Pope to Loyola University staff: Be ‘diligent dreamers’

Pope Francis gives an unusual piece of advice to representatives of Loyola University Chicago, urging them to become “diligent dreamers.”

May 21, 2024

Pope Francis with the delegation from Loyola University, Chicago (Vatican Media)

By Stefan Von Kempis
“To move forward in life, we need to dream," said Pope Francis during his audience on Monday with staff from Loyola University. "A person who has lost the ability to dream lacks creativity, lacks poetry, and life without poetry does not work."

Loyola University is based in Chicago and is run by the Jesuit order, to which the Pope also belongs. In recent days, members of the university's board of trustees have been making a pilgrimage to places associated with St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Basque-born nobleman Ignatius was the founder of the Jesuit order, back in the 16th century.

"Always keep alive in you this desire to go on a journey, on pilgrimage,” said the Pope.

Dynamic roots
"In order to move forward, you should always go back to your roots," the Pope said. "You cannot move forward without roots, from which you draw your strength ... The roots of your institution lie in the experience of the Founder, Saint Ignatius, who always put God first and was constantly seeking God’s will.  This resulted in his diligent striving for service.  Move forward in order to serve."

The Pope also encouraged his listeners to be "witnesses of hope" in a world marked by divisions and conflicts. Universities, he said, have the potential to improve the world, and, indeed, have played a "crucial role" in complicated times.

"You are not only tasked with educating brilliant minds," he said, "but also with cultivating generous hearts and a conscience that respects the dignity of every person. Education takes place on three levels: with the head, the heart, and the hands. Think what you feel and do, feel what you think and do, do what you think and feel."

Education is not just the transmission of knowledge

Education, Pope Francis said, is more than the mere transmission of knowledge: it is about forming people capable of embodying reconciliation and justice.

"Mind, heart, and hands cannot grow separately, and only together can they engage with the reality and demands of the time."

The world today needs men and women who are willing to put their abilities at the service of others, the Pope continued. Only then is there a chance that the world "might find peace."

The horizon of hope

“Without hope, one cannot live.”

“Amidst the crisis in the global order,” Pope Francis concluded, “the thought of a possible future seems to be lacking.  And without hope, we cannot live. Let us not forget hope, which is an anchor on the shore and we cling to its rope. Hope never disappoints!"--Vatican News

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