As a Jesuit college preparatory high school, Fairfield Prep shares a rich heritage of more than 450 years stretching back to the life and religious experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). It is part of a world-wide network of educational institutions that embrace and carry out the Jesuit mission of educating young men and women to be leaders in every aspect of contemporary society.
At its heart, this educational mission finds its inspiration in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and the pedagogical principles (first enunciated in the Ratio Studiorum, or "Plan of Studies" in 1599) that are derived from them. The Spiritual Exercises, based on St. Ignatius's own religious experience, are a carefully arranged series of prayers, meditations, and activities by which a retreatant is brought face to face with the role of God in the world and in his or her own life.
The Ignatian/Jesuit vision that emerges from the Spiritual Exercises has several characteristics. Among them, this vision
sees life and the entire universe as a gift from a loving God, calling forth wonder and gratitude;
gives impetus to the imagination and affect as well as to the intellect;
- seeks to find God in all things - in all peoples and cultures, in all areas of learning, in all human experience, and especially (for the Christian) in the person of Jesus;
- cultivates a critical awareness of personal and social evil, but also sees God's love as more powerful than any evil;
- stresses personal freedom, the need for discernment, and responsible action; and
empowers people to become leaders in service, striving to build a more just and humane world.