Hall at St. Louis
Loyola University of Chicago.
Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) is one of the largest religious
orders in the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1540 by
St. Ignatius Loyola, a Basque nobleman
and soldier. Today there are over 20,000 Jesuits serving the Church in
112 nations on six continents. First Studies is the stage of
that follows the two-year novitiate.
During this time of study and preparation for ordination to the Catholic
priesthood, the Jesuit is called a
There are two other First Studies programs in the United States: Bella
First Studies at Fordham integrates philosophical and theological studies with the
mission of the Society of Jesus today, its preferential option for the
poor, and its promotion of justice in the service of the faith--in
short, Jesuit ministerial formation.
The typical first studies plan lasts for three years, which includes the
equivalent of one year of theology.
The theological underpinning of the First Studies Program is our
affirmation in faith that we want to be companions of Jesus Christ.
Hence we take our key from the
Incarnation. Jesus is the
Word of God
who has come in flesh, within history, in deep solidarity with the human
race, to unite us to our God. Our formational task is to develop a
wisdom-filled charity like that of Christ through intellectually
rigorous studies in philosophy and theology, through apostolic work and
reflection, and through shared life in Jesuit community.
Click here for
An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality in PDF.
At the core of the Ciszek Hall program is constant attention to human
and spiritual growth. In addition to daily Eucharist, the community
provides opportunities for prayer in common, especially morning
and night prayer. Communal celebration of the Sacrament of
Reconciliation, occasional days of recollection, an annual vow
renovation retreat, and other retreat opportunities are offered as part
of the community's program. In addition, every Jesuit scholastic is
engaged in ongoing
The academic component of the program typically offers a three-year
integrated sequence of philosophy and theology courses. The courses are
offered in the
graduate division of Fordham University's departments of
theology and the
School of Religion and Religious Education. Jesuit scholastics may also take courses at
Union Theological Seminary,
Jewish Theological Seminary,
New School University,
New York University, and the graduate division of the
City University of
New York which all participate in a consortium to which Fordham
The philosophy component prepares Jesuit scholastics to take the De Universa examination and fulfill the requirements of the
degree (Master of Arts in Philosophical Resources) by the end of the
third year. The theology component initiates the Jesuit scholastic into
the major disciplines of theology, anticipating later academic work in
the field such as the Master of Divinity degree. The Director of the M.A.P.R
Christopher Cullen, S.J.
Jesuit Scholastics at Ciszek Hall spend six to eight hours a week in
apostolic work. The community's primary apostolic commitments are in the
Belmont/East Tremont area of the
Bronx, the neighborhood of lower-income
and immigrant families where Ciszek Hall is located. Many Jesuit
scholastics also take on secondary apostolic commitments at
Prep, Fordham University (including
and other Church and Jesuit institutions.