UCSIA is the heir of the former Jesuit university and business school UFSIA, and is therefore indebted to the Jesuit tradition. The UCSIA topics ‘Economy & Ethics’ and ‘Europe & Solidarity’ stem from the socio-economic focus within the educational programmes of UFSIA. ‘Religion, Culture & Society’ examines the spiritual dimension of being human in the world.
These key topics are in line with the Jesuit vision on education as caring for the individual person as a whole: head, heart and hands. Broad and thorough scientific knowledge, spirituality, commitment and service, inspired by Ignatius’ motto: En todo amar y servir. Service is also reflected in the promotion of Community Service Learning, which UCSIA is strongly committed to.
To ensure good education, personal development and mental health: these key aspects from the rich spiritual legacy of the Society of Jesus are propagated by UCSIA. We work in close collaboration with the members of the Society of Jesus and its many (net)works, both locally and internationally.
In addition to the spiritual legacy, UCSIA devotes great attention to the rich material heritage of the Society of Jesus, in Antwerp and elsewhere, with its key topic ‘Jesuit Heritage’. Since the end of the sixteenth century, Antwerp has been the centre of the Flemish-Belgian Jesuit Province. Many traces of this position have been preserved in the Antwerp cityscape: the Saint Charles Borromeo Church was originally the Saint Ignatius Church of the Professed House, while the Jesuit college was accommodated in Hof Van Liere on the Prinsstraat until 1773. The attention for the material heritage is also inspired by the close connection between UCSIA and the Ruusbroec Institute at the University of Antwerp. https://www.uantwerpen.be/nl/onderzoeksgroep/ruusbroecgenootschap/bibliotheek/
The Ruusbroec Institute, founded in 1925, conducts research into the many expressions of spirituality and religious experience in the Low Countries. Ever since, its members have paid great attention to collecting sources and documents on the development of spirituality, mystic, and theology. Nowadays the Ruusbroec Library has become a recognized heritage library that works closely with the Antwerp University Library. The library was founded by Jesuits and contains, besides a large collection of books related to the religious culture of the Netherlands, many other types of materials collected by the Society. For example, its large collection of devotional prints is absolutely unique. Together with the University of Antwerp, UCSIA has established the ‘Jesuit Heritage Foundation’ to valorize this material heritage both scientifically and culturally.
For the next three years, UCSIA will focus on these projects:
Jesuit Heritage Foundation
The Jesuit Heritage Foundation, with founding parties the University of Antwerp and UCSIA vzw, aims to promote the scientific and cultural valorization of the material heritage of the Jesuits in Antwerp and in Flanders.
In this regard, the operation of the Ruusbroec library will also be inspired by the Foundation. Through project work, the foundation makes the library’s collections accessible to a wide audience. On the occasion of several historical birthdays related to the Jesuit order, a festival is being set up between September 2022 and February 2023. These activities are carried out in close collaboration with cultural partners in Antwerp and with the University Library.
Together with the Ruusbroec Institute, UCSIA organizes the annual Ruusbroec Day. Next to that, the Ruusbroec Institute and the University Library programme the annual summer school ‘Books and Culture’. The ‘Jesuit Heritage Summer School’ in 2021 is a new initiative of the Ruusbroec Institute.
In the coming years, the foundation also wants to explore and develop opportunities for collaboration with other heritage partners, including KADOC, PARCUM, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of KU Leuven, and the library of the Bollandists.
Lecture Series ‘Prominent Jesuits’
At the crossroads of science and society, UCSIA will organize lectures that are connected to the historic contribution of prominent Flemish Jesuits: Carolus Scribani, Petrus Canisius and Leonardus Lessius, to name a few.
UCSIA is a member of several networks, regionally and internationally. Most of these networks are already linked to one of our other key topics. In the next three years UCSIA will strengthen its ties with Jesuit colleges and their alumni networks by organizing activities together.
By participating in the international Jesuit networks, UCSIA wants to enrich the combination of research, education and community service offered at the University of Antwerp with the global expertise of Jesuits in various societal challenges: fighting poverty, climate policy and sustainable economy.