On the eve of the first day of the 2021–22 school year, I'd like to offer my sincere appreciation for your commitment to Loyola Blakefield. We recognize that few choices we make as parents are as pivotal as where our children spend their most formative years. Thank you for choosing Loyola and partnering with us as the proud tradition of a Jesuit education intersects with the innovation and energy of our 170th academic year.
Five hundred years ago, St. Ignatius experienced an event that would change his life and the entire world. As a young soldier in the Spanish army, he was gravely injured by a cannonball during the Battle of Pamplona. While in recovery, he experienced a spiritual transformation that altered the course of his life. Were it not for this "cannonball moment" Loyola Blakefield would not be here today. In that light, we are joining Jesuit ministries across the globe in the celebration of an "Ignatian Year" that began May 20, 2021, and will conclude on July 31, 2022, which is the feast day of St. Ignatius. We hope you'll join us in embracing the many ways we share in the gifts of Ignatian spirituality.
While Ignatius' life was extraordinary, his experiences were not unlike our own. He faced trials and challenges, struggled with the tension between his ambitions and the call to serve something far greater than himself, and setbacks were always part of his growth. This year will deliver its share of "cannonball moments" — days when we are far from our best or struggling to overcome the hurdles placed in our path. Together, however, we'll conquer those moments and emerge with greater grace, understanding, and fortitude.
As summer fades, I'm reminded of the opportunity it brings for reflection and renewal and how precious those hours are that grant us time for leisure and learning. As an educator who began as an English teacher, I often find myself in those moments revisiting the works of my favorite poets. As thoughts of a new school year fill my head, I recall the words of John Keats: "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." Your sons are on the verge of such an experience—one that can only be imagined until all of its magnificent opportunities for growth, friendship, laughter, and joy come to fruition and collide. I can't wait to witness all of it.
If you have had the opportunity to tour St. Ignatius Hall, you have seen the words of the Suscipe (a prayer credited to St. Ignatius) engraved onto the prayer wall
in the lobby. As we begin this new year—one full of hope and filled with faith—I invite every member of the Loyola family to pray these words together.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
all I have and call my own.
You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
My hope is that these words may be engrained in our hearts and minds throughout the school year.
I wish your Dons a restful night's sleep ahead of tomorrow. If you're feeling anxious, please know that they will be cared for as our own: loved, cherished, and nurtured for all of their unique gifts.
Let's get this year off to a great start!