Transformation at the Heart of Jesuit College of Spirituality


The following article was published in Vox: The University of Divinity Magazine, Issue 4., October 2016. Copies of Vox are available from the Jesuit College of Spirituality Office.


Transformation at the Heart of Jesuit College of Spirituality

Meg Nelson, October 2016

Jesuit College of Spirituality has a mission to “enable creative leaders to transform the world”. Throughout its 17-year existence, the College has seen a number of internal changes as it has adapted to suit its mission and the growing needs of the community.

On 1 January 2012 the Institution became known as Sentir Graduate College of Spiritual Formation. “Sentir” is a word that in Spanish means “heart-felt knowing”. The term, used often by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was chosen to reflect the objective of the College: to focus on the formation and integration of the whole person—head and heart.

In mid-2016, under the direction of the Head of College and CEO Ms Deborah Kent, the name of the College was reviewed. As a result the College Council asked the Provincial of the Society of Jesus for his approval for the College to be re-named Jesuit College of Spirituality.

“Sentir Graduate College of Spiritual Formation wasn’t easily identifiable as a work of the Jesuits. A name which encompasses all aspects of spirituality is a better reflection of our work”, said Ms Kent. “Our unique position in the University of Divinity is that we use spirituality as our lens to study theology, biblical studies, ministry and pastoral care. For all our courses it is important for us to understand how the Holy Spirit is working, moving and shaping those dimensions. We recognise that there is a personal formative dimension to academic studies.” The Provincial and his Consult gave approval in June this year for the name Jesuit College of Spirituality (JCS).

Following the name change, the College Council made the decision to extend the rebranding. A new logo was commissioned with each aspect carefully considered. Primarily the new logo needed to feature Ignatian Spirituality at its centre. This is shown by the inclusion of two wolves, taken from the Ignatian family crest, a symbol belonging to the larger Jesuit community. The wolves are portrayed as active rather than passive, a representation of the dynamic, changing activity in which we each engage as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. With their heads cocked to the sky, the wolves point towards our own journey to Christ and the cross (revealed here as the Southern Cross) geographically locating the College. More specifically representing the Holy Spirit, the flame is inside and at the centre of the logo, as it is in us. The book signifies the gospels and the foundation that is the Ignatian spiritual exercises. All the images are contained within a crest as a symbol of unity and to echo longstanding academic traditions. Colours employed are blue, in iconography a symbol of humanity; gold, representing the reign of God; and silver, a depiction of the wisdom we seek and by which we are engaged.

The College will see further transformation in 2016, facilitating fresh directions and renewed energy for staff and students alike, as it takes up residence in a new facility at 175 Royal Parade, Parkville. Since its inception the College has been based at the Campion Retreat Centre in Studley Park Road, Kew, but as the vision and the size of the College grows, so too is it time for a new location and larger facilities. JCS will move into a traditional academic Jesuit home, taking residence next to the offices of the faculty of the former Jesuit Theological College. The location, in close proximity to other UD Colleges, will allow JCS to develop its already strong history of collaboration and ecumenism, with shared space proposed at Pilgrim Theological College. Benefits to students include significantly easier access to the Dalton McCaughey Library and a designated classroom in close proximity to the library.

Another change is a shift to a variety of delivery modes including online, semester-based units as well as intensives, giving the JCS faculty the opportunity to reshape a number of their programs and facilitate an improved dynamic learning environment.

Transformation will never be far from the core of Jesuit College of Spirituality. When asked about the long term dreams for JCS, Ms Kent spoke of business partnerships and bringing Ignatian Spirituality into the business market. One exciting avenue for the College is the innovative relationship established in 2016 with AltusQ, a business coaching firm. Together, JCS and AltusQ are offering a program called “Fit for Leadership” to business leaders in Melbourne. While the relationship is in its early days and the program is currently being piloted, there are plans to expand nationally.

We wish staff and students of Jesuit College of Spirituality well as they commence this new and exciting venture.