Switzerland

Bad Schönbrunn
Basel
Carouge
Genève
Luzern
Villars-sur-Glâne
Zürich
Bad Schönbrunn - At the beginning of 2019, 45 participants of the 'Formation Gathering' met at the Lassalle-Haus in Bad Schönbrunn, Switzerland, from 2 to 5 January. Formation Gathering' is the meeting of the Jesuits still in formation from the countries of the future Central European Province (ECE: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Lithuania). Since many young Jesuits are involved in youth work or work there, the meeting in Switzerland was about the Youth Synod and its consequences for the Jesuits in the four provinces. In order not to start with vague future scenarios but with the concrete present, it was the Jesuits currently working with young people who gave testimony about their experiences. What was striking is the broad variety of how Jesuits are engaged in working with young adults: at University and in school chaplaincy, in associations of Catholic students (KSJ) and in charismatic movements of young adults. From all these areas Martin Föhn SJ (HEL), Sebastian Maly SJ (GER), Arndt Gysler SJ (GER) and Beat Altenbach SJ (HEL) shared their experiences. They encouraged to accept all the ways youth are living their faith today and at the same time to help with Ignatian ways of pastoral care where possible and necessary. The longing for development in silence and in the security of spiritually shaped communities seems unbroken. The Youth Synod was approached in two ways: first, by a reading session of some text extracts from the Synod’s final document; second, by the reports of their participants: The Auxiliary Bishop Alain de Raemy (Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg), the youth chaplain Claude Bachmann (Lucerne) and Bernd Hagenkord SJ as director of the press office of the Youth Synod. Encouraging and sobering résumés were spoken, but above all there was the consensus: The Youth Synod should not be regarded as concluded, but as a prelude to an ongoing process of renewal of pastoral care, which not only works for, but especially with the young people on changing our lives in this world. Rahel Kölbener, chairwoman of the worship movement "Adoray" in St. Gallen, also emphasized this missionary perspective. She knows from her own experience that young adults are openly searching for ways of expressing and deepening their faith. Andreas Schalbetter SJ, chaplain of the University of Lucerne, showed us what possibilities there are to help students in their spiritual research. It was the first part of our excursion to Lucerne, followed by a guided tour through the Jesuit Church by “Living Stones”: Students accompany tourists – in this case, also young Jesuits! – explaining the meaning of art and architecture of the church, thereby opening up access to the faith traditions contained therein. After a visit to the room of silence in the University of Lucerne and the rooms of “horizonte“ (“horizons”, the name of the university chaplaincy) and a mass with the four provincials, the day ended with an amusing variety evening in the Lassalle House, which the Jesuits themselves designed. We concluded by a session with information on the trends in Jesuit Formation and looked ahead to the Formation Gathering 2020 in Prizren (Kosovo) which will be prepared by the newly elected ECE JIF committee. Before saying goodbye, the participants celebrated Mass with the newly ordained priests from Hungary, Lithuania and Germany, followed by an individual blessing - not least for everything that the still young year has in store.
Managing and teaching Business Ethics: Global trends and challenges is the title of the European conference held from 13 to 16 May 2018 at the Lassalle-Haus, the Swiss Jesuit centre in the canton of Zug in Switzerland. It was organised together with ESADE (Barcelona), one of the leading Jesuit business schools, and the Munich School of Philosophy, and constituted the second in a three-part series focusing on business ethics in different cultures and continents. The series kicked off with a conference in Manila (Philippines) in 2017 and will close in Santa Clara (California) in 2019 year. The Lassalle-Haus was chosen as host for the conference covering the regions of Europe and Africa. The aim of the conference series is to explore the possibilities and difficulties of maintaining ethical standards in one’s business activities in a globalised world, and what contributions the Ignatian tradition can make in this context. Among the initiators of the series was the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS). Both theory and practice of business ethics were spotlighted. Day one was dedicated to academic exchange. In his keynote speech, John Dardis SJ, General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning, Rome, introduced some key terms for business ethics informed by Ignatian teachings: incarnation and vulnerability, gratitude and vision, inner freedom and inhabitor of two worlds. The prime goal must be to nurture a passion for commitment in young men and women. With over 100,000 Jesuits and non-Jesuits employed in its teaching facilities around the world, the Jesuit order is ideally placed to do so. In 12 sub-groups, researchers from around 40 universities presented their research questions and results regarding business ethics in practice. The topics selected centred around the teaching of business ethics and ways in which interest among the young generation can be stimulated. With a view to executive education, the key question was how leadership and spirituality can be combined. Finally, several topical corporate culture issues were broached, such as digitalisation and whistle-blowing. The second day was marked by exchanges between business ethics researchers and academics on the one hand and practitioners in the form of over 20 Swiss company executives on the other. Representatives of a Swiss asset management firm, an HR consultancy with a global reach, and an internationally operating toolmaker based in Liechtenstein each gave a presentation outlining their vision of ethics in the business world, which initiated a lively discussion. Evidence of cultural differences in business ethics led to a particularly animated debate.  While business ethics in the Anglo-Saxon sphere are primarily understood as an adherence to legal standards and regulations (compliance),  the continental European view tends to take the interests of stakeholders and society as a whole (e.g. environmental aspects) into account as well. Input from emerging economies in Asia emphasised the importance of relationships. In China, however, recent developments suggest a shift from relationship-oriented to rule-oriented business leadership. It was pleasing to note that participants at the conference included representatives from Uppsala, Geneva, Innsbruck, Vienna, Budapest and Vilnius, in other words from all five provinces that are due to merge into one in the coming years. The fact that the conference coincided with the publication of the Vatican’s document entitled “Considerations for an Ethical Discernment Regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System“, which also emphasises the importance of teaching business ethics, is no doubt an encouraging sign. The event represented a further incentive for the Lassalle-Institut to continue to pursue its goal of fostering international and interprovincial networking. In terms of content, it gave rise to a new research project on Ignatian spirituality and leadership. The follow-on conference in Santa Clara is scheduled for July 2019.
Pope Francis was in Geneva on June 21, 2018. The faithful were ecstatic! And the Holy Father once again won hearts with his benevolent smile and comforting words. Some reflections of the Jesuit Provincial of Switzerland, Fr. Christian Rutishauser. A visit in three stages © Céline Fossati Christian Rutishauser sj observes that the day had three distinct highlights. The Pope's arrival on Swiss soil first of all, with the Pope's meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset: "An interview that took place on a political level, with human rights and commitment to ecology as strong themes. The Pope was speaking as head of state, that of the Vatican. Nothing very concrete was to be expected from this meeting, but a confirmation of the common interests between our two States. It was nevertheless important to remember in these unstable times when Donald Trump decided to withdraw the United States from the Human Rights Council and so many other international treaties." © WCC/AlbinHillert The second time, of course, was his visit to the World Council of Churches (WCC). "This presence of Francis was a strong gesture, the witness of the Catholic Church's commitment to ecumenism at a time when the question had been bogged down for several years," notes Christian Rutishauser sj. "Francis came as a pilgrim from the unit. That is not insignificant. To opt for ecumenism is to accept to lose part of one's own identity in order to empty oneself of one's convictions and to be more welcoming towards the other. The Pope is well aware of this", underlines the provincial of Switzerland. "The Church is on the road with all Christians, on the road to unity, a road to be travelled together. The Pope's visit was a sign of hope and commitment on this path." In the opinion of Christian Rutishauser sj, this visit would have gained in strength if it had been the scene of a concretization, of a common declaration of intention on the theological level. "I was a little disappointed that the words exchanged did not lead to a concrete project about any of the theological details we are discussing at the moment such as the Eucharist. We have remained on a level of fraternal exchange and reaffirmation of the need to walk together, without any profound debate having been initiated. And it is a pity", notes the one who participates in the Vatican's discussions on interreligious relations as consultant to the Commission for relations with Vatican Hebraism. It also regrets that the sharing of deep humanist convictions - especially in peacebuilding - has not resulted in a joint official statement with the WCC. "We work together for peace, but no concretization has been sketched out in Geneva, whereas the Pope does on other occasions." © Diocèse LGF/Jean-Claude Gadmer The third and final time was the Mass at Palexpo, which closed the papal visit to Switzerland. A Mass lived by some as a strangeness when the Pope's coming had been placed under the sign of ecumenism. It was a celebration, of course, for Catholics. But it was above all a traditional mass that resembled the one the Pope celebrated in Saint Martha. A mass of daily life, not so solemn or festive, an opportunity for all to pray together. And this simplicity touched Christian Rutishauser sj. Picture heading © CNS Photo/Paul Haring 
At the opening of the new "Jesuit Library Zurich" on March 1, around 200 guests wanted to see what emerged after three and a half years of construction at the Hirschengraben: The Jesuit Provincial Christian Rutishauser SJ called the new library a place of "knowledge and dialogue" in his opening speech. Dr. Bettina Spoerri spoke in her lecture about libraries as a public space for "social network". The interest in the new library rooms was great, where the three book collections of the Jesuits as well as the Swiss Provincial Archives were brought together with 100’000 books. The cultural mediator Bettina Spoerri, who runs the Aargau Literature House, took the many guests with her speech on an inspiring tour through the cultural history of library life and writing on this opening evening. With her lecture on “The Vision of a Perfect Library”, she also explored the question using the example of the Public Library in New York: In the age of digitalisation, does a library in which book covers can be read locally still make sense at all? Father Provincial had already given the answer in his greeting: Yes, of course! The four million construction costs (architectural firm “Sievi & Stoller”) had been well invested. They were raised from the sale of the editorial building of the now discontinued magazine "Orientierung" as well as with the help of foundations and the Roman-Catholic Church of Zurich. After all, a library is more than just a collection of bookshelves, but a cultural site, an institution of formation, and a platform for encounter. That is why the new series of events “Book & Formation” is also available, which starts March 28th. Above all, a library must be open to the public, and this is exactly what is new about the Jesuit Library: it is affiliated to the NEBIS Library Association and participates in the future project Swiss Library Service Platform, as announced by the director Anita Schraner. Bettina Spoerri also emphasized the public character: “For example, a library like the one in New York with 50’000 users is a democratic “information office”, a place of refuge from the hectic metropolitan life and mediates a “public living room culture “. Esther Schmid Heer presented the archive and its significance, while Nikolaus Klein SJ spoke about the holdings of the library. The archive also contains documents on the Federal Article of 1848 on the prohibition of the Jesuits in Switzerland, including a documentation of the public controversy, which led to the change of the Swiss Constitution by a public referendum in 1973. www.jesuitenbibliothek.ch.
It was a novelty: for the first time, all provincial treasurers of the future new Province ECE (Eastern and Central Europe) met in Vienna for an exchange of ideas. P. Alois Riedlsperger as treasurer and host of the Austrian Province, P. Attila András as treasurer of the Hungarian Province and member of the steering committee, P. Ralf Klein from Germany, P. Artūras Sederevičius from Lithuania and P. Hansruedi Kleiber from Switzerland attended the meeting. Martin Tanzer was also present as Director of the Austrian Province. There was a lot to discuss on these two days: first the economic situation in all the provinces was discussed, afterwards an exchange of views on the current structures and legal forms took place. Each country has its own particularities and legal idiosyncrasies. Subsequently, fields of action were worked out which will be essential for the future joint ECE Province. Examples include: clarifying the national legal situation regarding the introduction of the ECE Province and the future headquarters of the Province, taking stock of the individual assets (Arcae) and clarifying their future management or ensuring pensions in the context of harmonisation and national differences in pension legislation. Other important points are the clarification of future contribution payments and their calculation, as well as the future monitoring (Revision) of the individual administrative units. 10 Fields of action are passed on by the treasurers to the steering committee, which then derives further measures and tasks. Another important point was the discussion of future costs per diem (day rates for overnight stays) and the compensation keys for the settlement of the ECE process. But it was not only the contents that were worked on intensively; the programme was embedded in a visit programme. The dinner took place in the restaurant INIGO, a charity project of the Caritas in a property of the Jesuits. Afterwards we went to a classical concert - as befits Vienna - to round off the evening. The new Province offers many opportunities: to break existing structures, to creatively break new and simple paths, to create subsidiary and flexible processes, to remain regional and yet to think in a unified way. For example, when discussing the new billing codes, it became clear that at the end of the process, there will only be a single pot left over and, in the end it will pay for a new Province. This common thinking beyond (still) existing borders makes things much easier. And is actually original: because everything is ultimately assets of the Society of Jesus. The treasurers enter this process with great mutual trust and a positive attitude. The challenges are clearly identified and will probably become even more complex with increasing concreteness. The next steps have been taken and the ECE treasurers are ready. Picture description from left to right: P. Hansruedi Kleiber SJ, Martin Tanzer, P. Artūras Sederevičius SJ, P. Ralf Klein SJ, P. Attila András SJ, P. Alois Riedlsperger SJ
150 guests joined open-house-event in Zurich. There was a big run on the Jesuits’ site in Zurich on December 8: More than 150 guests gathered around in Hirschengraben 74 being curious about the new offices of the Foundation Jesuiten weltweit and the expanded setting of the Jesuitenbibliothek Zurich after a two-years-period of renovation and rebuilding. Fr. Toni Kurmann SJ and Dr. Dana Zumr, the new managing director of the foundation, were happy to welcome friends, partners, neighbors and donors to an open house afternoon, among them Dr. Josef Annen, Vicar General for the Cantons Zurich and Glarus, and Giacomo Solari from DEZA (Suisse Department for Development and Cooperation) in Berne. The offices of Jesuiten weltweit, the relief and work organization of the Jesuits in Switzerland, could be inaugurated in due manner. The Foundation is supporting more than 150 projects per year on five continents mainly in the fields of education, emergency support, pastoral work and empowerment but also in culture, environment and health.  Fr. Provincial Dr. Christian M. Rutishauser SJ had the pleasure of blessing the bright and well-equipped new offices, conference facilities, the library, and the archive of the Swiss Province. “May all people working in these offices and consulting the library be driven by the spirit of deeper understanding and service to each other”, he said during this ceremony. The inauguration of the Jesuitenbibliothek Zurich will take place on March 1st 2018 with a lecture delivered by Bettina Spoerry, Swiss writer and literary scholar, on the meaning of the act of reading in our time. In the evening of the day, Anna-Maria Brahm Gartner, who retired after ten years in office, handed her responsibility over to Dana Zumr, a former professor in the school of social work at ZHAW in Zurich. The event took chances to highlight the topic of Jesuit mission activities in the so-called “reductions” (villages meant for christianisation) in Latin Americas, destroyed 250 years ago. The culture heritage of the Jesuits reductions was the year’s theme in 2017 of Jesuiten weltweit. That is why the Jesuits were very happy to welcome the Ambassador of Paraguay, Liliane Lebron Wenger at the ceremony. In his welcome speech, Father Rutishauser expanded on the notion “mission” and its changing meaning up to our days. Clemens Prokop, a freelance publisher and music producer based in Switzerland and Germany, delivered the keynote speech, and talked about his experiences when producing the CD “Jungle Baroque” with the conductor and composer Luis Szarán from Asunción and his young musicians of “Sonidos de la Paraquaría”. All of them have benefited from a social project Luis Szarán had launched 2002 to enable poor kids to learn a musical instrument. On the CD “Jungle baroque” some wonderful compositions of the Swiss Jesuit and missionary Martin Schmid mid-18th century can be found inspired by the rhythms of the indigenous peoples of Paraguay.  The musical framework of the whole evening was provided by Silvia Berchtold and her team of professional musicians with the program “Loop way to Lima” – big applause!.