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Fr António Sant’Ana SJ was appointed European Coordinator of the Pope’s Prayer Network by Fr. Dalibor Renić SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials. He will be the European Assistant of the International Director
Take a look at these images that cry out the injustices of our world. These unjust situations engender all kinds of suffering: violence, attacks on democracy, desertification, malnutrition. Inspired by the Gospel and united through Jesus Christ to those who suffer from injustice, the Society of Jesus is committed to social justice every day and in every part of the world. A message from the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology.
Gabriele Hüdepohl is the new delegate in the Central European Province of the Jesuits for the order's schools. As the first laywoman and the first woman, she has cross-border responsibility for the development and cooperation of a total of twelve schools in the province: three Jesuit and four network schools in Germany, two network schools in Austria and three Jesuit schools in Lithuania. An interview with her about the brand essence of the Jesuit schools, why good decisions are becoming increasingly important for young people and how they learn to take a balcony perspective on their lives. Ms. Hüdepohl, what attracted you to this task? Gabriele Hüdepohl: I am a teacher and I was a school principal for a long time. So I'm staying with my dream job, if you will: the school, the students. For me, accompanying young people on their path of world exploration and education is one of the most exciting areas of responsibility that exists in our society. In my new role I now take a different perspective on it. That appealed to me. What are the challenges, what do you have planned? I would like to network the twelve schools in the countries of the Central European Province even more closely and also expand them to include additional schools. The connection and exchange between the German-speaking schools in Germany and Austria and the schools in Lithuania is certainly a challenge, but one that I find very exciting. The aim is for schools to find support and strengthen and further develop their profile. We work closely with the Center for Ignatian Pedagogy in Ludwigshafen. Is it possible to strengthen the profile of Jesuit schools without - or with fewer and fewer Jesuits? What does without mean? Jesuits as teachers, as pastors, or in running schools? In Belgium, priests have long been represented almost exclusively on school supervisory bodies. This is definitely not optimal. The schools nevertheless remain unmistakably Ignatian. Of course, Jesuits should and will continue to be heavily involved in our schools - as much as possible in view of a shrinking order. However, the Ignatian educational tradition and Jesuit principles are so strong and valuable that they have an impact far beyond the order. There are many women and men who know Ignatian spirituality, live it and shape the schools. Our schools have a unique profile in the educational landscape in the educational tradition and spirituality of the Jesuits. And that is exactly what we want to promote and strengthen: that our schools maintain and expand their brand core even with priests who are less active there. Perhaps to put it a bit old-fashioned: in the service of a world worth living in for everyone. What exactly is that, the specifically Jesuit educational profile? Education has been part of the DNA of the Society of Jesus for centuries - alongside the transmission of faith. The transfer of knowledge and personal development are closely linked. The aim is for the students to not only be well prepared for their lives, but also to leave our schools as young people who are able to make distinctions, make decisions and take responsibility. What does that mean specifically? In my opinion, what particularly distinguishes the Jesuit schools are four aspects: On the one hand, we strengthen students in the experience of their dignity. On the other hand, our goal is not for the students to learn as much as possible, but rather for them to always think about the meaning of what they have learned, to study it in depth, to question it and to reflect on it, entirely in the Jesuit order tradition. Thirdly, it is important to us to focus on justice in the small and large world, be it when it comes to grading or the issue of poverty. And fourthly, we want to keep the question of God alive. Of course, the points mentioned do not only apply to our schools, so they are not exclusive, but they are crucial for us. Would strengthen, what does that mean? The students are taken seriously. For example, student rights are important to us; they are also informed about them and receive support if their rights are violated. Violations of dignity are noticed and discussed, including by classmates and teachers. And then, of all places, abuse happened in Jesuit schools. Yes, terrible, shameful. I was the headmistress at Canisius Kolleg in Berlin when the cases there became known in 2010. Would you say the workup is complete? The processing in schools and in the church is certainly not finished. The well-known cases of the past in our schools can probably be described as largely closed in terms of clarification, documentation and, I hope - as best as possible - reparation. But of course the topic is not closed there either, because many people, former students, have to live with their experiences and many suffer severely from the consequences. In the same way, the topic remains part of the history of the schools, and it is very important to us that we remember it, even if it is a terrible one. It reminds us to remain attentive to the fact that sexual violence occurs, at school, among peers, but also in families, in sports clubs, on the Internet. And that we prevent attacks there in the future as far as possible through prevention concepts, further training, contact persons and an open culture in schools and that we definitely do not look the other way, but rather intervene. Regarding your fourth aspect – keeping the question of God alive – is this possible in an increasingly secular world? Of course not in the form that we are asking anyone to confess, but in fact many students and their parents choose a Jesuit school precisely because the question about God is asked there. Ignatius believed that God can be found in all things, and that this is ultimately the basis of spirituality and pedagogy. Our students encounter this again and again in their everyday school life; they should be able to deal with it and find an answer for themselves - instead of pushing aside, dismissing or ignoring the question of God, which is so important for being human. In the Jesuit schools there are both pastoral care offerings as well as intellectual and spiritual offerings that create space for questions and arguments, for religious experiences. Times - places of silence, for example: silence, which is the basis for being silent together, listening, listening to yourself, allowing yourself to be touched, giving time for questions to develop. Whether experiences, whether intellectual suggestions lead to a personal question about God, whether they provide answers, everyone has to answer that for themselves, in all freedom. There is another aspect: being able to speak, knowing about religion, my faith, and being able to provide information about it - even to people who believe differently. I think this is very important, especially in our time when we live together with people who often have foreign religions and worldviews. What kind of generation is in the Jesuit schools today? Can you describe them? It's hard to say, I see very different facets. There are very interested, curious students who want to discover the world and are committed to helping others. However, we can also sense how these young people have been burdened during the years of the pandemic: many of them being at home, alone, at an age when they actually want to conquer the world. And then the many wars and crises also put a strain on young people. Many are worried about the future. This generation has a lot of opportunities, especially if they are well educated. There are so many that it even overwhelms students. The upcoming decision about what you want to study scares some people. It is all the more important that our students learn to differentiate - and decide that they can develop self-confidence and confidence. Decisions that they make, especially after school, as they become more and more independent, are important, give their lives a further direction, and have consequences that they and others have to bear. And that is also part of the Jesuit profile: the Jesuits have very good tools for making good decisions, for discerning spirits, as Ignatius called it. Can children and young people do this? We try very consciously to train this. Normally, a school is very well structured: one subject follows another, one task follows the next, you don't have to think about it. That's why we allow interruptions in our schools, and consciously build them into everyday school life, in which it is possible to calm down, reflect, explore feelings, and contemplate. Instead of always being in the middle of the action and driven by it, the students should learn to take a balcony perspective on themselves, as I like to call it: i.e. looking from above at what is actually happening on the dance floor of my life, what and how Am I dancing there and with whom? And then also the inside perspective: How does that feel? The exams also serve this purpose, they are formats for looking back, alone in the evening, together at the end of the week, the school year or at oasis days: Who did I meet? What touched me? Where do I encounter resistance? What am I grateful for? What inner voices do I hear? These considerations are important for your entire life and can be lived and practiced throughout your life, with or without a religious connection - so to speak, the Jesuit school for your entire life.
Jesuit priest working in earthquake-ravaged Syria appeals for support. “Syria has been forgotten. It is like Gaza without the headlines” In an interview with The Tablet, Fr Tony O'Riordan SJ, a Jesuit priest working for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria, explains just how forgotten the people of Syria are following a decade of civil war and a devastating earthquake last year which killed more than 50,000 people and injured 100,000 others. JRS funding for those being helped on the ground is due to run out in May this year. To read the interview (which is free to read), please click here.  
A hotel and conference center named Cardoner, evoking the enlightenment experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola, opened in Dobogókő in December. From the profits of the hotel, which is owned by Hungarian Jesuits, the order will support the Manréza Spiritual Practice House and the Roma mission in Arló. Manresa in Catalonia is crossed by the river Cardoner, on whose banks the founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius Loyola, had this special experience as quoted above in his work The Pilgrims. It is no coincidence that, just like Dobogókö, many Jesuit retreat houses around the world bear the town's name. And now, last December, the Cardoner Hotel and Conference Center opened its doors in the same place. The renovated and remodeled building at 1 Fény Street has been owned by the Hungarian Order since 1993. Because it would have been difficult to get back the Manréza house of spiritual practice in Zugliget, which was confiscated by the communist authorities in 1950 after the regime change - it used to be used by the National Border Guard Command, today it is the seat of the National Investigation Bureau - the province acquired the Dobogókö building complex as an exchange property. In recent decades, accommodation was operated here under the name Manréza, then Walden Hotel (the latter was operated by an external company), often supporting Christian events with a discount, which helped those involved, especially in the nineties, during the church organizational renaissance. But why do the Jesuits maintain a four-star, sophisticated hotel? To find the answer, one must go back to the historical times before 1950, when the operation of the order was ensured by a number of tools - usable real estate or even the model farm of the Nagykapornak estate - that are not available today. Now, in addition to the donations of the faithful, friends, and supporters and the tender resources, the financial fund, which can be put together through careful and effective management, will help the realization of many apostolic goals. In the spirit of this, the decision was made that - not to mention improving the local tourist infrastructure - the province will establish a hotel and conference center called Cardoner in Dobogókő, and will use its income to support some of its spiritual and social works, for example the Manréza Lelkygyakorlatos Háza and the Jelenlét Roma mission in Arló. The money received in this way is therefore not used by the province itself, but through its units helps those who, especially since the drastic increase in utility costs, would have trouble paying the full and real cost of a retreat, as well as the poor, mostly gypsy families of the settlement in northern Hungary. Therefore, it is a so-called foundation investment, that is, it is not a self-serving, but a non-profit mission supporting investment, the profits of which serve the apostolic mission of the Jesuits.   The hotel is therefore not a spiritual center, but a market-priced conference hotel for companies and civil clientele, with a wellness area and other quality services. For its operation, the order established the Cardoner Szállodaüzemeltető Kft. under the management of Éva Marótyné Ugron . The professional with four children previously gained many years of experience in church tourism as the director of the pilgrimage center in Mátraverébély-Szentkút, then as a marketer, and later managed the Pasaréti Community House established by the Franciscans. The province entrusted Service 4 You Kft. with the performance of operational tasks; the company rents, manages or operates, among others, the Bonvital Wellness&Gastro Hotel in Hévíz, the Tisza Balneum Hotel in Tiszafüred and the Yacht Wellness & Business Hotel in Siófok. Thanks to the many hiking and cycling routes in the heart of Pilis, the hotel appeals to active tourists on the one hand, and mainly welcomes individual guests in the high season. On the other hand, since it is located barely 45-50 kilometers from Budapest, it bases its pre- and post-season occupancy on team-building trainings and conferences of capital-based companies. And although the hotel does not appeal to a religious target group, the order considers it important to uphold the Jesuit spirit both in terms of image and operation. This is not only manifested in the fact that a discreet and sophisticated mosaic depicts the founder of the order at the entrance of one of the buildings, or that a meditation room is also available to guests, with a beautiful panorama of the hotel's old-growth park, which helps you to immerse yourself. In addition, the hotel's mission is to ensure that its events, program offerings and staff behavior both reflect sophistication and quality, and what's more, to create a loving environment. A place where perhaps St. Ignatius himself would like to visit for a few nights.
Spiritual Exercises and Ecological Conversion The depletion of natural resources, the climate crisis and the extinction of species are some of the factors that are causing the destruction of our planet. At the political level, the measures taken seem to be slow and insufficient, thus showing the urgent need for the transformation of personal attitudes, i.e. an ecological conversion.Taking this reality as its starting point, the International Symposium on Spiritual Exercises and Ecological Conversion 2024 seeks to "create a climate of listening, reflection and dialogue that will enable us to move forward in exploring the potential of the Exercises in the field of ecological conversion and transformation."This initiative is one of the fruits of the past Symposium Mystagogies of the Exercises 500 years later, June 2022, where the organisers the St Ignatius Cave Spiritual Centre (CIEI), the Ignatian School of Spirituality (EIDES) and an Intercontinental Committee were commissioned to convene, on a biannual basis, a Symposium where a specific question from Ignatian mystagogy would be addressed. The 2024 Symposium will take place at the Spiritual Centre of the Cave in Manresa from 10 to 16 June. The participants, most of whom accompany the Exercises, have responsibilities in the formation of Ignatian spirituality or direct Centres and Houses of Spirituality, will attend the keynote lectures in the morning and the group meetings and prayer sessions in the afternoon. Both the lectures and the presentations will be given by people involved in one or other of the fields of ecology and ecological conversion. The first day will focus on the interconnectivity of all creation. The next day will focus on the awareness and reconciliation of personal and structural socio-ecological sin. The third day will present care for creation as a dimension of Christian discipleship. The fourth day will consider how the Divine is hidden during the Passion and the fifth and final day the silent power of the resurrection.The full programme is available on the website online.covamanresa. Registrations are open for participation in the online mode, i.e. for the keynote speeches and the morning papers, and can be made on the aforementioned website. The timetable for the online mode of the Symposium is from 11 to 15 June 2024. As in the previous edition, the languages of the papers will be Spanish and English, and simultaneous translation will be provided. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATIONS  

UPCOMING EVENTS

27-1
Tue - Fri
Feb - Mar 2024
DUBLIN
Ireland
Social Centres Meeting of the directors of the Jesuit European Social Centres.  READ MORE
4-9
Mon - Sat
Mar 2024
BUCHAREST
Ireland
RCM + AGM JRS Europe Regional Coordination Meeting + Annual General Meeting of JRS Europe READ MORE
9
Sat
Mar 2024
WARSAW
Poland
Diaconal Ordinations The following Jesuits will be ordained deacons on March 9th 2024 at 11 am at the Sanctuary of St. Andrew Bobola in Warsaw (Poland):  Sebastian Lelek SJ (PME),  Wojciech Leśniak SJ (PME),  Jan Majda SJ (PMA),  Ivan Marinković (CRO) READ MORE
13-15
Wed - Fri
Mar 2024
DUBLIN
Ireland
Xavier Network Meeting Meeting of the Xavier Network network in Dublin READ MORE