Christ the King Jesuit College Prep was founded by the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) to bring Catholic, Jesuit education to families from Austin and other Chicago West Side communities who would not otherwise have access to this tradition of faith-based education.
The Jesuits are an order of priests and brothers within the Catholic Church. Founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540, the Jesuits engage in a wide variety of ministries throughout the world. They are perhaps best known for their work in education. Jesuits have been active in education in the Chicago area since 1869, with the founding of St. Ignatius College Prep. Jesuits and their lay colleagues also serve at Chicago Jesuit Academy, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Loyola Academy, and Loyola University. Jesuits sponsor 56 high schools and 28 colleges and universities in the U.S., and these schools have a combined enrollment of 200,000 students. Over 1,000,000 students have graduated from Jesuit high schools in the U.S.
At the heart of Jesuit education is the spirituality and vision of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). Christ the King embraces the fundamental characteristics of Ignatian spirituality, which are best articulated in his autobiographical account of his religious conversion, the Spiritual Exercises. These traits are:
Christ-Centered: In the pattern laid out in the Spiritual Exercises, Christ the King encourages its students to grow more deeply in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ, so that they will choose to follow Him more closely in all aspects of their lives—their studies and leisure activities, career and family choices, worship and prayer.
Leadership in Service: Christ the King has the same purpose and goal that Ignatius Loyola had when he founded the Society of Jesus: to help souls respond to the grace of God in their lives. Christ the King helps its students develop as “men and women for others” who are committed to serving those most in need of their gifts, talents, and energies. Special emphasis is devoted to serving in the communities and neighborhoods of the West Side of Chicago.
Reflection: Christ the King helps students examine their own daily experiences in order to become more aware of God’s presence in all aspects of their lives. They are encouraged to see God through their own experiences of mind, body, and spirit and in the rich values and traditions of African-American culture.
Care: Christ the King is a community committed to “cura personalis,” that is, care of the whole person—mind, body, and soul.Justice: Christ the King promotes Christian faith that leads to an active concern for justice and for actions that promote justice, especially for the poor and the abandoned.