A new monthly video series of Religious poverty is a topical and even controversial issue. In a letter on Jesuit poverty last September 2021, Fr. General, Arturo Sosa, called us to reach beyond the disputes and controversies and to find new meaning and life in our vow of poverty. Father General insists that poverty is indispensable if we desire to get closer to Christ and to live our vocation more deeply, more authentically and with greater joy. Building on the letter, a new video series on religious poverty starts today. Every month during 2022 we will hear from Jesuits how they live their vow of poverty. We tune in to the struggles they have had and the joys they have experienced. We reflect with them about how we can live our vow of poverty in a deeper and more joyful way. This can be a fruit of the conversion process to which the Ignatian year calls us. The call and invitation to live our vow of poverty is reflected in each of the Universal Apostolic Preferences: The first Preference calls us to keep searching for the way to God and to show that way to others. As we get closer to Jesus poor and humble, and love and serve Him more, we find the way forward for ourselves and our world others. We discover new light and are called to share that light as gratuitously and as widely as possible. The second Preference calls us to be on the side of the marginalised, the excluded and those whom society considers worthless. With, in and through them, we find Jesus poor and humble in a privileged way. It is where Jesus lives and He says to us: “Come and See”. (John 1:39). We see where He is living when we meet the poor and excluded and walk with them. Young people, searching for their way forward in life, do so with a vulnerability and an uncertainty that shows the compassionate face of Christ. Often without jobs or security, the young reach out to us for support and understanding. Are we poor enough to hear their cry? The call to collaborate in the care of the common home is a call to simplicity. Our world is unsustainable and its economic model has left much to be desired. Religious poverty witnesses to a different and counter cultural way forward for humanity: a way forward that offers a valid and time-tested alternative to consumerism and one that leads, undoubtedly to the fullness of life that Jesus talks about in Jn 10.10. Our religious poverty calls us to put who we are before what we do or what we own. It calls us to witness to the world that the value of each person lies in his/her being and not in possessions, position or power.      
On Saturday 22 January 2022, the Lebanese Bishop César Essayan officially opened the process that could lead to the beatification of the Dutch Jesuit and missionary Nico Kluiters, who was murdered in Lebanon in 1985. Father Nico Kluiters worked for ten years as a pastor in some Christian villages in the Bekaa Valley, in the east of Lebanon. On 14 March 1985, he was kidnapped by militants of an Islamic organisation. On 1 April 1985, his seriously mutilated body was found in a 97-metre deep ravine. At the time of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), he worked for peace and reconciliation. In the process of beatification, a tribunal chaired by Bishop César Essayan examines whether Nico died as a martyr. That is, whether he was killed for his faith. On Saturday 22 January, during a Eucharist in the Church of Saint Joseph in Beirut, the bishop opened this process and all those involved were sworn in. An example for the faithful According to vice-postulator, Dutch Jesuit Thom Sicking, who lives in Lebanon, the bishop is enthusiastic about the case. In recent years, Sicking has done the preparatory research and created a file on Nico Kluiters. "What is such a beatification all about? To set an example for the faithful", says Father Sicking. "Popular devotion often adds an intercession, that you can pray and ask him things. But that is in fact a side issue. The main thing is that the Blessed, or Saint, can be an example to others. The bishop considers Nico's life an excellent example, especially for priests in Lebanon: someone who gave his life and showed great social awareness." About Nico Kluiters Nico Kluiters was born in Delft (The Netherlands) on 25 May 1940. He was a boy with artistic talent. His talent and work ethic brought him, among other things, to the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. But in addition to his artistic interest, something else grew in him. A desire that ultimately proved unstoppable. "Should I perhaps become religious, devote my life entirely to God?" In 1965 he entered the novitiate of the Dutch Jesuits. After just one year he was sent to Lebanon, a mission field of the Dutch Jesuits. There he continued his noviciate and started to study the Arabic language. In the summer of 1973 Nico was ordained a priest in Amsterdam. Back in Lebanon he started to work as a pastor. In the north of the Beka Valley, a 160 kilometre wide plateau between the two mountain ranges of Lebanon. There he found his true vocation. He lived among poor Christians in the midst of a mainly Shiite population. To flee or to stay? In 1975 the civil war starts in Lebanon. In a letter from 1980, Nico writes of kidnapping, murder, barricades. "Our own house has been shot at. Telephone contact is broken more than ever. Often no electricity." In late 1982, he writes openly about whether he should stay in Lebanon. In that year, hundreds of Christians were kidnapped by Muslims, some of whom were murdered. A priest was severely beaten, a bishop and two vicars were kidnapped but also released. On 14 March 1985, the fate of his abduction struck. Four armed men took him to a cave, where they tortured and finally killed him. On 1 April, his body was found at the bottom of a natural ravine 97 metres deep.
Faced with the tragedies of migration and the temptation to withdraw into one's own identity, Pope Francis defends a resolute conception of fraternity, which divides even the ranks of Catholics. In the run-up to the French presidential election, the Jesuits of French-speaking Western Europe provide elements for reflection through a special dossier and a round table. A partnership between Ceras, the Centre Sèvres in Paris and JRS France. In a context marked by an affirmation of nationalism and identity-based withdrawal, how can we interpret the message of Pope Francis who, in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, recalls the duty of fraternity beyond national borders? What is the impact of these divisions around the interpretation of fraternity as a moral and political requirement on democracy? This is the starting point of the dossier published by the Revue Projet "François, la fraternité sans frontières?", published by Ceras, the Jesuit centre for research and social action in Paris (December 2021/January 2022, n°385). In this issue, prepared in partnership with the Centre Sèvres and JRS France, theologians, philosophers and field workers address migration issues, between universalism, particularism and pluralism. This work also shows how the practice of hospitality and fraternity is put into practice in everyday life, and the resistance it encounters. Round table On this same theme, the Revue Projet, in partnership with the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and the Centre Sèvres-Facultés jésuites, also proposed a round-table on the theme "Is biblical and republican fraternity a myth? Catholics and migrations" on 25 January. This brought together theologians, social scientists and philosophers to propose an interdisciplinary discussion on the debates that run through Catholic communities, and beyond, French society as a whole, around the relationship between Catholicism and migration. We are called upon to address the question of borders, the role of the State and our ways of thinking about life together. An invitation, finally, to think and live a biblical and democratic fraternity.
The recent visit to Flanders of Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General, gave us the opportunity to get to know about some innovative projects and commitments of Jesuits in the ELC (European Low Countries) Region. In Leuven, where Jesuits have been involved in the Catholic University (KU Leuven) for a long time, the Society of Jesus has launched, with dedicated non-Jesuit collaborators, the IntelSoc project. We spoke about it with two Jesuits: Leo De Weerdt (LDW) and Jacques Haers (JH). Where does the IntelSoc project come from? What is the need for it? LDW: The project aims to allow Jesuits active in the intellectual ministry to work more closely with their confreres and collaborators who are active in the social ministry. At the academic level, the aim is the critical study of detention models and their significance for today’s society. The expertise of Jesuits and our collaborators working in these areas is considerable. At the pastoral level, there have always been Jesuit prison chaplains in Flanders and Wallonia. On the other hand, we have JRS-Belgium and its team working in enclosed centres where they visit asylum seekers. JRS Belgium also specialises in the issue of detention. With IntelSoc, the ELC Region also wants to give an even more visible witness to the social, pastoral and scientific presence and commitment of Jesuits in Leuven. To this end, we have also opened a new international community, named “Pierre Favre”, which welcomes Jesuits from all over the world. What links can you make between this project and the current Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus? JH: The inspiration is certainly the apostolic commitment from God’s own commitment to the service of the poorest. We hope that spiritual reflection will accompany the project. It will allow us, in our secularised world, to rediscover a language to speak of God and of the relationship with God that allows commitment in the world. This language will be inspired by the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises (Preference 1). The aim of the project is to emphasise concrete solidarity with the excluded (prisoners, refugees and migrants), although this commitment still needs to be made concrete. On the positive side, the project aims to provide excluded people with an interdisciplinary intellectual apparatus that offers a framework for interpreting social exclusion (Preference 2). In the university context, the project stimulates the training of young people in the service of the most disadvantaged, in their intellectual reflection and in a commitment to solidarity. The project also responds to an explicit request from some young people and it fits well into the university project called Leuven-Engage (Preference 3). The care for the Common Home is translated into the hope for a sustainable world. This sustainability is not reduced to an ecological effort, but requires the construction of a world of solidarity in response to the endangered creation in our world. The project emphasises the effort of communion where the poorest are the vectors of sustainability (Preference 4). LDW: The Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus play a crucial role: after all, Father General demands special attention for the poor, especially for the vulnerable and marginalised. This certainly applies, in Belgium, to the inmates in our prisons and to people on the move (or migrants), those who have exhausted all legal remedies, and who are rejected and marginalised in our Belgian society. What can the Society of Jesus learn from today’s young university students? JH: Today’s young people no longer experience aggressive secularisation and rather feel the lack of the spiritual dimension (transcendence, sense of a holistic belonging to creation) in their lives. We can learn from them the courage to develop and offer the spiritual dimension in a reflective way (and avoiding an easy clericalism which is attractive to many young people...). Many young students have a sense of sustainability that can inspire us. LDW: Although some describe this generation of students as individualistic and uncommitted, many show a genuine interest in issues such as the prison system and a desire for meaningful social work in the service of others. And in conclusion? JH: I am deeply convinced of the importance of IntelSoc’s key ideas: an approach that links concrete insertion and intellectual reflection. There is a holistic vision of the human being and of creation. It is a conviction that has grown in me from my intellectual and theological interests, as well as from my experiences of reality, especially experiences of reconciliation, for example in contexts of conflict. LDW: As a Jesuit, I had told my Provincial Superior that I wanted to commit myself to the service of the poor, the little ones, the wounded of life, as Jesus had done. This wish was a response to the desire I had discovered in myself during my formation as a Jesuit. Jesuit prison ministry has a long history. Throughout time, people in prison have generally been the most despised, feared and forgotten members of any society. In the Society’s more recent history, Jesuits and their colleagues who visit those held in prison or in immigration detention centres have found that this embodies the option for the poor that the Society has made. Not only are the prisoners at the bottom of the social ladder, but their plight rarely attracts sympathy.
Jessika comes from Albania, she has been a member of the Youth Eucharistic Movement for about four years and this year she also became responsible for it. She comes from a family of Muslim traditions, where the practice of religion and rituals, over time, has greatly diminished. Above all, the period of the communist dictatorship (1944-1992) during which it was not possible to celebrate religious holidays, nor to make one's faith visible in any way, has had a serious impact. Thus everything in her experience and that of her family was "off". Her encounter with the movement took place in one of the Jesuit schools. "Today's Albania is one of the countries where religious differences manage to live in sufficient peace and harmony with each other," she explains. "So I entered an Ignatian school and, following that, in a casual way, to be part of the movement. I remember when we were introduced to it in class and I thought, 'OK, maybe this is the place where I can find some new friends.' I was so wrong! What I was going to discover was not just some new friends, but a family, a home: I was going to find myself. Because the journey made me discover the God who is in me!" Experiencing deep love  "Is it a game activity?"... No! "Is it a religious meeting where we only talk about God?". Not exactly. "Is it a place where you meet new people?". Yes, it can be understood that way too, but it is not quite correct. "But, then, what is it?". Perhaps the words are too inadequate compared to the feelings being felt. It is "living", "growing", it is the way to experience a deep love that no other experience can replace. It is to know concretely the feeling of sharing that gives life to our hopes. It is living with Jesus. Even though I grew up with a different faith, Jesus has now become my friend, the movement has "discovered" within me what I didn't know existed. One step after another Each experience was truly unique. The first one, with some young people from EYM Italy who came here to Albania in 2018. I got lost and then found again. It was difficult then, for me, to understand what I was experiencing. And when the experience ended, I felt like I was no longer the same." It was my first conference, in Frascati, in 2019. It's already been two years, but I can't find a single day when I haven't gone back in my mind to those days. I remember every song we sang together, every story we shared, every hand we shook and every hug we exchanged. And then, yet another wonderful moment, back here in Albania, with other young Italian EYMs in 2020. Yet another "stroke of lightning", a mission of friendship, a new family. I know that the next experience will also be wonderful: I will discover new things about myself, about fraternity, about you... We are One!" Jesuits EUM
Today the Jesuit Refugee Service network in Europe publishes the new Strategic Framework for 2022-2024, once again reinforcing its mission to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. Acting as a guidepost for JRS’s work in the region, the Strategic Framework aims to identify common purposes between countries within the network, to rearticulate the mission and founding values, and to formulate the goals for the next three years. The document was developed through a process of discernment and consultations, where JRS Europe and the 22 country offices worked together to produce a truly shared result. JRS in Europe works towards a Europe where human rights, protection, hospitality, integration, and reconciliation all have a place to flourish within a larger vision for inclusive and welcoming societies. All JRS offices share a common base of values and core competencies, working together through shared guiding principles, working channels, advocacy and communication strategies, as well as a gender-sensitive approach. We live in a world of persistent inequality, and despite Europe being one of the wealthiest regions, both the EU and its Member States continue to approach refugees as a threat. Against the growing public anti-migration discourse, JRS’s commitment to a culture of hospitality remains more relevant than ever. Over the next three years, JRS in Europe will continue to work on four common programmatic areas: Social Inclusion and Integration Access to Protection Detention Awareness Raising Through this common framework, the JRS network in Europe is united in the spirit of solidarity and hospitality. Inspired by Pope Francis “In the poor, you have found a privileged place of encounter with Christ. This is a precious gift. (…) Share your hope wherever you are, to encourage, console, comfort and reinvigorate.” (Rome, 2019), JRS will continue to discover, redefine and reach out on behalf of forced migrants and refugees. For us, frontiers and boundaries are not obstacles or ends, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed.


Tue - Wed
Feb 2022
Priestly Ordination Joseph-Fawzi (PRO) will be ordained a priest READ MORE
Feb 2022
Final Vows Łukasz Dębiński SJ (PME) will pronounce his Final Vows at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Way, at 6 pm READ MORE
Feb 2022
Final Vows Fr. Alan Modrić (CRO) will take final vows at 4 p.m. in the Church of the Gesù. READ MORE
Feb 2022
Deaconal Ordination Leonardo Angius (EUM), José F. Castillo Tapia (ESP), Savio Jude Fernandes (BOM), Paulus Hastra Kurdani (IDO), Antranik Kurukian (PRO), Cristiano Laino (EUM), Michael N. Manalastas (UWE) and Joan Morera Perich (ESP) will be ordained a deacon by Card. D. Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid in the Parish of Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Luis Gonzaga, at 6 pm. READ MORE