Scott McMaster is the director of the Advancement Office of the Jesuits of Canada. After a life spent in the corporate world he attended his first Jesuit event, Pilgrims Together, in Midland last summer. What surprised him was not only the warmth of the participants, but also the open and deep conversations under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In his experience, this kind of meeting is really different from what you usually see in the corporate world.
The hospitality he felt is one of the converging desires that emerged in the Jesuits of Canada’s discernment as stated in the document Pilgrim Together. We read for example that we are called to mutuality in encounter and to hospitality:
“Mutuality and encounter seem to us a foundational disposition that informs all the UAPs. The theme of “being-with-others” emerged again and again as a key to our way of being on pilgrimage. We desire to be affected by our relationships with others, to become one with them, recalling that in deepening our relationships we must not shy away from places of woundedness still requiring healing and reconciliation. This mutuality is connected with both humility and active listening, but it also requires us to be clear about our own identity as partners in Christ’s mission. The goal is authentic dialogue with others, which can only happen if we respect our own identity and that of others, recognizing different contributions as we become more and more the minima compañía colaboradora envisaged by the UAPs.”
What surprised you about Jesuits and colleagues at the first big meeting you had as director of the Office of Advancement?
Joining the family at Midland, it was one of the most enjoyable and consoling times of my life because the discussions we had. It seemed like there was a fit from the very beginning and that doesn’t usually happen in business. The Holy Spirit was there. I really found in Midland that the Jesuits spoke under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with honesty, integrity and conviction.
They really spoke their minds. Heartfelt discussions occurred between an organization within itself and the bravery it took for some of those men and women to get up and talk about what they spoke about was incredible. This is a driver for me in working with Advancement. We can make a difference.
How were you welcome as a new member of the Ignatian family?
I knew very few people and almost none of the Jesuits. But I got one step in the door and I had half a dozen people say: “Hi, Scott.” I felt their hospitality and the whole sense of community from the second I walked to the registration desk. I’ve been to many corporate conferences, which is really what this was, and in no way did they have the warmth, the community, the love. You could feel it and sense it.
And even when I was asked questions and I gave my neophyte answers with being new in the role, even if they didn’t necessarily agree, they wanted more depth on it. They wanted to know more. They made me feel welcome from the very beginning . What a truly unique situation it was.