3 minutes to explain briefly, the history of Jesuits or of the ignatian family in Malta Situated strategically between Europe and Africa, Malta has very rich Jesuit foundations dating back to the times of St Ignatius, who had seen Malta as a good stepping stone between the continents. By 1593 the Jesuits had opened the ‘Collegium Melitense’ (eventually the University of Malta), a church and novitiate, whilst also serving the poor, preaching and establishing marian congregations. Over 170 years ago, Jesuits returned to Malta, following the suppression. Today we focus on 4 main areas: youth, education, spirituality and migrants, with 37 Jesuits in Malta, 19 of whom are under 75. The vibrant Chaplaincy of the University of Malta has a Jesuit Chaplain and welcomes students all year round, offering accompaniment and voluntary work opportunities. Dar Manwel Magri, the Jesuit residence next door to the University is a hub of activity for young people, a place to meet for study, relaxation, formation and CLC meetings.  Jesuits residing in this community have various missions working with youth, pastoral work and the spiritual and intellectual apostolates. Education has of course always been central to the mission of Jesuits in Malta. The excellent support offered by the management team, staff and Jesuit community at St Aloysius College reaches some 1400 students from primary level through to secondary and right up to sixth form.  Jesuits residing at the College community work at College as well as in other areas including pastoral work, formation and publishing. Pastoral care, hospitality and spiritual support remain a priority for the Communities at Mount St Joseph retreat house in Malta and Manresa House in Gozo.  Paulo Freire Institute in Zejtun continues to offer support to the most vulnerable in the local community. The Jesuit Refugee Service in Malta plays a leading role in advocacy, support and awareness-building for the asylum-seekers who reach our shores. Community members at Loyola House in Naxxar remain active in pastoral work and prayer ministry, while those who receive special care reside in the infirmary there. The challenges are many, but we remain devoted to our mission, together with scores of lay persons who share our vision.
On 1 September 2021, Ms Annie Thumelaire (right on the picture) will take over from Ms Ulrike Neugebauer (left on the picture) as the person responsible for religion classes in the five European Schools in Brussels. She will do this as part of the responsibility for European pastoral care entrusted to the Jesuit Conference of Europe by the Archdiocese of Brussels. The president of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, Franck Janin S.J. expresses his gratitude: "For nine years, Mrs Neugebauer has carried out this task with passion, competence and unwavering determination to ensure that religion classes retain their rightful place in the European schools. I would like to thank her very much for this. I wish Mrs Thumelaire all the energy and grace she needs to accomplish her task."  Ms. Thumelaire in the first person  I was born in Ath in 1967, the mother of three grown boys. After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels and, at the same time, Catechetical Sciences at the Lumen Vitae Institute of the Society of Jesus in Brussels (where I met my husband!), I began my career as a religion teacher 33 years ago.  Teaching religion has always been and remains a driving force in my life.  My favourite hobbies are music, which I have been practising since I was a child, reading, travelling and cooking. Speaking of music, Johann Sebastian Bach represents the musical genius in my eyes, although it is Dvořák's cello concerto that always provokes great emotion in me.  As a teenager, I discovered the figure of Saint Francis on a trip to Assisi. The artistic and natural side of his spirituality is certainly not foreign to the fascination he exerted on my spiritual journey. Nevertheless, today I would say that it is above all Teresa of Avila who guides and inspires me through her writings, her journey, and above all her character. I love it when she addresses her sisters and writes in The Book of the Foundations: "...understand that the Lord is in the middle of the pots...". Her formula makes me smile, but expresses so well the presence of Christ in our daily lives.  Among the many challenges I face as coordinator of the Catholic religion courses in the European Schools in Brussels, I would like to highlight two: on the one hand, the importance of making the religion course relevant by providing excellent teaching and, on the other hand, the need to pay particular attention to building a solid team of competent, supportive, invested and committed teachers. I dream of a religion class that is a space where teachers and students find meaning, where everyone feels concerned, included, listened to, trusted and can experience God's tenderness. In my opinion, Ignatian pedagogy, as I know it, is an exemplary reference for moving towards this goal. 
Salzburg – The German Jesuit Klaus Mertes has received the "Theological Prize" of the Salzburg University Weeks. The prize, endowed with 5,000 euros, honours the theological life's work of the Jesuit, who became known for having made an abuse scandal public in 2010 as the then headmaster of the Canisius College in Berlin. It is one of the most prestigious theological awards in the German-speaking world. Winners were Karl-Josef Kuschel (2019), Hans Joas (2018), Eberhard Schockenhoff (2017) and Jan and Aleida Assmann (2016). The prize was awarded on August 4th in the library hall of the University of Salzburg in the presence of Archbishop Franz Lackner, the Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and the laudator, Thomas Sternberg, President of the Central Committee of German Catholics. In his welcoming speech, Martin Dürnberger, chairman of the Hochschulwochen, quoted from the jury's statement: With the prize, the jury not only honoured Mertes' breaking of spirals of silence on the subject of abuse, but also "his persistent reflection on the systemic causes and their treatment" as well as "the clear tone he strikes". Thomas Sternberg paid tribute to Mertes' contribution to coming to terms with the church abuse scandal, which was repeatedly discussed before 2010 but never became visible in its full extent. Mertes had repeatedly shown courage and contributed to overcoming "secrecy and a lack of strategy", Sternberg said. The Catholic Church in Germany and beyond has "every reason to thank him for his courage", Sternberg said. In his words of thanks, Mertes emphasized the need to create a body independent of both the perpetrator and the victim. Only in this way could it be possible to "somehow connect the square of confrontation with the round of cooperation" and to create a sustainable basis for communication between both sides. On this path, there are still numerous stumbling blocks on the part of the Church, such as the lack of an ecclesiastical language that builds bridges to the victims instead of triggering trauma; or the continuing temptation of clerical abuse of power, through which any efforts are "contaminated and poisoned". The award ceremony can be watched on YouTube: 
Life On The Waves has been taking place since 2005 and even though the pandemic of Covid-19 is still on, Polish Jesuits again made the retreat happen. In the last week of July, sixteen people, from all around Poland, met and sailed on two boats in the beautiful Masurian Lake District. The retreat consists of two major elements: sailing and Ignatian spirituality. In one week we were able to sail across almost the entire Masurian Lake District and thanks to the great weather we could enjoy extraordinary nature.The retreatants got to know sailing’s basics including sailing boat parts, steering, and the essential sailing knots! Moreover, on each day there was time for an individual Ignatian meditation, Mass, and the MAGIS circle.   The charming region of Masuria helped to immerse in the spiritual experience and that resulted in many inspiring conversations. It was an amazing opportunity to share doubts, faith, and life. During the short period of time, the participants experienced the Church they had been looking for, and the one they had desired. It was encouraging to see young people who want to be in the Church and live the life of faith in the community. The liturgy and prayer mingled with daily routines of cooking and cleaning providing them a new taste. Many times we saw how the retreat connects sacrum and profanum. Furthermore, we are proud and impressed by how many people started their sailing hobby with the Life On The Waves. There are many who continue sailing by themselves and some who became our close friends and help us in various ways like logistics, technical or financial support of the retreat. It shows us that Life On The Waves is worth continuing. This year’s edition was exceptional because we finished the retreat celebrating the vigil Mass with the vespers on the Solemnity of St. Ignatius, the patron of all the retreats. We are grateful and hopeful for the future cruises! St. Ignatius pray for us!  
A look back at the Family Lab' session at the Penboc'h spiritual centre (Brittany). Among the summer spiritual sessions organised for families in the EOF Province, there was the "Famille Lab'" session at the Jesuit spiritual centre of Penboc'h in Brittany, which brought together Jesuits and families to experience a spiritual holiday combining renewal, conviviality and care for family life. Fr Xavier Dijon sj shares with us the fruits of this week which brought together nearly 70 adults and children around the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. A week at the Jesuit spiritual centre of Penboc'h around the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, applied to the theme of families: How to find the way to God as a family? How can we take care of families on the periphery and of fragile families? How to accompany young families? How can we build a future of hope with the young people in our families? How can we contribute, as a family, to the safeguarding of our Common House? The 38 adults present, including 7 Jesuits, took up the four Jesuit priorities one after the other for each of the days of the session, preceded by a day of mutual presentation and closed by a review of the whole. The challenge of the session was twofold: firstly, to see how families could, from their specific point of view, understand and appropriate the four preferences, and secondly, to see what initiatives could be taken by the family ministry team to make these precious missions radiate. Austere work for a holiday season? Not really! Is it not relaxing to be reminded, for example, that good decision-making requires a diversion through the Bible, or that we are linked to Creation by the joy we find in it, or that the family circle remains the main reference centre for young people, or that a wounded family is always more than a wounded family? In addition, the 29 children present at the session, together with the generosity of the sun and the call of the nearby sea, gave the whole session the right holiday feel. While the adults listened to the presentations and testimonies, the young people added their own special touch (from 1 to 15 years old): led by their six leaders, they conducted their own exchanges, punctuated by drawings and other crafts. The two groups met for daily mass, with the participation of several musicians and choirboys. Let's add to this schedule the meals cooked by a master's hand (one table per family) and the many times of relaxation: football, workshops, swimming... Isn't it in the weaving of such a network that the Kingdom is built? Xavier Dijon S.J.
For the Moscow Jesuits, celebrating Mass in English in St. Louis Church in Moscow (right in front of the KGB building) every Sunday used to be a little bit like a "hobby", until covid-19 came into our lives. The pandemic has affected many, but migrant workers (predominantly from the Philippines) have been hit harder than others. They find it hard to avoid infection, since they have to move around a lot. They live together in big groups, where all get sick as soon as one catches the virus. Besides, getting sick is worse if you are far from your family and do not understand the local language.  Add to this the fear for your family and the fact that you cannot visit them and, due to quarantine protocols, you cannot even arrive in time for the funeral if a close relative passes away. One thing has also completely changed: If people got sick, say, from cancer, before the pandemic, they would go to a doctor, find out about their situation and go home soon. Now, they postpone going to a doctor, they find out when it is late and they cannot travel. The situation is similar for foreign students in Russia, most of them from all over Africa. Maybe, the risk of an infection is lower for them, but they are strictly isolated, all classes take place only online. So, the Moscow Jesuits (for the time being, Fr. Sebastián Prieto Silva, Fr. Stephan Lipke, Br. Vladimir Pashkov) recognized their responsibility. Prayer and conversation online, visits, and a safe celebration of the Eucharist have become crucial. There are less people in the church now but the connection is closer and they started helping each other more. Of course, sometimes the pandemic also causes fear and aggression, and yet, this is a special time to "love and serve" in a context where covid-19 keeps causing a lot of harm.   Stephan Lipke S.J.


Tue - Sun
Sep 2021

Social Delegates Meeting Meeting of European Social Delegates, taking place in Toulouse, France READ MORE
Sep 2021
Final Vows Petr Vacík (BOH) will pronounce his final vows in the domestic chapel of the St. Peter Canisius residence, at 7 pm. READ MORE
Sep 2021

Start of Tertianship in Lebanon Beginning of the European Tertianship in Bifkaya, Lebanon READ MORE
Oct 2021

Alumni Ignatian Leadership Formation Meeting of the alumni of the Ignatian Leadership Trainings organized over the past years. READ MORE