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Mission
Inspire & Ignite Blog

SPONSORSHIP REVIEW: A LONG, LOVING LOOK AT THE REAL

Sajit Kabadi
The late Fr. Walter Burghardt, SJ spoke of “taking a long, loving look at the real.”

When I teach theology, I often ask my students to reflect on the difference between a look and a gaze. A look is noticing, making note of or a quick glimpse, while a gaze is a deeper meditated focus on that which can stir thoughts, feelings and emotions enlivening our humanity within God’s creation.

This school year, in collaboration with our Jesuit Province, Regis Jesuit has been taking an in-depth long, loving look at our Catholic, Jesuit mission in action. This process, known as sponsorship review, is something all Jesuit high schools go through approximately every five years and is meant to assess how much in alignment with its mission a school is. Regis Jesuit’s last review took place during the 2014-15 school year. 
The late Fr. Walter Burghardt, SJ spoke of “taking a long, loving look at the real.”

When I teach theology, I often ask my students to reflect on the difference between a look and a gaze. A look is noticing, making note of or a quick glimpse, while a gaze is a deeper meditated focus on that which can stir thoughts, feelings and emotions enlivening our humanity within God’s creation.

This school year, in collaboration with our Jesuit Province, Regis Jesuit has been taking an in-depth long, loving look at our Catholic, Jesuit mission in action. This process, known as sponsorship review, is something all Jesuit high schools go through approximately every five years and is meant to assess how much in alignment with its mission a school is. Regis Jesuit’s last review took place during the 2014-15 school year.

The current review began last August as a steering committee of seven gathered and then moved forward to form sub-committees consisting of six to seven members of our RJHS community who collected and analyzed data reflecting key aspects of our Catholic Jesuit mission and how they are integrated fully within the ethos of our approach at Regis Jesuit. These mission aspects include educational excellence, leadership and governance, Catholic Jesuit identity, formation and a faith that does justice.

Throughout the fall semester, the committees gathered facts about these five domains. The steering committee is now working to aggregate that information into a final report, which will be presented to our community for additional prayerful reflection and dialogue in the coming weeks before being submitted to the Province. At the end of March, a team from the Province will come for an on-site visit to conduct an accreditation process of how we animate, embody and can optimize our Catholic, Jesuit mission at Regis Jesuit.

“A long, loving look at the real.”

Throughout this extensive process of review, I have reflected on the question of what sets Regis Jesuit High School apart. Do we have high standards and expectations in academics, athletics or cocurriculars? Yes. Do we have excellent pastoral, service, diversity and formation programs? Yes. Do we have a college preparatory school preparing young men and women for the next phase of their lives and beyond? Yes. We excel in these and many other aspects of Catholic, Jesuit education, but what makes Regis Jesuit unique?

“A long, loving look at the real.”

In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius included an incarnational contemplation where the Holy Trinity is looking down from Heaven on the world with all its human paradoxes and messiness—good and evil, beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, mended and broken relationships, etc. The Trinity looks upon it, first and foremost, with divine unconditional love.

We lead, teach and accompany our students as they take “a long, loving look at real.” I believe the educational experience at Regis Jesuit stands out because of our desire to take an authentic and in-depth gaze at our world—the challenges, the blessings, the complexities, the gifts. We gaze honestly, and at times critically, but above all with God’s love. We seek to solve problems in this world utilizing our educational gifts and talents, but above all with God’s love.

This is what we hope to instill in our young women and men--to encourage and accompany them in taking a true yet loving look at our world, prayerfully discerning God’s will for them in how they choose to utilize their talents. We help them discover their gifts and ways they can use them in service for our broken world, leading with their actions and loving with their hearts. Catholic, Jesuit education is a partnership with parents that is meant to be formational. Heeding the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta, we work together to encourage our students to “do small things, but with great love.”

As we enjoy this long weekend, may we take a moment to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have a long way to go to achieve the arc of justice King referred to, but instead of despairing, let us recommit ourselves to doing the hard work of justice with God’s love in our hearts, with humility and openness to growth. My prayer for all of us is that we may lead, teach and accompany one another, first and foremost, with the love of Jesus.

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Dr. Sajit Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry and Diversity and chair of the Sponsorship Review Steering Committee. He has worked at Regis Jesuit since 2000.
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