How can something so tiny teach so much about love and life?

Art Co-Love in ASF: Reflections on Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ as a champion exemplar of social justice
How can something so tiny teach so much about love and life?

THIS is Teacher Nanan again at your service, ang Misyonerong Bisdak diri sa Mindanao. Today I share this wonderful platform with my dear ASF student, Sultana. The whole month of February is significant to us in the Ateneo. We honor with deep gratitude in our hearts our champion exemplar of Social Justice, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ. 

One of the great things I am blessed with is to be part of Ateneo. Fortes In Fide. Strong in faith that does justice. These words are lovingly engraved in our hearts. And we thank Fr. Arrupe for showing us how. 

I am blessed to have passionate, creative souls in my ASF classes and Sultana is one of them. Thank you and good job mga anak in ASF.

For the whole month of February, we lovingly traced the footsteps of Fr. Arrupe. 

He lived from 1907 to 1991. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1927. Ordained to the priesthood in 1936, missioned to Japan in 1938, and served there during Pearl Harbor. Using his medical training, he was a first responder in Hiroshima. 

Why is Fr. Arrupe important? He was the central figure in the renewal of the Society of Jesus after Vatican II paying attention to both St. Ignatius of Loyola and to the signs of the times. 

In the Ateneo, we teach our students to be Sui Generis Leaders for Mindanao. We cannot do it without our champion exemplar for Social Justice, Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ.

As a passionate educator and formator, what excites me most in the classroom is the chance to teach difficult concepts like Social Justice and the inherent dignity of the human person through creative and innovative means. 

I teach Arrupe Social Formation modules. For this lesson on Fr. Arrupe, we did empty eggshell paintings in class done in collaboration with their lifetime prayer partners. Thus, was given birth to this ART Co-Love in ASF. 


I accompany young men and women in the Ateneo in this amazing adventure of faith. I love my vocation. This is my ministry. I am a creative soul.

Our life in the Ateneo is steeped with reflection and Ignatian discernment. I for one did not graduate from the Ateneo as I am Theresian. My formation spans years with the Dominican Sisters in Carcar to my college formative years in STC Cebu. 

I am deeply grateful to Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ. I learned in detail about his life, legacy, and ministry in 2018. It was the year that Momma Sheila Mae Jaso and Mam Beth Arcena invited me to come home again to the Ateneo as a college formator. 

Knowing in detail the life of Fr. Arrupe has truly transformed my life. What touched me so much about Fr. Arrupe is his love for mission. His desire to be sent to Japan in 1938 during the world’s most uncertain times was truly a brave act. 

I also want to honor him as a man for others. During the Hiroshima bombing, he shone the light of volunteerism. Using his medical training, he saved and treated 150 persons during the bombing day itself. He was the first volunteer shining the light in the darkest of days in Hiroshima.

On November 14, 1980, he founded the Jesuit Refugee Service in response to the needs of the times. His heart was truly big enough to accommodate the rest of the wounded world. And he lovingly responded to this brokenness by being a brave soul. Nothing beats the heart of a volunteer.

In 1973, he left us an indelible mark as he addressed the educators of the world: Today’s prime educational objective must be to form Men and Women for Others who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors.

I am proud to showcase to you all my beloved students’ amazing egg-shell artwork dubbed ASF Art Co-Love by LPP by Sultana Rahman. 

In this Arrupe Month, I guided them in coming up with their own three-word story of Fr. Arrupe. 

B1 is a specific life event in Fr Aruupe’s story. B2 is coming home to Ignatian Values. B3 is Sultana’s personal key takeaway and deep reflection from this lesson. Here it is:


Heart transformed by love: Tracing Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ’s Journey



B2: Lifelong commitment to justice

B3: Importance of peace and reconciliation

So how can something so tiny teach us so much about love and life?

Allow me to share my reflections on this amazing Jesuit whose life and legacy have spurred me to greater heights to service my ministry in Mindanao:

1. His deep life of prayer and reflection led Fr. Arrupe to his vocation. I am inspired to always teach the primacy of prayer in my ASF classes.

2. Fr. Arrupe is one brave soul. He had sharpened social awareness. He did not just do social analysis during his time but he lovingly responded to the needs of his time by volunteering, by being sent on a mission, by never hesitating to help the least of his neighbors. I am empowered all the more to be a passionate missionary in my time and context now. I remember the latest Masara landslide and the courage of all Mindanawaons especially the Dabawenyos’ urgent loving response in helping out Brgy. Masara.

3. Difficult concepts like social justice and faith can be taught creatively through innovative activities in the classroom. I am amazed at the excellent artistic masterpieces of all my ASF students through the empty egg-shell painting collaborative activities by prayer partners. Through the three-word story on Fr. Arrupe, I am in awe of the Brave Soul recitation days in class. Sultana’s own three-word story has truly touched my life.

4. Fr. Arrupe has been through trials and difficulties during his time. His imprisonment in Japan; his loneliness so to speak in his service when he truly discovered the heart of the poor and the narrow road leading to ministering to the wounded. Post Vatican II time, even if it was difficult, he continued to lead with passion and integrity. I am also called to be a beacon of light and hope in these modern times accompanying Gen Z youth in their adventure of faith. I will continue to serve the Lord in my ASF Ministry.

5. Today, many years after Fr. Arrupe’s death, he continues to live in our hearts. His life, legacy, and ministry are not only limited to us in the Ateneo. His message of social justice and forming persons for others is relevant to all of us here and now. The question maybe is where do we begin? The answer may be found in the tiniest of eggshells shared by Sultana. It begins with compassion and continues with deep reflection and paying attention to the social realities of our times. And blazes on to working for peace and reconciliation. Sultana’s three-word story beautifully captured this journey.

Indeed, “only by being persons for others can one truly be fully human.” By Frances Nina Fernandez-Bitang


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