Page 8 - The Gonzaga Record 1990
P. 8
With the change of headmaster for Gonzaga of course comes a change
for myself, having spent five years in the College, four as headmaster.
I leave for Harare in Zimbabwe with many mixed feelings, knowing how
much I received in my time here and how much I will miss. Being
headmaster is a complex experience of enrichment, stretching, battering
and 'approfondissement', as the French say, - certainly never dull!
As headmaster one spends some time thinking about and urging others
-colleagues, parents, students and past pupils-to think about the larger
goals of the school - about education itself. Reflecting and talking about
education can easily degenerate into a mouthing of platitudes, but not
taking time to do such reflection can have most serious and undesirable
consequences for life in the school. It is so easy to lose sight of what
is important when faced with the unending demands of the urgent and
This Ignatian Centenary Year and fortieth anniversary of Gonzaga's
foundation is surely an appropriate time for some such reflection, if the
school is to be faithful to the Ignatian tradition to which it belongs.
When assessing the 'success' of the school it is hardly enough to look
at the results of the Leaving, however important they are. Further questions
must be asked - is the school a creative environment, providing by and
large an atmosphere where pupils are helped to identify and develop their
many talents?
'To be dead is to stop believing in I The masterpieces we will begin
tomorrow', as Kavanagh says. Simone Weil has some arresting words
on the 'real object' of studies: 'Although people seem to be unaware of
it today, the development of the faculty of attention forms the real object,
and almost the sole interest of studies. Quite apart from explicit religious
belief, every time a human being succeeds in making an effort of attention
with the sole idea of increasing hi s grasp of truth, he acquires a greater
aptitude for grasping it even if hi s efforts produce no visible fruit. The
other true purpose of school studies-education - is to inculcate humility
- not just a virtue, but the condition of virtue. From this point of view,
it is perhaps even more useful to contemplate our stupidity than our sin.
Studies are nearer to God because of the attention which is their soul.'
At the 6th Year Graduation I spoke of my hopes and fears in the long
term for the students leaving us and of some characteristics which can,
l think, be used to assess the 'success' of a Jesuit school such as Gonzaga.
In this concluding ed itorial, as in my final letter to the parents, perhaps
it is of value to reiterate some of these observations. The first is that of
gratitude-a fundamental characteristic of the spirituality of St Ignatius
and hopefully an intrinsic outcome of Jesuit education. Ignatius considered
the ungrateful or unappreciative person to be half-dead, no matter how
talented or successful they were. Gratitude makes a person noble as against
petty, humble as against arrogant and greedy, human as against its
opposite. As already mentioned, in a year when enormous change has
been occuring in the world, in a year when six Jesuits with two female

   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13