Bad Schönbrunn
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. Here is one of the articles, punished in their websites. The shock of time is in Niklaus Brantschen SJ's bones - "hopefully lasting", he writes. "And yes, it is possible to say yes again and again every day, or at least to try - and be grateful. Grateful people sleep better, are happier, less depressed. I am not saying that. New studies show that." With all the crises that come with it, the Corona break also offers opportunities. During these weeks and months I can discover nature in a completely new way on walks around the Lassalle House in the heart of Switzerland, where I live and work. In spring, I noticed how the needles on the larch branches ventured out a little more every day, how the scent of bearberry rose into my nose from the edge of the forest, how now in late autumn the deciduous trees are thinning and forming buds with the last of their strength to be ready for the coming spring. In a hymn by the mystic and physician Hildegard von Bingen about the Holy Spirit, she speaks of the "green force", the evergreen spirit. For her the earth is green through and through, that is, full of life. Hildegard in the original version: "The spirit goes out, becomes greener body and brings its fruit. This is the life." I have experienced this anew. The enforced time-out makes us think. The fright gets under my skin, it's in my bones, it lasts beyond the day - hopefully lasting. I ask myself: What can I contribute in my old age to make something new visible? How can I nurture the new, young, fresh, hopeful in me as an old man so that it becomes contagious? I am old, our society is getting older and older. And yet, there is something in us that is older than all time and younger than the day. This is what I would like to convey in the years remaining to me. The eternal youth that makes us ever start anew. No longer of the same or more of yesterday, but more of life today. In these uncertain times there may well be feelings of insecurity, of blockage, even of powerlessness. Unfortunately I have no advice for the distress of life. Advice, as we all know, is also a blow. But I can say from my experience that despite the limitations and handicaps we experience: It is possible to say yes again and again every day, or at least to try to do so. I too have my complaints, age-related ones, and still try to start each day anew and be grateful. Gratitude seems to me to be the most central human virtue. Recently I have once again seen the connection between gratitude and well-being. At the beginning of the third millennium, there are some studies that prove it: People who are grateful feel better, are happier, less depressed. They suffer less from stress and are more satisfied with their social relationships. Grateful people sleep better. So it is advisable to ask yourself in the evening: What can I thank you for? If I don't find anything to be thankful for, it is helpful to be mindful of the next day and ask: How do I go through the next day? With open senses and an alert heart, ready to be surprised - and grateful! Niklaus Brantschen SJ
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.
Fribourg (Switzerland) - Nulla die sine linea, no day without drawing a line This is the title of the winning project for the new monument in Fribourg Cathedral with the relics of Nicholas of Myra, Nicholas of Flüe and the Jesuit Petrus Canisius. The relics of the first two are in the cathedral, while the mortal remains of Canisius will be transferred from the church of the College of St. Michael at the end of April 2021. An important date for the Jesuits: On the commemoration day and in the 500th year of Canisius' birth, the new Central European Jesuit Province will be founded, to which Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Lithuania belong. Fribourg has a saint who had a decisive influence on the city: Petrus Canisius (1521-1597), Jesuit from the pioneering period of the Society of Jesus. He came to Fribourg in 1580, at the time of the Counter-Reformation. Born in Nijmegen in today's Netherlands, he had worked as preacher of the faith in half of Europe, lived in Rome, Ingolstadt, Vienna and Prague and founded another Jesuit College in Friburg - at the end of his life there were 18 - the St Michael College, which exists until today. He is buried there, and now the Cathedral Chapter of the Freiburg Cathedral of St. Nicholas wants to create a new resting place for the Canisius relics in the Holy Sepulchre Chapel of the Cathedral. This will bring together the relics of Nicholas of Myra, patron saint of the cathedral and the city, of Nicholas of Flüe, patron saint of the country, and of Petrus Canisius. Canisius is the patron saint of the future Central European Jesuit province, to which Switzerland also belongs. It will be founded on 27 April 2021, the day of commemoration and the 500th anniversary of Canisius' birth. Today, the relics of Nicholas of Myra and Nicholas of Flüe are kept in the cathedral's treasury. They are only occasionally accessible to the faithful, as are the mortal remains of Petrus Canisius in the church of the College of St Michael. Hence the desire to bring them together in one place for veneration. The Cathedral Chapter has launched a competition for the creation of a new religious monument to the three saints. Fifteen projects from Switzerland and abroad were submitted. The jury selected three for a second phase. The winners are Marc-Laurent Naef and Frédéric Aeby from Fribourg. Nulla die sine linea - no day without drawing a line is the title of the winning project.  "Besides the blessing hand of Nicholas of Myra and the praying hand of Nicholas of Flüe, we will have the writing hand of Petrus Canisius," explains Frédéric Aeby, painter and sculptor. Together with the architect Marc-Laurent Naef, he wants to create three niches in the wall of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre. "In this ceremonial room, dominated by the impressive tomb from 1430 and illuminated by the blue-violet stained glass windows of Alfred Manessier, our intervention must be discreet," says Marc-Laurent Naef. The relics of St. Peter Canisius SJ will be transferred on Monday, 26 April 2021, the day before the new Central European Jesuit Province is founded.
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.
On 5 November, the Jesuit review choisir celebrated its 60th anniversary in Geneva. The opportunity for its director Pierre Emonet SJ, and for the Provincial of the Jesuits in Switzerland Christian Rutishauser SJ, to pay tribute to all those who have enabled the journal to become what it is today. This special event also saw the launch of a short story competition for young writers which will result in the publication of a collection of fifteen of the best original texts co-published with Slatkine. To mark this anniversary, choisir’s editorial team, headed by its editor-in-chief Lucienne Bittar, decided to shake things up a little and entertain the hundred or so guests with two hours of literary readings interspersed with music. As most of the guests were friends and loyal readers of the journal, and equally passionate about literature, the result was an evening filled with pleasure and sharing. The fact that the writers themselves were there to lend their own unique voice to their prose added extra soul to the stories and won over the audience’s hearts. Thank you viele male! Having travelled from Zurich especially for the occasion, Provincial Christian Rutishauser SJ used his speech to highlight the importance of a strong Jesuit presence in Geneva. For him, the launch of the journal in 1959 was a judicious choice. He noted that Jesuits in French-speaking Switzerland were quick to pick up on the changes taking place within the Catholic church which was “no longer seeking to act as a bulwark against modern times, but to support believers” in the changing society. Geneva’s Fathers listened to their contemporaries’ needs and reacted by launching a journal offering guidance, discernment, information and fundamental knowledge. Tools which are still very much needed today to help us “live in a responsible and free manner, as Catholics, and as citizens, in a multicultural society.” Be bold Speaking just before the Provincial, the director of choisir, Pierre Emonet SJ, also made reference to the founders’ perspicacity in their desire to “provide French-speaking Switzerland with a journal of Ignatian inspiration which is neither strictly confessional nor a simple mouthpiece for directives from the Catholic hierarchy, but ecumenical, which encourages readers to think about their own responsibility, their freedom, by sharing thoughts and analysis, to help them make choices. In a word, a journal for discernment.” He went on to say, not without a touch of humour, “The main thing is not to wallow in or lament the past, but to envisage the future with realism and gain new momentum, without thinking too much about retirement, even though we are 60.” He thereby expressed the wish that in the future, as in the past, Jesuits are able to adapt and show flexibility by working alongside laypeople to guarantee the longevity of a publication as important for the formation of adults as the journal choisir. Showcasing the young generation Before moving on to the recreational part of the evening, Pierre Emonet SJ and Céline Fossati officially launched the “Short story competition for young authors” open to all writers under the age of 35, Swiss or living in Switzerland, writing in French and having been commercially published no more than once (full rules are available on the journal’s website www.choisir.ch). They were delighted to announce that a jury of professionals from the world of publishing and books will select the fifteen best stories. An exciting project enthusiastically welcomed by the writers present as well as by the Provincial and the guests. Let the celebration of words continue!
Four days, four destinations, a quiet side trip to the Flüeli Ranft to the country's patron Brother Klaus - and countless encounters in the works of the Swiss Jesuits: Father General Arturo Sosa SJ, on his first visit to Switzerland from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 September 2019, reached the hearts and minds of many. In Geneva, the city with around 20,000 diplomats, Arturo Sosa SJ met representatives of humanitarian organizations on Thursday at the House of the Jesuit Community in Carouge - including women and men from the UNHCR, the International Labour Organization's UN refugee agency, and the World Council of Churches (WCC). The greeting message at the end of the evening was touching: Students and teachers of the Jesuit Refugee Service JRS and Jesuit Worldwide Learning JWL reported in short videos from Afghanistan to Malawi about their challenges, hopes and dreams. Their stories resonated for a long time, as did the words of Arturo Sosa: "Jesuits often assume that young people must be led to everything and show them the way to God. Do we know this way enough ourselves? Perhaps it is not about helping young people, but rather that young people can help us". On Saturday in Zurich, he met 30 of the 48 Jesuits of the country, including the five Swiss scholastics; four are currently studying in Paris, one is in the Magisterium of JWL until September 2020. Afterwards, 30 members of staff from the Deutschschweizer Werke joined the meeting - a great moment to experience Father General so close, cordial and uplifting.  The afternoon was dedicated to silence: a small Jesuit delegation accompanied Arturo Sosa to Brother Klaus in Central Switzerland. His place of activity, the Flüeli Ranft, radiates far beyond the national border as a place of prayer and peace. St. Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487) or Brother Klaus stands for the search for God, justice and peace, especially in times when peace often seems impossible. The Venezuelan Jesuit Superior General knows about the fragility of the human search for reconciliation. He used this small pilgrimage in a special way to place his intentions in God's hands in the silence of the Ranft. Afterwards the Jesuits brought him to the Lassalle house above Zug. The name is program and goes back to the German Jesuit Hugo Lassalle SJ, bridge builder between Zen and Christianity. The Lassalle House, a house of silence, is not only the largest work of the Jesuits in Switzerland, but also the largest Christian educational centre in the country. The Jesuit general also appeared twice in public. Some 300 people flocked to the University of Zurich for a panel discussion on Friday evening: Arturo Sosa discussed during two intensive, exciting hours with five personalities of the Swiss churches and media on the topic "Being a Christian today - Church where to? The festive divine service in the Jesuit Church of Lucerne, which is also fully occupied here, was the final event on Sunday. Time for contemplation, time for a polyphonic worship: The Collegium Musicum in Lucerne performed the Missa Palatina by Martin Schmid SJ (1694-1772), who had lived, worked and composed in the former Jesuit missions of South America. Afterwards there was an aperitif for the large church service community. Right in the middle of it was Father General, chief of more than 15,000 Jesuits worldwide - close to people, cordial, genuine. Adieu und auf Wiedersehen, Father General! Pia Seiler – Pictures: Céline Fossati