in basketball – as in life – does not always come quickly. And there are no shortcuts. Players have to take one step at a time to improve. Sometimes they have to develop the virtue of patience and learn to wait for their turn to play a particular role on the team. The most rewarding part of coaching/teaching is when players apply themselves and commit to the process and attain substantial skill development. Conversely the most heart-breaking part of coaching/teaching is when players fail to trust the process and submit to the discipline necessary to grow as players and reach their long term goals.

One of the greatest services we provide our players is that we tell them the truth to the best of our ability. In our context, student athletes often get a lot of attention even before they arrive at college. They may have a distorted sense of their own abilities, and therefore the truth sometimes can be hard to hear. The kind of player we attempt to recruit has to have the humility to be able to hear the truth about himself, and to work on the weak areas of his game. We are very transparent about this in the recruiting process and in some cases it might mean we do not get the player. We also sometimes successfully recruit a player who says he wants this but once he gets into the process he finds it too demanding and he decides not to stay with it. Having the humility to hear the truth about oneself is a quality that can also be important in the classroom, as the young man will be able to receive feedback from professors about how he can improve as a student. Of course, at a Catholic, Jesuit school, “living in the truth” should be a priority.

Because basketball is a team sport, good relationships among the members of the team are crucial to playing well. This is why we often speak of a “brotherhood” on the team. We gather every day prior to practice at the center circle of the court so that each person in the program has to look every other player in the eye. Our process for conflict resolution in our team/community is to not let problems linger but to work them out so that when we “meet in the middle” of the court each day we have found a middle place of agreement on the issue where there was conflict.

Our players are from different countries and of different racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Living, traveling and playing with players from different backgrounds from one’s own is an invaluable learning experience. Indeed, such an experience can introduce the players to the notion of the common good, which has to do with the conditions that allow for the possibility for all persons in society to flourish. This type of learning was evident last year in that our players decided to wear warmups for the National Anthem with the quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Sports can be one way to build community at the university as well. They are one setting where students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators and people of all ages from the community come together to enjoy a common experience. Having such moments for the building of community is very important in a Catholic, Jesuit university. As Pope Francis recently put it, sports are “a catalyst for experiences of community, of the human family,” a “place of unity and encounter between people.” Community is so important because, as Francis put it, “We reach great results, in sports as in life, together as a team!”

Love is a word that is heard a great deal in the locker room and in the gym in our program. We love our players and we do the best we can to let them know, by word and deed. One of the great joys of coaching is to see the players become comfortable with the meaning and value of love, and even their own need for love and to watch as they grow in their ability to verbally express this to other members of the program. Of course, love wants what is best for the other person. And we know that what is best for our players is that they earn a college degree and have a meaningful and transforming experience at SU as students. This is an important time when they can discover what they are passionate about and what their skills are in the classroom and beyond and begin to discern their vocation in life. In this way, their time at SU can lead them to a joy that can last the rest of their lives.

But basketball, too, can be a part of their education. As Pope John Paul II put it: “Athletic activity, in fact, highlights not only the person’s valuable physical abilities, but also his intellectual and spiritual capacities. It is not just physical strength and muscular efficiency, but it also has a soul and must show its complete face.” We hope that, in addition to taking note of the number of wins men’s basketball at SU is compiling this year, you also see a “soul” in our program. That soul is manifest in that while they are playing basketball, our players are also being educated as whole persons and empowered to be leaders for a just and humane world. In this way, the classroom of the basketball floor becomes an extension of the profound learning students are experiencing in the classrooms of the university.

About the co-authors: Jim Hayford is in his second year as the head basketball coach at Seattle University. Fr. Patrick Kelly, SJ is associate professor of theology and religious studies and has published widely on sport and theology.  He was one of the experts who helped to write the first ever Vatican document about sport, “Giving the Best of Yourself” (June 2018).

America magazine highlights SU’s decision to divest

November 29, 2018

The latest issue of America highlights SU’s leadership in fossil fuel divestment. The story—“Seattle University plans fossil fuel divestment: Will other Jesuit schools follow its lead?”—references the university’s commitment to divest, which President Stephen Sundborg announced in September

As Sundborg wrote then, the university’s Board of Trustees adopted recommendations from the Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) Advisory Working Group to fully divest the marketable portion of the endowment from any investments in companies owning fossil fuel reserves by June 30, 2023; and to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the exposure to companies owning fossil fuel reserves in the marketable portion of the endowment portfolio by Dec. 31, 2020. 

Based in New York, America is the national weekly magazine published by the Jesuits of the U.S. 

In Divestment Q&A, Phil Thompson, director of the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability, discusses the university’s decision and what’s next in the university’s efforts to decrease its carbon footprint and become even greener.

"Discipleship at the Crossroads"

November 13, 2018

A delegation of Seattle University students participated in the 21st annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, which was held Nov. 3-5 in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Va. Organized by the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the gathering drew nearly 2,000 attendees from more than 125 institutions. 

This year’s theme, “Discipleship at the Crossroads,” was inspired by Pope Francis’ call “to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas” to better journey together “towards the Good.” 

Two of students representing SU, Karina Comes and Rika Ilagan, got up on stage to sing a song they created with the Peace Poets, which you can watch here at about the 34-minute mark: 

Their performance was well received. “Folks I know from other schools were texting me from IFTJ to say how awesome our students are,” said JoAnn Lopez of Campus Ministry. 

Visit Ignatian Solidarity Network for a recap of the Teach-In.

Emergency Scholarship Assistance: A Call to Support SU’s Sister Jesuit School in Nicaragua

October 29, 2018

Since April, the Nicaraguan government has undertaken repressive measures against its own citizens, resulting in 500 deaths and an additional 4,000 injured. Situated at the heart of the conflict, SU’s sister Jesuit institution in Managua, the University of Central America (UCA), has been particularly impacted by the violence and unrest. 

In a letter recently circulated to the Jesuit higher education network, SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., explains: “Since July, there have been cuts and delays in the financial support the Nicaraguan government provides to the UCA. This, combined with the economic hardships that the families of UCA students are facing, has made scholarship assistance even more necessary.” 

Led by President Chepe Idiaquez, S.J., UCA is forging ahead to provide online courses to their students (the safest way to continue with teaching and learning in this period), but they have now lost those scholarship funds for thousands of students. The SU community is encouraged to support an emergency scholarship fund established for the students of UCA. At this link you can make a tax-deductible donation, learn more about the situation in Nicaragua and at UCA. 

“Your gift is a great expression of hope and solidarity with the UCA in Nicaragua and the young people they serve, and it will strengthen our colleagues in their continued effort to live out their Jesuit educational mission in a critical time in the life of their country,” Father Sundborg writes. 

Seattle University has shared a special connection with the UCA that spans more than two decades, as formalized in an official partnership in 2014. This collaboration has included student and faculty exchanges, joint research and a variety of collaborative projects. Visit SU’s Central America Initiative to learn more.

Mass of the Holy Spirit

October 2, 2018

UPDATE: Click here for the full text of the homily Lucas Sharma, S.J., delivered at the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Oct. 4. 

Seattle University's annual Mass of the Holy Spirit will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, at Immaculate Conception Church (820 18th Ave.–18th and E. Marion). Students, faculty and staff of all faith backgrounds are encouraged to attend.

A longstanding tradition at Catholic universities around the world, the Mass of the Holy Spirit is an opportunity to ask the Spirit of God to bless us as we start a new year of learning and discovery. Classes are cancelled between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to make it possible for all to participate. Following are additional details.

Robing and Procession | Faculty and staff are invited to robe and join in the academic procession. The basement of the church will be open for robing at 10 a.m. Please be ready to form the faculty and staff procession at 10:15 a.m. (Note: It is recommended that you not leave any items, especially valuables or money, in the robing hall during Mass.)

Transportation |
For those who would like a van ride, beginning at 9:30 a.m., shuttles will depart from the university seal (11th and E. Marion St.) and proceed to Immaculate Conception Church. (Van rides are also available back to campus following Mass.) If you require an accessible ride, please contact Public Safety at 206-296-5990.

After Mass Celebration | Immediately after Mass, students, faculty and staff will process together down the hill and back to campus for light refreshments on the plaza in front of the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. Rain location: Student Center 160.

Come help us mark this new beginning of an academic year as a campus community!

For more information, or to volunteer to serve at the Mass, contact JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy,

Father Leigh marks 50 years as a priest

September 20, 2018

David Leigh, S.J., a longtime member of SU’s Jesuit community, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest this year. (Pat O'Leary, S.J., who spent many years at SU before moving to Spokane in 2016, is celebrating his 70th anniversary of entering the Society of Jesus.)

Reflecting on his 50th anniversary as a priest, Father Leigh recalls, “The most memorable parts of that day on June 15, 1968 were being in St. James Cathedral for ordination to the priesthood after 13 years of training as a Jesuit and seeing all my family (my brother has seven children) and lots of old friends and former students. A day of strong remembrances, thanks and grace.”

Since then, Father Leigh has served in myriad roles—and touched many lives.

At SU alone, Father Leigh has worn many a hat, including director of the Honors Program for 10 years (1983-93), director of the Core Curriculum for a decade (1990-2000) and chair of the English Department (six years).

In his “spare time,” Father Leigh has taken on numerous other responsibilities on campus and beyond. He has also enjoyed offering Mass in parishes, schools, homes and other places, especially for students he has taught at Gonzaga U and Seattle U and many parishes in Seattle (including his home parish of Christ the King in the North End). And he has led retreats and alumni seminars, taught overseas, presented social justice workshops and projects in the Northwest and has been involved with peace and ecology movements.

Then there’s his research and writing. A noted and prolific scholar who was honored as the 2017-2018 recipient of the Father James B. McGoldrick Fellowship, Father Leigh has authored two books, Modern Spiritual Autobiographies and Apocalypse in 20th Century Fiction, as well as 50-some articles.

What Father Leigh values most in looking back on his 50 years and counting as a priest are the relationships he has formed with the people he has gotten to know. “I most enjoy working with faculty and staff in retreats, workshops, personal relations, friendships and work for ‘faith and justice,’ the Jesuit goal in all our activities. I also enjoy teaching and working with students, especially in English and Theology classes, retreats and workshops, living in the dorms, and helping them with grad school and job transitions, as well as helping some with their spiritual growth and lives.

“I find joy in seeing people I have taught or worked with as a priest find happiness and peace in their own lives through my teaching, preaching, sacraments (and other activities).”