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ERIC Number: EJ1128162
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1942-2539
The Jesuit Contribution to Christian Education in Iraq: A Personal Reflection
Seferta, Joseph
International Studies in Catholic Education, v8 n2 p193-201 2016
There was a brief period in the long history of the suffering church in Iraq when it received a tremendous support that it could only dream about. That was between 1932 and 1969 when it was enriched by the presence of American Jesuits who gave the church much of the educational, moral and pastoral backing that it needed. In this article we shall investigate how the American Jesuits went to Iraq, what institutions they founded, what their philosophy of education was, what methods of education they employed, and how successful their mission in Iraq was. We shall also explore why they were eventually expelled and how their work in Baghdad was brought to an abrupt end. In 1932 some American Jesuits sailed the seas to Beirut and bussed across the desert to Baghdad. They went in answer to a request by the Chaldean Patriarch Mar Emmanuel II Toma that they start a secondary school for Christian boys. He himself was a graduate of the Jesuit Universite St. Joseph in Beirut. The patriarch had made his request known to Pope Pius XI who asked the Jesuit General, Fr. Wladimir Ledechowsky to approach the Jesuits in America because they were (and still are) the most numerous English-speaking Jesuits in the world. The New England Province undertook the project. Jesuits had passed through Mesopotamia before. St. Ignatius Loyola, their founder, had spent some time in the Holy Land, and dialoguing with Islam was one of his highest priorities. In 1850 two Jesuits were sent from Beirut to Baghdad to determine if the time was ripe for a Jesuit mission there. As their caravan was robbed on the way to and from Baghdad, they decided that the time was not yet ripe. So in 1932, the same year that Iraq gained its independence, four US Jesuits arrived in Baghdad. Initially they bought two houses by the Tigris and started Baghdad College, a high school for boys, with an enrolment of 120. The students were to increase eventually to 1000 at Baghdad College and 700 at the later Al-Hikma University.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iraq
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A