As we settle into this new school year, it is a special time at De Smet Jesuit, unlike any other moment in our 54-year school history — and not simply because we celebrate our first 50th reunion, with the founding Class of 1971. This year, we celebrate The Ignatian Year, the 500th anniversary of when Ignatius the soldier, struck by a cannonball, began his transformation into Ignatius the pilgrim. It was this fateful moment that began an ongoing experience of conversion in the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
In preparing for the special year ahead, I was recently inspired by a podcast featuring Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., one of my most cherished mentors and spiritual guides during my time at Boston College. When asked about some possible fruits to bear in this Ignatian Year, Fr. Beaumier reflected upon the value of disruption in our lives.
At the Mass of the Holy Spirit (a longstanding tradition at Jesuit schools to reflect and pray that the Holy Spirit animate all that we do throughout the school year and direct us in discerning God’s will), I called our young men to strive for disruption in the year ahead. To me, striving for disruption means challenging oneself to be uncomfortable. I asked our students to reflect on what this might look like in their lives. Perhaps this is reaching out to a new student sitting alone at lunch or holding a friend accountable when he says something hurtful or rash. Disruption could also be trying out for a new sports team, raising a hand to answer a question in a challenging class, or engaging in an intellectual dialogue with someone who holds a differing viewpoint.
Just as the cannonball moment gave Ignatius the opportunity to pause and reflect upon who he was and who he wanted to become; we pray in a special way this year that our students have opportunities to walk in the footsteps of Ignatius. Disruption gives space and opportunity for cannonball moments. We pray that our students take time — through habits of prayer, reflection, and discernment — to listen to where God is calling them. We pray that during times of fear, uncertainty, instability, and struggle that our students recognize these moments as an important part of their journey. At the heart of Christianity lies the belief that hope and renewal are born from strife and disruption.
We pray that this Ignatian Year may be a disruption in all of our lives. May we seek and find God in the disruption, allowing Him to transform us. May we see disruption as God’s invitation to pause, reflect, and believe — inspiring us to be men and women for and with others, for the greater glory of God.
We invite our entire De Smet Jesuit community — students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and friends — to celebrate with us and be renewed in our shared mission to form young men, inspired by our Jesuit, Catholic tradition.
Let’s strive for disruption, and make it a great year, Spartans.