What Is an "Institutional" Examen?

Why is this process referred to as an Examen? Is "Examen" just a way of avoiding calling this what it really is—another required assessment activity?

The Examen on institutional priorities in which LMU is currently engaged is an Examen in that the steps in the process mirror the movements of the prayer of Saint Ignatius known as the Examen. In the Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius outlines the process for making a "general examination of conscience" through prayer. For Ignatius, the "Examen," as it is commonly known, consists of five steps followed by a closing prayer. Those five steps are outlined below alongside the corresponding activity from the Institutional Examen on Mission Priorities that we are undertaking as a university community.


Individual ExamenInstitutional Examen

Becoming gratefully aware of God's presence and gifts

The committee reflects gratefully on LMU's current Catholic, Jesuit, Marymount commitments and listens to the experiences of colleagues and students.

Reviewing the events of the day and noticing spiritual and emotional responses

The committee seeks opinion on and off campus and writes a brief and thoughtful self-study that includes points of alignment with the mission (consolation) and areas for renewal or growth (desolation).

Using Some Characteristics, the committee with the President articulates two or three mission priorities for the university, with the understanding that these priorities may later be adapted.

Selecting one or two experiences from the day and asking for insight

The Peer Visiting Committee reads the study and spends several days at LMU meeting with various constituencies and engaging as companions in mission who wish to see LMU's mission thrive.

The Peer Visiting Committee meets with the President and the committee to discuss their impressions.

Taking responsibility for our failings and asking for God's help and support

Following the campus visit both the Peer Visiting Committee and the Examen Committee in conversation with the President reflect prayerfully on what they have read and heard.

Envisioning how we might live in a renewed way tomorrow, in light of God's transforming love

The Peer Visiting Committee writes a draft report that highlights LMU's mission successes along with selected areas for growth and improvement.

The Examen Committee may suggest emendations to or adapt the original self-study to reflect new insights gained through the process.

Closing in prayer and thanksgiving

The Peer Visiting Committee submits its final report along with the final version of the self-study to the National Coordinating Committee, who reflect prayerfully on these documents and share them with the Society of Jesus.

The Provincial and President of the Jesuit Conference add their own reflections and submit all documents to the Jesuit Superior General in Rome.

Fr. General reflects on the documents and sends a letter to the Provincial affirming LMU's priorities.

The Provincial shares Fr. General's affirmation with the President, who in turn shares it with the campus community.

LMU begins acting on its mission priorities.