Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

C. Colt Anderson

A Message from
Dr. C. Colt Anderson
Dean, Graduate School of Religion 
and Religious Education

Welcome to the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University. Our school draws on its Catholic and Jesuit wellsprings to prepare people of multiple religious traditions to transform their faith into action. We are guided by Ignatius of Loyola’s maxim from the Spiritual Exercises: “Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words.”  

Our graduates incarnate this maxim. They are actively serving the mission of healing the brokenhearted, of promoting justice, of lifting up those who have fallen, of calling out to the lost, and of handing on the faith in a variety of contexts from parishes, chaplain’s offices, Catholic schools, Jesuit Universities, and Diocesan offices. In short, we strive to be a community of “doers of the Word” (James 1:22). 

Being a Jesuit school of religious education, ministry, pastoral counseling, and spirituality studies informs our programs in at least three significant ways. 

First, we are committed to Ignatius’s understanding of the Jesuit mission as laboring strenuously with the assistance of grace to provide aid toward “the salvation and perfection of the souls of our neighbors.” In more contemporary language, we aim at the care of the whole person regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We provide rigorous academic training in our programs that have served members of many Protestant denominations and members of other faiths in their efforts. We also draw many Catholic students from around the world who are preparing for leadership positions in their home countries. 

Second, we are a community that seeks to learn from each other. Ignatius wrote, “Love consists in the mutual communication between two persons. That is, the one who loves and gives and communicates to the beloved what one has or can have; and the beloved in return does the same to the lover.” True relationships are reciprocal, even in graduate education. We invite diversity as a gift that enhances understanding in our community as a whole. 

Finally, we are concerned with history, but not in the sense that we wish to recapitulate some nostalgic vision of the past. In the explanatory prefaces to the Spiritual Exercises, history is central for Ignatius’ concept of contemplation and action. He wrote that it assists “the ordering of our life for the salvation of our soul.” In our terms, history helps us to identify our role building up the Kingdom of God. For Ignatius, history is not just the past but is also space for and the unfolding of the present. It is where faith is lived out in practice, where philosophies are tested by concrete events, and where people relate to each other. Like Ignatius, we seek to engage history. We do not seek to protect the status quo. Our objective is to set the world on fire with the power of love. 

If you share our determination to transform a broken world, I invite you to join us and to embark on a journey that will lead you to places you never imagined.

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