Jesuit Tradition

The spiritual heritage of Rockhurst University takes its origins from the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius Loyola, a Basque knight who lived in the first half of the sixteenth century.

St. Ignatius began his life as a courtier and then a soldier. During a battle against the French in 1521, he was hit by a cannonball. While recuperating from his injuries, he read books about the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. Their example inspired him to give up his former life and become a follower of Christ.

Central to St. Ignatius’ own life and spirituality was a profound experience of God that transformed the way he looked at himself, others, and the world. He realized that God's Spirit is constantly at work in all of creation and especially in every human being whose unique gifts and talents have the potential to mirror the goodness and grandeur of God.

This experience of God’s love propelled St. Ignatius to make a response. He desired to give of himself in the service of God for the healing and well being of all creation and for helping all people reach their greatest human potential. It was for this reason that St. Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus.

Rockhurst University, founded in Kansas City in 1910, shares this 450 year-old tradition with 27 other Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and with hundreds of other Jesuit schools, institutes, and educational works worldwide.

Jesuit education has always been noted for academic excellence and for an emphasis on education of the whole person. Academic excellence, a value-oriented education, interdisciplinary studies, a global perspective and justice remain hallmarks of Jesuit education today.