Gratitude campaign in response to the crisis Jesuits from Germany, Austria and Switzerland start the campaign "Nevertheless grateful!” With this, they are giving an answer to the increasing sense of crisis in the middle of the second wave of the Corona pandemic with the help of Ignatian spirituality. The past year was challenging for the whole of society. Social life has now been shut down for the second time, people have to keep their distance, fear for their livelihoods and many institutions have closed. The crisis reveals our problems like under a burning glass; the insecurity and fears are changing our society. There would be enough reasons to despair. On the other hand, there are studies that underline that a grateful lifestyle can strengthen the immune system and make people more resistant to crises. St. Ignatius of Loyola was already convinced of the effects of gratitude and practiced this lifestyle in his daily review, remembering every evening what good things happened to him. With the campaign "Nevertheless grateful" the Jesuits bring the Ignatian Daily Review closer to the people. "In countless conversations we experience that it is difficult for many at the moment to discover the positive in their lives. We want to help the people. The campaign 'Nevertheless grateful!' calls for a conscious change of perspective, especially in the face of the pandemic. Even under difficult circumstances, something can be found for which one can be grateful. Ignatian spirituality offers an effective method for this," explains Father Martin Stark SJ, Head of Communication & Fundraising. In the Ignatian Daily Review one reflects on one's day and looks back on what was experienced, always starting with the good. For this I would like to thank explicitly. Only then can everything else come into view. "This of course requires a certain amount of training," knows Pia Dyckmans, public relations officer of the German Province of the Jesuits. "Therefore we have created a gratitude diary, in which the daily review is explained and a month-long diary can be kept about what one is grateful for. By writing things down, things become more clearly recognisable, which increases the effect. With the gratitude diary, we are giving people a tool to help them focus on what is important and thus to be able to approach Christmas in a positive way, especially in this special year.  On a community wall, concerns can be shared. "This should sensitise us all and we are sure that there will be many surprises to be found there. Sharing multiplies the effect of gratitude and then encourages others as well". Jesuits, too, will report on various channels during the campaign, for which they are personally grateful nonetheless.
At the beginning of the year the Jesuits created the so-called Future Lab in the Jesuit College Innsbruck, a place where young adults find time to put their own lives in order, are allowed to ask important questions about the future, are invited to spiritual exercises and times of silence and find space in the company of us Jesuits to learn to read their own lives. The Future Lab has been open and running for a few months now. The first residents have moved in and we started the programme with a mountain weekend, spiritual exercises and vacation stays. The rooms and halls are brought to life! On 19 September 2020, Innsbruck’s bishop Hermann Glettler celebrated mass with us to inaugurate the Future Lab and provincial Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ blessed the premises. Afterwards, there was opportunity to visit the rooms. „To me, the Future Lab is above all a place and space for listening: listening to myself, listening to my longing and listening to the needs of our time and to the Word of God. This threefold listening, this triad slowly enables me to hear God’s calling to me, lets me recognize my life‘s trace and gives me courage and strength to live my life,“ said Fr. Bürgler SJ. "We look back gratefully on these first experiences. Despite the exceptional circumstances of the Corona pandemic, many young people have been happy to participate in the programme of the Future Lab from the very beginning. Some came to us with specific questions about life and found room for important questions, thoughts and conversations in the beautiful new rooms and the hospitality of the community in the Jesuit College. There was great interest in the introduction to Ignatian Spirituality and the sense of community, good spirits and openness in our house were especially appreciated. We don’t convey a finished image of God. Everyone is invited to come as they are, we offer an atmosphere for personal searching and thinking, all questions allowed", says Fr. Helmut Schumacher SJ, director of the Future Lab.  Young people from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, South Tyrol and even Poland found great value in their time at the Future Lab and many are planning to come back soon. You can find the programme of the Future Lab via www.zukunftswerkstatt-innsbruck.org
The Jesuits in Central Europe found on April 27th 2021 a new Province. For this the Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, appointed this Friday 31 July, on the Feast of St. Ignatius, a new Provincial, who will take up his office next year. The choice fell on Father. Bernhard Bürgler SJ, the present Provincial of the Austrian Province of the Jesuits. Munich/Rome, 31 July 2020 - Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ becomes first Provincial of new Central European Province. Jesuit Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, appointed him this Friday. Bernhard Bürgler will take office as the Provincial on 27 April 2021 upon establishment of the new province. It will replace the previous provinces of Austria, Germany, Lithuania-Latvia and Switzerland. Provincial in Austria Bernhard Bürgler is currently the Provincial in Austria and thus is one of the Jesuits who have been instrumental in preparing the merger over the past years. Consequently, he is well aware of the challenges awaiting him: ‘We can only convincingly present our way of life if we grow together to embody unity in diversity. To do so, we must shape our institutions and activities in view of the needs of our time and our limited resources’. He sees transnational collaboration as offering tremendous opportunities in this respect. “Our charisma as Jesuits is that we think in broader categories and act jointly. National differences will lose significance over time, which will enable us to more fruitfully disseminate the treasure of Ignatian spirituality in our engagement for faith and justice, in dialog with different cultures and in the quest for reconciliation.” Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ emphasized in his letter of appointment that the new province will simplify apostolic planning: “The mission of the Society of Jesus has been universal and larger than the borders of countries or languages from its very inception. The structures of the order exist to facilitate this mission.” He also made reference to the universal apostolic preferences with which the order has defined the thrust of content matters for the coming ten years. The Superior General wished the future Provincial energy and vigour but also faith in God and serenity. A proven expert in the areas of spirituality, retreats, meditation and psychoanalysis Bernhard Bürgler is a proven expert in the areas of spirituality, retreats, meditation and psychoanalysis. The 60-year-old was born in Lienz in Austrian East Tyrol. After his secondary school leaving examination, he studied theology in Innsbruck. Upon completion of his studies, he worked in the German retreat house Haus Gries, which is operated by the Jesuits. After additional years as a religion teacher in Austria, Bürgler entered the Society of Jesus in 1991. After the novitiate he received his doctorate in theology and also received training as a psychotherapist. His activities in the order were that of Spiritual Director in the international Collegium Canisianum (Innsbruck), Director of the retreat house ‘Haus Gries’ (Wilhelmsthal), Area Director for spirituality and retreats in the Cardinal König Haus (Vienna). In 2014 he became the Provincial in the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus. The rules of the Society of Jesus call for the Provincial to be appointed by the Superior General in Rome. As a rule, the term of office is six years. In addition to the administrative task of directing the province’s affairs, the central duties of a provincial include especially what is known as the “cura personalis”, or regular talks with each Jesuit about his work and life in the order. The new province will comprise 442 Jesuits at 36 locations in Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland.
Munich/Vienna - Under the title Zeitschrift für Theologie und Philosophie (ZTP) the two renowned journals Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie (ZKTh) and Theologie und Philosophie (ThPh) will be united and continued from 2021. Reason for this step is the union of several Jesuit provinces to the Central European Province on April 27th 2021. The ZTP is a joint project of the three academic institutions in the German-speaking area, which are supported or co-supported by Jesuits: the College of Philosophy in Munich, the Philosophical-Theological College Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main and the Catholic-Theological Faculty of the University of Innsbruck. The editorship is interdisciplinary with Alexander Löffler SJ (Theology/Frankfurt) and Bruno Niederbacher SJ (Philosophy/Innsbruck). The international and interdisciplinary editorial team also includes Godehard Brüntrup SJ, Boris Repschinski SJ, Georg Sans SJ and Oliver J. Wiertz. In the Editorial Board, the six-strong editorial team is supported by proven national and international academic experts* from the fields of systematic theology and philosophy. Through excellent and original German or English academic treatises and book reviews, the ZTP aims to promote research in theology and philosophy through systematic studies in the Jesuit tradition and, in addition, to be a forum for the concrete encounter of theology and philosophy. A corresponding review process (blind peer review) guarantees that the contributions meet the highest scientific standards and are present on the Web of Science. Beginning with volume 143, the ZTP will be accessible in both online and print format from 2021. Jesuits Austria and Germany
Munich/Vienna - Also in the Corona crisis Jesuits want to make pastoral care possible. For that purpose a new newsletter of the Austrian and German Jesuits started from Thursday, March 19th. Under the title "Ignatian Neighbourhood Help" spiritual impulses are to be sent out daily in the morning and on Saturday a proposal for a Sunday house service. In addition, further digital offers from the different communities and institutions of the Jesuits are to be sent, in order to point out not only digital neighbourhood help, but also local offers. "Many people are very insecure at the moment, some of them are sitting at home and cannot go to church as usual - especially in view of the coming Easter surely additionally painful for many. We should show people: we are still here for you - not analog, but digital", explains Pia Dyckmans. The public relations officer of the Jesuits in Germany launched the newsletter together with her Austrian colleague Franziska Fleischer. They report that the Jesuits were immediately convinced of the necessity and made themselves available for this offer within a few hours. In the crisis the order stands together and shows that digital pastoral care is now of particular importance. Every day another Jesuit writes a spiritual impulse for the newsletter "Ignatian Neighbourhood Help". The newsletter is to be sent first until April 30th, 2020. Here you can register for the newsletter "Ignatian Neighbourhood Help" (in German) free of charge.
The Jesuit Georg Sporschill, who is known far beyond Austria's borders for his commitment to street children and Roma in Romania, will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Udine on 16 September. At a ceremony held by the Italian university, which has 17,000 students and is medium-sized in size, Rector Prof. Alberto Felice De Toni handed over the honorary decree for primary school education (Scienze delle Formazione Primaria) at 6 p.m. in the university "Centro di Accoglienza E. Balducci". The decree of the Italian Minister of Science, Marco Bussetti, states that the honorary doctorate is awarded to Sporschill for his educational work in Romania, which saves disadvantaged people. Sporschill's pioneering work was aimed at "developing forms of education and qualitative support for children and young people with very specific needs in extremely complex contexts". Franco Fabbro, professor of psychology at Udine University, who was a supporter of the Sporschill Prize, stresses: "His thinking and his works put Georg Sporschill on the side of a few Italian priests who, in the last century, dealt with abandoned and needy young people, which considerably increased the progress of educational science". "We go where the need is greatest." Georg Sporschill, born 1946 in Vorarlberg, studied theology, education and psychology in Innsbruck and Paris. He then worked as a consultant in adult education in the Vorarlberg state government. At the age of 30 he entered the Jesuit Order and two years later was ordained priest. As a young chaplain in Vienna-Lainz he founded and accompanied many youth groups. From 1980 onwards, Sporschill's commitment applied to young people who had been released from prison, drug addicts and homeless. He founded the Caritas Youth Centre and three other shelters for the homeless. He sent the "Canisibus" with soup to the homeless and opened the "Inigo" restaurant in downtown Vienna, which gives long-term unemployed people work and self-confidence. Georg Sporschill went to the street children of Bucharest in 1991. Together with Ruth Zenkert he founded the relief organisation "Concordia Sozialprojekte" and took thousands of children from the streets and canals of the Romanian capital to children's and youth homes. Since 2004 he has been working in the Republic of Moldova for orphans, neglected teenagers and needy elderly people. Four years later, Sporschill began his work for children and families in Bulgaria. The principle "We go where the need is greatest" finally led him to the Roma in Transylvania/Romania, where he founded the association "Elijah" (www.elijah.ro) with Ruth Zenkert after leaving the "Concordia" board in 2012. In the region, tens of thousands of Roma families live on the outskirts of the villages, in the most confined of spaces, in poorly constructed mud huts, expelled from society. Illiteracy, unemployment and hopelessness prevail. The association "Elijah" has the aim to help the families with many children to get out of misery by their own efforts in order to break the cycle of poverty. New centre in Hosman near Sibiu Father Georg Sporschill wants to give the children and young people in particular new prospects for the future through social centres, homework supervision, music lessons and training workshops. He lives and works in Hosman, 30 kilometres west of Sibiu, in the Elijah community.