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Five centuries of Jesuit pedagogy at the service of society’s stakeholders

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary  , the Sèvres Center is changing its name. The Jesuit institute of higher education and research in French-speaking Western Europe will now be called Facultés Loyola Paris.

 “Facultés Loyola Paris”, a name which sounds like a return to the sources , Paris being the university city where Ignatius of Loyola laid the foundations of the Society of Jesus in the 16th century , with several companions. This name also reaffirms a conviction: that of the still current need for a centuries-old Ignatian pedagogy which has always been at the service of the intellectual training of people engaged in the Church and society . A beneficial reminder in a world where the loss of meaning makes decision-making more uncertain .

This new name reflects the international openness of Loyola Paris Faculties which welcome and train students from all over the world. From theology to philosophy, including the human sciences, the Loyola Paris Faculties want to place the development of constructed and personal thought at the center of training. An ambition also embodied by the new motto: “Called to freedom” , a quote taken from the New Testament (Ga 5:13).

“Loyola Paris Faculties”: a new name to express a strong identity

Founded in 1974 by the Society of Jesus, the Sèvres Center – located in the street of the same name in Paris – was born from an intuition: to offer university-level courses open to all, which combine philosophy, theology and human sciences in dialogue with the fundamental questions of contemporary culture and society . Since its creation, it has delivered canonical diplomas, the level of which is recognized by the French State, as well as its own university diplomas, some of which in partnership with recognized French universities.

The establishment is also part of the long tradition of the Society of Jesus in favor of the intellectual and spiritual training of people : the Jesuit high schools which developed throughout the world, the upcoming opening of a Jesuit college in Marseille or The numerous chaplaincies of major schools run by Jesuits also bear witness to this vitality. In this vein, the Loyola Paris Faculties offer an original pedagogy, inspired by the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

50 years after the foundation, the initial intuition was confirmed. The faculties have developed and opened to the world while remaining faithful to their identity.

Faculties with an international dimension

The Loyola Paris Faculties are part of the network of Jesuit universities and faculties of higher education present in more than 50 countries with nearly 800,000 students . The new name “Loyola Paris Faculties” thus places the establishment explicitly in a charisma shared with “Loyola” universities of different nationalities (United States, Spain, Congo, India, etc.).

Led by the Jesuits, the teaching team includes some 180 high-level teachers (including 50 permanent staff), invested in research in France and internationally, with a wide diversity of profiles: religious, lay, men and women.

The Loyola Paris Faculties are one of the leading training centers for the Society of Jesus in the world, due to the number of Jesuits trained and the diversity of their origins . They also welcome and train religious from other congregations and the general public. As such, they want to serve the Church and the world, with this strong conviction that a spiritual life anchored in solid training and openness to others are the leaven of justice and peace for society. .

Training open to all to develop their ability to make fair decisions

With a wide variety of formats (courses open to free listeners, sessions lasting a few days, online courses or free lunchtime conferences, etc.), all training courses pursue the same objective: to be accessible to as many people as possible. , in particular to professionals and people engaged in the service of society, in order to provide them with structuring training which makes them capable of responding in an appropriate manner to the challenges of today's world.

The wide range of training thus aims at making fair and responsible decisions in complex situations, in areas such as personal life, social or economic life, professional life, service to the Church: biomedical ethics, political commitment. and citizen, theological research on precariousness, environmental and social action…

The pedagogy offers personalized support for students, careful work with sources and a strong culture of debate. Teachers are keen to allow themselves to be questioned by different schools of thought: a bias called for by the strong interculturality of this unique institution in the French university landscape.

Bringing faith and reason into dialogue in the face of tensions across the world

In the current highly anxiety-provoking context, the temptation is to rush towards ready-to-think or ready-to-believe. On the contrary, Loyola Paris Faculties want to allow everyone a personal and structured journey, deeply rooted in an authentic inner life.

The Faculties offer specific courses for Catholics who wish to deepen their faith, without committing to a canonical cycle: Believe and Understand cycle, professionalizing university diploma (DU) for those involved in school pastoral care, training in spiritual accompaniment people and groups, etc.

From 2024, the courses will be structured along three main transversal axes to meet contemporary expectations: rooting one's faith in a great tradition, confronting a changing era and seeking right ways of being.

In a society in search of meaning, where decisions are made and undone according to emotions, feelings or ideologies, the Loyola Paris Faculties thus pursue the historical ambition of the Society of Jesus: to train the person in depth to know discern, construct personal thoughts and acquire the ability to make free and fully conscious choices. A commitment to which the new name and the new motto: “Called to freedom” provide a new springboard.

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