They came to Xavier from 12 Jesuit colleges and universities spread across America’s heartland—Nebraska, Missouri, Belize. Wait. Belize is part of America’s heartland? Well, no. It’s more like an honorary member. But where they came from isn’t important. What’s important is why they came.
“They” being faculty, staff and administrators from 12 Jesuit universities who came to Xavier to take part in the sixth Heartland Delta Conference. The three-day conference is designed to provide a venue for dialogue about learning, Jesuit education, collaboration, Ignatian spirituality and a host of topics unique to Jesuit schools that typically aren’t going to be found at other conferences. This was the sixth such conference, which takes place every three years.
This year’s theme was “The World is Our House,” a phrase taken from Jerónimo Nadal, S.J., an early Jesuit leader, giving participants the roadmap to delve into issues such as globalization and what role Jesuit education plays in that concept. The conference was highlighted by three keynote speakers: John L. Allen, Jr., senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and author of “The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church”; Kathleen Erickson, R.S.M., co-founder of the Women’s Intercultural Center; and Larry Gillick, S.J., director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Creighton University.
The conference is sponsored by each of the schools and the five Jesuit Provinces in these regions—one of which includes St. John’s College in Belize City, Belize.