George W. Traub, SJ: A Jesuit Education Reader

(Chicago: Loyola Press, 2008, 431 pp)

Jesuits tend to be pretty good at writing about, and drawing attention to, their ministries. There's an old joke that for every one Jesuit out there doing something great, three are busy writing about it.

Fr. George Traub, SJ, has done those of us in Catholic higher education a great service by drawing together into one source some of the best of the many articles on Jesuit higher education.

The collection is grounded in the early history and charism of the Jesuits, but pays attention to historical and recent developments. Howard Gray and John O'Malley both identify how early Jesuit life, spirituality, and self-understanding was built on the experience of Ignatius Loyola. O'Malley's "How the First Jesuits Became Involved in Education" is a great piece.

While Jesuit values and priorities are shaped by a sixteenth century origin, they are also reshaped or redefined periodically by international General Congregations. It was interesting to see that two documents from the 34th General Congregation (1995) were included. The collection went to press before the documents of the 35th General Congregation were available.

But I also wondered why nothing of the famous 32nd G.C. was included. That event, while it likely underestimated the role of the colleges and universities, became a pivotal document for its advocacy of the promotion of social justice. Similarly, something like the original text of Fr. Arrupe's "men for others" would have been an important addition to contextualize other mentions of faith and justice that pop up throughout the book.

Those are probably minor issues for what is a fine collection. The articles deal with issues of Jesuit education that presumes the benefit of a pluralistic context, increasing professionalism, and postmodern culture. Yet they are all unafraid to recognize the particular challenges these can pose, and the degree that Jesuit schools need to learn their way through them. A few articles from non-Jesuit-focused sources make clear that even the Jesuit schools are well-prepared to learn from others.

The collection includes articles by many faculty with a Collegium connection, including "Collegium, Catholic Identity, and the Non-Catholic" by Suzanne Matson (F '93); "Where Loyalties Lie" by Dominic Balestra (M'04); "Jesuit Sí, Catholic…Not So Sure" by David J. O'Brien (M '93, '94, 98, S '00, '05); "The Truly Catholic University" and "Liberating Students—from Paris Hilton, Howard Stern, and Jim Beam, by Rich Malloy, SJ (F'96); "Wonders to Behold and Skillful Seeing" by Jody Ziegler (F'97, M'08, board member); and "Marketing to the Poor by Roshan "Bob" Ahuja (F'93).

The volume also includes the often emulated "Do You Speak Ignatian?" glossary of terms from Xavier University.
Thomas M. Landy