Fairfield University is proud to host “Ignatian Heritage Week” in association with the unveiling, dedication, and blessing of a commissioned work of art entitled, “Examen.” Highlights of the week’s events include the presentation of three lectures on the contributions of Jesuits and the current state in the world of the Jesuit order, a film on a noted Jesuit missionary, as well as liturgical celebrations and musical offerings by the University Glee Club.
Ignatian Heritage Week commenced the first day of Homecoming & Family Weekend on Saturday, October 22 when the University community gathered with The Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, president of the University, to celebrate the dedication and blessing of a commissioned bronze sculpture of St. Ignatius Loyola, “Examen.” The two-part artistic rendering of the founder of the Society of Jesus depicts one of the prime components of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. The Examen is St. Ignatius’ cornerstone prayer for discerning God’s presence in daily life and the new statue invites all into his method for paying attention to that divine presence.
Following the dedication, all were invited to a reception to meet the artists, Jeremy Leichman and Joan Benefiel, winners of the Fairfield University art competition for emerging young artists to design and produce the statue. Those in attendance also had an opportunity to watch a documentary, In His Presence, that Fr. Jim Mayzik, S.J., of the Media Center produced about the process of creating the new statue.
Rounding out Ignatian Heritage Week is a series of intriguing lectures presented by experts in the field of Jesuit history and ideology. The first lecture on Monday, October 24, was given by Ori Z. Soltes, Ph.D., The Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University. Dr. Soltes spoke about St. Ignatius and his profound and lasting impact on the Jesuits, spirituality, and art.
On Tuesday, October 25, The Rev. Thomas Worcester, S.J., Professor of History at The College of the Holy Cross, presented a talk entitled, “What Matters Most About The Jesuits?” Fr. Worcester examined the cultural and religious significance of the Jesuits, from the time of their founding in 1540, through their suppression in 1773, their restoration in 1814, up to the present.
On Wednesday, October 26 the film, Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church, was presented. The documentary follows two Jesuits, Jeremy Clarke, S.J., and Jim McDermott, S.J., who traveled throughout China retracing the steps of this fascinating proponent of cross-cultural exchange.
Thursday, October 27
Discerning Presence: An Ignatian Sense of God’s Presence in Every Religion
7:30 p.m. in the Barone Campus Center, Oak Room
The Rev. Francis Clooney, S.J.,
Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School
Fr. Clooney will challenge the audience to affirm Christ in the Church and tradition while looking with hope and humility into the wider world.
For more detailed information about Ignatian Heritage Week, please visit www.fairfield.edu/ignatianweek.
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