Summit on Human Dignity

Bellarmine College Preparatory
is a community of men and women
gathered together by God for the purpose of educating the student to seek justice and truth throughout his life.

In service of this mission, the Summit on Human Dignity aims to transform the members of the Bellarmine community to women and men devoted to building God’s kingdom of joy, peace and justice.

The Summit is intended to exercise the head, heart and hands of each member of the Bellarmine community. Intellectually, we seek to assess critically the values propagated by contemporary culture and analyze historical, economic and social trends which lead toward the systematic degradation of human life and human rights. Spiritually, we seek the way of Christ in simplicity, humility and love rather than the way of the world in riches, honor and pride. Pragmatically, we choose solidarity to align ourselves as women and men for and with others, working in direct service to, and as advocates for, those marginalized by society.

2018-2019 Summit Theme:


Over the course of the year, the summit will be guided by the following goals:

  • To describe how social institutions and power structures create gender expectations.
  • To identify subtle or invisible ways in which gender bias and sexism prevent respect for human dignity.
  • To engage in compassionate conversation around gender with peers who have different experiences and views.
  • To reflect on God's call for justice and act accordingly to promote gender equity and inclusion.

Utilizing the 7 Principles of Constructive Dialogue

  1. Presume good intentions.
  2. If someone says something with which you disagree, which offends you, or which you don’t understand, assume that the other person is doing his or her best. Ask questions. Seek first to clarify, not to demonize. St. Ignatius of Loyola reminds us that we should be “more ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement than to condemn it as false.”

  3. Use "I" statements.
  4. Your experience is true for you, but it may not be universal. Use statements that begin with “I think that…,” “I feel….,” or “It seems to me….” Avoid statements that begin with “You know how you…..,” “We all believe….,” or “Everyone knows…..”

  5. Understand that the speaker's experience is valid for him/her.
  6. If you don’t agree with someone’s viewpoint, ask questions and challenge, but understand that that person’s experience is true for him or her. Challenge ideas, not individuals. It is OK to disagree with another person’s ideas. It is not OK to demonize a person for having ideas.

  7. Ask questions of others as individuals.
  8. While we all belong to different groups, do not ask someone to speak for a group. Ask someone as an individual.

  9. Listen to understand, not to respond.
  10. When listening to someone speak, have a mindset which attempts to understand the position, thoughts, or feelings of the speaker. Avoid a mindset which only listens in order to respond. Learning moments often come from uncomfortable conversations. Do not run away from a learning moment because you are uncomfortable. Conflict should lead to learning and understanding.

  11. Recognize that one's intent may differ from one's impact.
    What you intend when you speak is not always precisely how your words are heard. Be aware both of your intent when speaking and the impact your words have on another. On the flip side, be aware that the way you perceived someone else’s words are not necessarily the way those words were intended. 

  12. Seek to raise the bar for yourself, your teachers and your classmates.
  13. Strive to live out our mission to be men for and with others. Actively seek the opportunity to learn from your brothers and sisters.

The Jesuit Secondary Education Association's (JSEA’s) missional document “What Makes a Jesuit School Jesuit?” says, “In response to the current social teachings of the Catholic Church, a Jesuit education makes students sensitive to areas of injustice in modern society, and encourages solidarity with the disadvantaged and dispossessed of modern global society. They recognize the suffering and pain which poverty, racism, sexism and religious intolerance have caused not only in the world at large, but even in their own communities.”

We demonstrate our sensitivity and solidarity by acknowledging the innate dignity of those who are disadvantaged and dispossessed by injustice, and by examining what members of the Bellarmine community can do.

Past Summit Themes

2009-2010: Hunger
2010-2011: Sustainability
2011-2012: Immigration
2012-2013: Crime & Punishment:
         Restorative Justice for All
2013-2014: Masculinity: Who is the man
        God has called me to be?
2014-2015: Human Trafficking
2015-2016: Poverty 
2016-2017: Care for Our Common Home
2017-2018: Understanding Race in the
        21st Century