St. Francis Xavier School, a faith community grounded on Jesuit principles of superior education, cultivates excellence in mind, body and spirit sending forth Kids for Others.
St. Francis Xavier School fosters a learning environment whose community members appreciate God’s presence in the world and respond generously in action to God’s love. In the Ignatian tradition, St. Francis Xavier School sees spiritual formation as integrally connected to the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of the whole child. The excellent educational traditions of St. Francis Xavier School are strongly supported by the families in the community, many of whose roots at the school go back three generations. St. Francis Xavier School challenges students to embark on a lifelong journey of discovery of their Godgiven gifts and to share these gifts in service to God.
The Fundamental Principles of a Jesuit Education
1. God is present in our lives, “laboring for us” in all things. Jesuit education affirms the radical goodness of the world, tries to create a sense of wonder and mystery in learning about God’s creation, probes the meaning of human life and is concerned with the total formation of each student as an individual personally loved by God.
2. Growth in the responsible use of freedom is facilitated by the personal relationship between student and teacher. In a Jesuit school the adult members of the educational community guide students in their development of a set of values leading to life decisions that go beyond “self” and include a concern for the needs of others.
3. Freedom requires genuine knowledge, love and acceptance of self, joined to a determination to be freed from any excessive attachment. Jesuit education emphasizes the happiness in life that is the result of a responsible use of freedom, but it also recognizes the reality of sin and its effects in the life of each person. Education tries to encourage each student to confront this obstacle to freedom honestly, in a growing awareness and a growing realization that forgiveness and conversion are possible through the redemptive love and the help of God.
4. Christ is the model for human life. Jesuit education promotes a faith that is centered on the historical person of Christ, which leads to a commitment to imitate him as the “Man for Others.”
5. Service of the faith through the promotion of justice is action in imitation of Christ; it is the justice of God, which is informed by evangelical charity. In a Jesuit school, the focus is on the education for justice. The active commitment asked of students – and practiced by former students and by the adult members of the educational community – is a free commitment to the struggle for a more human world and community of love.
6. The Church is the instrument through which Christ is sacramentally present in the world. Loyalty to the service of the church, the people of God, is characteristic of all Jesuit works. Jesuit education – while respecting the conscience and the convictions of each student – is faithful to the teachings of the church, especially in moral and religious formation.
7. More (Magis), source for the Ignatian criterion of excellence applied to all areas of a Jesuit school, does not imply comparison with others or measurement of progress against an absolute standard; rather it is the fullest possible development of each person’s individual capacities at each stage of life, joined to the willingness to continue this development throughout life and the motivation to use those developed gifts for others.
8. Collaboration requires a willingness on the part of both lay persons and Jesuits to assume appropriate responsibilities: to work together in leadership and service. All members of the school community work together to create and maintain the conditions most favorable for each one to grow in the responsible use of freedom. The school structure reflects the new society that the school, through its education, is trying to construct.
9. Discernment as the basis of prayerful and reflective decision making involves a constant search for the greater service to God. In order to remain effective as educators and in order to “discern” the more concrete response to God’s call, all adult members of the educational community need to take advantage of opportunities for continuing education and continued personal development – especially in professional competence, pedagogical techniques, and spiritual formation.
10. Ignatian Pedagogy has its roots in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius where the quality of the relationship between the guide of the Spiritual Exercises and the person making them is the model for the relationship between the teacher and the student. A distinctive feature of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm is that, understood in the light of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, it becomes not only a fitting description of the continual interplay of experience, reflection and action in the teaching and learning process, but also an ideal portrayal of the dynamic interrelationship of teacher and learner in the latter’s journey of growth in knowledge and freedom.