Companions Program



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

Simple Living

  • 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, 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.

2016-2017 Application:

The application for the 2016-2017 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 13th, 2016 by 3:00 p.m. Late applications will not be accepted.

Part I: Online form. The link is found in the right 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 to those that applied by Sept. 13th, 2016.

**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 Recap 2015-2016

The Companions Program, initiated at Canisius High School in 2007, will see its ninth year of immersive service trips conclude in June, 2016. Following a comprehensive application, interview, and selection process along with preparatory retreats and reflections, 103 students will have joined teachers, administrators, and staff for service learning at 11locations in two countries. Projects for this year included serving the homeless warm meals, tutoring immigrant students, developing awarness 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 view on justice and their role in establishing it has changed.

Our trips included:

  • Washington, DC - February Break 2016
  • Nicaragua - February Break 2016
  • Wheeling, WV - February Break 2016
  • Washington, DC- Spring Break 2016
  • Los Angeles, CA - Spring Break 2016
  • New Orleans, LA - Spring Break 2016
  • Cincinnati, OH – Spring Break 2016
  • Niagara Falls, NY- Spring Break 2016
  • Navajo Nation, AZ - Summer 2016
  • Buffalo NY - Summer 2016
  • Dominican Republic- Summer 2016

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.


Mr. Christopher Pitek '00
Director of Student Formation Programs

Support Companions:

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 established this year 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!