Jesuit Values in Social Justice

Milo Pepper, Staff Writer

By the time a Seattle Prep Student receives their diploma on stage at Benaroya Hall, they have completed four years of exceptional Jesuit education. Four years of opening themselves to growth, finding their spark of spirituality and discovering love through Christ. Here, at Seattle Prep, the “Grad at “Grad” has guided students into becoming their best selves, sculpting graduates into productive members of society. Perhaps the most significant part of the “Grad at Grad” is the final characterization: commitment to justice. With an abundance of knowledge concerning both local and global communities, Seattle Prep students are expected to make a positive and meaningful impact on society.

From a biblical perspective, Father Rallanka finds that social justice from a Jesuit education significantly intertwines with Ignatian values. “For me, social justice is rooted in biblical texts”, said Rallanka. “We are even called Jesuits because of Jesus”. Within the Bible, Jesus stood by those who were marginalized from society and serves as a powerful role model for not only us at Prep, but millions of people all over the world. “Most of social justice in the Bible is found in the Old Testament”, remarked Rallanka. “In Exodus, God hears the cries of the poor, and frees them”. If society as a whole is able hear cries of the poor, Jesus’s actions 2,000 years ago can be reciprocated today- being men and women for others by addressing prominent issues of social justice.

According to Mr. Hickey, there is a very specific example of how Ignatian values parallel with social justice. Early on in the Jesuit order, when the founders congregated for the first time, the main focus was always social justice. “The very first things this group looked at were constantly helping the poor and looking out for unwed mothers” said Mr. Hickey. “The book, ‘The First Jesuits’ highlights the main emphasis of the Jesuit order by repeating two words together dozens of times: help souls. When there was a famine in Rome, or an outbreak of disease, it was always the Jesuit’s goal to respond, to help souls”.

A Seattle Prep student is committed to justice and compelled by the “Grad at Grad” to make a difference in the world; to call for change when absolutely necessary.