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Jesuit Higher Education in a Secular Age

A Response to Charles Taylor and the Crisis of Fullness

How Jesuit education can help students create meaningful connections in an age of secularism

In A Secular Age, the philosopher Charles Taylor challenges us to appreciate the significance of genuine spiritual experience in human life, an occurrence he refers to as "fullness." Western societies, however, are increasingly becoming more secular, and personal occasions of fullness are becoming less possible.

In Jesuit Higher Education in a Secular Age, Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, shows how Jesuit education can respond to the crisis of modernity by offering three pedagogies of fullness: study, solidarity, and grace. A pedagogy of study encourages students to explore their full range of thoughts and emotions to help amplify their self-awareness, while a pedagogy of solidarity helps them relate to the lives of others, including disparate cultural and socioeconomic realities. Together, these two pedagogies cultivate an openness in students that can help them achieve a pedagogy of grace, which validates their awareness of and receptivity to the extraordinary spiritual Other that impacts our lives.

Hendrickson demonstrates how this Jesuit imaginary — inspired by the Renaissance humanistic origins of Jesuit pedagogy — educates students toward a better self-awareness, a stronger sense of global solidarity, and a greater aptitude for inspiration, awe, and gratitude.

About the Author

Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, is the president of Creighton University. His leadership focuses on the university's global reach, the importance of studies in the liberal arts, and the expansion of Creighton's mission in the US Southwest. He has worked and lived in the Caribbean, East Africa, and India. He has served on the boards of Boston College, Xavier University, the Institute for Latin American Concern, and Jesuit Worldwide Learning.


"Jesuit Higher Education in a Secular Age is a timely book, coming in an era when many in higher education and beyond have recognized the incompleteness of widely accepted educational goals like content knowledge, vocational training, status, and money. Daniel Hendrickson draws on the philosopher Charles Taylor to articulate a compelling vision for education of the whole person, including ethical and spiritual aspects, and he delineates approaches through which universities can pursue this end. The book will be useful to audiences well beyond Jesuit and Catholic universities, as its insights can guide educators from many levels and backgrounds to foster discernment, purpose, and fulfillment in young people." — Stanton Wortham, Charles F. Donovan, SJ, Dean of the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College

9781647122331 : jesuit-higher-education-in-a-secular-age-hendrickson
April 1, 2022
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