Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Women Leaders in the Ignatian Family

Beth Franzosa

Institution: Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

Title: Religious Studies Teacher and Director of Adult Formation

Location: Indianapolis

Do you have any other Jesuit institutional connections?

  • Former religion teacher and director of Adult Formation at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago
  • Certificate in Jesuit Studies from Boston College, 2015

What does your job entail?
Currently, I teach our two junior religious studies classes, Making Moral Decisions and Social Justice. I also work with our vice president for mission on the spiritual formation for our faculty and staff, including prayer and retreats, the Magis program for new employee formation, small groups, and other spiritual events.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I love teaching religious studies because my students have so much curiosity about the big questions of life and desire to make the world better, and these intersect perfectly with what we do in the classroom. Working in faculty and staff formation is a great privilege: to have time and space for the formation of adults at our school, as well as the students, and to be able to share in companionship and spiritual conversation with colleagues.

What are some of the lights and shadows you’ve experienced as a woman working in partnership with a men’s religious order?
I think that clericalism is a challenge for every layperson working in the church, especially in the assumption that faith and ministry work would only be done by a priest. In working with the Jesuits, I’ve been grateful for the opportunities to work alongside Jesuits in formation and ministry roles and to study Jesuit history, pedagogy and spirituality. I’ve seen more and more intentional inclusion of diverse voices in leadership and ministry in the Jesuits, and I’ve been grateful for all the times a leader has explicitly offered me an opportunity and for those who have supported me in new roles. I think every leader has the responsibility to open and sustain more spaces at the table.

How does Ignatian spirituality shape your approach to work?
When I teach about the “Characteristics of the Graduate at Graduation,” my students always connect so readily to the idea of being “open to growth.” Ignatius teaches us that when we reflect on our experiences with an open spirit, this can lead to action, which helps us adapt to better serve a changing world. Teaching and ministry both require the reflection, humility and flexibility that come with Ignatian spirituality.