Jesuit Pupil Profile
Eloquent & Truthful
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Pupils in a Jesuit school are growing to be eloquent and truthful in what they say of themselves, the relations between people, and the world.

Jesuit schools help their pupils grow by developing an eloquent language which pupils can use to understand and articulate their emotions, beliefs, and questions, encouraged by the example of their teachers to be truthful in the way they represent themselves and speak about the world.

Understanding the Virtues: Eloquent & Truthful

If you had asked anyone familiar with Jesuit schools and universities in the first two centuries of their existence (the first Jesuit school opened in 1548) what the distinctive characteristic of Jesuit education was, they would have replied eloquence.

Eloquence was at the heart of the Jesuit educational mission – to make sure young people had the language to ask questions, express emotions, speak beliefs, talk about matters of faith and hope, debate points of view, and engage in conversation.  Those first Jesuit educators recognized that lack of vocabulary and linguistic skills are a form of human impoverishment.  My ability to speak competently my own language, and the languages of others, is fundamental to my growth and confidence as a social human being. This is eloquence.

We don’t often talk about this virtue today.  And yet, no less than in earlier times, young people need to be articulate, to be confident with an extensive vocabulary, to be able to construct a persuasive argument, and to speak with elegance and style.

Eloquence is not confined to speaking – it finds expression in writing, music, drama, dance, the creative arts, design, film, digital media, and sport.  All of these are important to Jesuit education because they encourage children to express their identity as well as their talents.

However, being able to speak well is not much use if what you speak is not worth saying.  Eloquence must be used in a truthful way – to speak truth about myself and others, about relations between people, about the world, and about God.  Education is the search for truth and the eloquent articulation of what we discover.  As Jesus tells us, “The truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Knowing the truth about some thing or situation or person is what sets you free to see clearly and know surely. It is what allows us to grow as individuals and as a society.  Promoting the virtue of truth in our schools is not simply about teaching children not to lie, important though that is, it is about teaching them to seek the deeper truth, the more nuanced expression, the better account of something. 

Our contemporary culture seems obsessed with the quick and easy, the instant sound bite; there is a temptation to settle for the trite and superficial. The virtue of being truthful seeks, in contrast, to speak the truth in all its depth, complexity, messiness, and uncertainty.  This is the Ignatian magis in action – seeking the more.

Some Jesuit schools use traditional class names (Elements, Rudiments, Grammar, Syntax, Poetry and Rhetoric) from the renaissance curriculum.  Rhetoric is the final year of school education and the aim of all that has gone before: that, as they leave our schools, pupils can speak well and move and persuade others by their eloquence and truth.

Scripture translations and versions


They listen to my voice
John 10:22-27 [JB]

It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.' Jesus replied: 'I have told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine. The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.'




If I speak
1 Corinthians 13:1 [JB]

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.

I shall help you to speak
Exodus 3:1-7, 10, 4:10-16 [JB]

Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of God appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. 'I must go and look at this strange sight,' Moses said 'and see why the bush is not burnt.' Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. 'Moses, Moses!' he said. 'Here I am' he answered. 'Come no nearer' he said. 'Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,' he said 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.' At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God. And the Lord said, 'I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow. So come, I send you to Pharaoh to bring the sons of Israel, my people, out of Egypt.'

Moses said to God, 'But, my Lord, never in my life have I been a man of eloquence. I am a slow speaker and not able to speak well.' God answered him. 'Now go, I shall help you to speak and tell you what to say.' 'If it please you, my Lord,' Moses replied 'send anyone you will!' At this, the anger of God blazed out against Moses, and he said to him, 'There is your brother Aaron the Levite, is there not? I know that he is a good speaker. You will speak to him and tell him what message to give. I shall help you to speak, and him too, and instruct you what to do. He himself is to speak to the people in your place; he will be your mouthpiece.



The truth will make you free
John 8:31-32 [JB]

Jesus said: 'If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free'.

I am the way, the truth and the life
John 14:1-7 [JB]

Jesus said, 'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place where I am going.' Thomas said, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?' Jesus said: 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.'

JPP Resources for Eloquent & Truthful

JPP tagcloud image

The JPP tagcloud/tree greyed-out with eloquent and truthful highlighted in brown.

Tagcloud/tree Eloquent & Truthful (png)

The RGB colour brown used for the words Eloquent & Truthful is: R227, G108, B010

Staff briefing paper

This briefing paper aims to be a quick introduction for teachers to the virtues and the thinking and theology behind them. It designed to be distributed at the start of the half-term or left in people's mailboxes.

Eloquent & Truthful briefing paper (pdf)

PowerPoint Animation

A PowerPoint animation in which the JPP tree/tagcloud reduces to the virtue pair Eloquent & Truthful. This resouce could be the first slide in an assembly. If these animations are used regualrly, pupils get used to focusing on a pair of virtues.

Eloquent & Truthful animation (ppt)



These posters are intended to draw attention to the JPP focus this half-term.

All of these posters could be put up around the school for the half-term or posters could be changed or added each week.

These posters can be printed at A3 or A4 size.

Eloquent 1 (eloquence is . . .)
Eloquent 2 (I will give you an eloquence)
Eloquent 3 (use helpful words)
Eloquent 4 (taste your words)
Eloquent 5 (what you say today)
Eloquent 6 (before you speak think)
Eloquent 7 (the words you speak)

Truthful 1 (truth is . . .)
Truthful 2 (the truth will set you free)
Truthful 3 (false words)



The Eloquent Prayer
of St Aidan of Lindisfarne (c.600-651)

Leave me alone with God,
as much as may be.
As the tide draws the waters
close in upon the shore,
make me an island, set apart,
along with you, God,
holy to you.
Then, with the turning of the tide,
prepare me to carry your presence
to the busy world beyond;
the world that rushes in on me,
till the water comes again
and folds me back to you.



Some hymns which focus on the theme of Eloquent & Truthful include:

Holy Spirit, come confirm us
Lord, thy word abideth
Oh the word of my Lord, deep within my being
Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me
To everything there is a season
Your words are spirit, Lord
Your Word is my light
Word made flesh, Son of God


"Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk but a wise man speaks."
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
German poet and writer

"Eloquence may set fire to reason."
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935)
American supreme court judge

"Eloquence is a painting of the thoughts."
Blaise Pascal (1623-62)
French mathematician, physicist and philosopher

"Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."
William Clement Stone (1902-2002)
American businessman and philanthropist

"The way of peace is the way of truth. Truthfulness is even more important than peacefulness."
Gandhi (1869-1948)

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