Laudato Sí’ / Citizenship & Democracy
Jesuit Prison Education / Justice & Reconciliation / Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm

Commission Abstract: In December 2021, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an urgent advisory about the mental health of adolescents and young adults. Not long after, the Springtide Research Institute (2023) issued a report revealing that most young people do not trust organized religion, although they have had experiences that they name as sacred. Those who reported an experience of sacred moments had higher rates of belonging, flourishing, and life satisfaction. How do we reconcile the mental health crisis with the spiritual longings of young people at this time? This Commission will host a communal conversation on these questions and showcase a video of students from Jesuit institutions across the country reflecting on what hope looks like for them. Our goal? To consider how we can link hope to action, relationally and institutionally, to better accompany our students through the challenges of our time.

Co-Chair: Marybeth Kearns-Barrett M.Div. is the director of the Office of College Chaplains at the College of the Holy Cross. She began her work at Holy Cross as an assistant chaplain in 1991 after earning a Master of Divinity at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Marybeth was appointed director of the office in 2011. She is a trained spiritual director and has completed a two-year certificate program in spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition through the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Fairfield University. As a college chaplain, Marybeth has worked in the areas of retreat development, LGBTQIA+ support, vocation discernment, and student engagement in the city of Worcester. Currently her work focuses on strategic leadership of college ministries including oversight of Campion House, St. Joseph Memorial Chapel and the Joyce Contemplative Center.

Co-Chair: Jennifer Shimako Abe is a Professor of Psychological Science at Loyola Marymount University. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA in 1992. She completed the Ignatian Colleagues Program between 2009-11, as part of its second cohort. Jennifer has served in various leadership capacities at Loyola Marymount University, including terms as associate dean in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (2005-2010), as a founding co-director of Casa de la Mateada, a mission-centered study abroad program based in Córdoba, Argentina (2013-18), and as university vice president for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (2019-21). Jennifer is committed to working at the intersections of culture, spirituality, and justice in the context of Ignatian values and educational mission.

Commission Members

Commission Materials (click on title to download PDF file)

Circle of Hope Video (2024)