The Xavier Network

The Xavier Network is made up of six European organisations that promote faith and justice by supporting the development of very poor and marginalised communities around the world.

The members of the network are Jesuit mission offices as well as non-governmental organisations that are closely linked to the Jesuits in Europe. They are run by teams of Jesuits and lay people.

The Xavier Network takes its name from St Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits, who was a keen promoter of intercultural and interreligious dialogue – another hallmark of the network.

The Xavier Network is active in humanitarian aid; awareness raising and public advocacy; and voluntary work.

International cooperation activities organised by the network focus on:

- Education and training

- Strengthening and empowering poor and marginalised groups

- Pastoral activities

- Peace and human rights

- Health

The Xavier Network is currently made up of: (links included)

- ALBOAN (Spain)

- ENTRECULTURAS (Spain)

- GONÇALO DA SILVEIRA (Portugal)

- JESUITENMISSION (Germany)

- LEIGOS PARA O DESENVOLVIMENTO (Portugal)

- MAGIS (Italy)

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, international disaster relief and Child Safeguarding were top of the agenda for the Xavier Network Directors when they met in Nuremberg last week. Founded in 2004, the Xavier Network is an international mission and development partnership between 13 Jesuit organisations united in their commitment to global justice. All are passionate in their belief that they can achieve more together than by working separately. In total, the members support pastoral, development and aid projects in 87 countries working in partnership with local, mainly Jesuit partners. The Network has four Working Groups which focus on Emergencies, Volunteers, International Programming and Advocacy. In addition, members are committed to three strategic partners: Fe y Alegria in Africa, Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Amazonian project with the CPAL conference. Three main priorities were discussed at the Nuremberg meeting: (1) The Safeguarding of Children: we approved a policy and protocol for the implementation of procedures for the protection and promotion of a culture of Safeguarding both in our own organisations and in those of our international partners. Emer Kerrigan from the Jesuit Missions office in Ireland led the discussion and was warmly commended on her skilful steering of the discussion. (2) Advocating for a more just world: Xavier Network members share a commitment to advocacy not least in response to the recently published Universal Apostolic Preferences. We discussed specific examples of recent advocacy including work led by the Hakimani centre in Nairobi and Fr Joerg Alt from the German mission office on Tax Justice. We also discussed how we work together with GIAN (the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network) and were joined by Fr Xavier Jeyaraj from the Social Justice and Ecology Desk in Rome. (3) Reviewing our response to recent humanitarian emergencies (mainly in Asia), and how we might respond to the crisis in Venezuela.  Fr Tom Smolich, International Director of JRS talked to us about the potential synergies between the Xavier Network and Jesuit Refugee Service International. Fr Klaus Vathroder SJ, Coordinator of the Xavier Network said: “The Xavier Network is a thriving example of Jesuit networking. Our meeting in Nuremberg was historic because of the commitments we made to building a safeguarding culture for children at home and overseas, advocating for justice on several fronts, and working together with global Jesuit partners to strengthen our impact.” While originally conceived as a European Network of Mission Offices and Jesuit NGOs, the Xavier Network now includes members from Canada and Australia. In Nuremberg, we also welcomed several invited guests from the United States, South Korea and the Claver Network (Development offices of CPAL) in South America. Our aim continues to be to build alliances with like-minded partners across the Jesuit world so that we can strengthen our networking and increase the impact and reach of our work.
Meeting of the Xavier Network in Madrid. The Directors of the Xavier Network - European Jesuits Mission Procures and Ong’s - met this September in the shadows of the grand palace at El Escorial near Madrid. Casting a different, yet pleasing, shadow over the meeting was GC 36 with a vision that places “faith, justice and solidarity with the poor and the excluded as central elements of the mission for reconciliation.” In recent meetings, the Directors have been wrestling with strategic questions about how we can create greater coherence within our work, where we can complement the Church’s mission, and how we can have a greater impact. Three key topics were discussed at the meeting: first, advocacy. GC 35 recognised advocacy as “a fundamental tool for the development of the mission of the Society of Jesus.” We heard from Fr Xavier Jeyaraj from the Social Justice Secretariat in Rome that Fr General has also affirmed the importance of advocacy to the Society of Jesus. With this in mind, we confirmed that advocacy is indeed a key part of the Network’s mission.  Xavier helped us discern how best the Network can work with the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) promoting greater synergies between the different GIAN groups.  We also analysed a survey by all member organizations which identified the themes, capacities and strategies to help us take forward advocacy. We described the kind of advocacy we do as “bare-foot advocacy” i.e. bringing the voice of marginalised communities to people in the North.  As Jesuit organisations based in the North, we have the capacity to bring people from the North and the South together.  We also share a desire to build the capacity of Jesuit partners in the South to do advocacy in their countries. Finally, we developed the concept of the Xavier Network being a “catalysing” and “facilitating” influence on others.  The emphasis here is not on doing advocacy for our partners but on assisting and empowering them to do so themselves. Our second topic was the Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable adults.  We recognised that this touchstone issue is one that demands our attention and, as GC 36 states, is a key issue.  The Xavier Network is committed to ensuring minimum standards are established and adhered to in our own organisations and in the partnerships we have around the world.  Earlier in the year, the Network conducted an audit of our partners to find out what policies and capacity they have in place in regard to Safeguarding practice.  The results of the Survey were shared with Fr Danny Huang at the Curia in Rome. He expressed his support for the Network’s approach and encouraged us to continue to assist partners to take up this most important of justice issues. Our third topic was responding to Humanitarian Emergencies. For the final session of our meeting, we adjourned from the splendour of El Escorial to the different but equally splendid office of Entreculturas.  Here we were joined by many staff from Entreculturas  and others working on the front line in recent emergencies: Fr Pau Vidal from South Sudan; Fr Marcos Recolons from Haiti; and Fr Roy Sebastian from Nepal to name three.  We were profoundly encouraged to hear about the ways in which Jesuit partners are responding to recent humanitarian crises, but also challenged to look for ever more effective ways of collaborating. The meeting concluded with a renewed energy and determination to continue our efforts. Whilst working together within any network requires patience, persistence and vision, there is no doubt that the Xavier Network is an increasingly effective Jesuit response to some of the most pressing problems of our age.  Our mission is not to duplicate what others are doing but to bring our own resources – human, financial, intellectual and organisational – to bear on what Jesuits and their lay collaborators are doing in every corner of the earth.