A new start for the Jesuits of Canada

On July 31st 2018, on the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the French and English Canada provinces became the new Jesuit Province of Canada. It is time now to dream of the future, to reflect on our apostolates, to forge a new Jesuit and Ignatian identity for Canada.

Father Marc Rizzeto, SJ,  Boniface Mbouzao, SJ, Sonal Castelino, Father Greg Kennedy, SJ, Father Edmund Lo, SJ and Oliver Capko, SJ told us what inspires them (consolation) about the new Province and the challenges (desolation) they foresee. Read their answers below.


Marc Rizzeto, SJ

Father Marc Rizzeto, SJ

Québec, QC

What inspires you about the new Province (consolation)?
What inspires me in connection with the creation of the new Province is the multiplication of opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of resources and a territorial decompartmentalization at the service of the mission. The idea is not to start anew by denying everything that existed in our traditions and apostolates, but to imagine and invent collaborative ways of working together.

What are the challenges that you foresee (desolation)?
 The challenge that concerns me most at this time is that of formation and its purpose, namely to prepare Jesuits capable of being sent on mission across Canada in linguistic and cultural realities in both French and English. How can we ensure, for the good of all, a formation that will allow the discovery of the territory, its riches and its challenges?

If you had one piece of advice to give the new Provincial, what would it be?
Given the size of Canada's territory, it would be interesting for the Company's government to be more marked by territorial subsidiarity.

If you had 30 seconds to talk about the new Province to a young man who is interested in the Jesuits, what would you tell him?
If you want to feel and taste the presence of God's activity in our world, the Society of Jesus is a stimulating place from which you will be able to use your gifts and talents to build the Kingdom. I will repeat the seven key words of the Instrumentum laboris of the next synod of Bishops on youth, faith and vocations: listening, accompaniment, conversion, discernment, challenges, vocation, holiness.


Boniface Mbouzao

Father Boniface Mbouzao, SJ

Montréal, Québec

What inspires you about the new Province (consolation)?
The new province inspires in me the rhythm of a new breath, opening up to the very charism of the Company of Jesus. A breath that pushes us toward what fundamentally unites us, so we can meet the new challenges facing us here in Canada, challenges facing the entire Society of Jesus.

It is first for the mission, to better serve, that the first companions wanted to be constituted as an apostolic body. My consolation comes from this founding spirit which continues its way in this reality of the new Province which is ours. The other consolation is to see how the Jesuit companions generously adopt this new reality which requires of them new efforts: to know the other brothers, to open the apostolic horizons to the dimensions of Canada, to understand new realities, to learn a new language for others.

We are called to embody this unity in the diversity provided by our Ignatian spirituality to better reach the peripheries where the whole Church awaits us as a body for the mission. That's what consoles me in this new Province. It inspires in itself this apostolic dimension of our charism. I am rather very consoled by the personal involvement of each companion in this new reality so that it is a logical continuation of our universal vocation of the Company of Jesus, because we enter the universal Company of Jesus before being able to belong to a particular Province.

What are the challenges that you foresee (desolation)?
 The challenge is the very dimension of the mission. We are called to make choices that will not necessarily be to everyone's taste. We will be called to mourn certain commitments to better dedicate ourselves to others. This could lead to a feeling of loss (loss of proximity to the administration, loss of control, loss of attention, etc.), mourning to be no longer at the center of decisions and to leave room for others as well in our priorities as our decisions.

This can be experienced by an attitude of dragging one's feet, comparing with the past, of resisting openness and lacking trust in the future. A new relationship with authority within the Company is required of us as greater responsibility will be given at the local level. This may require a little more time for some companions.

If you had one piece of advice to give the new Provincial, what would it be?
Listening to people and listening to the Holy Spirit in an atmosphere of trust in the mission that is ours. The size of the territory requires delegating more responsibilities to local leaders and offering them support and encouragement in their mission. Greater delegation could help to implement the breath of the Spirit to which we are called to respond and help them make decisions to advance the mission of the Society of Jesus in Canada.

If you had 30 seconds to talk about the new Province to a young man who is interested in the Jesuits, what would you tell him?
The universal character of the Society of Jesus is expressed in the reality of the new Province, an apostolic project that takes into account the Canadian reality in its diversity and uniqueness. It gives us the chance to serve all over Canada in French as well as in English and in all causes, social justice, education, spirituality, First Nations and parishes. The possibility of engaging in all sectors of ecclesial life is reflected in the Jesuit mission and commitment to Canada. The Society of Jesus painstakingly prepares its men to serve in this diversity and to be effective in their ministry.


Sonal CastelinoSonal Castelino

Student Life Coordinator
Regis College, ON

What inspires you about the new Province (consolation)?
Canada is a country with a rich history influenced both by anglophone and francophone culture. In a time where there cultures are either in conflict or dissolving, it is consoling to see concrete attempts made by the Jesuits to form a stronger base in Canada that is in dialogue with its history in anglophone and francophone contexts.

What are the challenges that you foresee (desolation)?
The coming together of French and English Canadian provinces will be an intriguing one as the forming of both cultures in Canada is quite distinct. A major challenge I see that may need more thought, prayer, and consideration, is to look at how the various projects and undertakings by the new Province have both cultures in mind and not try to fit one inside the other. There is a fine line between communion and conformity and so I hope that this will be done with respect to both cultures.

If you had one piece of advice to give the new Provincial, what would it be?
My advice to the new Provincial would be to encourage the province to remain in dialogue and relationship with people from every walk of life. This would involve both growing deeper roots in places the Province is already working in and also reaching out to the stranger on the sidelines. To hold both sides with great importance. Most importantly, to never forget the poor, the oppressed, and the lonely while also being contributors to education and intellectual depth in the country.

If you had 30 seconds to talk about the new Province to a young man who is interested in the Jesuits, what would you tell him?
To follow the call of Jesus is to be most authentic to who you are. This is best lived with people who help build and shape your identity in this manner. Jesuits in Canada have a history of being in dialogue and contact with people and culture. One can find himself journeying with young adults, directing retreats, working in labs, reaching out to the poor, living on native reserves, really anywhere there is potential to harvest in God’s kingdom.


Father Greg Kennedy, SJFather Gregory M. Kennedy, SJ

Guelph, ON

What inspires you about the new Province (consolation)?
The one and the many. Diversity and unity. The universal and the particular. These are the perennial plants of philosophy; they lend the cultural and spiritual landscape colour and texture. Our new province will be a real, live laboratory of discovery as we enter more concretely into these philosophical complexities.

What are the challenges that you foresee (desolation)?
Desolation, as well as truth-avoidance, comes from neglecting either side of these various pairs. If our unity totally eclipses our diversity, we have lost something. If our diversity undermines our unity, we have lost something. Desolation is giving up the challenge of balance.

If you had one piece of advice to give the new Provincial, what would it be?
“Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:6-8)

If you had 30 seconds to talk about the new Province to a young man who is interested in the Jesuits, what would you tell him?
Here we have all kinds of possibilities. Also all kinds of challenges. But has there ever been a point in history that was not defined by possibility and challenge? We serve where we are, how we can, with what God gives us. Would you like to give it a shot?


Father Edmund Lo, SJFather Edmund K-F. Lo, SJ

Regina, SK

What inspires you about the new Province (consolation)?
The fact that many of our men in formation have done their novitiate in Montréal and already speak French bodes well for us; a bilingual environment is nothing new to them. I also feel that we bring different gifts to the table that can complement each other's approach to both ministry and community life.

What are the challenges that you foresee (desolation)?
The potential tensions between English Canada and French Canada in our way of proceeding will have yet another layer: American, especially pertaining to strategic planning on the level of the Jesuit Conference.

If you had one piece of advice to give the new Provincial, what would it be?
Both missioning Anglophones to Québec and Francophones to the rest of Canada are equally important; this will allow everyone to go beyond the perception of a mere linguistic difference and to truly experience the new Province in the flesh. In particular, we English Jesuits have a strong presence in the Toronto area, and it can seem as if Toronto itself represents the rest of Canada. The ecclesial realities in other places such as Northern Ontario and other Canadian provinces can be very different, and taking these realities into consideration can only enrich our vision of being Jesuits in Canada.

If you had 30 seconds to talk about the new Province to a young man who is interested in the Jesuits, what would you tell him?
Being in a Jesuit Province that operates with two official languages constantly puts a Jesuit’s openness and adaptability to the test, and such a state is a microcosm of the universal Society of Jesus.


Oliver Capko, SJOliver Capko, SJ

Vancouver, BC

What inspires you about the new Province (consolation)?
The formation of our new Province gives me great hope. The world needs communities where both reconciliation and welcome take place. The new Province will be a powerful statement that there is a rootedness in our spirituality by which we can enter each other's doors, be embraced, and welcomed as brothers. I am excited for the new apostolic opportunities and people to serve. As a young Jesuit in the new Canadian Province, I am thrilled for the many new opportunities of service and mission that will come about with the unification. The road of possibility is renewed and ever growing!

What are the challenges that you foresee (desolation)?
As with any encounter, we put our personal traditions at risk to be open to transformation. It worries me that each former Province will lose some of the richness of their particular tradition of mission. Fortunately, there are still many wise Jesuits for a young Jesuit to still learn from! Further, becoming detached as we learn in the First week of the Exercises is often a painful process. Detachment from what we consider our home province will be painful. I hope that we can accept this pain and grow together rather than going into cliques, gossip, and domination. It is a challenge to accept this pain, but it could be the key that unifies the new Province to the suffering God and therefore each other as Companions of this God.

If you had one piece of advice to give the new Provincial, what would it be?
What unites the Society of Jesus in its diversity? The vow of obedience! Obedience to always listen to the Spirit of God alive in the world. The new Province of Canada will have the territory of Canada as its mission. So rather than solely focusing inwards, let's unite in the universal mission of Jesus of listening to the voices found in Canada. Where are Christ's apostles of today needed? The French-speaking community, the English-speaking community, indigenous communities, the immigrants, the refugees, the elderly, the unborn, the diverse ecosystems, etc. The mission of listening and going out is where our unity lies.

If you had 30 seconds to talk about the new Province to a young man who is interested in the Jesuits, what would you tell him?
Our monastery is the world, the road is our home. The new Province calls us to be pilgrims wherever we find ourselves in the international Society of Jesus. We do not join the Jesuits to preserve our attachment to our corner of Canada! Rather like the Canadian Martyr's and St. Kateri Tekakwitha we are called to find God in new ways, that we initially do not call home. This is a call and a need that is deeper than our own culture – this is the call of Christ! This call to embrace culture and history instead of clinging to it. This is the new Province of Canada. This is the call to a new energetic response to Christ's call.


Do you want to learn more about vocations to the Society of Jesus? Visit www.jesuitvocations.org for more information.






Blog Post: On Becoming One Province Again

Blog Post: A Ministry of Reconciliation from Sea to Sea

Blog Post: En chemin vers la nouvelle Province jésuite du Canada
Publications

CJI Mission News

Relations - sept 2018

Relations - août 2018




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