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.  
"I would never have believed that by doing nothing I could feel so intensely a supporting ground. "I was irritated and at the same time fascinated by the fact that there were almost no guidelines or hints. I was free" - Voices during the evaluation of the contemplative practice days at the church of the Jesuits Saint Peter in the centre of Cologne. During the last week of each summer holiday, this parish church, which is special because of its consistently contemporary profile, takes spiritual time out during the day: Five days of meditation from 9 to 17 o'clock. The practice is to do nothing, think nothing, let go and let yourself fall in time in order to be present in the present. The paradoxically formulated call for "Retreat from the City in the City - retreat from the city in the city" brings together a dozen men and women, who trace the silence in the church space, which has been spiritually shaped for more than 1000 years. Participants are by no means limited to the circle of the congregation: a woman with two growing children, who consciously allows herself an experience of silence and, thanks to the holidays, only takes time for her family in the evening. Or the administrative employee who uses his first week of holiday to take a break to find out what life has in store for him. Some want to pray more intensively, others want to explore their relationship with the church in the face of the crises. All are united by a sense that there is a depth dimension to everyday life in the city, with its demands and deadlines, which is seldom found in the hectic pace of everyday life. Distance from the hustle and bustle often helps to get a better idea of this hidden foundation. But not everyone can go to a different place or even to a conference or retreat centre. That is why the Saint Peter Art Station offers such days of contemplation. They stand in the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius "as easy exercises in everyday life". Right in the heart of Cologne they want to set an accent as a combination of retreats in everyday life or on the street. At a deliberate distance from the so-called normal life of the cities with their speed, these days of contemplation without telephone and internet are a time of mere existence. The largely empty church room, in its openness, offers the place for seven mediation sessions in silence, each lasting 40 minutes, and 20 minutes of relaxation while walking. At midday a simple meal is nourished, prepared as part of the exercise. Physical exercises and accompanying conversation are also included. In the evening, there is an invitation to a simple Eucharistic celebration. This kind of retreat from the city in the middle of the city is not an escape from the challenges of reality. Being in the now allows us to perceive reality as it is in an intense way. In the silence I learn to perceive both more attentively, the basic melody of my life and the background noise of the city's hustle and bustle. The place of the retreat is not on a greenfield site, but within walking distance of one of Germany's busiest shopping streets, and in the courtyard by the church there is a mobile drug counselling centre. When I approach these places in the basic attitude of quiet collection and presence and let the realities come to me, they move. In all this I sense a reason that carries and lasts. Patient existence in the present enables the practitioner to touch holy ground and to feel the secret of the divine name in the present: "I am who I am here". Stephan Kessler S.J.
Munich/Rome - Fr. Jan Roser SJ was confirmed as Provincial of the German Province of the Jesuits. Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ has now officially appointed him Provincial, until July 31st he was according to the title still Vice-Provincial. Reason for this new arrangement is the death of the previous Provincial, Fr. Johannes Siebner SJ. Roser had taken over the leadership of the German Province on March 18th until further notice, after Father Siebner had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. In a letter to Jan Roser the Superior General of the Jesuits has now communicated the confirmation of the leadership of the German Province. In this letter he stresses that the Province needs an efficient leadership in order to found the new Central European Province in April 2021. As future Provincial of the new Province to be founded the General had only recently appointed Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ, who will take office on the day of the foundation, April 27, 2021. In his letter Sosa also paid tribute to Roser for his commitment in the past months: "I would like to express my gratitude for the readiness and generosity with which you have accepted this challenge in a truly extraordinary and difficult situation. I am deeply grateful for the way you have faced up to this responsibility." Father Jan Roser SJ was born in 1969 in Freiburg i.Br. and entered the Society of Jesus in 1996 after his high school graduation and first years of study. He studied philosophy and theology in Freiburg, Munich and Paris. From 2014 to 2019 he was Spiritual Rector of the Catholic Academy Hamburg and pastor of the French speaking Catholics of Hamburg. Since September 2019 he was Socius of the Provincial and Superior of the Formation Community of Aloisius Gonzaga in Munich.
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.
We mourn Johannes Siebner. He died on June 16th in Berlin-Kladow in the Berlin community hospital Havelhöhe. At the end of January he was suddenly and unexpectedly torn out of his office as Provincial of the German Jesuits due to a brain tumor illness. This was the last and highest of many offices, which he now held with great devotion and joy. We mourn for our deceased confrere, and we mourn together with his mother and brothers and sisters. Johannes Siebner was born in Berlin on August 24, 1961. After graduating from the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin, he first studied political science and Catholic religion. Particularly inspired by his commitment to youth work (KSJ) and by a longer stay on a kibbutz in Israel, he entered the Jesuit order in Münster in 1983. After his studies of philosophy in Munich, a two-year service with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Malaysia, after theological studies in Frankfurt Sankt-Georgen, priest ordination in 1992 in Cologne as well as additional studies and pastoral work in Erfurt he took up his first position as spiritual director of the KSJ and religion teacher at the Sankt-Ansgar-Schule in Hamburg in 1993. In 2001, he was appointed director of the international college St. Blasien in the Black Forest. In 2011 he will take up the post of Rector of the Aloisius-Kolleg in Bonn-Bad Godesberg. Twice his Province elected him as delegate to assemblies of the worldwide Order. During the 36th General Congregations Fr. General Arturo Sosa appointed him as the new Provincial Superior, also with the task of founding a new Central European Province together with the Austrian, Lithuanian-Latvian and Swiss Province. He took up his office as Provincial on June 1, 2017. Johannes Siebner's work was marked by the pastoral concern of the Order: "To help the souls". As youth pastor in Hamburg he renewed and profiled the concept of associational youth work, also beyond the Hamburg area. The pedagogical culture and also the leadership culture at the colleges in St. Blasien and Bad Godesberg shaped a thoughtful and inwardly acquired understanding of the spiritual tradition of the Order. His joy in and also his ability to engage in public discourse made him known far beyond the borders of the Order and made him a competent and sought-after dialogue partner, pastor, advisor and speaker. He participated in the foundation of the "Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy" (Ludwigshafen), whose foundations he laid by publications ("School is there for pupils - why parents are not customers and teachers are not parents", Freiburg 2011). In his many and varied activities, he has always remained an extremely humane, humorous, analytically clear and at the same time empathetic pastor. The exposure of abuse at Jesuit colleges and in the Jesuit order shook Johannes Siebner. He took over responsibility for the institutions towards those affected. In countless conversations with those affected, but also with families, years of former pupils, with employees and co-workers, he enabled individual and institutional reappraisal. He courageously intervened when those under his protection and those seeking protection turned to him. In extremely complex decision-making situations he endured hostility from the most diverse directions without losing sight of the goal, namely justice for the victims, protection for pupils and all those who entrust themselves to pastoral care. With this attitude, as Provincial he shaped pastoral standards and lived them himself. The early death of Johannes Siebner leaves a gaping void and fills us with great pain. Jesus, who called out to Johannen Siebner: "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep" (John 21:15), may he now be received by him. Impressive funeral in Berlin On Thursday 30 July was the impressive funeral of Fr. Siebner in the Canisius Church in Berlin. Together with Fr Jan Roser, vice-provincial, Tomasz Kot, assistant to P. General, Bernhard Bürgler, provincial of Austria and Christian Rutishauser, provincial of Switzerland, stood at the altar. Fr. Klaus Mertes provided a very personal and profound homily.  This celebration was broadcast live on the internet and can still be viewed here.
Summer special: on holidays with Ignatius. Munich - Since for many the classical vacation is cancelled this year, the Jesuits have come up with a summer action. We give you an Ignatius bag filled with good reading for tasting, because the motto of the bag is: "Tasting things from the inside". The bag is filled with Ignatius quotation with different exciting suggestions from the social, church area, with spiritual impulses or something especially Ignatian. Let yourself be surprised what lies in your Ignatius Bag. Our Ignatius Bag is Fairtrade. First of all it is more expensive than a conventional bag, but with it we make a small contribution to make the world a better place. Through ecologically certified production garbage is avoided. But what is almost more important: People get fair wages for their work. This creates justice and makes the world a better place. That is what this bag stands for and that is what drives us Jesuits. Here you can order the bag for free