This month, I would like to share something about Regis College, the Jesuit School of Theology in Canada, and the diverse group of international students who attend the school. Students who attend Regis come from Toronto, across Ontario, many other places in Canada, but also from around the world.
At Regis in recent years, Jesuits have come from countries such as Haiti, Brazil, Venezuela, Egypt, India, Ireland, and Scotland. The College is expecting several Jesuits from parts of East and West Africa to join this Fall. In previous years, American Jesuits in Toronto had mostly European roots; today, many US Jesuits trace their heritage to Asia or Latin America. The presence of all these Jesuits from diverse places enriches the College in many ways, helping to make it global in the best sense, that is, open to and grateful for a diversity of cultures, languages, perspectives, and points of view.
The very first Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and some fellow students at the University of Paris, were all foreigners in France. The international charism of the Jesuits was already taking shape. From these 16th-century origins onward, the Society of Jesus has always emphasized its international identity more than the national origins of its members. Though Jesuits belong to a local Jesuit community and to a Jesuit Province, they also belong to the whole Society of Jesus, wherever it may be found. Jesuits are committed to being sent anywhere in the world in order to serve the common good.
Thank you for your generous support of the Jesuits of Canada.
I wish you and your family a Blessed Easter.
Barry J. Leidl