Faculties of Philosophy and Theology

There are more than 20 faculties of philosophy and theology in the Euro-Mediterranean Jesuit provinces. We like to see these institutions as torches that guide people from one point to another. Torches may be small but most importantly, they can shed light where it is needed. These institutions collaborate and strive to give well-sounded responses to the hot-button issues of today’s society.

Each year, representatives from each faculty get together to find new ways of promoting theology and philosophy across Europe, share best practices and encourage more collaboration in order to fulfil their mission.

Always on a yearly basis, these institutions use the Ignatian pedagogical tradition to form many seminarians and lay people in different areas, such as theology, philosophy, social sciences and the humanities. This formation is aimed at empowering people to be valuable members of society.

 

Graduation Day. On June 21, 2016, 15 students of the program “Faith and Dialogue” and 14 students of the program “Psychology and Spirituality” graduated after completing a two-year long curriculum. After the handing of the diplomas, during which many students shared their deep appreciation of their experience at STI, there followed a moment of joyful celebration in a family atmosphere, which included a delicious cake with the logo of the Institute, ordered by the students.   Eight students of the program “Art and Spirituality” will graduate in September 2016, after they complete their final papers during summer. Another 25 students have finished the first year of their biennial programs. Next year the program in theology will focus on Christology in its different ecumenical aspects, while the program in art will look at the Medieval period and Renaissance. All our programs will be one-year long from now on, for the convenience of our students.   
Agreement about Position in University of Zagreb. On 29h of July, the Rector of the University of Zagreb dr.sc. Damir Boras and the Croatian Provincial Fr. Ante Tustonjić SJ, have signed the Agreement about the position and functioning of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus inside the University of Zagreb. The signing event was attended by different high representatives of the Church: the apostolic nuncio in the Republic of Croatia msgr. Alessandro D'Errico, archbishop of Zadar and the president of the Croatian Bishop Conference and auxiliary Bishop of Zagreb msgr. Valentin Pozaić SJ.  The decision about the inclusion of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus as a component of the University of Zagreb with it's new name - The Faculty of philosophy and religious sciences - has been made by the Senate of the University on 8th of December 2015.  
The meeting of Deans of Jesuit Faculties of Philosophy and Theology in Uppsala (10th – 13th July) was the second key meeting this year that worked on the Higher Education for Social Transformation (HEST) project that was started in 2015. It also, served as the continuation to the Universities Meeting that had happened less than a month before. Unfortunately, the same European scenario we talked about in the Universities meeting keeps repeating itself: crisis of vision, of solidarity, wars, poverty and other… “Seeing this scenario, what actions are we going to take as members of the Ignatian family?” was asked by one of the participants of the meeting. Father General once said in a Conference he was giving in Mexico in April 2010: “Can we not go beyond the loose family relationships we now have as institutions, and re-imagine and re-organize ourselves so that, in this globalized world, we can more effectively realize the universality which has always been part of Ignatius’ vision of the Society?” The answer is YES, it is possible, and the higher education institutions of the Society of Jesus have confirmed their willingness to work together on a project that will fulfil this vision of universality. This HEST project aims to do that. It proposes to link higher education institutions with social centres and reviews to address certain issues of relevance for the Society, the Church and the European and Near East societies. Issues like: ecology and environmental challenges; economy, poverty and ethics, Christian Muslim relations… Furthermore, during the meeting, participants had the opportunity to hear great inputs from Rev. Friedrich Bechina F.S.O, the undersecretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education; Father Franco Imoda SJ, President of AVEPRO; Father Michael Garanzini SJ, Secretary for Higher Education; and Julia María Gonzalez Ferreras, Tunning Project. All of them were very supportive of the HEST project and encouraged the deans to keep moving forward. In the meeting there was also a short note from Father José Ignacio García SJ and Father Martin Maier SJ from JESC who talked about how higher education could link with the social apostolate of the Society of Jesus and finally an intervention of Dr. Johannes Wallacher from the Hochschule für Philosophie in Munich who gave their experience in this link amongst sectors where it is already working. Needless to say, all of this inputs supporting the project gave a strong feeling of hope. This, together with the fantastic MAGIS event and an amazing World Youth Day in Poland, give us reasons to believe in a better Europe, far from the scenario we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Now, we are looking forward to the General Congregation 36 to confirm this message of hope. It was agreed that the next meeting will be held in Paris, France from the 9th to the 13th of July 2017, with a slight change from previous meetings, this time, rectors of universities and deans from the faculties of philosophy and theology will all share the same meeting and they will discuss the current and future possibilities of the HEST project. Stay tunned for more interesting news about higher education and the intellectual apostolate!   See: Universities Meeting News article Top Image: Participants of the Faculties of Philosophy Meeting in Uppsala 2016