The Companions Program at Canisius High School offers the student an opportunity to respond to the Ignatian call to service. He is invited to grow in self-knowledge through an experience of service to and solidarity with the marginalized. A personal encounter with communities and individuals bearing the weight of poverty, weakness, and financial dependence challenges a young man to understand these conditions while acknowledging the poverty implicit in his own weaknesses, shortcomings, and dependence. Likewise, the companionship of this encounter affirms the goodness and potential implicit in his strengths. Drawing upon four central components of community, spirituality, justice, and simple living, Companions engages the Gospel message while challenging the student to embrace struggle and discomfort in an unfamiliar context. The program seeks to foster an ongoing desire to serve the needs of the other, coupled with a lifelong commitment to justice.
Develop an understanding of what community provides & requires
Increase awareness of the needs of others by reducing the focus on the self
Recognize “personal poverties” & weaknesses
Appreciate & develop gifts & strengths
Develop and deepen understanding of Christ and His message
Understand the connection between spirituality and religion
Explore the challenges and obstacles to spiritual growth and Christian living
Recognize the role of spirituality among the materially poor
Acknowledge our cultural inclination toward materialism
Develop a new appreciation for essentials and simplicity
Reduce our inclination toward excess and waste
Distinguish the difference between “simple” and “easy”
Explore the meaning of justice and injustice
Recognize the existence of unjust structures and situations
Explore the connections between poverty and injustice
Understand the “poverty cycle” and the roots of poverty
Structured philosophically upon the foundations of the Jesuit Volunteers Corps (JVC), the Companions program of immersion trips builds upon the spiritual and ethical message of the Kairos retreat. Companions is not any one trip, but rather an Ignatian service learning curriculum that can be applied to various destinations and programs.
The application for the 2017-2018 Companions Program is now live! The application process is a three-part process. A pdf explaining the entire process will be placed on Schoology titled "Companions Application Guidelines" in your Campus Ministry Course.
PART I & II are due by September 12th, 2017 by 3:00 p.m. Late applications will not be accepted.
Part I: Online form. The link is found in the left-hand column on this page called "Companions Application."
Part II: Reflection Project and 1 pg. Summary submitted to a dropbox link provided to the students. (Schoology & Email)
Part III: Interview with the selection committee. Interview times will be made available in September.
**Please remember that attending Kairos prior to your trip is a requirement of the program. You can apply for a Kairos by going to the "Retreat Programs" page and follow the instructions.
Companions/Compañeros Service Immersion Program
Following a comprehensive application, interview, and selection process along with preparatory retreats and reflections, hundreds of students have joined teachers, administrators, and staff for service learning in both domestic and international locations. Projects have included serving the homeless warm meals, tutoring immigrant students, developing awareness of our environmental needs, irrigation development, building of aqueduct systems, restoration of houses affect by flooding, and construction on Native American homes. More importantly, students and adults formed relationships with the members of the communities they lived with. Upon returning, students shared reflections illustrating how their views on justice and their roles in establishing it have changed.
Past trips include:
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
Niagara Falls, NY
Navajo Nation, AZ
Buffalo NY -
From Company Magazine:
Company is an important Jesuit word. St. Ignatius strongly wanted his group to be known as the Company of Jesus, recalling both his own military background and the military metaphor for following Christ in the struggle of good against evil. And while the Jesuit order was called Societas in Latin (thus 'society' in English), the equivalent of company was retained in many European vernaculars.
A company is not a casual association, but a group of persons joined in common work or purpose or achievement. The root of company refers to persons who share bread -- a powerful ancient symbol of life; companions are persons whose lives intertwine, whose lives depend upon one another. In the American Jesuit experience, this company reaches beyond the Society of Jesus, even beyond the collaborators in Jesuit ministry. It includes students and alumni, parishioners and retreatants; it includes persons who see our pictures and read our words and hear our voices and our music. And it includes the generous friends who are interested in all Jesuit ministries and who support them.
For more information, contact Mr. Van Volkenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have two funds we are building to ensure the future of the Companions program:
• The O’Brien Companions Service Endowment, established in memory of David O’Brien ’87, provides scholarship funds that keep Companions / Compañeros within reach of any willing & eligible student, regardless of his financial resources.
• The Neil R. Reilly ’80 Companions Mentorship Fund was recently established to support training and development of faculty leaders—a key to sustaining our immersion program.
If you'd like to support either of these funds, please click the blue button below or mail your gift to the school. Your generosity would be most appreciated. Even a small, recurring gift of a few dollars per month will help us to build our endowments. There is strength in numbers!