Jesuit Heritage Week 2015: A Reflection

Hoya Half-time shootout

Fr. Kevin O’Brien with students at the Hoya halftime shootout during the basketball game against Xavier

When I told most people that I was one of the co-chairs of Georgetown’s 15th annual Jesuit Heritage Week, the most common response I got was a puzzled look followed by the question, “Why?” Being a Hindu, female student at Georgetown, I don’t exactly fit the profile of the type of student you would expect to organize a week celebrating our university’s Jesuit heritage. However, attending Georgetown for the last four years has given me the chance to learn a lot about Ignatian spirituality, apply it to my own life, and strengthen my own faith. Over the last few years, my experience with Georgetown’s Jesuit identity has been not only inclusive, but also impactful. Attending a Catholic university has given me the chance to explore some of the most important spiritual questions from the lens of various faiths and has deepened my personal moral philosophy.

Fr. Kevin O'Brien at Bulldog Tavern during JHW

Fr. Kevin O’Brien chats with students at Bulldog Tavern during Jesuit Trivia Night

Being asked why I was organizing Jesuit Heritage Week so many times forced me to reflect on what the week really means to me and how exactly it impacted me. The reasons I wanted to help organize this week were to help students learn about and internalize some of the key Ignatian messages, to help expose students to more Jesuits and their wisdom in non-academic settings, and to celebrate the rich history of our university. During the week, we hosted speakers such as Fr. John Foley, the founder of the Cristo Rey school network, who illustrated tangible ways to live out some of the Ignatian ideals such as “being men and women for others.” We also organized events during which students could meet Jesuits and ask them about their lives at most of the faith services, Wolfington Hall, and even more informal settings like the new Bulldog Tavern.

Fr. John Foley, SJ, Jane Genster and Cristo Rey Hoyas

Fr. John Foley, SJ, Jane Genster, and Cristo Rey Hoyas

The week turned out to be a reflective, energizing, and fun celebration of Georgetown’s Jesuit identity. By the end of the week, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for having been given the chance to attend a university that encourages me to question my beliefs and strengthen my spirituality. Some of the Ignatian messages that are fundamental to the university’s mission have now become an integral part of who I am and how I view the world. When I graduate in May, I will leave knowing that a piece of my heart will always belong to Georgetown.

Nikita Jejurikar, NHS ’15