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No “fine minds” without “generous hearts,” Pope tells Loyola

Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's square during the Regina Coeli prayer on May 19, 2024 in The Vatican.

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 05/21/24

In words to members of the Board of Trustees of Loyola University, the Holy Father urged the institution to offer education of "head, heart, and hands."

You have a duty “not only of forming fine minds, but also of developing generous hearts.” This was Pope Francis’ exhortation as he received a delegation from Jesuit-run Loyola University of Chicago, on May 20, 2024, at the Vatican. “We need men and women who are ready to put their skills at the service of others, to work for a future in which each person can achieve his or her potential and live with dignity and respect, and in which the world can find peace,” he said.

This Catholic university has nearly 17,000 students, and has also administered a university campus in Rome since 1962. The Pope spoke to members of the Board of Trustees on a pilgrimage to the Eternal City in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, which he belongs to. “Your experience of visiting the places that shaped Ignatius’ life and spirituality has surely enriched and inspired you on your path of academic and personal formation,” he told them at the start of his address.

Education is more than transmission of knowledge

In his words, the Pope underlined the “essential” role of academic institutes. Calling for the university to “cultivate a critical sense, the capacity for discernment and sensitivity to global challenges,” he stressed the duty “not only of forming fine minds, but also of developing generous hearts and consciences attentive to the dignity of every person.”

“Education is not just a transmission of knowledge, but a commitment and method of forming people who are able to embody the values of reconciliation and justice in every aspect of their lives,” Francis added. The tradition of the Society of Jesus calls for a “search for the truth through deep reflection, attentive listening and courageous action,” he said.

Form hard-working dreamers!

Head, heart, and hands

This is why education must take place on three different levels, Pope Francis said: “the head, the heart, and the hands.” He continued, “The mind must be formed so that the heart can be generous, able to engage with reality and the demands of the times, and the hands must be able to work actively. Form hard-working dreamers!”

The head of the Catholic Church sprinkled his speech with recommendations, including developing “intellectual curiosity,” which he distinguishes from “idle chatter or gossip, which is harmful.”

Hope never disappoints

He ended with a mention of the importance of hope. “I am very much struck by this today: amidst the crisis in the global order the thought of a possible future seems to be lacking. And without hope we cannot live. Let us not forget hope, which is an anchor on the shore and we cling to its rope. Hope never disappoints!” This last exhortation is a reference to the Bull of Indiction of the 2025 Jubilee, titled Spes non confundit, “Hope does not disappoint.”

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