History and Heritage
Jesuit education finds its roots in the spiritual and cultural renaissance of sixteenth century Europe. Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (known as Jesuits) soon committed itself to the work of educating young Catholic leaders. At the time of the Ignatius’ death in 1556, over 100 Jesuit colleges had been established in Europe. In the following years, men like Francis Xavier, Matteo Ricci, Robert Bellarmine, and Peter Canisius would establish schools dedicated to instilling a zeal for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and love of classical learning in lands as diverse as Japan, China, India, the Philippines, and Peru.
In January 1886, Bishop Gilmour requested the Jesuit superior in Buffalo to begin work on establishing a high school on Cleveland’s west side. Fr. Henry Behren, S.J., hastened to Cleveland and promised the bishop that the Jesuits would open their school on West 30th Street in September 1886. Saint Ignatius was to be the twentieth secondary school sponsored by the Jesuits in the United States.
The college-preparatory nature of the school means more than a curriculum geared to preparation for higher studies. Challenging teachers, an emphasis on clear thinking and communication skills coupled with a steady diet of study outside the classroom have helped mold students into the material colleges set. It is not surprising that 99% of the students each year go on to four-year college programs at universities across the United States.
As important as academics are, the spiritual program of the school is an essential characteristic which sets Saint Ignatius apart from any other college-preparatory school. While respecting various faith traditions, Saint Ignatius is a Catholic high school that is animated by Jesuit spirituality. A solid four-year theology program, annual retreats, frequent liturgies, and opportunities for service to those in need are mainstays. Faith in Jesus Christ and a commitment to building the Kingdom provide the backdrop against which academics, intramurals, and social growth must take place.
Now in its 125th year, Saint Ignatius High School remains vibrant and young by being open to a changing world with its problems as well as its opportunities, yet faithful to its academic traditions, the gospel message upon which it was established, and its motto: “Men for Others,” after the Man-for-Others, Jesus Christ.