Renewed emphasis on the Grad at Grad

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Conner Bunker '20 | Plank

For over a decade, the Examen prayer enriches each afternoon at Jesuit High School Sacramento, winding down every school day with a reflection rooted in Ignatian spirituality, but this past year the Daily Examen has seen a small change.

The Examen was formulated by the founder of the Society of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who considered it an essential daily prayer. Mr. Paul LeBeouf, the director of Campus Ministry, shares Saint Ignatius’ insight.

“I don’t think that most people just take five minutes of their time to step back and think about their day,” Mr. LeBeouf said. “I think [the Examen] is a good checkup, especially for students throughout their four years at Jesuit, being able to see where they are as seniors and where they were as freshmen.”

There is no singular way to pray the Examen, and for years at Jesuit, it was prayed by students using a set of questions that stayed more or less the same from one day to the next.

This year, however, each week begins with a unique guiding theme that directs their daily contemplation throughout the week. Every day, students are reminded of the theme and are given questions that help guide them to explore and reflect on the theme more deeply.

The addition of the guiding questions is due in large part to Grant Houle ’20, the religious coordinator, and Jonathan Fong ’20, the diocesan pastoral council student representative.

Their purpose in altering the Examen was to draw students’ attention back to integral principles of being a Marauder, something that Jonathan saw in danger of being forgotten.

“We added the questions to refocus the student body on the Grad-at-Grad principles because it is something that has been lost,” Jonathan said. “This is part of our Jesuit identity, and we cannot afford to let it go.”

The Grad-at-Grad is the expected profile of the Jesuit graduate at the time of graduation. The profile consists of five principles: being open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice.

Using these principles, Grant and Jonathan formulated their questions which consider how one has moved toward or away from the profile of the Grad-at-Grad.

“We used the Grad-at-Grad principles and their respective subtopics to come up with the questions,” Grant said. “We used the subtopics as stepping stones to become the ideal Grad at Grad.”

Principal Mr. Michael Wood ’99 is hopeful that this greater focus will enrich the time allotted for the Examen.

“It’s my hope that using the Examen in this way and bringing the Grad at Grad to the forefront of that part of our day will make students mindful of the Grad at Grad,” Mr. Wood said. “It’s not an expectation, but a hope.”

Changing the Daily Examen seems like a small revision, but it’s a significant one, raising the collective awareness about a crucial aspect of being a Marauder.