One of the most integral parts of the LMU experience is the deep connection to St. Ignatius of Loyola and his teachings. This past week was Ignatian Heritage Week, and the LMU community came together to discuss the principles and values that shape the University’s mission.
It is important to recognize how St. Ignatius and the Society of Jesus shape the education that we receive as LMU students, but it is also important to recognize how that education shapes us. I sat down with Maddy Kilroy, a sophomore film and television production major, and Maya Paniagua, a senior biology major, to talk about their experiences at LMU and how its Ignatian heritage has impacted them.
Nicole Norman (N.N.): How do you feel that the Jesuit values of LMU have shaped your experience?
Maddy Kilroy (M.K.): Growing up, I have always gone to Catholic school. LMU is not only Catholic but also Jesuit and I definitely notice the difference. There are similarities but there is something about the Jesuit education that makes it special. There is a lot more of a focus on applying Catholic values towards the real world. I also enjoy the emphasis on social justice. I think that the Catholic faith has that, but Jesuits do a good job of making it present in all of our curriculum. I remember specifically when I was looking at schools, LMU stood out because, at least for film and television, their message was teaching us how to tell a story to help others and spread good messages in the world. I always say that whatever I do in life I want it to be for others and I think that LMU has really helped me achieve that.
Maya Paniagua (M.P.): I think the Jesuit values of finding God in everything have really shaped me. I am a pretty religious person but I usually just kept that in Church. I feel like going to school and seeing how you can bring God into your education and service has been something that I have really loved and now I am so excited to do those kind of things. Now, I really see things as connected and I never really thought of things as being connected. In my Theology and Science class my professor is bringing up things like how certain religions effected science. I never really thought about those connections in high school so I think that is the main thing I see as how Jesuit values have shaped my experience.
N.N.: The five pillars of LMU are based on Ignatian values. Which of them means the most to you?
M.K.: I think “Integrate Mind, Body, and Spirit” means the most to me because people always talk about that in education. I feel like everything I do on campus is teaching me information but also teaching me how I fit into the world and what I can do to help. I am learning how to be a prosperous person not just in terms of money, but in the way I treat others which I think is really great. I also love “Commit to Service and Justice” and “Become a Global Citizen” too because I feel like there are Christian values that are sometimes warped in the world but the Jesuits have a great commitment to staying true to Jesus’s message and living for others. They want to propel us into the world as someone who is there for others and who serves the poor and vulnerable.
M.P.: I think, for me, the most important one is “Living a Life of Purpose.” When going to LMU, I kind of found my purpose. Before, I just wanted to go to school and get a degree and be done. LMU has kind of showed me a lot about different worlds and different journeys that people are taking and I think that my purpose is just to serve people. Now, I have seen so many ways of doing that. I want to be a doctor but now I want to do more than that because of what LMU showed me. I want to raise awareness for mental health as well and connect all those parts of my life and I think that going to school here has really helped me form all of that and gave me insight into things I was not aware of before coming to college.
N.N.: What are you involved in on campus? How do you integrate Ignatian values into those experiences?
M.K.: I am part of Delta Gamma and I was recently nominated to the chapter management team, which is exciting because I will get to take more of a leadership role there. I think, especially recently, we have been given an opportunity to better how Panhellenic life is viewed as a whole because, if you look across the country, you can see that it has not always been a beacon of justice and equality. It has been a hotspot for racism, sexism, and honestly terrible things. What I find as a positive is that, at least on our campus and among my sorority, we emphasize philanthropy very heavily. What I think is very reflective of our Ignatian values is that, for example, when we are paying our dues, I know that it’s not all going to things like formals and date parties. It is heavily going towards our national philanthropy, which is Service for Sight. We help those with visual impairments which I think is really great. We also do LMU Dance Marathon that supports the B+ Foundation which is for children and their families who are suffering from cancer. Overall, the philanthropy and service is emphasized really heavily and we expect our girls to meet that standard. I think that the way they push us to serve beyond our own philanthropy is also reflective of our Ignatian values. I am also very proud of how our chapter has responded to recent events. We have had forums and education on racism in America and Panhellenic life. We are really focused on how we are going to change for the better moving forward.
M.P.: I am VP of Membership of Agape and the Co-Chair for Community for Christian Life Community (CLC). I am also a research assistant where I work with mussels to see how climate change effects them and I am a teacher’s assistant for organic chemistry. I love connections and I would say that I don’t just leave anything in its realm. For example, I like to try to incorporate aspects of mental health into CLC. Then, because I am co-chair for community there, I get ideas that I get to take with me to Agape membership activities. In my research, I try to bring that into being an organic chemistry TA. Overall, I am just trying to go beyond the meeting room.
N.N.: What parts of LMU’s Ignatian heritage will you take with you when you leave?
M.K.: The thing about LMU is that it has been with me all of my life. My great grandfather went to LMU when it was still Loyola University and since then I have had multiple family members graduate and even come back to teach and LMU and Loyola Law School. I even learned to walk in the halls of the English department. I will always carry the values I learned here with me, but the main thing is something that I always say to myself which is: whatever you are doing in life, do it for others. What I have learned from through the Ignatian heritage is that I want to leave this world better than I found it.
M.P.: I love LMU and I think it has shaped me in so many ways. I think that the lessons I learned through making connections and spreading awareness is important. I didn’t think in this way until I was taught to and I think I can bring that to places like my family. I feel like I’ve already done so in certain instances as well in places like climate change and religion. I take inspiration from the Pope who is really good and bringing scientific things to people who might not understand it in a scientific sense but might understand it through the faith that they understand. This is something I want to continue to do and I also want to be an advocate for people. As a doctor I hope to be able to spread awareness on certain things like mental health. Obviously, I don’t know everything but I want to make people aware of things that are happening in the world to the best of my ability.