At the start of the 2019 Jesuit Values Panel (JVP) at NSO Weekend, host Darshan Shah (MSB’20) began with the following observation: “Nearly 500 years ago, St. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus–the Jesuits–which over the years came to embody values … values, whether you realize it or not, [that] will truly come to life on the Hilltop in everything you do as a student of our community.”
What are these Jesuit “values” and how do they “come to life” in the diverse, interreligious context of Georgetown University? For a full hour on the Saturday of NSO weekend, the interfaith Chaplains from the Office of Campus Ministry worked to unpack these values and share with incoming students what it means to live out the Ignatian heritage, Jesuit values, and interreligious commitments of our community.
This year, the JVP featured representatives from each of the chaplaincies in Campus Ministry: Rabbi Rachel Gartner (Jewish Life), Fr. Greg Schenden (Catholic Life), Brahmachari Sharan (Dharmic Life), Imam Hendi (Muslim Life), Fr. David Pratt (Orthodox Christian Life), and Rev. Brandon Harris (Protestant Life). Each chaplain reflected on one of the values embodied in the Spirit of Georgetown from their own religious perspective: Rabbi Rachel – Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam; Fr. Greg – Cura Personalis; Brahmachari – Community in Diversity; Imam Hendi – Interreligious Understanding; Fr. Pratt – Academic Excellence; and Rev. Harris – Educating the Whole Person.
A major theme that emerged from the panel was the importance of mindfulness–both of oneself and in the presence of others. Fr. Greg Schenden named this when, in reflecting on the value of cura personalis, he said, “We know you all are smart, but it’s all of who you are [that is important]. That is why you are here at Georgetown. It is the notion of soulfulness.”
During the Q&A session at the end of the panel, students followed up on this theme of mindfulness, or soulfulness, in their conversations with the chaplains. “How do you use interfaith dialogue to … create cohesion, community, and coherence on this campus?” asked one incoming Hoya. In response, Rabbi Rachel described how one of Georgetown’s goals is to teach students how to interact with others. For Rabbi Rachel, and many of her colleagues on the panel, “community” does not mean everyone has to agree, but it does mean that everyone must be willing to listen to each other and respect their opinions–even (and perhaps most importantly) when they disagree.
To hear the full panel, click on the Soundcloud player below.
by Dustin Hartuv
Dustin Hartuv is a sophomore at Georgetown and a staff writer for Campus Ministry.