Catholic and Jesuit

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Catholic and Jesuit Mission and Identity

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1942, Fairfield University is proud of its identity as a Jesuit and Catholic university, an identity that gives rise to our vibrant institutional mission: education in the liberal arts, sciences and professions that prepares students to lead their communities with insight, empathy, critical rigor and a determination to serve and promote justice.

The 2000-year-old intellectual tradition of Catholic Christianity grounds our core curriculum, in its broad humanism and commitment to reasoned inquiry. Courses that engage religious belief and practice – in religious studies, philosophy, history, literature and the arts – are complemented by lively discussions of faith, spirituality, justice and public life outside the classroom. Thus we claim, with our Mission Statement, that “Fairfield is Catholic in both tradition and spirit.”

As a Jesuit school, we value the notion of cura personalis, often translated as “care of the whole person,” inspired by the unique qualities of dialogue and reflection that are characteristic of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In addition, the historically global reach of the Society of Jesus continues to inform Jesuit education, so that diversity and inclusion — of peoples, cultures, ideas, and traditions &mdash are valued throughout the enterprise.

Fairfield University is one of twenty-eight Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. These schools network through the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). We are associated with the USA/Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and are grateful for the Jesuits who serve in many capacities here, starting with our president, the Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, SJ. The Rev. Paul Holland, SJ, is the rector of the Fairfield Jesuit Community. To learn more about a Jesuit vocation, please visit www.jesuitvocation.org.

Two members of the faculty and administration are selected each year for the intensive Ignatian Colleagues Program, resulting in a strong sense of mission-orientation among the lay people who shape Fairfield"s future. Animating our alumni are members of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society for undergraduate and graduate students.

During the academic year 2015-2016, Fairfield has undertaken a self-study process, “Jesuit. By Design.” In dialogue with the Society of Jesus, this process will result in the identification of mission priorities for the next five years, ensuring that the Jesuit Catholic character of Fairfield will remain lively and in focus in the changing landscape of higher education. At the 2015 President’s Retreat, three areas of broad emphasis were re-affirmed by those present:

  1. Emphasize the mission statement as we hire faculty and staff, and continue to seek Jesuit administrators and faculty. Ensure that diversity is inseparable from our mission focus in recruiting, welcoming and supporting our students, faculty, and staff.
  2. Highlight the intellectual range of the Catholic Jesuit tradition so that it is visible in our academic programs.
  3. Promote the integration of service learning and community engagement initiatives.

Strengthening our commitment to our Jesuit and Catholic mission are well-established programs and centers that, through lectures, workshops, publications and grant-funded activities, continually propose questions of faith, reason, justice and beauty.

The Center for Catholic Studies, led by Dr. Paul Lakeland, the Aloysius P. Kelley Chair in Catholic Studies.

The Center for Faith & Public Life, led by the Rev. Richard Ryscavage, SJ.

The Center for Ignatian Spirituality, led by the Rev. James Bowler, SJ.

The breadth of Fairfield’s Catholic Jesuit mission is demonstrated in other initiatives as well, from The Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies to the living-learning experience of the Sophomore Residential Colleges program. With offices in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, Campus Ministry, while primarily supporting the sacramental life of the Catholic community, is also a home to chaplains from other faith traditions, and welcomes those exploring faith through retreats and service projects.

Fairfield Jesuit Community

Continuing a spiritual journey that began with Ignatius of Loyola over 450 years ago, the Jesuits have been living and serving in Fairfield Connection for more than half a century.

Campus Ministry

‌The journey you take during your time at Fairfield might include a spiritual path, one that leads through our Campus Ministry Center. Located on the lower level of the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, the center strives to be a home for students of all faith traditions who are interested in exploring and enriching their spiritual lives.

Center for Ignatian Spirituality

The mission of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield University is to keep the Ignatian charism alive, both at the University and the college preparatory school, as well as offering this to the local Christian community of Fairfield County through collaboration and programs promoting Ignatian spirituality.

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