New School Theme Inspires Student body


“We Walk with a Heart that does not close in on itself”, is the theme for the 2017-2018 school year. Pope Francis spoke these words to over two hundred of his fellow Jesuits when he quoted a homily from January of 2014.

Each year Mr. Don Clarke, Director of Campus Ministry, chooses a theme to guide the Jesuit community to act in a courageous way.

“Last spring as I looked at the marches across our country and so many other countries it seemed to me that the Pope’s requests[…]went directly against the protests and ensuing violence that the world was experiencing”

Recent world events add relevance to this year’s theme as well as significant school occasions.

“I feel that this quote really resonates with this class especially with everything they have been through,” senior Christina Beardall said.

In March 2015, the Jesuit community shared deep sorrow while mourning the death of Ruby Gray. On this Ruby Tuesday, many students and faculty experienced strong feelings of love amongst each other.

“[A] remarkable moment of everyone’s hearts beating together[…]It was a unique event in our school’s life,” Mr. Don Clarke.

This moment of community is a perfect example of a “heart that does not close in on itself”.

Senior Christina Beardall can relate to this feeling of community as she references her junior encounter as another example of a communal heart beating together.

“I think during Jesuit retreats everyone shares their life and has an open heart. Whether you want it to be there or not I don’t think you can help but have one when listening to someone else’s story,” senior Christina Beardall said.


Although spoken to Jesuits at the orders general congregation, Mr. Clarke believes the Pope’s message is applicable to the community at Jesuit High.

“If we act to bring fear by going after people online, behind their backs, small lies and gossip that is meant to bring fear into a relationship, then I hope the reminder of walking with a heart that does not close in on itself changes the way we treat one another,” Mr. Don Clarke said.

To senior Christina Beardall, this theme encompasses an open heart towards others.

“[An open heart] is one not centered around yourself it is one that takes in to account other peoples opinions and beliefs and opening up to how you feel about them,” senior Christina Beardall said.

A request from the Pope himself, living out this theme is not an easy task. As high school students, it is a difficult constantly live with an open heart.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage to look at what is right and stand up for it,” Mr. Don Clarke said.

After a the senior pilgrimage, the class of 2018 shared open hearts like never before. The seniors walk mile thirteen with open hearts. Lead walker, Briceton Branch, opened his heart by sharing his journey and connecting with new faces on the pilgrimage.

“We tend as human beings to close our hearts off to those we don’t know or like, I felt like during this pilgrimage we were willing to open up and talk to people we don’t usually talk to[…]You never know what you can learn from others and who you can connect with if you close your heart off,” senior Briceton Branch said.