I spent this past weekend on beautiful Vashon Island, participating in Campus Ministry’s junior/senior Agape Retreat. We spent the weekend enjoying rest, prayer, and conversation. As the stress and noise of my daily life began to fade away, it quickly became apparent to me why retreats play an important role in Ignatian spiritual development. I felt rejuvenated and cared for all weekend long.
Toward the end of the retreat, I finally pulled my smart phone out. A sobering realization yanked me out of my retreat bubble: 2,000 people had died in an earthquake in Nepal, the country’s worst in 80 years. By press time, the number had surpassed 5,000.
The news of the tragedy was even harder to hear after a weekend immersed in peace. But at the same time, it made Seattle University’s Jesuit mission resonate even stronger than it had all weekend long. Personal development is a valuable outcome of a Jesuit education, to be sure, but at the end of the day, this privilege is not meant to benefit ourselves alone. I am excited to see members of the Seattle U community already stepping up to participate in the relief effort.
Agape, I learned after coming home, is one of four words for love in the ancient Greek language. Distinct from romantic, parental, or friendly love, agape is the kind of love we find in fellowship. It is selfless, devoted, and giving. When you put it into the world, it multiplies. Agape is abundance.
Agape is exactly what the world will need to offer in the wake of this terrible tragedy—and I know Seattle U is up to the task.
—Caroline Ferguson, Editor-in-Chief
Visit nytimes.com for a list of charities accepting donations for relief efforts in Nepal.