Theme of the Academic Year – Transcend to Transform
Welcome to St. Xavier’s College Family!
During the last two years, the Society of Jesus has been in constant discussion and discernment to identify priority areas for its mission for the next ten years. Every Jesuit in the world was involved in the process including the Jesuits of the College. In January 2019, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., the Superior General of the Society, promulgated the four areas known as the Universal Apostolic Preferences. They have been stated in the following manner.
1. To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment;
2. To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice;
3. To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future;
4. To collaborate in the care of our Common Home.
Being a part of the Society of Jesus, it was imperative that our College family also adapt the above preferences to reflect them in all that we do here. One way of integrating them into the life of the College is by deriving the theme of each academic year from them. Consequently, we have chosen the theme for this academic year as TRANSCEND TO TRANSFORM.
In a world where money and material things have become gods, where immediate gratification, instant pleasure and speed are the norms, where truth is based only on what is seen and tangible, the first part of the theme ‘transcend’ invites all of us to understand that human life has a dimension that is beyond all these. As Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
Human life and society are sustained not just by matter alone but by love, compassion, justice, generosity, harmony and honesty which surpass material nature. While we need to use money and material things, we should not chain our lives to them. Therefore, the first part of the theme is asking us to go beyond mere ritualistic practices, beyond what is material, what is pleasing to the senses, what fulfills our own selfish interests, what is popular, what is easy and our comfort zones. ‘Transcend’ is asking us to feel with the heart and be affected, to “use our minds, hands and our hearts to build something bigger than ourselves.” (Tim Cook)
When we feel with our heart, we enter into a journey of transformation. Transformation is not just a magical, sudden change. It is more a discovering one’s true self and becoming what one can become in a slow and steady progress. One of the best examples of transformation is that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. The capacity to become a butterfly is innate in a caterpillar. A caterpillar goes through the slow process of transforming itself into a butterfly and thus becoming what it is meant to be. Likewise, transcending enables us to go beyond our caterpillar nature to be transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
The beauty of transformation is that it affects the world around us. As Deepak Chopra says, “You are the world. When you transform yourself, the world you live in will also be transformed.” When we are affected and transformed, we become catalysts of transformation around us. It triggers a chain- reaction of transformation. In the process, we will be able to create a world around us filled with love, compassion, justice, generosity, harmony and honesty. In other words, we become agents of transcending and transforming for others.
We are blessed with a team of dedicated faculty and staff who make every effort to transcend themselves and work towards one’s own transformation. This transformation of the self is then passed on to the students to enable them to transcend and become better human beings. Through our person-centered approach and working collaboratively, our faculty and staff accompany our students to unleash their potential and become persons who can make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the country.
Here I feel blessed to welcome all those who wish to be a part of our TRANSCEND TO TRANSFORM journey.
Fr. Jiju Varghese, S.J.