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Happy New Year!

As many of you know, one of my tasks is to write to benefactors and friends of the Jesuits each month. Although it is a pleasant duty that takes me away fromadministration, planning, and meetings, sometimes it is a bit of a challenge to come up with something interesting and engaging, that busy people will take the time to read.

St. Ignatius apparently did not suffer from writer’s block. Besides the Spiritual Exercises and governance documents such as the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, he wrote more than 7,000 letters in his lifetime. From simple letters – messages of congratulations or sympathy, to complex ones – to leaders of government or the church speaking on important and pressing issues, his literary output was staggering.

For 2020, I thought it would be interesting to share some of St. Ignatius’ letters with you. In reading them I have often been struck by the humility and deeply human and personal nature of a saint who accomplished so much for the people of God. I hope some excerpts from letters will give you a chance to gain some insight into the person who founded the Society of which you are a friend.

I’ll share more in the coming months, but I will leave you with this thought for January. In 1541,
St. Ignatius wrote these wise words to the Jesuit legates in Ireland:

The Jesuits hope that 2020 will be healthy and blessed for all of you. We are always truly and deeply grateful for your decision to be companions in the journey of spreading the Good News of the Lord.

Barry J. Leidl

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