St Ignatius called tertianship ‘the school of the heart’, a time where the Jesuit is invited to consider his life story and his response to God’s call. A key part of the programme is the experience of the full Spiritual Exercises, an opportunity to renew and deepen one’s sense of discipleship. Tertianship is also the time for rereading the Jesuit foundational documents, especially the Constitutions and the recent General Congregations. In addition, Tertians spend ten weeks away on apostolic placements in a variety of settings. Tertianship is an experience of deep integration of the tertian's life, as he prepares for his definitive incorporation into the Society of Jesus through final vows.


The Tertianship program of the European Conference began in 2021 in a Jesuit Residence in Bikfaya, in Mount Lebanon. The program focuses on Reconciliation as horizon to Jesuit life-mission.

The European tertianship in Bikfaya is 28km north of Beirut in the mountains at 900 metres with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean. Built in 1833, it was the first house in Lebanon of the restored Society.  Over the summer months, renovation was carried out to prepare for the thirteen tertians due to arrive last September: Philippines (3) India (2) Canada (2) and one from the U.S. Myanmar, Poland, Hungary, France and Germany. Because of the large numbers, Dany Younès the instructor, decided that the weekly group sharing would take place in three small groups. These groups served for liturgy and kitchen duties. An inspired decision! From the outset, all was not plain sailing: one had his visa refused and another was not allowed board his flight because the airline staff could not decipher the Arabic on his Lebanese document! Finally, we were all aboard, but as a dispersed community. A week after the 7th October attack on Israel, we had to re-assess the situation as day after day different  governments told their citizens to leave while commercial flights were still  available and as we heard reports of militants travelling into Lebanon from Iraq and Syria to join forces with Hezbollah.  Thrown into uncertainty, how were we to embrace this new reality? Fr Dalibor Renic asked us to “save the programme” if at all possible. Political uncertainty not being conducive  to the retreat, the decision was taken to postpone it. After much talking among the group, Dany brought us all together to listen quietly to how each felt prompted to do in the tense and evolving situation. It was a sacred moment as we listened in silence as each one shared honestly what he felt drawn to do or indeed needed to do.  So the experiments were brought forward, information was shared on possible places and decisions were made after speaking speaking with Dany and Charlie.  Four opted to stay in Lebanon while the others chose experiments in Rome, Dublin, Kampala, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Wales. And shortly two will travel to Armenia after a strong plea from the Missionaries of Charity. As work on the personal autobiographies had only just begun, the work load of the experiment had to be limited to allow for time to reflect and write.   For the past five weeks we have met weekly on zoom with the whole group as well as meeting in the small groups. Now on the cusp of Advent, we have to discern our way forward. Do we return to Bikfaya or not? Do we seek to do the retreat outside Lebanon in a country where all could obtain visas? And if so, for how long?  Having heard the views of the group, we will each be seeking to guided by the Lord as we make our written input into the decision that will finally be taken by the instructors having consulted with the President of the European Provincials and Fr General’s delegate for formation.    As Dany said before we dispersed: embracing the reality in which we find ourselves with all its uncertainties, but also unexpected blessings, is our way of seeking and finding God this tertianship. 
Thirteen tertians joined the 2023-2024 programme, coming from the Philippines (3), Myanmar, India (2), Poland, Hungary, Germany, France, Canada (2) and the US. Mark from the Philippines has not yet gotten his visa. His arrival is delayed. On Sunday, September 24, the programme was inaugurated by Irmo, Noel, Mar Tay, Vikram, Harry, Krzysztof, Gyuri, Helmut, Pierre, Ted, Michael and George, together with Charlie and I as instructors. Building the community with us is Salah, from Lebanon, who gave a talk on the society and the state of Lebanon. Nader, from Egypt, and currently serving as Socius of the Provincial, is also a member of the team of formators as a spiritual director. As usual, we started with a common reading of Fr Kolvenbach’s Directives on Tertianship, in order to name the aims and means of our programme. We will start soon the reading of Ignatius’ autobiography while each tertian gives time for writing his own autobiography. Tertianship is what tertians give to each other, in terms of welcome into a safe space of companionship, that allows one to be touched in the depth of one’s affectivity, and discover anew the relation that binds the Lord to each of his companions. The context of Lebanon leads us straight into the theme of Reconciliation which is the focus of this programme. What is at stake in every conflict? What role does spiritual discernment hold in the elaboration of conflicts? The figure of Nicholas Kluiters, Dutch Jesuit who was assassinated during the Lebanese civil war, will inspire us to understand how the Society finds her place in the dynamics of every conflict, and how each companion finds his own place in the context of the mission entrusted to him. In the meantime, building the community of tertianship is the common concern of all of us. Through the shared responsibility of the 200-year-old house that we live in, and the generous desire to make the eight months of community a joyful experience, the community in Bikfaya is taking shape in a very consoling way.  
In September two Tertianships opened in Europe, in Dublin (very appreciated since many years) and for the fist time in Bikfaya (Lebanon). We are proud to publish two fresh eyewitness reports. Dublin Here we come the Tertians 2021-22! We are eight Jesuits coming from different parts of the world: France, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Sri Lanka, US. We gathered in green Ireland, Manresa House - Dublin, last Sep 20th, 2021, and we will live together till the end of May 2022. Fr Paul Pace SJ is our Tertianship Instructor, and Charlie Davy his Assistant. Cool guys… It’s a special opportunity for us to have our Tertianship during the Ignatian Year, the Anniversary in which we remember the beginning of Inigo's spiritual journey by his being harmed. Wounds are part of our story, even inside the Society of Jesus. Misunderstandings, non-communication, negative thoughts are signs that our wounds usually arise from a lack of awareness of God's grace in the here and now. The Tertianship is a time for recognizing that every fragment of our personal story is full of his grace, and nothing will be lost. We hope that by sharing our different stories, our wounds will lead us to a transformative process through which we can become a really reconciled Body at the service of the World.   During our Tertianship experience, we will go through four main experiences: 1) the building of our community: we will become friends through an intensive sharing of our personal stories; 2) the Ignatian Retreat: one month of personal deep reviewing of our life as Jesuits; 3) the study of the Jesuits’ Constitutions to become more aware of our belonging to the Society of Jesus; 4) the “long experiment”: a period of mission among people in need in different parts of Europe. After this experience, we will be ready for the final incorporation into the universal Body of the Society of Jesus. Flavio Bottaro S.J. Bikfaya On Monday 27 September, the anniversary of the foundation of the Society of Jesus, a new European Tertianship was inaugurated in Bikfaya, Lebanon, by Fr Franck Janin, President of the Conference of European Provincials, and Fr Michael Zammit Mangion, Provincial of the Near East. This third year, organised by the Conference of European Provincials with the help of the Near East Province, will be accompanied by Fr Dany Younes, instructor, and Fr Nawras Sammour, superior of the tertianship community. Arriving at night in Bikfaya, I discovered the next morning after having understood how my shutters opened the magnificent setting in which we have the privilege of living this eight-month experience offered by the Society of Jesus. Anchored on the rock of Mount Lebanon, at an altitude of 900 m in the village of Bikfaya, the residence of Notre Dame de la Délivrance, which was the first house of the Society when it was restored, offers a splendid view of the ocean located 7 km away. Such a viewpoint invites peace, leads to contemplation, and the search for the essential. We are 7 tertians from Goa, South Africa, Rwanda, Congo, Poland or France and together we will make community with our instructor and our superior. Two Indian tertians will join us in a few weeks, once their visas are obtained. The theme of our third year will be reconciliation. For this, we will reread our Jesuit history for 9 weeks before the 30 days retreat which will take place from 22 November to 21 December and for which we count on your prayers. Then we will study the Exercises, go on a 9-week experiment before returning to revisit the foundations of our Institute. This reconciliation, which is undoubtedly necessary if we reread any of our Jesuit histories, we discover that it is also necessary in this land of Lebanon, through the witnesses who come to speak to us about the challenges of inter-religious dialogue, the history of the country, and the churches that live together there. This morning Mgr César Essayan, Vicar Apostolic of Beirut for the Latin Rite Catholics in Lebanon, came to speak to us about his work as a pastor and the challenges it represents, with migrants, religious communities and political reconciliation in the Land of the Cedars. An invitation to consent to the death of that which bears no fruit so that resurrection can come into our lives.  
Father General has approved the creation of a new Tertianship program of the European Conference that will be directed by Fr. Dany Younès, former Provincial of the Near-East Province, and will take place in a Jesuit Residence in Bikfaya, in Mount Lebanon. The new program will focus on Reconciliation as horizon to Jesuit life-mission. Through personal prayer, selected readings, communal sharing, spiritual accompaniment and conversations with different people, the Tertian is called into a “school of the heart” where his experience of God reconciles him to his own self and makes him an apostle of reconciliation. All elements of the program aim at facilitating the integration of the Tertian in the Apostolic Body of the Society of Jesus. The Near-East Province covers a space that is torn by long term conflicts and the coexistence of different nations, cultures, religions, churches and mentalities. Seen from this part of the world, the mission of the Society as a ministry of reconciliation takes on a new urgency and a call for depth. The new program will be hosted by the oldest residence of the restored Society in the Near-East, next to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Deliverance, and the Center of Spiritual Arts. The small town of Bikfaya is situated at an altitude of 900 meters, about 30 minutes from Beirut. It is cold in the winter and hot in the Summer, but over the most part of the year it has a nice moderate weather. Candidates for Tertianship are already applying to the new program which will begin on September 26, 2021. You can find more details on the “ad usum nostrorum” section of the website of the Society. Candidates can apply by filling in this Google Form. The respective Major Superiors should also fill in this other Google Form. Fr Dany is reachable on the email address: Dany Younès (PRO)
Dublin / Salamanca. The formation of a Jesuit takes a long time. It begins with two years of novitiate. This is followed by studies in philosophy and theology. At the end there is a "Third year of formation", a Tertianship. In some places in Europe, such as Salamanca and Dublin, a new year has begun. Salamanca On September 14, the Tertianship began in Salamanca for 10 Jesuits from six different countries: Brazil, Chile, Italy, the United States, Portugal and Spain. The COVID-19 pandemic has not prevented the beginning of the experience, although it will logically condition the performance of some of the planned activities. During the first week, the group received the visit of Fr. Provincial, Antonio España SJ who welcomed them. He encouraged the participants to take advantage of this unique experience and showed them the welcome and availability of the Province of Spain. This time the Tertianship program should make an effort to adapt to the health circumstances. Some of the training talks will take place through videoconference and the visits to Ignatian places as well as the experiences will be conditioned by the evolution of the pandemic. The 10 participants have diverse profiles and have worked in the social, educational, university and even scientific fields. These first days are being dedicated to getting to know each other and sharing the context from which each of them comes. Dublin Last spring we took the decision to offer the European tertianship programme this year as well, and to stick to the original starting date of 21st September so as to minimise+ the risk of coinciding with the onset of the flu in autumn. Little did we know that by then we would be in the midst of the second wave, and that Dublin would have more restrictions than the rest of the country! At that time we had twelve possible tertians on our list, seven of whom needed a visa. On Monday 21st, the feast of St Matthew the evangelist, the group that assembled in Dublin for their tertianship was made up of six: Michele from Italy, Julian from Germany, Lukas from the US, Eugene from Lithuania, Learoy from India and Roman from Poland. Some had dropped out for health reasons, others because they could not travel from their country to Ireland. Others had had their visa refused, one just three days before we started. Two of the six came at the eleventh hour, for they were on the waiting list until less than a week before we started! Since we share the grounds and certain services with the spirituality centre, we are very careful to follow the covid guidelines the house has developed over the summer. For the first two weeks we are living a regime of ‘restricted movement’: we do not leave the grounds of the Manresa spirituality centre, we wear masks whenever we are together and have no contact at all with the Jesuit community at the retreat house next door.  But that will be over in a few days, and tertians can look forward to getting to know Dublin. In the meantime we have already had our first zoom session on Transitions, and are into the week of sharing from the heart. Do keep us in your prayers from time to time. Paul Pace sj
Opening of the Tertianship in Dublin. Greetings from the European tertianship in Dublin. This is the fourteenth year of the tertianship in Ireland, and once more we have a group of 11 tertians, from 10 different countries, and provinces, from four different continents: the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Slovakia, Syria, Canada, China, Guyana, Indonesia, and the United States. The ministries they come from are equally varied: some were university professors or researchers, others involved in Jesuit formation, in direct pastoral ministries in parishes and chaplaincies, others with CLC and JRS. Now they will be spending 8 months in the ‘school of the heart’: after the long years spent at the school of the mind, and a few years of ordained ministry, they will have the opportunity to have a good look at their Jesuit life and vocation in the light of their experience as Jesuits. The most important experience of tertianship is certainly the Spiritual Exercises, which will start on November 18th: do keep us in your prayers. During the weeks before the retreat we are having another look at the writings of St Ignatius, and after the retreat the tertians will go for a ten week experiment, mostly in situations that are new to them. This is a time of great blessing and insight for the tertians. As someone once said, every group of tertians refounds the Society of Jesus anew, and this sounds even more true in these times of profound change. Do keep us in your prayer from time to time.