Christine Angell

Before coming to Fairfield, all of my schooling had been through the public school system. I was a little worried coming to Fairfield about being at a Jesuit institution, where many of my peers would already be familiar with a private or Catholic education. However, I have found all those worries to be unnecessary because of the way the resident Jesuits are incorporated into the dynamic of the school.

The Jesuits at Fairfield maintain a perfect balance of being visible and accessible, without being overbearing. Students are fully aware of the names of the Jesuits on campus and where they live or can be found in the event a student needs to meet with them. I feel that this is the role that the Jesuits should play. Their current visibility reflects the balance that is encouraged through the teachings of the Jesuit values that are emphasized here at Fairfield. The Jesuit values that I’m sure we can all recall from First Year Experience (FYE) emphasize the importance of balance between body, mind and spirit and the accessible, but noninvasive role of the resident Jesuits corresponds with this.

The Jesuits are approachable as well. Fr. Michael Doody, S.J. can often be found having lunch with students in Barone or chatting in the Barone Campus Center. The Jesuits who reside in residence halls are active within the living community and visible through their presence in the student community. They can also be found at speaking events and other activities on campus throughout the year.

I know that I would hate attending a Catholic school where religion played a center role, but I have never felt this way at Fairfield. I think that the Jesuits and administrators have found a perfect balance of having religious activities available for those who want the opportunity, but not forcing these traditions on those who do not want to partake. Yes, there is talk about the Jesuit values and an extensive focus on religious studies and philosophy in the core. But, I think the main goal of this curriculum is to create well-rounded people and Fairfield, in conjunction with the resident Jesuits, has done an excellent job in implementing this focus on personal philosophy and growth.

Salvatore Trifilio

Over the course of my four years at Fairfield, the one thing that does not come to mind when I think about this Jesuit institution are the Jesuits themselves.

I hadn’t ever really given this much thought: the lack of visibility of these religious and spiritual leaders on campus. Where exactly are all the Jesuits?

While I was raised a Roman Catholic, I lost my faith in any particular religion years ago. So, while I have no way of knowing for certain, I suppose the Jesuits can be found at the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola. But where are they the other six days of the week? I have rarely run into them at the cafeteria, in the Barone Campus Center or just walking around campus.

If someone were to come up to me and ask me to name five Jesuits on campus, I can confidently say I could not do so with ease. In fact, at this very moment only three come to mind: Fr. Michael Doody, S.J., Fr. Charles Allen, S.J. and Fr. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.

Furthermore, I only know one Jesuit personally, as Doody was my resident Jesuit and lived on my floor freshman year in Gonzaga. Allen only comes to mind because I see his name on his door every time I go to do laundry in Dolan Hall. And, let’s be honest, von Arx sightings seem to be as rare as Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman.

As a Jesuit institution, we focus on community very heavily, a community I have come to love and appreciate. But, it seems that some of our Jesuits have self-segregated from the student body. Their Jesuit Community Center seems to be a physical and symbolic reminder of this separate community, one that is different and apart from the rest of the university.

However, for any student who has built a relationship with a Jesuit, they know how unique and special the bond is. They become figures you look up to, that you admire and that keep you in check with during your transition from a cocky high school senior into the adult you’ve become at the end of your four years. These Jesuits, who eat with the students, speak with the students and spend time with the students in more than just keeping with appearances, should serve an example to them all.

 They should be the rule and not the exception.

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