Our Way of Proceeding
We are fortunate to count ourselves among the 47 Catholic, Jesuit high schools in the United States. Endowed with the unique charism of the Society of Jesus and its 470 year old tradition, our good fortune carries with it an important responsibility. We are responsible for living this charism in word and deed, to ensure that our heart is a truly Ignatian one.
One way to do this is to be ever mindful that the key Jesuit terms we use not only describe who we are, but also guide us in all we do. Two of the most important of these terms are “cura personalis” and “seek the magis.”
Cura personalis – or care for the person – came naturally for St. Ignatius and his companions because their relationships with each other were such tender, affectionate ones. St. Ignatius famously remarked that “Love is shown more in deeds than in words” and, indeed, the early companions were bound first by love before they ever took vows that bound them together in any official way. As inheritors of the Jesuit “way of proceeding,” care for the person should always characterize our interactions with each other. Prep does this well; it is a community that embraces love as more than a word.
To “seek the magis” means to pursue what more can and should be done, to constantly challenge oneself to try harder and perform better. Again, this was a characteristic of the remarkable men who created the Society of Jesus. They were talented and driven to succeed. They did not pursue, however, their own glory, but the Greater Glory of God (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam). We at Prep are also called to live, learn and work with “one foot in the air” – always striding forward, constantly seeking the magis. But our steps, while confidently taken, should also be humble ones. To quote Archbishop Romero, “We are the workers, not the Master Builder.”
For Prep to be true to its Jesuit mission and identity we must embrace both cura personalis and the magis. Is there tension in these dual pursuits? Absolutely. And that tension is a very good thing. The enemy of a vibrant Ignatian school culture is comfort; the only place that offers complete freedom from tension and final resolution is the grave. But as we strive to be the best Catholic, Jesuit school we can be, we must be mindful that we do so with and for each other. And all of this, our striving and our caring, are folded within a deeper reality and more transcendent purpose - our fervent desire to be with God.
To seek the magis and practice cura personalis are good and noble pursuits on their own, but it is only with and through God that the journey becomes a sacred, transformational one. That is the journey of Seattle Prep.
Peace and God’s blessings,
Kent Hickey, President