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Jesuits in Britain launch first online exhibition celebrating 50 years since the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs Prompted by the 50th anniversary of the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs, the Jesuits in Britain Archives has launched its first ever online exhibition in collaboration with Stonyhurst College Collections. The virtual showcase, “How bleedeth burning love”: British Jesuit Province’s Relics of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, presents treasured relics belonging to some of the priests and laypeople martyred for their Roman Catholic faith in England and Wales in the 16th and 17th centuries -  many of whom were canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25 October 1970. The new online exhibition can now be viewed at www.jesuitcollections.org.uk. These relics shine a light on an extraordinary period of English history, when men and women were persecuted and executed for their religious beliefs. Some of the relics in the exhibition demonstrate vividly the barbaric nature of the penalties inflicted upon those who held fast to faith and conscience, while others tell very personal stories of individual spiritual journeys of historic figures such as Thomas More and Mary, Queen of Scots. These relics have been treasured for centuries, valued for the powerful stories they tell, which have been passed from generation to generation.  Famous Jesuit martyrs Among the relics in the exhibition are those of the famous Jesuits, St Edmund Campion, St Robert Southwell and Blessed Edward Oldcorne, who were all sent to be clandestine missionaries in Elizabethan England at a time when Catholics faced persecution. Edmund Campion was arrested by priest hunters, convicted of high treason, and then hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in 1581. On display is the rope that tied him to the hurdle, on which he was dragged from the Tower to Tyburn. St Robert Southwell was also executed at Tyburn in 1595 - he was famous for his literary works, including the 16th century poem ‘Christ’s bloody sweate’ which provided the quote for the title of the exhibition. On display is a bone. Blessed Edward Oldcorne had been a school friend of Guy Fawkes and was tortured in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot. Although no evidence was found to link him to the failed assassination attempt against King James I, Oldcome was hanged, drawn, and quartered in 1606. He was beatified in 1929. On display is his right eyeball. The exhibition also includes the relics of some famous lay people: St Thomas More and Mary Queen of Scots. One new discovery is the identity of a group of skulls and bones associated with Holywell Shrine in North Wales, which have now been identified, during the course of research for this exhibition, as those of the 17th century Saints Philip Evans and John Lloyd. The relics all form part of the British Jesuit Province’s collection. Much of the collection resides in the Jesuits in Britain Archives in London, and a significant part is on loan to, and cared for, by Stonyhurst College Collections in Lancashire. Rebecca Somerset, Jesuits in Britain Archivist, said: “The current situation meant we could not put on a physical exhibition as originally planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forty Martyrs, but by presenting the exhibition virtually, we are now able to reach a much wider audience. We are always keen to make these artefacts more easily available to others, and we are looking forward to presenting a series of online exhibitions. "In order to make the exhibition as accessible as possible, we are presenting the collection as a visual and audio experience, with images of the relics accompanied both by text as well as a recorded narrative." Follow @JesuitArchives and @StonyArchivum on Twitter for updates on #RelicExhibition
London-based charity, the Jesuit Refugee Service UK has renewed its condemnation of the use of disused barracks as asylum accommodation in the wake of a fire at Napier Barracks, which has led to a lack of electricity and hot water. It was rapidly followed by revelations that Home Office officials intentionally deployed substandard asylum accommodation to manage public opinion.  Unequal Treatment In considering the use of barracks as asylum accommodation, the Home Office stated that destitute people seeking asylum were “not analogous” to British citizens and other permanent residents in need of state welfare assistance concluding that “less generous” support for people seeking asylum was “justified by the need to control immigration”, while better accommodation “could undermine public confidence in the asylum system”. These events follow a COVID-19 outbreak at Napier barracks the week before last, where it has been reported that 120 people have tested positive. Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK, said “People who have been forced to flee their homes have been subjected to unsafe, undignified, and inhumane conditions in barracks accommodation. We have sometimes been told that this is an emergency measure. Now, we see compelling evidence that it is intentionally cruel and part of a wider strategy: the government is risking the lives of the most vulnerable in order to make a political point. This gratuitous brutality is an insult to the British public whose decency and care for those in need runs a good deal deeper than Ministers’ base instincts.” Continuous Support JRS UK’s detention outreach team is providing phone support to individuals accommodated at Napier barracks, and has witnessed a serious deterioration in the mental health of some individuals over their time there. Barracks accommodation both at Napier in Folkestone and at Penally in Pembrokeshire has been widely criticised as inhumane, with an inadequate supply of food and blankets and severely limited access to medical care. In November, a group of leading clinical experts noted the high risk of infection at the sites, where social distancing is impossible. They also noted that highly controlling regimes at the sites – including use of curfews – meant they resembled “open prisons” analogous to immigration detention. Both sites have regularly encountered protests by fascists who have sometimes sought to prevent NGOs and others from passing basic necessities to residents. JRS UK is aware of credible reports that this weekend, police and onsite managers also turned away people trying to deliver food and blankets. A situation overlooked by the Government The government is legally obliged to provide accommodation to people who would otherwise be destitute while their asylum claims are heard. People seeking asylum are banned from working and cannot access mainstream benefits, so are frequently forced to rely on such asylum support. The use of the barracks sits within a pattern of deliberately harsh asylum policies: the government has a policy of creating ‘hostile environment’ for people refused asylum and others without immigration documents, and bans people seeking asylum from working, partly on the dubious basis that allowing them to do so would act as a ‘pull-factor’ to others. In recent years, government ministers have repeatedly referred to detention as a ‘deterrent’ against immigration infractions. JRS UK’s latest report, ‘Detained and Dehumanised: The impact of immigration detention’ found that the real effect of the Home Office policy of immigration detention in prison-like conditions, is that it fosters a culture of death, self-harm and ongoing mental and physical trauma leaving those who are detained, or threatened by the prospect of detention, dehumanised. Jesuits in Britain
The Jesuits in Britain have joined a coalition of asset owners, asset managers and other finance industry stakeholders to express concern over reports that food boxes provided by the catering company, Chartwells, to the most disadvantaged families in the UK, are falling short of expectations. Chartwells is a subsidiary of the British multinational contract foodservice company, Compass Group, and in a joint open letter to Compass CEO, Dominic Blakemore, the coalition have called for reassurance as to how future food parcels will meet the needs of the most disadvantaged families in the UK. The coalition has been mobilised by CCLA - the UK’s largest investment manager for charities and local authorities. James Corah, Head of Ethical and Responsible Investment said: “As responsible investors, we are concerned by the disproportionate impact the disruption posed by COVID-19 has had on the poorest members of our society. All children have the right to access nutritious diets to support healthy development, and we are particularly alarmed about the increase in child hunger during this period. As a company that says it is committed to good nutrition and responsible business practices, Compass Group risks falling foul of its own guiding principles. "We acknowledge Compass Group’s public apology and public clarifications on this matter. However, given the potential ramifications, the company must be completely transparent, make adjustments and improvements as required and move quickly to restore faith in its business.” James Bevan, Chief Investment Officer at CCLA Investment Management, concluded: “At times it is necessary to seek answers, not only as investors in the company, but also as members of society. The Coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for everyone and particularly for lower-income families. It is incumbent on us all to do our part. As responsible investors, we will call upon companies to demonstrate commitment to sustainable business practices that meet the needs of all stakeholders.” Brother Stephen Power SJ, Manager of the Jesuits in Britain’s ethical investment strategy, said: "The disruption caused by COVID-19 has been felt the hardest by the most vulnerable members of society. Child hunger has increased during this period." (Image: @Roadsidemum)
Light up a language. Over the last fifteen years, Pray As You Go has helped millions of people around the world to reflect on the presence of God in their lives. Producer Emma Holland explains how the new ‘Light up a Language’ campaign aims to help even more people to deepen their relationship with God. On 1 March 2021, Pray As You Go will turn fifteen. If you can’t quite remember 2006, modern social media emerged as Facebook and Twitter were unleashed onto the world, and the word ‘podcast’ made it into the dictionary for the first time. As podcasts began to capture global audiences, Fr Peter Scally SJ had an idea: create an easy way to pray daily, using music and Ignatian Spirituality. And so, Pray As You Go (PAYG) was born. What started as a simple way to pray on your way to work is now available to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, in ten languages. Each language has adopted their own culture, music and style; you get a different feel from each one. The languages currently available include: English, Dutch/Flemish (Bidden Onderweg), French (Prie en Chemin), Hungarian (Napi-útra-való), Polish (Modlitwa w Drodze), Portuguese (Passo a Rezar), Spanish (Rezandovoy) , Ukrainian (iMolytva) and Vietnamese (Phút cãu nguyên). Some versions naturally stretch over to other continents of like-languages, drawing audiences from further afield such as parts of South America and Africa, Australia, the US and more. See also the overview on Jesuits.eu The tenth and most recent language to join the PAYG international family was Fi Tariqi Osally (‘on my way, I pray’), the Arabic version in 2019. This has been the most ambitious and collaborative language creation yet. Fi Tariqi Osally is a joint project between CLC (Christian Life Community) Egypt and the Jesuits of the Near East (based in Beirut), working together with volunteers spreading across Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Inji, one of the directors of the project has said: ‘We would like the world to know that everyone involved in this project is doing it totally voluntarily with lots of love and passion, and that we are feeling God’s blessings in every step.’ Making PAYG available to the Arabic-speaking world has been an exciting step and a cause for great celebration by all involved. In August 2020, we were all shaken by the sight of the explosion in Beirut, particularly holding in prayer our Jesuit friends and collaborators, who were very close to the blast. We are therefore keener than ever to support our friends financially and help to maintain Fi Tariqi Osally as a point of support for so many around the world. A campaign has now been launched called ‘Light up a Language’, with the hopeful aim of supporting not only Fi Tariqi Osally, but also other new language versions on the cusp of joining the international PAYG family. Talks are being held with listeners and friends of PAYG who are interested in starting a version in their native languages, so that we can continue expanding the accessibility of Ignatian Spirituality through PAYG around the world. We have begun working more closely with all the other language versions PAYG, strengthening our ties as a collaborative family, discerning our joint calling, sharing ideas and content, and encouraging one another towards a greater global reach. In a world facing fragmentation at the hands of political decisions and separation owing to global restrictions, there couldn’t be a more poignant moment to answer God’s call of drawing nearer to each other and, in turn, help the world to pray. Emma Holland
Fr Stan Swamy SJ (Stanislaus Lourduswamy), 83 years old is a well-known human rights activist. He was arrested and detained on the 8 October by the National Investigation Agency of India. They accused Fr Stan Swamy SJ of having links with terrorist organisations.  Read more about Fr. Swami Worldwide, the Catholic community and social rights activists are calling for Fr Stan Swamy’s immediate release. Many protests have already taken place in major cities across India, including Ranchi, in the state of Jharkhand where Fr Stan Swamy SJ has spent the last five decades fighting for the rights of Dalits and Adivasi people. Also in Rome and different European Countries there have been protest actions against this intervention of the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA). As of 14 October 2020, almost 100 representatives of human rights and grassroots organisations and other supporters of Father Swamy are on hunger strike to draw attention to his situation. Various petitions for the release of Father Swamy on change.org already had over 50,000 signatures as of 15.10.2020. Germany On Thursday, 15 October, the German Jesuit Province and its international aid agency jesuits worldwide wrote a letter to the German Foreign Office in which they call on Foreign Minister Heiko Maaß to lobby the Indian government for Father Swamy. Jan Roser SJ, Provincial of the German Jesuits, explains: "It seems obvious to us that the Indian state is taking the opportunity to intimidate him and others because of their opposition to state repression and discrimination against minorities and their rights. Father Swamy's work included documenting abuses of power and arbitrariness against indigenous youth, those wrongly arrested and those held in prison. For example, he initiated public interest litigation in favour of 3000 indigenous prisoners. In the letter to the Foreign Minister, Jan Roser SJ clarifies: "Human rights defenders must be sure that their work is respected and protected. Also and especially in a large and complex state such as India, where there has been increased oppression and violence against non-Hindus and minorities since Prime Minister Modi's BJP party came to power and the increasingly unbridled agitation of Hindu nationalists. It is necessary to support those who continue to work for human rights and peaceful coexistence among the many peoples and groups in the Indian Union". United Kingdom Jesuit Priests and their lay associates working for the Jesuits in Britain protested on October 22 outside the High Commission of India. The protest was organised by Jesuit Missions in London. Fr Damian Howard SJ, the Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, attempted to hand in a letter to the Indian High Commissioner, Ms Gaitri Issar Kumar, calling upon the Indian government to guarantee Fr Stan Swamy’s well-being and to obtain his release him from prison. Fr Howard said: “Fr Swamy is a fellow Jesuit who has given his life to solidarity with a group of marginalised people. Now he is the one who is suffering and it is our duty to stand in solidarity with him.” The High Commission refused to meet anyone from the delegation nor to accept the letter in person. The letter was later posted to the High Commissioner after the protest took place. Update on Fr. Stan Swamy by Fr Xavier Jeyaraj (SJES, Rome) - 29 October  Update en Español - Update en Français  
Each year during the month of September, the Christian family unites to celebrate the Season of Creation, a worldwide celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. This year’s theme Jubilee for the Earth presents an invitation to consider the integral relationship between rest for the earth and ecological, social, and political ways of living. Britain Jesuit Missions has organised a number of ways that you can get involved and help to create a sustainable legacy for future generations. This includes web reflections from around the world, including Fr James Martin SJ and Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, as well as a webinar with Amazon activist, Leah Casimero.  Check out the Season of Creation website here Portugal Ponto SJ, portal of the Jesuits in Portugal, launched an initiative in their social networks to mark the Season of Creation. Every day, a thought is made available online, calling for the mobilization of people in the care of the common home. The challenges, expressed in a short sentence, invite to reflection, action, contemplation, prayer, thanksgiving, information and to savor the gifts of Creation. Also to mark this special time, Ponto SJ offers an online retreat in association with “Rede Cuidar da Casa Comum”, to be done individually, with hints of prayer and reflection inspired by the seven verbs: to give thanks, to reflect, to be informed, to act, to contemplate, to pray and to savor. This proposal will be put into practice between 28 September and 4 October. The meditations, signed by a young laywoman, are broadcast in podcast and last for one minute daily.