The Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus challenge us to journey with young people and to walk with the excluded. At the core of every human being is a desire to belong and to find meaning. Such meaning can be found in our places of worship, communities, and institutions. Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God is found in all things and in all people. It is this reminder of God’s presence in the world that invites us to create spaces and communities where all are welcome and all belong.
Rooted in the Catholic faith, Jesuit institutions welcome each member of the human family and strive to provide opportunities and support for the ongoing cultivation of community. Relationship and belonging are key in helping individuals thrive academically, socially, psychologically, and spiritually. Connection with others, connection with the self, and connection with something far beyond oneself are crucial in developing persons for others who are responsive to the needs of the world. Belonging begins with relationship.
At USF, relationships are cultivated inside and outside the classroom. The academic experience allows for students to explore their areas of interest while finding classmates and friends with similar interests. A plethora of student clubs and organizations creates an environment of welcome where students can join others around a common interest. Several religious traditions are well-represented at University Ministry, where students can find comfort in communities of welcome, worship, or fellowship.
Questions for Reflection
- How do we create a place of belonging for those around us who might be searching for it?
- How do we embrace those with identities, experiences, and beliefs different from ours and extend our arms in true welcome?
- How do we truly walk with each other?
Curia Generalizia della Compagnia di Gesù. (n.d.). “Universal Apolistic Preferences.” The Society of Jesus. https://www.jesuits.global/uap/introduction/