"The Ignatian Year" and Seattle University

May 20, 2021

Dear Seattle University Community,

Today marks the 500th anniversary of the day on which Ignatius of Loyola was struck by a cannonball in a battle at Pamplona. This upending of his chivalrous life led to his conversion of putting himself at the service of Jesus Christ and led to the founding of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. Across the world the thousands of Jesuit works begin today an “Ignatian Year” reflecting on the inspiration of St. Ignatius for their particular work and their common mission with all Jesuit-sponsored initiatives. Seattle University is one of these works seeking to renew the Ignatian inspiration of what we do in our day and context as a Jesuit and Catholic university.

This Ignatian Year could be very helpful for renewing our vision and shaping our future. Over the course of the year through Colleagues in Jesuit Education, the Arrupe Seminar in the Foundations and Vision of Jesuit Education, the annual Mission Day, and with special events, speakers and discussions, we hope to renew the Ignatian inspiration of our common endeavor.

What are the principal dimensions of the Ignatian inspiration for Seattle University?

  • Our university is founded on the belief, which Ignatius emphasized, that God is working in all of us and in our students and that we are called to cooperate with what God is doing in others as we deeply respect one another.

  • Ignatius was a man of unusually clear vision and of great desires for the service and sanctification of the world. We are called simply to be a university of vision, desires, and service.

  • Ignatius learned to discern his way forward in his life, opening himself to the Spirit and to new circumstances and opportunities. We as a university need to be flexible and adaptable as we discern our future together.

  • Ignatius came to believe that the greatest means to change the world was through education of intellectual depth and value-laden character formation. We as a Jesuit university are a result of that insight in the kind of education we seek to offer.

  • Ignatius lived out in his own way and in his day through works of humble social and humanitarian care the Jesuit priority of “the service of the faith through the promotion of justice.” That is what we also are about in our mission.

  • Ignatius learned that service required forming a group of companions and partners for mutual support and for more effective and lasting impact. He would encourage us in our building of community and colleagueship around our common mission.

As we begin this Ignatian Year today we have an opportunity in the coming year to renew and deepen the inspiration and vision of our university especially as we welcome our new president, as we emerge from the pandemic, and as we seek to implement the vision of our Strategic Directions that we will be “one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world.” May we walk with St. Ignatius of Loyola in this year, seek his inspiration, and renew our university in solidarity with all those in Jesuit-sponsored works around the world in this Ignatian Year.

With gratitude and prayer,

Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.