Jesuit Mission

Loyola leaders meet with Pope Francis during Ignatian pilgrimage

May 24, 2024


In a private audience at the Vatican on May 20, His Holiness Pope Francis shared wisdom with President Mark C. Reed, members of the Board of Trustees, and other senior Loyola University Chicago leaders, reflecting on the role universities play in advancing knowledge and forming hopeful leaders. During this meeting, President Reed presented the Holy Father a scale replica of the University’s Los Lobos de Loyola statue, honoring his vocation to the Society of Jesus.  

The Pope urged Loyola staff to become “diligent dreamers,” emphasizing that dreams are essential for creativity and a fulfilling life. “A person who has lost the ability to dream lacks creativity, lacks poetry, and life without poetry does not work,” the Pope said.

In his address, Pope Francis linked Loyola’s Jesuit heritage to the spiritual path of St. Ignatius of Loyola and encouraged the community to draw strength from their roots. Highlighting the holistic nature of education, Pope Francis called for the formation of individuals capable of harmonious thought, feeling, and action. Urging Loyola to be “witnesses of hope” in today’s complex world, he stressed the importance of service.  

Yours is the task not only of forming fine minds, but also of developing generous hearts and consciences attentive to the dignity of every person.

— Pope Francis

The visit took place during a week-long pilgrimage for Loyola leaders to the places that shaped the life and spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Participants toured historical locations related to St. Ignatius and the formation of the Jesuit Order, including the Castle of Loyola in Bilbao, Spain, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, and the Rooms of St. Ignatius in Rome, Italy. While in Rome, the group also visited Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center and met with Father Arturo Sosa, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

By following in the footsteps of St. Ignatius, University leaders deepened their connection to Loyola’s heritage and strengthened their commitment to upholding and advancing the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission.