Gonzaga Preparatory School

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Jesuit Community


Fr. JK Adams, S.J. serves as chaplain and theology teacher at Gonzaga Preparatory school. He lives with his Jesuit brothers in the nearby Della Strada Jesuit Community on the Gonzaga University campus. He returned to Gonzaga Prep after serving 18 years at Jesuit High in Portland, Oregon. Fr. Adams also taught at Prep in the 1990s and early 2000s, and was eventually named superior of the Manresa Jesuit Community.


The Della Strada Community is now home to Jesuits who serve in Spokane. Its residents include the Jesuits who serve the Gonzaga Prep community who were previously living in the Manresa House on Gonzaga Prep’s Campus. By living in community, the Jesuits are able to foster strong relationships with one another and support each other in ministry.


For many years what made a Jesuit school Jesuit was that it was staffed by members of the Jesuit order who had been trained in the ways of St. Ignatius Loyola. There was a kind of second nature to how things were done based on that training. But an important demographic shift began in the waning decades of the 20th Century. Where in previous generations, faculty, staff and administrators were Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics, now the numbers of lay colleagues were filling the majority of those positions. This raised a question in the minds of those who were in leadership (Jesuit and laity) of our schools – what now makes a Jesuit school a Jesuit school? An enormous amount of prayer, scholarship and hard work went into assuring that the charism of the Jesuits would continue despite their dwindling numbers in the schools. Gonzaga Prep’s faculty and staff engage in regular Ignatian formation, and more than half have completed the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life retreat program.

But one of the crowning achievements of these efforts by leadership was the articulation of the “Profile of a Graduate at Graduation” document. This document published in 1980 named five characteristics that would be embodied by anyone graduating from a Jesuit secondary school. It did not mean to suggest that those graduates would have reached the pinnacle of those characteristics, but rather that they had embraced them as values and had made some marked advancement toward them during their four years at the school. The “Grad at Grad” document was embraced by all the Jesuit Secondary schools in the U.S. and continues to be a clear articulation of what it means to have a Jesuit education.