Dear Companions in Mission,
I am delighted to welcome you to Verbum Dei High School and to the larger enterprise of Jesuit education. In joining this community you become a member of a global community, with a presence on every continent and a history that reaches back almost 500 years to 1547 and the founding of the first Jesuit college in Messina, Sicily.
Shortly after the founding the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) by St. Ignatius Loyola and his first companions, Ignatius wrote, “the Society hopes by means of education to pour into society educated individuals in numbers large enough to leaven it for good.” “Leaven society for good” remains as much the driving ideal of contemporary Jesuit education as it was over four centuries ago. Jesuit education is not just about the individual’s growth and development (it is about that), but also about what that individual will do with his/her education to benefit society, especially all those on the margins.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with Verbum Dei’s “Vision, Mission and Values” so that you have a feel for the challenge and the promise of Jesuit education as it plays out at Verbum Dei. We are privileged work with those who some would consider “last” but we know are “first” in the Reign of God, where the shallow, superficial pursuits of the world are subverted by the satisfying search for “treasure that neither moths consume nor rust destroys nor thieves steal” (Matt 6, 20). Whatever subject you teach or role you have, you are witness to a way of being in the world that is inclusive, generous, compassionate and forgiving – reflective of the message and ministry of Jesus. Verbum Dei aims to be a place where students experience the world as it could be, not as it is for too many of them.
We are grateful for whatever life experiences led you to Verbum Dei and thank you for joining us on the exciting and challenging journey of Jesuit education, where we are all learners and teachers, no matter what side of the desk we find ourselves on or what age bracket we locate ourselves.
Stephen A. Privett, SJ