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50th Anniversary Celebration

Students with Billiken during 50th anniversary celebration.

 

Saint Louis University—Madrid is celebrating 50 years of teaching Global Billikens. For five decades, students from more than 65 different countries have followed in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola as they pursued their education at SLU-Madrid.

We are honored to celebrate 50 years of supporting students in their pursuit of truth and development as men and women for others.

Our 50th anniversary coincides with the 200th anniversary of the founding of the university in the United States in 1818. In honor of the two anniversaries, SLU-Madrid held anniversary events on March 7, 2018.

The celebratory events kicked off with Mass at the Church of San Francisco de Borja. The Most Reverend Cardinal Carlos Osoro, Archbishop of the Dioceses of Madrid presided over the Mass. Our honorary degree conferral ceremony lauded the accomplishments of Enrique Figaredo, S.J., Isabel Gómez-Acebo and José María Merino. A reception followed at San Ignacio Hall.

Honorary Doctorate Recipients

The following distinguished Spaniards received honorary doctorates as part of the SLU-Madrid anniversary celebration.

José María Merino

José María Merino
Spanish Writer/Member of the Royal Academic of Writers

Born in 1941, José María Merino is a highly acclaimed contemporary Spanish writer. His prolific literary career covers all narrative forms, poetry and literary essays. He’s regarded as a master of the short-story, as well as children's literature. He’s edited important collections of short-stories and frequently writes for the press. Merino is also an experienced university professor and has given conferences in prestigious foundations and institutions both in Spain and internationally.

He served as the director of the Ministry of Culture's Center for Literature from 1987 to 1989 and currently is the honorary patron of the Fundación de la Lengua Española (Foundation of the Spanish Language). He was also the honorary president of the Fundación del Libro Infantil y Juvenil "Leer León" (Leon's Foundation for Children's Literature).

Elected as member of the Spanish Royal Academy in 2008, he is also a member of the Alexander Pushkin Foundation; the Honorary Hans Christian Anderson Ambassador to Denmark; and the recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Asociación de Licenciados y Doctores Españoles en los Estados Unidos (ALDEEU). He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Leon.

Merino studied under the Marianist brothers and, in one of his books, comments on how two of his teachers, along with a priest, sparked his imagination and inculcated his love for reading. He received a licentiate degree in law from the Complutense University of Madrid.

He and his wife, María del Carmen Norverto Laborda, are parents of two daughters: María, a professor of constitutional law at Madrid's Rey Juan Carlos University; and Ana, a creative writer, poet, playwright and professor of Spanish at the University of Iowa. Merino has delivered conferences at SLU-Madrid on various occasions. He has also traveled to St. Louis, where his works were presented at Pius XII Library.

Isabel Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada

Isabel Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada
Theologian

Before her retirement, Isabel Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada taught theology for our Jesuit neighbor in Madrid, Comillas Pontifical University. She is a founding member of the Association of Spanish Women Theologians (ATE), belongs to the European Society of Women in Theological Research (ESWTR), and was part of the scientific committee of Andalusia's Feminist School of Theology (EFETA), an association that offers web-based feminist theology courses.

Gómez-Acebo's prolific writing career ranges from her first book, Dios también es madre ("God is also a mother"), to her most recent achievement, a historical novel on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, Francisco: El Pañero de Asís.

She directed, edited and contributed to the groundbreaking series En Clave de Mujer for Desclée de Brouwer Editorial, a publishing house dedicated to promoting Christian humanism. This series featured more than 15 works focused on feminist theology, many of which were translated to other languages. She has written for the Spanish and international press and has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences and meetings focused on theological studies.

Gómez-Acebo was born in Madrid in 1940. She holds two licentiate degrees: one in political science from Madrid's Complutense University and another in theology from Madrid's Jesuit Comillas University.

She is the mother of six children and the grandmother of 21. She is the president of the Fundación Sagrada Familia, which is dedicated to improving long-term care for the elderly. A great friend to the University, Gómez-Acebo has served as president of the SLU-Madrid Board of Regents for a decade.

Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzalez, S.J.

Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzalez, S.J.
“Bishop of the Wheelchairs"

Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzalez, S.J. — or "Father Kike" — has worked with the disabled in Cambodia since 1985, a vocation that has earned him the nickname "Bishop of the Wheelchairs." His life of service traces back to work in Thailand and later in Cambodia, initially helping people maimed by landmines.

He works with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. He founded Banteay Prieb (The Dove House) in Phnom Penh in 1991, where maimed children receive education and people with disabilities can make Mekong-style wheelchairs (a wooden wheelchair with three wheels). In Battambang, he founded the Arrupe Center and promoted development all over the diocese with projects in education, vocational training for adults, infrastructure and relief aid. Alvargonzalez continues to participate in Cambodia's development by collaborating with various NGOs and at present, takes part in the Ban Cluster Bomb campaign.

From Austurian of the Month (in 1998) to the royal decree that awarded him the Gran Cruz de la Orden Civil de la Solidaridad Social (Great Cross of the Civil Order for Social Solidarity) for extraordinary service, Alvargonzalez has received many honors and recognitions. He’s been received recognitions by the King Felipe VI and the government of Cambodia, named a member of the Sahametrey Order and met with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. Saint Louis University will be the first institution of higher education to award him an honorary degree.

Born in Gijón (Asturias) in 1959, Alvargonzalez is a graduate of the Jesuit high school Colegio de la Inmaculada; he holds university licentiate degrees in economics, theology and philosophy. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1979 and was ordained in 1992.

Recipient Speeches

Read the text of the speeches delivered by the honorary degree recipients during the honorary degree conferral ceremony on March 7.

José María Merino

Muchas gracias a Saint Louis University, y muy especialmente a su sede en Madrid, de la que es decano el Ilustrísimo Dr. D. Paul Vita, por distinguirme con la concesión del doctorado Honoris Causa. Hace años que, a través de la profesora doctora doña Ángeles Encinar, tengo contacto recurrente con el alumnado de esta universidad, y debo asegurarles que siempre ha sido para mí una experiencia placentera. A partir de hoy, a ese gusto se unirá el orgullo de estar simbólicamente integrado en la más alta estima de la universidad.

Sin duda el otorgamiento de esta distinción está directamente relacionado con mi condición de escritor, condición en la que de forma tan peculiar se integran la imaginación, por un lado, y el uso material y ordenado de las palabras, por otro. El Diccionario de la Lengua Española define la imaginación como la facultad humana "que representa las imágenes de las cosas reales o ideales". Desde tal perspectiva, yo he insistido muchas veces en algo que me parece fundamental: creo que esa "capacidad de representación" es algo que caracteriza a nuestra especie. Ha sido nuestra especie la que, mediante el proceso simbólico de intentar reproducir la realidad, empezó a pintar, a crear los números, la música y, sobre todo, a utilizar la ficción mediante palabras, como un modo de intentar dar a la realidad una forma comprensible.

Muy anterior a la filosofía y a la ciencia, la ficción es el primer sistema, yo diría el sistema natural, con el que el ser humano intenta entender el mundo que lo rodea. Y esto lo viene haciendo desde que existe, a lo largo de miles de años. La familia humana parece ser que lleva aquí cerca de doscientos mil, y sólo hace seis mil que creamos la escritura. Por lo tanto el arte de escribir, hijo del arte de contar, hijo del arte de imaginar ficciones, está en nuestra naturaleza, pues es una forma de ver el mundo través de un proceso simbólico. Para poder entender la realidad que nos rodea utilizamos la palabra en la invención de historias, aunque hay que decir que nuestras historias se han ido racionalizando, porque la ciencia ha ido acotando espacios que antes pertenecían a lo maravilloso.

Todas las ficciones que hemos inventado se han ido ajustando a ciertos modelos originales, eso que llamamos los arquetipos, y a estas alturas se puede decir que ya están establecidos todos los arquetipos posibles, de la búsqueda del tesoro a la metamorfosis, del papel del héroe al del pícaro, del ejercicio de la magnanimidad al de la traición, etcétera... Evidentemente, lo que hay detrás del arte de escribir es ese mundo de ficción, de historias ajustadas a arquetipos, y me gustaría evocar brevemente el paso de esa ficción originaria al nacimiento de lo literario, y cómo en nosotros hay una parte que es la realidad y una especie de misterioso reflejo que es la literatura, que habla de la realidad y se refiere a ella.

¿De qué modo se produce tal invención? Está claro que no todos somos capaces de inventar literatura, pero sí de entenderla y de comunicarnos con ella. Hay un precioso comentario en Le Rouge et le Noir de Stendhal —yo leí esa novela a los diecinueve años, la misma edad que tiene el protagonista Julián Sorel—. Como ustedes saben, en ella un joven pobre conquista a una dama mayor que él, hermosa, rica, bien instalada, madre de familia... Para la dama este hecho será gran motivo de arrepentimiento. Pero en un momento determinado, el autor-narrador dice de la dama: "como Madame de Rênal no leía novelas, no sabía lo que le estaba sucediendo". El autor lo dice guiñando un ojo al lector, pero en cierto modo tiene razón. La literatura nos enseña lo que nos está pasando, lo que nos ha pasado, cómo somos. La verdadera historia de la humanidad no está en los libros de historia, sino en la literatura, porque es ahí donde se presenta el panorama de nuestros comportamientos desde hace muchísimos siglos, de cómo somos, de cómo nos hemos ido manifestando en nuestra capacidad de heroísmo, de traición, de fidelidad, de infidelidad, de amor, de odio, de rencor, de sacrificio. En la literatura está la historia del corazón humano, como señaló el ilustrado Claude-Adrien Helvetius.

Creo que el autor de literatura, al escribir, desarrolla dos procesos, uno interno y otro externo. Hay dos cuentos a través de los cuales me gusta explicar cuál es el proceso interno.

Uno de los cuentos es La esfinge de Edgar Allan Poe. Hay una epidemia en Boston, la gente está muriendo, un hombre se marcha al campo, a casa de un amigo, intentando alejarse de esa epidemia infecciosa que está causando tantas víctimas. El amigo lo recibe con muchísimo afecto, le enseña su habitación, el hombre se queda reposando durante un tiempo allí después del largo viaje, se tumba en un canapé y observa el exterior a través de la ventana. Ve una gran montaña, pero trepando por ella descubre de repente un ser extraño, gigantesco, misterioso: una especie de dragón con unas alas llenas de manchas, una enorme cabeza con excrecencias monstruosas. El hombre piensa que está enfermo, va a buscar al amigo y le dice que tiene alucinaciones, que algo le pasa porque ha visto un dragón trepando por la montaña que está enfrente de la casa. El amigo, que como pasa en muchos cuentos de Poe tiende a ser racionalista, sube con él, se acerca a la ventana y le dice que no estaba viendo un dragón, lo que ocurría era que se encontraba en una disposición forzada y lo que había visto en realidad era una Sphinx Crepuscularia, una mariposa nocturna. No era un gran dragón trepando por la montaña, sino una pequeña mariposa subiendo por el cristal de la ventana.

Lo primero que ha de hacer el escritor es intentar ver en la perspectiva de lo ordinario lo que no aparece, lo que resulta peculiar dentro de la aparente rutina de la realidad. Como es natural, somos propensos a ver la vida desde la costumbre. Mas, inesperadamente, un día las cosas no son como eran, una sorpresa extraña, buena o mala, nos sacude y nos cambia la vida. Mas tenemos que acostumbrarnos a una rutina, a una costumbre, porque si no, no podríamos vivir con la desazón de lo que nos puede suceder azarosamente. Sin embargo, el escritor ha de tener esa mirada de lo raro. Incluso el escritor más realista del mundo, si tiene calidad, nos ofrece lo significativo dentro de la vida ordinaria de los personajes. Un gran escritor realista como Galdós nunca olvida los sueños, y cuando habla de los personajes lo hace de sus aspectos más destacables, los que tal vez para los demás personajes pasan inadvertidos. Es el escritor el que los ve, el que los acentúa. Y no digamos los escritores de la orilla oscura, como Kafka, que continuamente ven lo extraño, incluso lo absurdo. Esa perspectiva de intentar encontrar en la realidad cotidiana lo más significativo, incluso misterioso, es el primer objetivo del escritor.

Otro cuento que me gusta mucho para explicar esta cuestión es La sombra, de Hans Christian Andersen. El hombre del norte de Europa que viene a una ciudad meridional, vive en una calle bulliciosa, estrecha, enfrente de su casa hay otra casa, y esa casa a veces tiene los balcones abiertos y otras cerrados. Él no es capaz de ver a la persona que vive ahí dentro, pero sabe que alguien debe de hacerlo, alguien cuida las plantas que están en el balcón. Una noche que este hombre, de espaldas a la ventana abierta de su cuarto, está tomando las notas del día, llevando su diario, la lámpara que lo alumbra proyecta su sombra a través de su ventana abierta, y su sombra entra en la casa de enfrente. El hombre se queda sin sombra. Regresa a su país originario sin sombra y algunos años después alguien viene, llama a su puerta y resulta ser su sombra. Ésta le dice que la casa que estaba enfrente de aquélla en la que residía en la ciudad del sur era la casa de la poesía, y la sombra cuenta que entró en ella y que conoce todos los misterios de la poesía. Interrumpo aquí el cuento porque ustedes ya saben que termina muy mal ...

También en el proceso interno del escritor tiene que haber esa relación con su sombra. Uno conoce en lo posible la gramática, la prosodia, la ortografía, la lengua, esas palabras que ni pesan, ni saben, ni huelen, ni miden igual, aunque sean sinónimos, pero uno tiene que dejar que su sombra pase a la casa de la poesía, que la sombra entre en ese mundo un poco secreto, intuitivo, a encontrar los matices de la composición y de la expresión menos visibles y más eficaces.

A la literatura nos acercamos siempre a través de la razón, naturalmente, pero por los caminos de la intuición. La literatura está hecha para hablar a la parte secreta que tenemos. A veces nos emocionamos con un libro y no sabemos la causa. ¿Por qué sigue vigente El Quijote, que era simplemente una novela cómica? Porque en ella no se ha ido viendo solo un libro para reír, sino la historia de un soñador aparentemente absurdo, un personaje supuestamente anacrónico, ridículo, loco, pero que lucha con toda la fe por sus sueños, y desde esa perspectiva adquiere una dimensión capaz de conmovernos a todos, que también intentamos luchar por nuestros sueños ...

En esa novela, influyente en todas las culturas literarias, hemos visto cosas en las que tal vez el propio Miguel de Cervantes no pensó, pero que afloran, porque la verdadera literatura habla a nuestra parte secreta, a nuestra parte de la sombra...Y es que la sustancia de la literatura es esa capacidad de sugerencia, el estímulo misterioso, psicológico, que incide en nosotros.

En cuanto al proceso externo, el de materializar en la escritura ese descubrimiento intuitivo de la imaginación, creo, ante todo, que no se puede ser escritor sin ser lector. La lectura nos enseña a utilizar las estructuras narrativas y ese paquete de arquetipos ancestrales, que siguen y seguirán vigentes mientras existamos como especie. Claro que también están los temas de cada escritor, sus obsesiones. Uno escribe esta o aquella historia porque trata de la temática que le interesa, no va a escribir otra sino la que tiene que ver con su mirada de la realidad y con su manera de enfrentarse a ella.

Yo sostengo que la realidad es un continuo desorden, que no tiene coherencia alguna. La política, la sociología, la economía, intentan dar orden al mundo, a la realidad. Mas ella, tal como la vemos, se produce de una manera caótica, porque en el mismo día pueden suceder muchas cosas que en una novela no podrían pasar de la misma manera sin ser inverosímiles. El escritor, sin seguir la incoherencia de la realidad, tiene que dar un orden a lo que escribe para que tenga un significado comprensible por el lector. La realidad se produce, pero en ella puede haber una riada gigantesca, luego venir un huracán, y luego un terremoto que acabe de arrasar a los pocos supervivientes. La literatura no puede tolerar ese desorden, tiene que organizarlo administrando con cuidado tiempos, acontecimientos y conductas. En la realidad las cosas suceden sin más, ella no necesita ser verosímil. Mas la verosimilitud es la primera exigencia de la literatura, aunque sea en el género fantástico ...

Claro que el repertorio de tramas, como el de arquetipos, es limitado. Y sin duda ya hemos imaginado todas las tramas posibles, como antes señalé. A veces me gusta plantear cuándo empezó el tema de Romeo y Julieta. Seguramente el día que en una caverna prehistórica tuvieron que convivir distintas tribus o familias. El mundo, estoy seguro, está lleno de Romeos y Julietas: con los movimientos migratorios, con las necesidades de convivencia de grupos culturales distintos, estoy convencido de que el tema sigue ahí. Y el de Caín y Abel, que está en la Biblia, sigue repitiéndose: la historia interminable de los enfrentamientos humanos es el tema de Caín y Abel otra vez, y además colectivamente. Las tramas están todas. Lo que pasa es que transcurre el tiempo y vamos combinándolas, y el arte combinatorio es infinito. Cuando pensamos en La Odisea, quizá en ella estén casi todas las tramas posibles: el tema de la bruja que hechiza, del naufragio, de la llamada fatal de la sirena que hay que resistir, del poderoso monstruo que nos retiene en la caverna, de la interminable vuelta a casa... Seguramente en cualquier película o novela policíaca estén los mismos elementos. La vampiresa, el ogro que es ese capomafioso siniestro, las dificultades del regreso ... Por lo tanto, los temas, los arquetipos están ahí, pero nosotros tenemos que reinventarlos y ordenarlos de nuevo.

Que vivir en ese mundo de imaginación y de ordenación de ficciones suscite el interés lector, e incluso estudioso, y que me haya hecho a mí merecedor de este doctorado Honoris Causa por parte de la venerable Saint Louis University, una institución que acaba de cumplir los dos siglos desde su fundación, y los cincuenta años de su instalación en Madrid, no puede merecer por mi parte, como dije al principio, sino orgullo, afecto y gratitud.

Isabel Gómez-Acebo Duque de Estrada

Distinguished University leaders, family, friends, ladies and gentlemen:

My first words must be addressed to all those here today who represent the members of the Saint Louis University Board of Trustees: President Pestello, Provost Brickhouse, and the other senior academic and administrative leaders both in St. Louis and Madrid who have granted me this honorary doctorate, for which I am so deeply grateful. And, secondly, to my husband Alejandro and my wonderful family, without whose love and support I could not have carried out my work. And to Marce, the woman who for many years took charge of my home, when I had to be away. I would also like to remember all of the people who have collaborated with me—the women theologians on several books, and the volunteers of the Holy Family Foundation whose mission has been to build retirement homes for the elderly—they all have a share in the great honor that I am receiving today. And finally, to the Jesuits who founded this University and those of the Pontifical University of Comillas, who showed me how to renew my faith. And above all, to God.

The campus of Saint Louis University in Madrid opened in 1967 when Father Raymond Sullivant came to Spain along with a group of students from the campus in America. It was the first step in a true success story: today this Madrid campus has students from almost 50 countries, and of different races and religions, which raises the question: What can Catholic education offer to students who are so diverse and, to a large extent, indifferent to religious values? To students who are infected with the secularism of our time?

I take for granted that the education imparted by Saint Louis University is outstanding, since otherwise we would not have many students, but I believe that a Jesuit university must offer something more. It should help Catholics to strengthen and renew their faith; organize conferences and symposia among representatives of different religious traditions; and to those who show interest in knowing Jesus Christ or the Catholic faith, provide support for them in their desire to deepen their knowledge. But even this is not enough.

The ideal we seek to accomplish is that upon graduation, our students be knowledgeable in the various courses of study which they have pursued, but also that they have experienced a personal transformation.

And that they leave us aware that they are privileged members of society, enjoying a high level of income which allows for decent housing, health care, electricity and water, internet, a well-stocked pantry and the possibility of pursuing their education. Because of these privileges they are obligated to place their knowledge at the service of their communities, by volunteering in the political sphere, serving on town councils, working with neighborhood communities and on campaigns in favor of specific issues, as well as aiding the most disadvantaged members of our society, whether in Spain or abroad.

Our students must learn to think, knowing that they do not have definitive answers, but are able to give a reason for their hope, the meaning of their lives, and their ideals. They should also learn to debate, to accept criticism with humility, to deliberate and to seek together new forms of coexistence. This campus is a wonderful garden in which seeds of brotherhood can grow among Christians, Muslims, Jews, Europeans, Americans, people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, men and women—an experience which can accompany our students throughout their lives.

As Konrad Lorenz said in 1969—in the phrase which made him famous—the flight of a butterfly, the smallest disturbance on the planet, can drastically change the world. For me, these words mean today that with our hands united-even though they seem powerless—many injustices and many social problems can be solved. The main obstacle is that you actually have to give it a try—and few people do. This institution is one that really encourages its students to do so.

José Luis Borges and Antonio Machado, in their old age, spoke of "travelling light" (ligeros de equipaje) throughout life; many young people today do not understand this language because they mainly dream about such projects as work, success, money, and marriage to a person with whom they can share their lives. This is all well and good, but they must also learn not to abandon their values as vital priorities, to which they are willing to dedicate time and resources and that strike a chord in the most intimate part of oneself. Christian values certainly, but values on which Christians do not have a monopoly, since they are shared by many people and communities.

The list is long, and I will only mention a few. The value of honesty, so difficult to maintain in an environment that above all seeks money and personal gain, and even leads to criminal practices. The value of loyalty to one's family, employer and country, even when the wind is blowing in the other direction. The value of sincerity, though it's hard to recognize that something has been done which is not in our favor, and the ability to laugh at one's own mistakes. The value of friendship, because friends are such an important source of support throughout our lives, which should not be wasted.

That they have children and overcome self-centeredness, even though it means many hours of lost sleep, great expense and lots of headaches—what can be more important in one's life? A house, a business, an art collection ...? Our Western society is growing old and needs children, and our students will have an opportunity pass along what they've learned at this University; to live again through their children and rely on their help in old age, thereby avoiding the loneliness that is one of the scourges of our opulent society.

That our students learn to be happy, because human beings have always sought happiness and continue to do so. Seneca's famous phrase comes to mind: "si vis amari, ama" if you want to be loved, you must love. This idea is shared by all the great thinkers of human history, among them Jesus Christ, and it means walking a path that leads toward that goal. Love your neighbor, knowing that you will reap what you sow, because even if it seems difficult to understand, happiness is found in giving and not in receiving.

That our students ask themselves why we live in such an unhappy world when we have better health, more possessions and more well-being than our ancestors. That they be advised not to compare themselves constantly with those who have achieved the most, even to their own detriment. That they discover interior happiness and learn to be thankful for what they have—life itself, as well as everything they have received over the years: the love of their family, their friends, their companions in study or colleagues at work. And that if they have to make comparisons, it should be with those who are worse off— when they do so, they will be ashamed to want more.

That they learn to find inner joy, even when things go wrong, or they make mistakes, or feel betrayed by people they trust, or because of health problems... These obstacles on the road will inevitably appear and should not cause them to lose their sense of humor or their hope, because if they want truly to be happy, they must turn their backs on difficulties and dance to the music of life, even when their eyes are full of tears. And that they learn to wait for better times ahead.

I would like to conclude by saying how very fortunate I am to have been associated with such an outstanding center of learning, which educates such excellent professionals and accomplished leaders, instills humane values in its students, teaches them to be happy ... and even grants me an honorary doctorate.

Enrique Figaredo Alvargonzalez, S.J.

Thank you to Saint Louis University for this great honor.

I will briefly speak about the education that forms men and women for others. What does "to be men and women for others" exactly mean? As Jesuits, we have inherited this mission from Fr. Arrupe, who in himself incarnated this wish for the Society. To explain what I would like to say, I would like to recall what Fr. Arrupe was like, and I will use the metaphor of the giraffe, inviting you to enter three phases: see, discern and act. The metaphor of the giraffe is very useful to understand the attitudes that one should have in order to live reconciled and open to others.

See. See with clarity: is the look that Jesuit training aims to offer. It is a look with objectivity over the world and at the same time a close look. The world was transparent to the eyes of Fr. Arrupe. For this reason, he was able to look deeply into things and discover that the world and history are made up of the goodness of God. He was an open-eyed mystic, an active mystic. The clear contrast between the goodness of God and the broken world allowed him to cleanly see the injustices of the world. When people felt his gaze, they felt they were his friends. His eyes radiated with complicity and trust. He was a man "with others". Wherever he went, he built "Community".

Discern: Jesuit education, like the giraffe, expands the heart and offers a long-distance vision. Arrupe was a man of a long gaze, able to see God in all things, always ahead of his time and described the world in a manner that is still sharp and fresh to us today. He was able to see new apostolic challenges and anticipate offering new modes of presence. An example was his way of creating a concrete response for the suffering of refugees. I was lucky to begin my adventure with the Cambodian refugees in Asia. That way of being, accompanying, united by a concrete service is something that leaves a mark on the refugees and most of all, on those who accompany them. Jesuit education hopes to offer this type of discernment: one that pushes towards audacity, towards the borders of the world and where only few go. For those who are fearless are not afraid, because he knows that it is the Lord who accompanies him. From here, springs our hope. Pope Francis continues to encourage everyone to go to the borders of the world.

Act: Jesuit formation offers professionalism and at the same time, personifies in a humanistic way, towards an action based on compassion, in a compassionate gaze. Fr. Arrupe participated in the same human gaze of God. He looked as God looked. In this manner, he saw Him as a "man for others" who invited us to live in the same way. This allowed him to discover the pain of the world and, consequently, discern the action for justice with which one cannot be true without the other. Arrupe was hoping that others would share this way of seeing and be committed. Arrupe let the Lord, who helped him discover in himself a soul of goodness that he could not imagine, look at him, hence his almost natural confidence in people and in the world. He let people look at him, especially the poor. For this reason, he felt questioned by them and taught many of us to walk this way, questioned by that look that transforms us. This is how he walked, with humility and with the capacity to recognize his own mistakes. He used to always remind us of the need to convert, to have a heart like that of Jesus. He wished others would let Jesus, as well as their poor friends, look at them that way. He knew of the transformation that was then experienced.

Lastly, as the giraffe does, Jesuit education teaches us to live together with "different animals", leading with gentleness. We cannot live without relating to one another, no matter how different we are. The awareness that the other is a surprise and enriches us, is to live and be open to real learning.

I would like to end with a citation of Fr. Arrupe from 1973, during a talk for alumni in Valencia, that summarized what I have tried to express today. He said the following: "Our educational goal and objective is to form men and women that do not live for each other but for God and their Christ, for Him who died and resurrected, men for others. That is, who do not conceive the love of God without the love of man, an efficient love that supposes justice and is the only guarantee that our love for God is not a farce, or Pharisaic clothing that hides our selfishness."

Thank you.

200-Years-In-One Challenge

As part of the anniversary celebration, SLU-Madrid invites students, alumni, faculty and staff to take part in the University-wide 200-Years-in-One Challenge. Across the two campuses, the SLU community giving back 200 years of volunteer service — more than 1.7 million hours — in a single year.

Learn more about the 200-Years-in-One Challenge