Recollection to begin a new term

We have a tradition at our school –both primary school and high school (these schools are known as EPSI and SIHS respectively) –to begin a new term with a day of recollection. On this Sunday 19th August 2018, we gathered in numbers to have to quiet moment of prayer and reflection. Our facilitator was Charles Niyigena, SJ, a former member of the staff at our school.

As a caveat to the prayer and reflection, Charles made clear that we take our mission so seriously. He said, and I quote, “What we have to offer to students is first who we are, people who listen and discern the will of God. Jesuit education is grounded on the desire to educate the whole person (mind, spirit, and body). Yet, we cannot take students where we have not been ourselves. It is important therefore that we ourselves be whole teachers/educators.” This is a call. This is a mission. We are called to be both teachers and educators.

From the caveat, Charles Niyigena, SJ, went through the Profile of an Ignatian Educator as expounded by the Jesuit Schools Network. Here he highlighted five important points that an Ignatian educator should bear in mind as he or she undertakes the important task of forming men and women for others. In this regard, the Jesuit Schools Network define the Ignatian educator as someone who: 

1. Cares for individual, 
2. Discerns ways of teaching and learning,
3. Models Ignatian Pedagogy,
4. Builds community and fosters collaboration,
5. Animates the Ignatian vision.

As a follow-up to these points, Charles asked us the following questions: Where are we in constructing that profile? If we have not started yet, when are we going to start? Each of us has to let these questions permeate in his or her heart so that we build a community of truly educators and teachers.

The points of meditation for all of us were taken from the gospel according to Luke 5:1-11. This is a beautiful scene where we watch Jesus teach the crowd and we try to be part of that crowd to be taught in return by Jesus. Not only do we stay at the level of the crowd, but also we follow Jesus as he dialogues with Simon Peter after the miraculous catch of fish. We listen and let Jesus take the lead. Each of us has to ask himself/herself what kind of feelings he/she gets. We also go through the Profile of an Ignatian Educator and each of us underlines the element that touches him/her the most.

Most importantly, as Ignatian Educators, we are called to make a self-evaluation in the light of the profile of an Ignatian educator, thanking God for what we have done well and asking him guidance where we need to improve.

After the personal time of meditation and reflection, we had a healthy break, to revive our bodies as well. Then came to moment of sharing in groups. Six groups were formed to facilitate a smooth sharing. This was a time for spiritual conversation as each shared what touched him/her most and ways to always strive for the Magis.

The day of recollection was concluded by a Eucharist presided over by Olivier Kayitare, SJ and Jean Damascène Bavugayabo, SJ as concelebrant. We thank the Good Lord for giving us this precious time of prayer and reflection. To Him be the glory forever and ever, Amen.

AMDG.

Jean Damascène, SJ