In remembrance of our founder and patron saint, St Ignatius of Loyola, we share this prayer with the University community and invite everyone to pray with us.
Prayer to St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Ignatius of Loyola, patron saint of retreats and patron saint of soldiers, your greatest contribution to the Church is the Spiritual Exercises, where you teach us how to discern and sort out what comes from God and what does not. In these Exercises you invite us to get to know the real and original Jesus, in order to know him more, to love him more and to follow him more closely. You invite us to follow the poor and humble Christ in word and in deed, and to truly find God in all things. Our Pope Francis is the best example of your spirituality in the world. May his witness of life inspire us also to live out what you teach us – to follow Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth, to love God truly by humbly serving others, and always to do what is right and just. Let this be our aspiration and prayer all the days of our lives. Amen.
Salvador Wee SJ
Ateneo de Zamboanga University
May the spirit live on
I am not an Atenean, if the strict definition of the word is applied, since I have no Ateneo diploma. I have diplomas from three other universities though, and one of them is the Christian Brothers’ school on Taft Avenue in Manila. In place of an Ateneo diploma I have 40 years of collaboration with the Jesuits in the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU). I joined the college faculty in 1962 to teach chemistry and never left ADZU for another position in other institutions. Over the years I taught subjects aside from chemistry and took on assignments other than teaching. I suppose it is only natural to expect that over those 40 years some patina of Ignatian values would adhere to me.
Although I stayed in ADZU all those years it was not because I did not have other prospects elsewhere. Three times over the years I could have taken positions that I did not apply for but were offered to me instead, along with the enticement of better compensation. If I did not give in to the attractive offers I have my husband to thank for. He knew me better than I think I knew myself because his only comment after each offer was “You will not survive there.” By this he meant that I would not fit the “institutional culture” in these other places.
ADZU was not an Eden, far from it. Perhaps the best way I can describe it is that it was, when I was there, a place where I and my work colleagues were ordinary people trying to do good with our talents and with our value orientations. We did not always succeed and this sometimes resulted in ruffled feathers but we picked ourselves up and tried again and moved on.
We learned Ignatian values in the retreats and recollections and there was genuine effort to make these come out in doing our work, in how we related with each other, and with our students. These values became the hallmarks of the ADZU institutional culture.
Man and woman for others. In the 70’s and onwards this was the slogan to remind us why we were living the lives we did – to give of ourselves and our talents in service to better the lives of people.
Cura personalis. We were to give personal attention to the people we came across in our work and in our communities.
Magis. Make the best of what God has given you. Whatever work you undertake see how you can make it even better.
Discernment. In the conflicting views that we meet in life, see what Godly values apply and take a stand for what is right and just. Since this is not always easy to do, prayer helps to guide us in making the options.
Colloquium on the Ministry of Teaching. This was one of the important activities we engaged in so that we could better understand and appreciate why we were in teaching and not making better money elsewhere.
Not until I retired from ADZU and I became involved in volunteer work in other places did I sense that I was evaluating these new places from a perspective developed in the ADZU milieu. A young colleague in ADZU who was not an Atenean either but who had put in several years of work in ADZU shared with me later on, when he had left ADZU for another institution, the same sense of frequently having to compare the environment we knew in ADZU with the environment in this new place. We, both of us, missed our ADZU environment.
Over the 12 years since I left ADZU I would find myself back in the campus now and then for particular events. It always feels for me that I have come back to a familiar and loved site, where I felt I was in a haven and many of the people I still recognized from my working days were warm in their welcome for me. One day on a visit to the campus one of the janitors from my time crossed the driveway to where I was, greeted me warmly and, in Bisaya, said “Ma’am, it is good to see you. But you seldom come to visit us.” A key to the city could not have made me more welcome.
Coming to ADZU for mass on special occasions was always a source of pride to see the acolytes going through their paces, knowing exactly where to go and when to turn. I knew that this was because earlier there was practice to make sure everyone knew what to do and when to do it. Magis.
Being back in the Ateneo one feels that things stay constant though not stagnant for Ignatian values are rooted in the time tested truths long ago defined by St. Ignatius of Loyola. May the spirit live on.
Remedios F. Marmoleno
July 31, 2014