About the Institute

Our mission

The Jesuit Social Research Institute works to transform the Gulf South through action research, analysis, education, and advocacy on the core issues of poverty, race, and migration. The Institute is a collaboration of Loyola University New Orleans and the Society of Jesus rooted in the faith that does justice. [2011]

Our values

Faith that leads to justice.
Prophetic vision that leads to transformation.
Love of neighbor that leads to solidarity.
Scholarship that leads to action.

Institute Foundations:

From a tradition based upon the principles of Catholic social thought, the institute offers participatory research, social analysis, theological reflection and practical strategies for improving the social and economic conditions in the Gulf South states, with a particular focus on issues of migration, poverty, and racism. Through fostering close collaboration with faculty, staff, and students of Loyola University—within a network of Jesuit social centers in the United States, partnering countries, and links with other universities—the Jesuit Social Research Institute combines academic research, education, and social action in a new paradigm based on the union of faith and justice, the integrating factors of all Jesuit ministries.

To gain further insight about JSRI's mission read The Importance of Social Research published by the Social Secretariat of the Society of Jesus in 2007.

The Need for the Jesuit Social Research Institute

In 1837 French Jesuits established a mission in the southern United States, which became the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus in 1907, serving in southern and southwestern areas of the United States as well as in foreign missions such as Sri Lanka, Brazil, Paraguay and parts of Africa. Loyola University New Orleans, founded and sponsored by the Society of Jesus in 1904, serves as one of the major Catholic higher education institutions in this region and has a long tradition of social involvement. JSRI continues in this tradition of social justice research and action.

While planning for the Jesuit Social Research Institute preceded Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the ensuing floods, the need for the institute became increasingly apparent since this devastation of the Gulf Coast region. The images of children, women, and elderly people, mostly poor and black, left behind in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are indelibly etched on the conscience of our nation. They raise hard questions about how our churches, schools, communities, society, and governments have failed in our moral duty to protect, defend, and uplift our neighbors, the poor in our midst. In their own post-Katrina reflections, the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province realized that they too have failed in some ways to address important social concerns and the need to restore right relations and respond to the unjustly suffering and oppressed in the region. People of color, African Americans and Hispanics, bear disproportionate percentages of persistent and pervasive poverty in the South. Such chronic poverty contributes to higher rates of unemployment, illiteracy, illness, and incarceration among persons of color. JSRI aims to direct its efforts at research, education, and advocacy towards the alleviation of these conditions and their underlying causes.

Institute Establishment: Initial Statement

The Jesuit Social Research Institute (JSRI) of Loyola University was formally established as a collaborative undertaking of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus and Loyola University New Orleans through a Memorandum of Understanding signed on November 28, 2007. JSRI exists to promote research, social analysis, theological reflection, and practical strategies for improving the social and economic conditions in the Gulf South and in select parts of the Caribbean and Latin America with a particular focus on issues of race, poverty, and migration. The Institute is intended to further the mission of the Society of Jesus to promote the faith that does justice, to apply Catholic social teaching to the concrete realities of these regions, and to enhance the academic and service missions of Loyola.

Our First Five Years

Read about our first five years:

Banner photograph: Audience Participants at Panel on Hyper-incarceration of People of Color [april 2013].