Projet Nouveau Gesù: A meeting place in the making
by Fr. Leonard Altilia, SJ

In 2015, Maison du Gesù began exploring the possibilities for the future of the old chapel of Collège Sainte-Marie in the light of low attendance at Mass and reliance on the theatre in the basement operated by the Centre de créativité for income.

The Gesù in Montreal

Expanded Consult

For the next two years, a consult was engaged to discern the fate of Le Gesù, which included four possibilities:

  • Sell the chapel at whatever price
  • Set up a non-profit organization (ONBL) that will protect the legacy of the Jesuits, but no longer have any Jesuit involvement
  • Set up an ONBL that is run by the Jesuits but is funded by others
  • Continue to own the chapel and find a way to enhance its apostolic value.

Decision Made

In 2017, the expanded consult concluded that retaining ownership of the chapel best preserved the 170-year legacy of Collège Sainte-Marie and the 151-year history of Le Gesù. In 2018, a team was put together to undertake a feasibility study that would consider the audacity of a new mission at Le Gesù, that could respond creatively to the signs of the times. The team was initially comprised of Michel Corbeil SJ and Kevin Kelly SJ, who asked Curtis McKenzie SJ and Marc Rizzetto SJ to form a Conseil d’Administration (CA). Julie Favreau-Lavoie, a lawyer and real estate advisor, was hired to lead the study along with Serge Piotte, a consultant responsible for a number of infrastructure projects in Québec, and Yves Séguin, a former Minister of Finance for the Province of Québec.

Fr. General Meets the Team

During his visit to Canada last May, Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ met with the CA and listened to the initial insights. During the meeting, Fr. General reminded the team that the apostolic priorities of the Society in Canada must be at the forefront of the mission and not simply the preservation of the chapel like “museum operators.” Encouraged by the work of the team, Fr. Sosa asked everyone to continue looking for ways to reach those “on the margins” in downtown Montréal by aligning Le Gesù with the apostolic mission set out in GC36.

Feasibility Report Completed

In December, the feasibility report was completed after meeting with close to 50 organizations and religious communities. Fr. Provincial approved a plan to animate a new mission for Le Gesù: a place where a culture of encounter is lived: seeing beyond looking, listening beyond hearing, gathering by drawing near, being moved by compassion.

Phase Ø Concludes

In December of last year, the Projet Nouveau Gesù officially concluded the feasibility study. We are grateful to the team: Julie Favreau-Lavoie (directrice), Serge Piotte (consultant), Yves Séguin (services légaux) and the Conseil d'Administration: Fr. Michel Corbeil, SJ, Kevin Kelly, SJ, Curtis McKenzie, SJ, and Fr. Marc Rizzetto, SJ.

Back to Projet Nouveau Gesù

Centre de spiritualité Manrèse

Prenant appui sur l’importance qu’Ignace accordait à son expérience personnelle de ...