A special meeting for the Jesuit brothers, to get to know each other to share and to reflect together took place during the Ignatian Year. Among those invited were delegates chosen by each conference, from different destinations, stage of formation and age, to portray a broad picture of the body of the Society.
Thirty-four brothers were present, from Chile to Canada, from Congo to Hungary, from Nepal to Australia, as could be observed by the many shades of skin, hair, age – from 30 to 70 – the different stages of formation and the activities of each one: from doctor to teacher, from nurse to vocation leader, from astronomer to student.
The recurrent theme of the meeting
“The first and most important contribution of a Jesuit brother is the gift of self, freely offered in the service of the Lord”. This is defined in Decree 7 of the 34th General Congregation (1995). “Through probation, which is not only formation, through the experiences he lives and reviews, through his presence and listening, the brother is called to become that prophet who can be a sign for the Society and for all the people he meets,” Giacomo Andreetta, representing the Euro-Mediterranean Province at the meeting highlights. “For the Society he can be a sign of that religious life which in its essence is the joy of proclaiming the Kingdom of God through his life, and for others he can be that bridge that brings one back to the concreteness of life, remaining a friend and, indeed, brother and companion of those who work with him”.
Days of discernment and synodality
The week was a continuous strengthening of this style of life, “not through extraordinary inputs, but with a certain style of discernment and synodality,” he explains. “The insights presented at the beginning were followed by a time of personal prayer before sharing in small mixed groups. Then the plenary followed where not only were the common points of the sharing in the small groups communicated, but also personal thoughts and personal reflections could be expressed, enriching the sharing and the spirit of freedom with which everything was experienced”. Father General’s words on being prophets, formation, the history and identity of the brother over the five centuries of the existence of the Society, vocation and vocation promotion, religious life and synodality were also discussed during the meeting.” There was also time for small discussions on art, the use of social media, publications, and international meetings.
Above all, there was time to get to know each other, to establish sincere and profound relationships by speaking a common language that was not so much English or Spanish, but the common call to the service of God and men in the Society of Jesus. We did this by having a drink together, visiting Le Camerette of St Ignatius, even sharing the songs of our homelands, in short, truly living a unity in diversity’.
Through profound consolation, ideas, insights, and proposals emerged
“We were welcomed for a week within the community of the General Curia, not as guests, but as Brothers, an integral part of a group of people who through their hidden work permit the body of the Society to be present in all parts of the world and in so many different areas.
We did not end the week with the compilation of a written document, but with the experience of a great consolation. It was a time when the joy of being there and of being Jesuits increased, friendship was born among us, we looked to the future with renewed confidence and hope. We return to our Provinces with ideas, insights and proposals, but we can only share them because of this profound consolation that we received.
The Pope’s visit and the image of the shared banquet
“To cap it all, we were also graced, at the curia, by the visit of Pope Francis, who wanted to share with us some of his memories and reflections on the Jesuit brothers and the present call of the Society. A simple meal followed, enriched with the gift of an excellent Argentine wine.
The Kingdom of God, in its final vision, is a banquet to which we are all invited: in part we have experienced it so that we can also extend it to the many services in which we are involved and to the many people that the Lord places and will place on our paths”.