Are we global?
On February 19 Father General Adolfo Nicolas wrote a letter on “The Universal Vocation of the Jesuit”. It was a meaty reflection on the need to think globally, a need stemming from the Constitutions and Spiritual Exercises, and stressed by the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Father Nicolás speaks about the “renewed awareness of our universal vocation” as a “fundamental element of our Jesuit identity”. This vocation, he adds, involves the need to restructure the Society at all levels with the view to “better respond to new and more universal challenges”, a response which requires “great agility and flexibility while maintaining or promoting excellence and responsible management in whatever we do locally”. For a fuller summary, read on:
THE UNIVERSAL VOCATION OF THE JESUIT by Fr General Adolfo Nicolás SJ
Part of Jesuit identity is to be ready to go anywhere in the world, to serve men and women everywhere. Ignatius stressed this in the Constitutions and the Spiritual Exercises. It makes sense of our special vow of obedience to the Pope. It has characterised the work of Jesuits from the beginning to now.
GC 35 recognised the supranational character of many of the Society’s projects such as migration, refugees, social issues and sustainable development. This requires that we adjust our structures and way of governance, so that we think and plan with an eye to Conferences of Provinces, and to the whole Society. Major Superiors who go to international meetings should tell their brethren about what happened. They should use the account of conscience in planning to send a generous proportion of their brethren to needy areas abroad, and also in fostering, in scholastics and brothers, a spirit of availability for difficult assignments.
Part of our training should be learning foreign languages, especially the more widely used languages such as English, Chinese and Spanish. Ideally all Jesuits should have some international experience, preferably as part of their training. A strong general education should enable all our men to understand reality with depth of heart and breadth of mind. At the same time we encourage our men to be exceptionally good at something. Those who have some special capability will find doors opening to them in different parts of the world.