Bad Schönbrunn
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
"Be yourself the change": Gandhi's words accompanied Valerio Ciriello SJ during his academic summer break. The Swiss scholastic about the ecological weeks at the Campus de la Transition in Paris and at Schumacher College in England. The ecological question began to interest me already in my youth in Italy, I became a member of the then Green Party (Verdi) in the mid-90s. The threat to the environment has taken on another dimension since I joined the Order in 2014. I am currently studying philosophy and theology in Paris and I am influenced by the inputs of Cécile Renouard and environmental scientist Gaël Giraud SJ. Cécile Renouard, professor of philosophy and nun, is the founder of the Campus de la Transition: an ecological project that seeks to root itself beyond academic reflection in everyday life and compassion for the earth. Through her I also learned about Schumacher College in Dartington/South England.  And so I spent my two-month summer break at the two institutions. The inner reversal of our way of thinking and living has received great urgency for me. A credible repentance must begin with me before I can "help" others to repent. So today I mainly eat vegetarian food and avoid air travel whenever possible. By the way, I have rarely eaten so excellently in my life as on Campus de la Transition and at Schumacher College, another proof that vegetarian and vegan dishes can be very tasty - they are cheap and healthy anyway. These are only small steps towards global ecological conversion - but many such steps multiply daily, hourly around the world and will make a difference for mankind. Instead of waiting for the reversal from above, from politics and economy, we can here and now in our own lives take fate into our own hands - and thus that of the world. "Be yourself the change you wish for this world," Mahatma Gandhi said.   It is also the guiding principle of the Campus de la Transition and the Schumacher College: There is the academic with master studies and courses, but the formative are experiences and encounters at eye level. Students, employees, professors, volunteers, course participants: Everyone helps with cooking, cleaning, field work, planning educational activities. Everyone has his own and general responsibility for the whole. The aim is not to flood the heads with even more knowledge, but rather to let the acquired knowledge seep from the head into the heart. I have experienced openness, depth, women, men, young people, believers, seekers who, beyond hedonism and egoism, participate every day in a more humane and just world. Unobtrusively, step by step, steadily. This is how a lively community emerges. That makes me hopeful for the world!    www.campus-transition.orgwww.schumachercollege.org.uk  Caption: Valerio Ciriello (44) gets down to business with organic onions: The Swiss scholastic at Schumacher College in Dartington/Southern England.
As Living Stones we are used to offering guided tours especially in old basilicas and baroque churches. The traditional sacral art is well known to us. And although we are interested in art, some Living Stones have not yet gone into more detail about modern and contemporary art. Therefore, it has long been a wish of Living Stones to devote itself especially to this young art at an international education camp. The theme "Faith and Modern Art" also fitted in well with the venue, Zurich, as the city, and Switzerland in general, is regarded as an important hub of today's art world. More than 120 young adults from more than 15 countries gathered at the Liebfrauen parish centre in the heart of Zurich from 2-5 May 2019. Especially pleasing was the participation of two Living Stones from Chicago and Kiev, where new groups are being formed. And also for new interested people from Switzerland it was a good opportunity to get to know Living Stones better. The participants were able to experience a varied program with lectures, workshops, exchange rounds, visits to different art spaces and churches, common prayer times and Eucharistic celebrations. An older participant from Luxembourg, who wanted to get to know Living Stones with the educational camp, was positively surprised at how much was demanded of the young people and that despite the dense programme and the challenging lectures, the participants took part with keen interest and commitment. The group grew together while talking and eating, listening and praying. Perhaps it was also because of the limited space in the parish centre that the familiarity among the young people grew quickly. The good food, prepared by six volunteers who came from Italy, also contributed to the good atmosphere. The modest shower and sleeping facilities with floor mat and sleeping bag did not detract from the good atmosphere. The encounter among each other and the growing as a community beyond the cultural and national borders marked the meeting in a special way. Further encounters with the local church were made possible by the accommodation in host families. Some participants were able to experience a welcoming local congregation. The presence of church leaders was also appreciated. The Eucharist was celebrated with us by the National Delegate for Youth Pastoral Care, Bishop Alain de Raemy, the Vicar General of the diocese region Zurich-Glarus, Josef Annen, and the Dean of the City of Zurich, Marcel von Holzen. The meeting with the Reformed pastor Christoph Sigrist was also impressive. On the basis of a guided tour of the Grossmünster church, he brought us closer to his understanding of being a Christian, which he summed up with the slogan of the Zurich reformer Ulrich Zwingli "Do something brave for God's sake". This visit was rounded off with participation in the weekly Taizé prayer in Grossmünster. "The wound"   The theme of the "wound", which Prof. Andrea dell'Asta SJ impressively demonstrated in his lecture by means of many paintings, was a thread running through the entire educational camp.  Beginning with depictions of the wounds of Christ up to the "Zip" works of Barnett Newman and the cut canvases of Lucio Fontana, the "wound" is a recurring motif in the iconography of the western world, and a basic human experience. From a Christian point of view, according to dall'Asta, wounds do not only stand for life fractures and pain, but also for an opening and a passage to a beyond, the absolute. Further highlights were the lecture by Prof. Guido Vergauwen, who philosophically approached modern ways of thinking and pleaded for a new open knowledge, and the lectures by Prof. Bert Daelemens SJ and Prof. Eloi Aran Sala, who presented new reflections and developments in church architecture. These conferences will soon be available on Living Stones' Youtube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvbSbjaL52s3cEdDCawe2zA?app=desktop). Workshops An intensive experience were also the encounters in workshops with the artists Robert Dolinar SJ, artist and architect from Slovenia, Patrick Rimoux, light artist from Paris, and Enrique Veganzones, painter from Spain, who made a direct exchange possible on the basis of concrete works of art. The performance "ballarefidei" in the Pfarreisaal Liebfrauen by one dancer and two dancers from the Zurich Opera Ballet also set a special accent. With their expressive dance, they "drew" with their bodies - very close to the wound theme - the inner conflict of man, who finally finds peace in faith. Many participants were motivated by the positive experience of the educational camp to participate in one of the week-long summer camps of Living Stones in different places in Europe or in the international spiritual retreats on the Simplon Pass. Contacts could also be made which give hope that a Living Stones group could soon be founded in Lausanne. And after first explorations it is quite possible that the next international education camp will take place in Matera, the European Capital of Culture 2019.
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.
Two evenings about Syria. Syria in its ninth year of war: a country that longs for peace, normality, everyday life, a country whose women bear the main burden for their families. Many men are lost, dead, in prison, in war as soldiers, looking for work abroad. The hopes in the war-weary country are high, the reports by Sr. Fabienne Bucher and Nawras Sammour SJ revealing: At the end of May, the two invite to a discussion evening in Zurich and Wil/ St. Gallen. Nawras Sammour SJ is director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Syria and was already there with his team before the Syrian war. The Jesuit priest, born in 1968 in Aleppo and closely rooted in the country, initiated social projects across all religious and cultural boundaries. So when the war broke out in 2011, he was able to help the weakest from a standing start. His team provided survival assistance, built soup kitchens, and provided medical and psychosocial support. In 2018 the Jesuit Refugee Service set up three neighbourhood centres in Damascus, Aleppo and Al Kafroun - three centres that point to the future and maintain hope for peace in a war-weary country. At present, 900 children and 600 women are being cared for with school and social programmes. Nawras Sammour SJ is now also director of the Mena region and as such responsible for educational, social and spiritual projects of the Jesuits in countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Sister Fabienne Bucher is a diocesan hermit in the tenant house of the Appenzell monastery of Wonnenstein. She is Swiss and has followed the call of her heart throughout her entire life, always feeling God's guidance: Schoenstatter Sister of Mary, pastoral assistant, pastor at the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen and now hermit. With energetic help, she is in contact with the people in and around the Jesuit-influenced Syrian monastery of Mar Musa, whose director Paolo dall'Oglio SJ became a victim of the war (see below). His life project fascinates them, and his fate occupies them very much. In the course of her research she came into contact in 2014 with Sister Friederike from the monastery Mar Musa in the Jesuit Lassalle House in Central Switzerland. Back in Syria, she soon had to flee and, together with a brother in a monastery in the Syrian Nineveh plain, set up a centre for 200 people displaced by the IS. The two women are united in prayer, occasionally they were able to visit each other and exchange advice and relief supplies.  Mar Musa, a monastic centre in the mountainous desert inside Syria, is known as the "Taizé of the East" and has roots as far back as the 6th century. The formative figure of our days is the Italian Jesuit Paolo dall'Oglio SJ. He revived the monastery and presided over the centre, which was largely self-sufficient and attracted spiritually interested people - men, women, Christians, people of other faiths, agnostics. Father dall'Oglio was kidnapped by the IS in 2013 and has been missing ever since. Conversation evening with Sister Fabienne Bucher and Father Nawras Sammour SJ Tuesday, 21.5.2019: Centrum 66, Hirschengraben 66 Zürich, 18.30 Wednesday, 22.5.2019: catholic parish centre Wil, 19:00   Registration required: Tel. 044 266 21 30 prokur@jesuiten-weltweit.ch