The European Network of Social Centres is currently composed by 11 organizations from 9 different countries. They intervene by reflecting, researching, educating and advocating with the purpose of responding to unjust structures that exist within our society.

Social centres are institutions that provide research, offer trainings, promote discussions and raise awareness about the most relevant and actual topics. Many of these centres publish their own journals. They are generally in close contact with local or international decision makers.

They desire a life together in Europe that, inspired by the Ignatian vision, bears witness to the values of reconciliation, promotes the common good, and proclaims a message of justice and liberation with those we serve.

The directors of the Jesuit Social Centres of Europe gathered in Brussels on May 6-7 for two full days of meetings and field visits. The meeting focused on two topics: Listening to the cry of the poor and taking action to protect our Common home (our Planet). The daily work of Jesuit Social Centres concentrates on three main areas of work: research/reflection, education and publishing while advocacy activities transversally cut across these areas by establishing and nurturing relationships with elected officials and other socio-political actors in order to respond to unjust structures that exist within society today. The Directors who attended this conference were from: Aggiornamenti Sociali (Milano), Centre Avec (Brussels), Centre de Recherche et d’action sociales (CERAS, Paris/Saint Denis), Centro cultural Brotéria (Lisbon), Cristianisme Justícia (CiJ, Barcelona), House of Dialogue (Budapest), Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC, Brussels), Zentrum für Globale Fragen (at Hochschule für Philosophie, Munich). The work of the conference started sharing regional and country updates and a presentation by Baudouin Van Overstraeten, Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Belgium, who talked about the dead-ends of migration policy in this Country. Listening to the cry of the excluded To move from theory to practice, Fr. Rožič along with the other directors and members of his staff went to Parc Maximilien and Gare du Nord. They met with people in need at the Gare du Nord, they then listened to the witnessing and requests of Helen Trabelssi, one of the leaders at the humanitarian hub of the Citizens’ Refugee Support Platform, a Belgian civil society initiative that provides food and medical treatment to migrants and homeless people. Another social issue of great importance in Brussels is the prevention of extremism. For that reason, the Directors had a door-to-door tour and dinner in Molenbeek, the neighbourhood in Brussels known for having hosted terrorist involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks of 2015 and 2016. The UZinne project hosted the Directors and Jesuit Social Centers staff in a squatted house along the canal’s former industrial neighbourhood. The menu was based on the concept of avoiding the waste of food. Every day UZinne collects unsold ingredients from supermarkets. The project also offers artistic projects in painting, photography and music. Listening to the cry for our Common home On Tuesday morning on 7 May, the Directors had breakfast with Philippe Lamberts, MEP and Co-President of the European Greens and Free Alliance Group. To learn more about the young people demonstrating for a better planet, the group of Directors also met with Bénédicte Rossetti, a Belgian school teacher involved in mobilisation for climate action and justice.  “The aim of the meeting was to listen to ourselves and to the world - said Peter Rožič SJ - we can live better if we share our experiences as Directors and most importantly as peers.”