A Jesuit novice experiment at the Lasalle House in Switzerland. Fabian is a second year novice from Germany. His last experiment led him to the Lassalle House, a retreat house of the Swiss Jesuits. Here he talks about his experiences in front of and behind the scenes. I already knew that Jesuits went to the Far East to inspire people in Japan and China with the Gospel message. But I hardly suspected that the novitiate would bring me very close to testimonies of Far Eastern culture. And that even in Central Switzerland, which I had previously associated more with raclette, church bells and cowbells than with incense sticks, gongs and singing bowls. How did this come about? I was sent from January to the beginning of March to the Lassalle-Haus in Bad Schönbrunn in the canton of Zug to do my so-called "pastoral experiment" there. That means: I should get to know an institution in which the Jesuits offer retreats and educational work. There I had the opportunity to get to know the community of seven confreres - inside this impressive building and outside during the typical Swiss hiking tour. One of my tasks was to help in the kitchen regularly in the mornings. So I was able to see the business, which serves up to 100 guests, from a completely different angle. The Jesuits take responsibility for many employees, but do not have to work here as lonely heroes. I am very glad that there are many highly motivated people here who support the ministry. That gives courage for the future, because even today the Jesuits are not left alone with their concerns. Here I have learned important things about the cooperation with non-Jesuits. For both sides it is helpful when mutual respect prevails and Jesuits sometimes "get their hands dirty" with simple, perhaps less attractive activities. Ignatius also wants obedience when working in the kitchen: "I do it the way the chef wants, because it goes faster and simply helps him more. But peeling potatoes wasn't all I did. So I took part in different courses. For example, during the Hebrew week I worked with 35 other guests on texts from the Old Testament and experienced how Jesuits cultivate the interreligious dialogue with Judaism today. I also participated in an introduction to Zen meditation. Jesuits like Hugo Lassalle and Niklaus Brantschen brought it to Europe decades ago. These courses not only serve the dialogue with Buddhism, but are also elements of Jesuit pastoral care. It is not only in Switzerland that people are inspired to perceive the present in silence through these very old forms of meditation. I really like the fact that the Jesuits remain so courageous and eager to discover and offer us Westerners such opportunities for spiritual experience. At first it was strange to me and sitting still for hours is more difficult than it sounds - but with a little practice this form of meditation helped me to find myself again in the presence of God. Of course the Jesuits in the Lassalle-Haus also cultivate their own spiritual traditions of contemplation and the Ignatian retreat. Many people come here to "order their lives" in various courses, as Ignatius says. Also in this area I was allowed to try myself a little: As an accompaniment to an introductory course for young adults. There I was amazed at how God works in the soul of each individual. The participants, although older than me, placed their trust in me and told me what was moving within them through the silence and prayer with the biblical scenes. I know from my own retreat experience how crucial a careful and attentive conversation about this is and have entrusted myself in prayer to God to guide the event. From the beginning it has been one of the principles of the Jesuits' pastoral care to adapt their work to the present conditions. In Switzerland today, this means accepting the widespread religious disrootedness and still making trusting progress in the cause of finding God in all things. I have experienced that the confreres do exactly that and do not let themselves be discouraged by setbacks or worries. That is why I return to the novitiate with still living impressions of Jesuits who with all their heart "help the souls" strengthened. Jesuits Germany
"Bible Art Journaling" in a Jesuit Formation Community in Munich. Acrylic paints, chalk, crayons - the kitchen of the Jesuit community Alberto Hurtado in Munich Sendling became a studio for one evening. Aquarelle colours, brush pens, washi tapes, stickers, brushes and palettes also found their place at the large dining table. The Jesuits invited Katharina Sichla from "Believing creatively" to their weekly community evening. She showed them how the Bible can become a diary. Because that is what "Bible Art Journaling" is all about. This form of Bible study combines two things: classical Bible study and Art Journaling, a form of diary keeping. Instead of writing, something is painted or drawn every day. The large selection of pens and colours helps later to find the right material for you. A spiritual process At first - after a short silence - the selected biblical passage (Matthew 6:5-15) was exchanged. Similar to the Ignatian view of Scripture, one passage in the text is illustrated. With Bible Art Journaling, however, it is not the imagination that remains, but the page of the Bible is actually given concrete form. For Father Christoph Soyer SJ the exchange with the confreres was important: "It was a spiritual process and not just painting. A special artistic talent for the method is therefore not necessary. Perfection is not expected! Soyer later took up acrylic paints. He liked to experiment with them: "I've never used the material before". Using the material For the design, the bible passage was provided on slightly thicker paper and with an extra wide white margin. So you can paint along the text or over the letters. As it is suitable for everyone. (There are also extra journaling bibles, which make the bible really a personal diary by the design of the pages.) Jonas Linz SJ, who is currently studying philosophy, has already worked with various materials and illustrated Bible passages, but painting directly into the text was also new for him. The 25-year-old was able to "express himself powerfully" through the colourfulness of the pastel chalk and the intensity of the material. Getting to know brothers differently On community evenings, it is important to spend time together with the confreres. "We are not a purpose-based community," says Linz, stressing: "To be called to the Jesuit means also to be called to the community. Bible Art Journaling offers besides the personal discussion of the text a "different possibility to get to know the confreres". Because every picture is unique, in which the personal relationship to Jesus and to the text became clear - his conclusion: "Pictures say more than words".  
Schwäbisch Gmünd - During Easter week 200 Jesuits from the German, Lithuanian, Austrian and Swiss provinces met for the common province symposium in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. Beside praying and celebrating together, the focus was on reflection and exchange on the mission in the areas of spirituality, social responsibility and education: the Jesuits of these countries are growing ever closer together. In two years' time, in April 2021, they will form the Central European Province ("Europa Centralis" - ECE). Fr. Franck Janin SJ, President of the Conference of European Provincials, explained the process and the impact of the new Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) of the Society of Jesus. The entire meeting was held under the motto "Beyond ourself" and informed the nearly 200 Jesuits from Austria, Switzerland, Lithuania, Sweden and Germany who had taken part about the previous process of founding the province and the planned further steps. The seat of the new ECE-Provincial shall be in Munich, informed the Austrian Provincial Bernhard Bürgler SJ. Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ had confirmed in a letter that the Canisius-House in Munich should become the seat of the new ECE-Provincialate. An important topic was the ecological challenge (“caring for our common home”) and how the Jesuit Order responded to it. Fr. Gaël Giraud SJ (EOF), chief economist of the Agence Française du Développement and research director at the CNRS, presented the state of research and reported that climate change affects the already disadvantaged parts of the earth's population the most. We Jesuits see ourselves challenged to rethink our own lifestyle and to increasingly include ecological implications. On different levels and through professional competence the Order with its works and apostolates can help to shape social processes. It is also necessary to deepen the spirituality of creation. Fr. Claus Pfuff SJ, JRS-country director, professed last vows at a solemn Mass on Wednesday. The fraternal meeting allowed Easter to be celebrated as a feast of resurrection and new creation. The strength and motivation that grew out of the common mission of the Order were palpable.
München/Wien/Zagreb - The three Provincials of the Jesuit Provinces Austria (Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ), Germany (Fr. Johannes Siebner SJ) and Croatia (Fr. Dalibor Renic SJ) declared on Friday afternoon with immediate effect the withdrawal of the Jesuits from the Asociation "Loyola-Gymnasium" (ALG). The general meeting of the ALG Board had previously withdrawn the trust of the director of the ALG, Father Axel Bödefeld SJ, with the majority of the members and had decided his immediate release. Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ, who was Chairman of the ALG Board until yesterday, explained: "We very much regret this decision, as ALG has developed very well in recent years. Unfortunately, this step was unavoidable, as the majority of the members of the association has no confidence in the Director and do not appreciate his current work; furthermore, this group does not support the basic orientation that the Order desires for the ALG. We have committed ourselves with considerable personal and financial effort to this project and this country. Especially the work with the Roma and the Ashkali is an important accent for us, but it is not supported by the majority of the supporting association. The new project of a vocational school, which trains Kosovar youths for Kosovo, is very far advanced in its preparation and finds broad support in politics and economy. But here too, the support of the sponsoring association is lacking. Without the trust in the people involved, our commitment here in Prizren unfortunately has no future. We know that we are disappointing many people here with this decision. We are also aware of our responsibility towards many institutional and private supporters and benefactors (e.g. Renovabis), which is why we have to take this step now". In the supporting association ALG, from which the three Jesuit provinces have left, there are further members: Albanian Youth Action, Apostolic Administration of Prizren, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Landesverband Sachsen e.V., Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Ortsverband Neustadt/Sachsen e.V., Congregazione delle Suore Angeliche di San Paolo, Freunde und Förderer der Asociation "Loyola-Gymnasium" e.V., Grünhelme e.V., Kosova Alternative Education, Loyola-Stiftung, Marianne-und-Rudolf-Haver-Stiftung, Stellaner-Vereinigung Deutschland e.V. The “Asociation ALG” was founded in 2003, and school and boarding school operations began in 2005. The state-approved private grammar school with a boarding school for girls and a boarding school for boys is unique in Kosovo in its kind and orientation; it is very successful and in great demand. One of its special features is the German lessons at a high level. Six years ago a primary school was also founded; this project in the historic centre of Prizren is also extremely successful. With the "Loyola Tranzit" project, the ALG has built a bridge to disadvantaged children and young people over the past two years. In the social education centre, pupils of the ALG are particularly involved in teaching Roma and Ashkali children in a protected atmosphere, supervising their homework and preparing them for attending a regular school. Pictures: The ALG Prizren stands for a perspective of local youth in the spirit of understanding. The boarding school is open to girls and boys of all ethnicities and faiths. Since the beginning of the 2013/14 school year, there has been also a Loyola primary school in the historic centre of Prizren.
Leipzig - German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner SJ called for a deeper theological and pastoral reflection of the sexual abuse of minors by catholic priests. "For 35 years in the Church we have only ever dealt with the subject psychologically, psychiatrically, under church law and criminal law - I find this very significant", said the President of the Centre for Child Protection at Rome’s Gregorian University during a lecture in Leipzig. "We have made a huge curve around the subject in our hearts - for example, we do not have a liturgy in which victims can express themselves.” The Jesuit priest, theologian and psychologist said that he observed worldwide that more and more believers have the impression: "The bishops introduce many measures to prevent abuse in their dioceses - but they do it only because of pressure from outside, but not from their heart, not because the gospel demands that from us.” In the discussion in the church he missed the question: "What does God want to tell us with this topic, this scandal", Zollner said. He thinks that the Church must face this theologically more deeply. The Jesuit described the year 2018 as a "turning point" for the Catholic Church's dealings with abuse: "The perspective is no longer only the individual case, but the system as such is now being put to the test. That is new". Zollner emphasized: "If in 2002 the German bishops had taken an example from the US bishops, which consequences they had drawn from the child abuse scandal in America, the situation in Germany would be different today. Every local church makes the same mistakes instead of learning from others. This is still going on.” Fr. Hans Zollner SJ is one of the leading experts on sexual abuse working in the Catholic Church. He was one of the four organizers of the Vatican Conference “Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church,” often described more simply as the pope’s “anti-abuse summit”, which took place in February with bishops from all over the world. (www.jesuiten.org)
After 30 years on the Internet, it is quite obvious that digitization is one of the megatrends. With this world in mind, Jesuit schools are addressing the issue of digitisation to make pupils fit for the future. It is quite obvious that digitization is one of the social megatrends today. How exactly our society will change and what the future of today's pupils will really look like remains not clear. However, it seems clear that digital networking and communication possibilities will continue to increase, that the Internet will continue to gain in importance (Internet of Things, IoT) and that in the not too distant future occupations will be needed that we do not yet know today what they are called. With regard to this future world, some Jesuit schools are currently implementing the project "Digital Leadership Education" together with the Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy (ZIP). The aim of this project is to take up the challenges of digitalization and at the same time - in the tradition of Ignatian pedagogy - to strengthen the personality of pupils. Young people should be empowered to play an active role in social discussions about the role of digitization in our lives. In other words, it is about personal development for the digital future. What does that mean in concrete terms? In the first workshops, school-relevant areas were identified and correspondingly three sub-projects were formulated in which the project wants to start: (1) The use of learning tools and levels of reflection, (2) the networked design of teaching situations and (3) artificial intelligence and robotics. The approaches in these subprojects will be described in more detail below. The use of learning tools and levels of reflection In some subjects, the use of digital learning tools can support teaching. In the "Bettermarks" programme, for example, learners are given additional tasks in the subject of mathematics, with supportive explanations of possible solutions, and the teacher can individually monitor the learning progress of individual pupils. The "Navigium" program, which can be used in Latin for vocabulary learning and grammar exercises, works according to a similar principle. The use of these programs enables, in addition to the direct benefit, various levels of reflection such as questions about motivation and independence as well as the role of an "omniscient teacher". The networked design of teaching situations This subproject deals with the effects of digitisation on teaching methods. Specifically, some selected subjects will be taught according to the "Flipped Classroom" method. Here the learning sequence is shifted before the actual teaching time by pupils watching learning videos or other digital materials to prepare for the lesson and editing them at their own pace. In the classical classroom, the teacher then increasingly assumes the role of a coach. The critical handling of digital content as well as the creation of such content is the focus of this subproject. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics The developing of robots related to artificial intelligence will change many areas of our society, such as self-controlling vehicles and care support systems, to name just two. In the discussion with Lego Mindstorms, the structure and functionality of robots should become clear and their social effects reflected. Experiences from workshops with different teaching staffs show that digitization actually affects all subject areas of a school in very different ways. A first central question is the handling of data, which can also be addressed in a subject such as sports by means of so-called fitness apps, which comprehensively collect the performance and other personal data of a user. The second central question on which the schools want to work together across the board is how prevention work can wisely and comprehensively take up the digital challenge and enable good cooperation at schools even in the age of omnipresent smartphones. Author: Kai Stenull Deputy Director Education of the Heinrich Pesch House, Master of Political Science and Eastern European History, Focus: Political youth education, economic and social ethics Picture: Christian Modemann SJ in a classroom oft he Aloisiuskolleg Bonn-Bad Godesberg.