New JECSE Director – Mrs Ilse Dekker
Mrs. Ilse Dekker has been nominated as the new director of JECSE, The European Jesuit Schools Network. She has been the coordinator of Christian identity and Ignatian ethos in the Stanislas-network of six colleges for secondary education in The Netherlands since 2011. She will take office on the 4th of June.
I’ve been working with most of you for many years, but for those of you who do not know me yet, I’m happy to shortly introduce myself. My name is Ilse Dekker. I was born in the Netherlands in 1963 and I now live and work in the surroundings of Delft. My husband Erik and I are the proud parents of three fine, now adult children, and the (very) happy grandparents of three amazing grandchildren. Apart from my being with my family, especially being in nature – God’s beautiful creation – is a source of joy to me. As a cultural anthropologist – specialized in religious anthropology (after a period of working as a free-lance journalist) I worked as a teacher in religious education at Stanislascollege for 16 years. During that time I was also trained as a school counsellor; the cura personalis is also very important to me. Since 2011 I am the coordinator of Christian identity and Ignatian ethos in our Stanislas-network of six colleges for secondary education. In 2012 I became the delegate for education, succeeding father Bert ten Berge sj, who has been my mentor for many years.
I’ve come to know JECSE in 2005 during an eye-opening formators meeting in Paris, and thereafter was as fortunate to attend many conferences, as well as the first worldwide conferences. Also, at the request of Marie- Thérèse Michel, I joined the temporarily extended Steering Committee to help revise the vision of JECSE several years ago. All of those meetings have been very important to me, both to me personally and in my role as coordinator and delegate. Likewise, the JECSE conferences became a major source of Ignatian inspiration for colleagues in our schools. I think the work JECSE does is really important, especially in today’s context of secularization, economisation and polarization. Our world – and Europe, with it’s complicated history, in particular – needs reconciliation, compassion and hope. The many young people in our schools, following the example of Jesus, can help to make it so, with our dedicated support
I feel profoundly grateful to be allowed in my new role to contribute to this and will do that, together with all the education delegates, to my best abilities. Likewise, I feel deeply grateful to Marie-Thérèse Michel, who was a wonderful director, and with all her dedication, wisdom and creativity helped JECSE grow into such a meaningful network.
And finally I’d like to sincerely thank the members of the Steering Committee who gave a lot of extra time and effort during the last period of awaiting a new director, and not just helped JECSE survive, but also managed to organize very good and much appreciated conferences in the meantime.