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Pune: More than 100 Jesuit activists of South Asia are currently meeting in Pune, western India, to seek collaborators and networks to foster harmony and peace in the region.

The October 12-15 triennial meeting would plan a way to respond proactively and creatively to emerging challenges in South Asia in the backdrop of congregation’s 36 General Congregation (GC36) held a year ago in Rome.

The general congregation is the highest decision-making body of the Society of Jesus.

Father Arturo Sosa, who was elected superior general of the largest Catholic religious congregation for men during the last congregation, addressed the delegates in Pune through a pre-recorded video sent through his secretary of Social Justice and Ecology Father Xavier Jeyaraj.

Father Sosa reminded the South Asian Jesuits that reconciliation is the heart of the order’s mission today.

He says the GC36, held October 2-November 12 last year, sees humans living amid crisis that affects simultaneously social relations, economy and the environment. This leads to the creation of unjust structures and abuses on human beings and goods.

The ministry of reconciliation, Father Sosa says, begins with “understanding the world we live in and we feel as our home. That is why we understand our mission as intellectual apostolate.”

Discernment, collaboration and networking offer three important perspectives on our contemporary way of proceeding, the superior general added.

“We realize that collaboration with others is the only way the Society of Jesus can fulfill its mission.”

He underlined the importance of a good, deep and permanent social analysis for Asia that can guide social apostolate and all works of the congregation as well as the Church.

Social analysis, he suggested, should contribute to the transformation of society in justice and democracy.

Father Jeyaraj, in his keynote address, reminded the delegates that they lived at “a very critical period” not just in South Asia, but all over the world.

The Jesuit social scientist listed fundamentalism, structured violence, social disruption, criminalized politics and politicians, globalized poverty, corporatized media and unscrupulous environmental exploitation at the cost of indigenous as major challenges in the world today

He regretted the trend to reduce humans, particularly Dalits and tribals in India, as mere price index of the market economy and turning earth into a disposable product. This can only gratify mega companies that encourage extreme consumerism and profiteering as the mantra for growth and development, the social scientist bemoaned.

“Every day, we hear a new make-believe slogan. Creative young minds are employed to coin such slogans in order to keep the aam aadmi [common man] silenced rather sedated. Creating fear through violence seems to be the means employed to silence the cry for justice and truth,” Father Jayaraj said.

He noted the recent phenomenal growth of right-wing fanaticism in Europe and United States, besides Asia. Over the past years, far right political parties have made major gains in divisive elections throughout the West, he added.

Capitalism and fundamentalism are the two sides of the same coin. The nexus between the corporates and the state, together with the corporatized media and also the judiciary has become stronger in the last two decades all over the world. This needs to be addressed together. We cannot look at the issue of fundamentalism all by itself.

Father Jeyaraj urged his conferrers to recognize protests against injustice undertaken by innumerable groups.

“Anger is being raised from every corner of the world, but probably blacked out, or even disparaged by the mainstream media. It only shows their fear of survival. The more they control, the more they are frightened,” he added.

The priest, who has witnessed people’s struggle for nearly 27 years, says the Jesuits’ involvement with grassroots groups “is extremely great. We remain deeply connected with the struggles of the people,

He says this has led to the silencing of civil society members, including some Jesuits. “We must construct another agenda, an agenda of the people, another agenda of justice, peace and harmony through collaboration and networking,” he added.

George Pattery the Provincial of South Asia, who also addressed the opening day’s program, noted a tussle between globalization of consumerism and individualism of identity.

The world now witnesses migration from poor to rich countries along with the marriage of fundamentalism with corporate houses.

Mahatma Gandhi, who led India’s freedom struggle, had fought colonialism, Western model of development and fundamentalism. However, he could manage to get only the freedom, the rest continue to dominate society.

The 66-year-old Jesuit leader invited the delegates to help percolate their social action into all works of the congregation. He also wants Jesuits to respond to the modern challenges through non-violent models.

“Hence, we need to find ways to network among ourselves and likeminded people and civil society members and collaborate generously for harmony,” he added.

The first day also heard zonal level presentation of activities by their coordinators.

By Fr. Irudaya Jothi, SJ

16 Oct 2017 - 17:45

We, the Jesuit School educators and our partners in mission, numbering 240 from 399 schools in the South Asian Assistancy came together for the JEA Triennial meet at Xavier University, Bhubaneswar from 6-9, October,2017, discussed and deliberated on our mission/schools in the context of GC 36.

In the light of....

  1. GC36, calling us for a genuine reconciliation with God, human beings and Mother Earth,
  2. The global scenario where market oriented economy and the resultant consumerist culture being actively promoted and the narrow individualism being asserted
  3. The Indian context of the assertion and promotion of a toxic mix of a fundamentalist and neo-liberal corporate agenda that undermines India’s secular, democratic traditions and constitutional values and similar manifestations in other parts of South Asia
  4. Education being commercialized, communalized and corporatized
  5. The present educational system and scenario reinforcing divisions, prejudices, exclusions and the existing inequalities undermining the harmony in our interconnectedness and interdependence.

We are convinced of and committed to

  1. Make discernment our way of life at the individual, community and institutional levels to bring in the needed innovations to make our institutions/ministry relevant;
  2. Promote and nurture active lay and religious collaboration in and through our ministry.
  3. Collaborate and network with people of goodwill, civil society and other organizations that share our vision/mission and values and take up unitedly affirmative actions to ensure India’s secular, democratic traditions, constitutional values and pluralism through non-violent, compassionate and inclusive approach and thus promote reconciliation, peace, justice and harmony.
  4. Actively promote academic and human excellence leading to critical thinking, spiritual depth and a change of mindset that embraces the entire cosmos as our one common heritage and home and the humanity transcending all the narrow barriers and biases.

 

We have given time till December 31st 2017, to each province PCE lead Education Commission of the provinces to make action plan based on the above statement. It is our resolve and we will adhere to it.

 

Sunny Jacob SJ

Secretary, JEASA

 

13 Oct 2017 - 07:18

Globalize Compassion through Jesuit Education: Response to GC 36.

Triennial Key Note: JEA – Xavier University, Bhubaneswar. Oct 6-8th 2017.

George Pattery,s.j

  1. An experiential approach:

As  Jesuits, we are invited to dwell on our experience as the Ignatian starting point; in this case our experience in education is the starting point; more particularly our experience as ‘Teachers or Educators’. Allow me to dwell on one such experience.

1.1.At Santiniketan. For ten years (1995-2005) I taught in the department of philosophy and religion’ at Viswa-Bharati University in Santiniketan. For most of that period, I was the only Christian in the university staff. My students called me ‘Father-da’, sir, or simply Father or Georgeda’.  I enjoyed teaching and interacted with the faculty and students on a regular basis. Often I was asked to organize the UGC sponsored Refresher Courses for the staff, coming from different universities. On one such occasion, after getting everything ready for the refresher course, I checked with the department office if the staff ‘toilet’ has been cleaned. I was told that they saw the man who is supposed to clean, around. I had my doubts. I found out that it was not cleaned. I bought cleansing liquid and cleaned the toilets myself. The seminar concluded very well both in its content and style.

The next day in the staff room there was a serious conversation about the fact that I cleaned the toilets which is the duty of a sudra (untouchable). During the rather emotive discussion, one of them seemed to have said that Georgeda is a Christian and they do all kinds of jobs. I felt proud of my Christian identity being known as doing the job of a sudra.  That is the best witness I could give to Lord of the Good News.

What baffled me is the fact that even at the university level, education does not change the mind-set. On the contrary, it seems to reinforce the social stratifications. Our educational system, be it school or college, does not invite the students to interrogate the social, ethnic, caste and cultural biases and prejudices that they have inherited. Education does not question the inherited social biases and prejudices. With the blatant Hindutva ideology doing politics all around us, we need to device strategies to impart the spirituality and the outlook of the Constitutions that views citizenship in itself.  We impart education, (often claimed as quality education) for our students enabling them to rank high in the exams; they pass out in colours but their social and religious self remains at the infantile level. We are known for our management of institutions; but are we known for the values of the gospel and that of the Constitution? We need to device ways and means of influencing their mind-set; reaching to their heart to facilitate true growth as citizens of this land.

1.2.Tagore’s Experience.

During his rather brief stint at St.Xavier’s school in Kolkata, Rabindranath Tagore had an unusual experience which he recalls in his memoirs. One day rather sick and tired, Tagore sat at his desk in the class room waiting for the class hours to get over. To his surprise a Jesuit father in charge of the class walked up to him and enquired of his health. ‘Rabi, are you not well’? He felt deeply moved by this gesture of concern of the Jesuit.

The primary motive of education is to enable the students to experience ‘respect’ and ‘concern’ as a human being and to give that respect to one another. Care and respect for the human person of the student is the first lesson that is to be taught in our schools. The human person of the student is enabled to grow through mutual acceptance and respect. In spite of the brevity of his school days, Tagore ( a drop out from Xavier’s) recalled the human touch in the class room. ‘Class room’ is the sacred space. An open and flowering mind and heart is waiting to be led into the world of wisdom. Jesuits formed in the process of the Spiritual Exercises is inviting each child to be proud of herself and to be growing with one another in deep respect toward that horizon that is beyond and beckoning. This is the sacred path of Jesuit education.  

Going beyond managerial skills for employment, a Jesuit education leads the student to the path of search, to the path of ‘more’ and to the journey beyond. Education for topping the list or to find a more lucrative job is the concern of the parents; our concern should be to mould a citizenry that is built on respect, mutuality and justice.

2. Ratio Studiorum. Critical and Humanistic.

In its early stages, Jesuit education was known for its humanistic and critical perspectives. It meant on the one hand to care for the integral growth of the person of the learner and on the other to critique a given ‘text’ to expand the horizons of the reader. They introduced reading even Cicero ( a pagan author) in view of helping students to understand a thought pattern and  learn to critique it. To think logically and to cultivate an enquiring mind through debates and discussion were the forte of Jesuit education. This resulted in Jesuit ‘Ratio Studiorum’ giving shape to a pedagogy of teaching and learning that would enable the learner to be a pilgrim, seeker of knowledge. Human concern and human development become central to Jesuit education. This humanistic perspective was promoted at a time when ‘religion’ and ‘religious practices’ were the over-arching thinking of the day. Having introduced to humanistic knowing, the student is led to the recognition of the limits of status quo and is given a taste of the Magis – to know more.

Our engagement in education, especially in school-education, is meant to bring these humanist-critical perspectives to our students.  However, much of our energy in school-education in South Asian Assistancy is spent on maintaining the institution, its name and fame, rather than capacitating our students in ‘humanistic-critical perspectives’, to cultivate an enquiring mind. Our schools and the Jesuits involved in schools are meant to serve the school as ‘public space’ encouraging public debates on social concerns. Today however, we are perceived at best as the managers of a system that often sucks us into it or depletes all our energies. Is it possible to make a shift in favour of our original intent? Joe Arun speaks of disruptive leadership that moves away from administration to animation (JIVAN, August 2017) – a perspective that was adopted by JEA Zonal coordinators meeting in 2015. He adds: “In my experience, I have seen the campus ministry making the entire campus alive and vibrant. It is a movement pole that orients and reorients, constantly corrects and guides the rigid institutional nature of schools and colleges. If things are done properly, the campus ministry gives visibility to the Jesuit identity of our colleges and schools.” (p..9. Jivan, August  2017).

In South Asian context, school animation would mean cultivating true human concern in our schools beyond class, caste and religious divisions. How can we foster a sense of respect for one another no matter which caste or religion that we belonged to? How can we nurture true social concerns in our students? How do encourage ‘social time’ among students, giving them a sense of real world distinguished from the virtual world? Can we not foster creating catchy phrases that mark the ethos of our Jesuit education?  Can we pool our resources in order to capacitate teachers in critical and humanistic perspectives, to cultivate thought process in the students? How do we enhance scientific temper and rational thinking in our students? In the growing divisive ideological onslaught on the country, we need to move and move faster to build up inclusive perspectives in our students. Can we devise A South Asian Alternative to the successful model of “Fe y Alegria” and evolve a new pedagogy of education for poor students? Can we create space for interaction between formal and non-formal education?.  With Assistancy Development Office efforts are being made to network and resource non-formal education across the assistancy. Formal education can play a vital role to support the informal education sector.

In our engagement in formal education through schools, are we victims of ‘spiritual worldliness’ that Pope Francis asked us to shun? Spiritual worldliness brings us to vanity, arrogance, pride and domination; ‘the power/caste politics and careerism” (Joe Arun in Jivan, August 2017, p.9); it would be counter-productive if our school system make us arrogant, proud and domineering Jesuits. An Ignatian review is in place on what school administration does to us as Jesuits.

  1. ‘Mission of Reconciliation and Justice’ in Jesuit Education in South Asia.

 “In India, thugs assault Dalits and Muslims employed in the cattle trade in the name of Hindu dharma, a writer is hounded out of two Bengals for saying that minorities have been ill-treated in Bangladesh, priests attack Rohingyas in Myanmar for no other reason than that they are Muslim, in Sri Lanka racists suppress a Tamil minority on grounds of difference, in Pakistan a Christian sweeper is arrested upon accusations of blaspheming Islam, and in Nepal people of the hill country disempower those of its plains through constitutional manoeuvre. Even Afghanistan, which tends to be seen mainly as the victim of big-power rivalry, has its share of home-grown domination to acknowledge in the condition of the Hazara, a people with a history of living there for at least as long as anyone else. In all these countries, an entrenched patriarchy ensures that women are subordinated. Thus, in parts of India it is considered normal for widows to be forced by tradition to board a one-way train to Mathura. And, amidst the beauty of Pakistan’s Swat Valley, a girl child is shot and mutilated for seeking the right to go to school.

It would be difficult to name another region of the world that produces as much hate as South Asia. Is there a common thread to these ghastly incidents? Yes, there is. These acts are the outcome of identity politics that enforce behaviour based on sectarian values derived from religion. Of significance is that the overwhelming majority of South Asian states are formally democracies. These incidents take place while the state mostly stands by watching. While in some instances the state is an active agent of identity politics, in others it has been captured by its custodians. Across the region, the state in South Asia is culpable of empowering the mob against the weak”. Pulapre Balakrishnan. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/our-collective-cross-to-bear/articl...

South Asia at this point of time requires, more than ever,  a pedagogy of reconciliation to contain the conflict ridden situation across the sub-continent.  A pedagogy that would on the one hand unmask the violence and injustice embedded in the society, and on the other, reach out in reconciling mission of building communities of solidarity. More particularly education is the best means to inculcate non-violent perspectives and ways of conflict resolution. I propose the following five educational ways,  – pancha sikshaseel - for our school education in South Asia to make reconciliation possible against hateful divisive ideology..

4. 1. Educate to remove ‘Mind Fences’.

It is said that students come to us with ‘tabula rasa mind’ – in a sense empty but ready to learn. The mind is capable of learning. From childhood, we are under the constant, unending influence of our thoughts. The mind, which creates these thoughts, is an instrument which helps us think clearly and logically, rationalise, make judgements, choose the right option among many available, plan, visualise, be creative, and to execute tasks. Education we provide cultivate the mind in these capacities. However, in addition to doing all this, the mind is also a generator of thoughts, worries, anxieties, fears, jealousies, greed, anger, biases and prejudices. These thoughts and emotions are often inherited from our families and neighbourhood; they imprison the child and often leave them powerless. As Rene Girard has shown reason can be hijacked by emotions; emotions can be suppressed by reason. A child that comes to our school often has a mind that is already fenced with a sense of the ‘other’ as alien, inimical, and even dangerous. Jesuit education should capacitate the student to remove the cultural, religious and linguistic fences and to view the world as created, loved into existence by a loving God. The Principle and Foundation of the Exercises provide us with a vision that God is the source of the beginning and the end; that mind is open to the infinity. We need to device ways and means of removing the social, cultural, religious and ethnic fences and clear the mind for an inclusive thinking that is open to the infinity.  

4.2.Educate to Nurture Inter-cultural Space.

South Asia is blessed with many ethnicities, languages and cultural traditions. In our schools there are students hailing from varieties of cultures and backgrounds. This is a given factor of richness and often we take them for granted. School should be a space where students learn to appreciate different cultures, respect them and celebrate diversity - thus get enriched. Through stories, poetry, drama they learn to appreciate diversity and to live with them in joy.

Since independence in 1947, India (and other South Asian countries) has been growing as a multi-cultural pluralistic society. The soul of India is multi-cultural and multi-religious. Our education should build on this to foster inter-culturality. However this multi-culturality is not taught as a value in our education system. Even when they fare well in the school and receive top ranking, many of our students operate from the inherited cultural biases and prejudices. Their cultural self remains infantile with a homogenous approach, looking at other cultural groups with suspicion or even hatred.

Inter-cultural living is an art that needs to be taught to our students. This is further compounded with deep rooted caste mentality. Our educational system should enable students to critique caste system that is so embedded in the psyche of our people. These days events like Una are being filmed on phone cameras and shared in a celebratory manner by the perpetrators. What does this do to the psyche of the caste-Hindus, whom Ambedkar called the sick men (and women) of Hindustan?The Hindutva bigots are indeed displaying their sickness. The Una incident, which made news because the video shot by the gau-rakshak goons had gone viral, revealed their confidence and impunity. They knew that they would never be brought to book”.  (http://scroll.in/article/817737/ten-years-after-khairlanji-only-retaliatory-violence-can-dislodge-the-deep-rooted-venom-of-caste).

We are a mob lynching nation. Education should capacitate our schools with inter-cultural skills and methods to interrogate this inhuman phenomenon and to widen inter-cultural space.

4.3.Educate to globalize compassion (Karuna) through Non-violent Conflict Resolution.

Buddhist teaching on Karuna (Compassion) and Mudita (feeling joy in other’s success) express the social dimension of love. Karuna goes beyond the distinction of ‘I’ ‘We’ and ‘Other’. Knowledge and compassion are closely related. True wisdom brings about compassionate feeling of joy in others’ success and rejoicing with them. Karuna in Sanskirt means active sympathy, gentle affection and willingness to bear the pain of others. It is a wish for all being to be free from suffering. The Pali word is Metta which means loving kindness, friendliness, benevolence, fellowship, amity, inoffensiveness and nonviolence. It is a strong wish for parahita-parasukha-kamana, the welfare and happiness of others without any selfish interest. Metta is universal, unselfish and all embracing love. As Kailash Satyarthi said in his Nobel Peace award speech let us globalize compassion to set our children free. Mahatma Gandhi said: If we are to teach real peace in this world … we shall have to begin with children; let us unite the world through compassion for our children.” Pope Francis speaks about primary proclamation of a ‘Merciful God’.

We need to globalize this compassion among our children and for our children. Let us remind ourselves of the prophetic call in Satyarthi’s words. “Whose children are they who stitch footballs, yet have never played with one? They are our children. Whose children are they who mine stones and minerals? They are our children. Whose children are they who harvest cocoa, yet do not know the taste of a chocolate? They are our children.”  

Compassion equips them for life; brings them closer to children who never go to school. They come to know that there are millions of children in our countries who can’t go to school. Compassion leads them to recognize that the farmers who cultivate the land do not often get their due; that they foster love for the earth that sustains us and care for the farming communities. In spite of the fact that the greatest experiment in non-violent struggle in the history of the world happened in Indian freedom struggle, India (and South Asia) continues to remain a violent prone society. Caste, ethnic and religious conflicts irrupt at regular intervals. Mob lynching is condoned by the rulers. The rhetoric of violence and terror are getting legitimacy.

We need to initiate in the schools methods of non-violent communication and conflict resolution. Conflicts are bound to happen in a multi-cultural society. We have to produce manual on teaching children non-violent attitudes and the skills for non-violent conflict resolution. These methods would enable children to affirm self and others and to reach out in non-violent ways. We should teach them how to solve conflicts and problems in a non-violent atmosphere. Children should be taught to cooperate for and build on peace. This should be the long term mission of education in South Asia. The Sermon the Mount is the universal ethic that Gandhiji put into practice through non-violent struggle at personal, communal and national level. We need to impart this heritage to our younger generation.

 

4.4. Educate them into Integral Pedagogy of Inter-relatedness.

“Love,” Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “is the physical structure of the universe.”  Love is present, he said, from the Big Bang onward: “Even among the molecules, love is the building power that works against entropy, and under its attraction the elements feel their way towards union.”

For so long we have kept love outside the limits of nature, as if it is a peculiarly human emotion that we develop. Hard core scientists and ivory tower intellectuals are easily annoyed by love-talk, as if their precious time is being wasted with sentimental silliness. Yet, apart from love we are not at home in the cosmos – literally. Theologian Philip Hefner asks, “can we entertain the hypothesis that love is rooted in the fundamental nature of reality, including the reality we call nature?”

In his poem, “The Eternal Feminine” Teilhard wrote of love in the voice of wisdom: “I am embedded in the force field that is driving the cosmos towards greater novelty, towards greater integrity, and eventually towards greater consciousness. . . . I am the principle of union, the soul of the world. I am the magnetic and unitive force that brings the disparate matter together and urges each newly created form to multiply, to beautify, and to bear fruit. . . . Each step towards union moves my creation towards greater spontaneity and freedom.”

Physicists today tell us that everything in the universe is, in a sense, “genetically” related; interconnectedness lies at the core of all that exists. The universe is bound together in a communion, each thing with all the rest. “If there was no internal propensity to unite, even at a rudimentary level – indeed in the molecule itself,” Teilhard said, “it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, in a hominized form.”

The poet Wallace Stevens wrote, “Nothing is itself taken alone. Things are because of interrelations or interactions.” When one lives from a deep consciousness of love as the bond of interconnectedness, one lives in God because God is love, a communion of persons intertwined in the flow of love. To live in God is to live in deep communion, to know oneself as part of a whole.

Etty Hillesum, the young Jewish woman who died in a WWII Nazi concentration camp in 1943, describes herself as a person who loved life. . “Each of us moves things along in the direction of war,” she said, “every time we fail in love.”

“All disasters stem from us. Why is there war? Perhaps because now and then I might be inclined to snap at my neighbor. Because I and my neighbor and everyone else do not have enough love. . . . Yet there is love bound up inside us, and if we could release it into the world, a little each day, we would be fighting war and everything that comes with it.” Etty’s deep insights resonate with what scientists have discovered: local changes can have global effects because we are deeply connected by fields of energy. Our thoughts as well as our actions impact one another, even if we are spatially separated because in our cosmic roots we are deeply entwined.” (For this section on Integral Pedagogy, I owe to Ilia Delio. http://globalsistersreport.org/column/speaking-god/spirituality/2015-yea....

Pope Francis in Laudato si (138) says: “Just as the different aspects of the planet – physical, chemical and biological – are interrelated, so too living species are part of a network which we will never fully explore and understand. A good part of our genetic code is shared by many living beings. It follows that the fragmentation of knowledge and the isolation of bits of information can actually become a form of ignorance, unless they are integrated into a broader vision of reality. Again in No.139 we read: When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it”.

(142) If everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions has consequences for the environment and the quality of human life. “Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment”.

Let us teach our children this cosmic inter-relatedness; this lure of the infinite in the smallest atom; this sense of wonder of the Universe as uni-verse; perception of the progress of the whole and the part in holon movement; thirst for ultimate goodness for all. Orla Hazra and Prashant Olekar have developed an Integral Pedagogy based on this inter-relatedness of all and everything, combining South Asian wisdom with scientific findings. Integral pedagogy flows from the Principle and Foundation as everything is coming from God and journeying back to God.

4.5. Educate them in the Art of Conversation.

Taking cue from Ignatius, we educate our students in the art of conversation; in our terminology a sort of ‘adda’ – talking together freely and genuinely. Ignatius talks about ‘spiritual’ conversation. Spiritual does not mean pious talk but rather depth conversation. How do we enable ‘depth conversation’ in the daily ‘adda’ of students? The Ignatian pedagogy of reviewing the day to recognize the movement of the Spirit in each one is the most universal tool available to cultivate a ‘reflective sense’ in students and teachers.. ‘Examen’ means listening to the interior movements of the Spirit (accessible even if one does not believe in God of religions). This sense of ‘Review’ provides a reflective mind-set in students and a distancing of ‘ego’ from one’s Self.  This is the Ignatian staff for the wayfarer of the world, unafraid of the unknown. This is the most practical easily available human device to recognize one’s true well-being. ‘The still small voice within’ is inner compass that guides and directs our journey of life.

The second step is to invite our students to talk about it to one another. This is more audacious. When they get to talk to one another on what is going on within, they recognize each other and begin to trust one another. Such conversation brings them to a comfort level of sharing, moving away from the ‘inherited biases and prejudices’ to innovative relationship.  Perception of one’s inner journey and dialogue about one’s inner life and its emotional tone develop a depth and interiority that is amazing for the students. In the high-tech ‘virtual’ world of ours, there are numerous ways – be it what’sup, face-book, instagram – for the starter. The ‘adda’ begins there. From there we move on t

o the interior movements resulting from the stories; from that awareness, we share. In this sharing we introduce them to ‘active listening’: listening to the person speaking; to the tone and emotions in what is expressed; what is not expressed; listening with reverence. From there, we enable them to ‘intentional speaking’ speaking what one experiences interiorly, honestly and without judgement. One makes oneself vulnerable in speaking but also knows that one can trust each other.  ‘Jesuit adda Circles’ would distinguish our schools from others, where they excel in conversations that enable ‘active listening and intentional speaking’. Imagine that our TV anchors learn this from our schools!! How many hours we would have saved!! How much of harmony we would have built up!!!!

The three key words of  GC 36, namely integration, process and collaboration are most visibly enacted and contained in the mission of reconciliation; and it is in education that we can effectively put them into practice. We initiate our students into a process of integration of personal life and society that leads them to growing collaboration and thus promoting reconciliation to deal with conflicts. 

Conclusion: You are special; so also everyone else!

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a R20.00 note. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this R20 note?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this R20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple up the R20 note. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. Well, he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into

the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. Still the hands went into the air. My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth R20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you.

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE – Children of God.You are special- so is every one else. That is the recognition that we want to inculcate through Jesuit education. Stay Blessed and make others blessed!!!!!

 

11 Oct 2017 - 16:18

FR. JOSE MESA ADDRESSED THE DYANMATHA SCHOOL SANGNEMER, PUNE. 
I Am happy to be here. Thank you teachers what you do for people. Your campus is so good. You have enough of good students here with head and heart. School is not an entity of abuilding...but consist of human beings who love others.
Our dream is to work for others. We have to be men and women for others. We are at the service of humanity through reconciliation and peace building. Teaching is a beautiful profession. Through which we can touch the heart of students. So teachers are here to change the world...inspire students...make them good humanbeing. The first requirement to that is teachers to be be models for students. Be humble and honoured as teachers. Be like a Giraff....why?What is special of a giraff?
Jesuit education aims at making all like giraff...it is the tall animal. It has a tall figure and head held high. When we are tall our vision is wider, we see wholesome view.  Giraffe is not a narrow minded animal It cannot be. We have to be tall minded and brainy beings. Giraff also has a largest heart of all the animal. Since giraff is tallest it needs a poweful heart to pump up the blood to the head. It has a heary and a clever head. Jesuit education is aimed at strengthening these two faculties...head and heart. It helps us to develop head and heart...also our hand. In this school I see these three 'h's , head and heart and hand (skill) flourishing. You Jesuits and Teachers are the ones moulding them.
Let us make us all good humanbeings...thats the beauty and challenge for us as Jesuit school teachers.
But remember, Giraff has a problem. When they are together no one attacks, not even a lion. But if a giraff is alone it is vulnerable, and lion has a fest on it. So the message is clear...do not be alone. Work and walk together. Net work and collaborate well. Together we can achieve better results.
Today is Gandhijayanti...Gandhiji was a man like girraff...tall mind...strong heart and a man of value. A man who was a global citizen.
Be like him. Jesuit education will make all good, take all to be like Gandhiji.

Think globally...think big...be humans with good heart, hand and head. Thank you so much for all that you do. 
May God bless you.

Sunny Jacob SJ

2 Oct 2017 - 11:33

 

In partnership with the over 200 Jesuit colleges and universities globally, the Global Jesuit Case Series (GJCS) aims to produce and disseminate a series of business and social policy cases that embody the values of social justice, human dignity, moral leadership, and sustainability while also fostering organizational innovation and profitability. The aim is that the GJCS will act as an invaluable resource for faculty, students, and alumni.

The GJCS seeks to contribute to promoting leadership by enabling individuals around the globe to access cases rooted in Jesuit tradition. It also seeks to encourage collaboration and connect members across the global Jesuit network, taking advantage of the vast reach of Jesuit universities, institutions, students and alumni.

The Global Jesuit Case Series, together with the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools, Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and more than twenty individual institutions have developed the platform IgnitEd (Ignite + Education) to contribute to the global network of Jesuit institutions. The goal is to work toward common mission and values through a shared space to house programs and initiatives, conferences and professional development opportunities as well as curriculum resources for use in the classroom.  Examples of curriculum topics that can be found on the platform include:  strategy, human resources, technology & innovation, organizational behavior, finance & accounting, marketing & sales, ethics & social justice.

Global Jesuit Case Series (GJCS) together with the Society for Case Research (SCR) at Rockhurst University are currently inviting submissions to the first ever co-published edition of the Journal of Case Studies.

Cases submitted should seek to incorporate any of the following themes: Jesuit values, interdisciplinarity, triple bottom line, reflection on action, stakeholder approach to business decisions, sustainability and/or ethics.

For more information on what makes a GJCS case unique please visit:
https://www.ignited.global/about/gjcs

For more information contact Tracy Couto at coutotc@lemoyne.edu.

26 Sep 2017 - 19:08

The Vatican's Secretariat for Communications and the Society of Jesus signed a Convention on September 21, 2017.
Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, the Secretariat's Prefect, said, "This signing comes only a few days after the 100th birthday of Fr. Stefanizzi."
"Fr. Stefanizzi was the Director of Vatican Radio during the years of the Second Vatican Council, an event which needed to be recounted to those persons who understood neither Latin nor theology. From this point of view, therefore, Fr. Stefanizzi followed the model of ‘user first', putting primary focus, that is, on the users of communication, which is today the center of the Vatican Media reform desired by Pope Francis. Fr. Stefanizzi knew how to mediate what happened in the Council room with what people needed to know, so as to avoid a double reading of ‘inside' and ‘outside' the Council, often highlighted by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis," Msgr. Viganò said.
The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications also expressed gratitude, both his own and that of the whole dicastery, to the Society of Jesus, with which, during the last year and half, a process of discernment and rethinking has begun of the Jesuit's presence within, no longer Vatican Radio, but a much larger reality. With the signing of the Convention, the Society makes itself available to this service according to the apostolic mission of the world of communications. Msgr. Viganò also relayed the gratitude and satisfaction of the Pope for this new form of collaboration within the reform process.
"We are fulfilling," he concluded, "an act of obedience to the Holy Father regarding the criteria indicated by him. This new collaboration will bear much fruit because, when one lives in service to the Church, personal gratification is overcome. Service overcomes each of us, and the hope is that one's vocation can be lived ‘in God's way'. We are not only professionals but good professionals transfigured by the experience of the mystery of God."
"Times change," declared the delegate of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. "They are a part of the vocation of the Society of Jesus to serve the Church, as the Church requests. Our contribution in the field of communications makes us happy, because we can contribute to the reforms desired by the Holy Father."

Source: radiovaticana.va

25 Sep 2017 - 14:23

Stressing on the role of society and private and public institutions in nation-building, Kovind said, “Here I must note that the Christian community, whose history in India goes back 2,000 years and which has contributed so much to our shared culture, has carved a special role for itself in education"

Description: ram nath kovind, president ram nath kovind, ram nath kovind christians, christianity, indian express news, india news

Ram Nath Kovind said the Jesus and Mary College has contributed enormously to the cause of education, and for five decades, it has taught and prepared young women to break the glass ceiling, to achieve their potential, contribute to society and to the economy. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that the history of Christianity goes back 2,000 years in India, and that the Christian community has carved out a “special role for itself in education”. Speaking at the inaugural function of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Jesus and Mary College in Delhi, Kovind said that missionary institutions have become symbols of scholarship and academic excellence.

Stressing on the role of society and private and public institutions in nation-building, Kovind said, “Here I must note that the Christian community, whose history in India goes back 2,000 years and which has contributed so much to our shared culture, has carved a special role for itself in education. Missionary institutions such as this one have become symbols of scholarship, dedicated teaching and academic excellence.”

He said all religions in their essence urge people to constantly learn and evolve and grow, to acquire knowledge and gain wisdom. To drive home his point, the President quoted the Gospel: “In the Gospel, According to John, chapter eight, verse 12, Jesus is quoted as saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life’.”

Invoking the metaphor light as wisdom, he also quoted the Upanishads, “Asato ma sadgamaya, tamaso ma jyotirgamaya (Lead me from falseness to truth, lead me from darkness to light).” Kovind said the Jesus and Mary College has contributed enormously to the cause of education, and for five decades, it has taught and prepared young women to break the glass ceiling, to achieve their potential, contribute to society and to the economy.

He also said, “Education of girls is much more important than we realise. An educated girl contributes to the economy and at work. She also ensures that other children in her family, as well as the family she may be married into, are educated. The next generation is made responsible and educated through the education of girls.”

The President said the goal of education is not just to acquire knowledge. “It is much more critical to use the knowledge one gets from education to enhance welfare of the less-privileged among us.” “The truly educated are not those who collect degrees, but those who use those degrees and the underlying scholarship to become nation-builders,” he said.

Indian Express 

 

 

25 Sep 2017 - 06:50

Leafing through the many postulates of GC 36 and reading the responses to the Call of the King as initiated by Fr. Nicolas, one perceives ‘integration’ as the key word. Several postulates of GC 36 ask for an integration of life, mission and governance in the Society.

GC 36 discovers as it were, a paradigm of integration in the experience of the First Companions in Venice. “For the First Companions, life and mission, rooted in a discerning community, were profoundly inter-related. We Jesuits today are called to live in the same way, as priests, brothers and those in formation who all share the same mission…. We do so knowing the intimate unity of mission, life and discerning community, all afire with the love of Christ.” (D.1.No.5)

Integration requires a ‘Contemplative mind and heart’, spending time in silence, discovering the interior movements of the Spirit as we wade through daily chores, our mission engagements and our interactions in community and with larger society. In a fragmented world with multiple and fast moving images vying for our attention, to turn to the interior movements sounds like moving against the current. In fact ‘interiority’ provides us with inner compass to navigate through the sound and fury of our days with a direction.

Ignatius felt at home in the world because he had invented this inner compass of interiority, of listening to the movements of the Spirit. The process of interiority made him at home with ‘spaces’ that could have engulfed or alienated him. The ‘labouring God’ of Ignatius brings the world and self together in and through the interior movements of the Spirit. This audacious perspective led many Jesuits to the existential frontiers of their times. When we are at home with our inner space, then we are at home everywhere. ‘I am the key for integration’ because of a labouring God at work in me and everywhere.

George Pattery,sj

 

17 Sep 2017 - 18:27

(11-Sep-2017)

The inscrutable and untranslatable Roman Curial expression - Tempo forte - of Father General's enlarged council, happened again in the mild warm weather of September. It has infused fresh air into us all.
‘Imaginative leadership and strategic thinking' sum up the spirit of the proceedings. ‘Imagination' is a key word for Ignatius; probably in our usual dichotomous way of thinking, we forget to apply imagination to governance; similarly, Ignatius was strategic in his ways, including that of the Spiritual Exercises - strategy of initiating a process of transformation that is unending; a strategy of initiating a team that would share a universal vision. Strategic thinking introduces more than logical arguments.
In the Tempo forte, we discussed ways and means of initiating processes to involve the Society in apostolic planning and in reorganizing the central governance - both of them mandated by GC 36. While accessing models available around us, we searched for refreshing ways through ‘spiritual conversations' engaging both heart and mind to listen to our interior movements and to share views and perspectives.
It appears to me, that different dimensions of reconciliation are emerging. Reconciliation that remains the over-arching thrust of our mission aligning life-mission (a hyphenated expression favoured by Father General). In a world where a ‘normalization of hatred ideology' and a polarization in the name of religion, is prevalent, reconciliation is being retrieved even by civil society (including the world of art) as a viable response - revisiting the experiment of the ‘half-naked fakir' (Mahatma Gandhi)! ‘Servants of Reconciliation and Justice' is a challenge and an opportunity for us to mend our binary ways.
The urgency and freshness of our ways is promising. The six Conferences in the Society are moving, probably at six different ‘paces', underlining the variety and the richness of plurality of the creative Spirit - that is the conclusion, we, the six presidents arrived at, at the end of a separate meeting of the conference presidents.

12 Sep 2017 - 13:22

The Karwan today reached Delhi to meet thousands of people, including widows of the 1984 Sikh massacre, before proceeding to Gandhi’s samadhi.

Karwan-E-Mohabbat in Delhi

Karwan-E-Mohabbat in Delhi. Credit: KeM

Reading stories of hate crimes committed in the last few years is stomach-churning. It revives nightmares of reporting in Gujarat 2002. A report we wrote called ‘the Survivors Speak‘ recorded the atrocities, rapes and genocide. We’ve all read similar stories about Rwanda and Kosovo. Not just gory murders but gruesome, vile, heinous new methods of torturing victims. The ‘selfie’ addicts cannot resist gleefully video recording their crimes. They delight in recording their victims last moments, the blood, the anguish, the pleading for their lives to be spared.

It’s why Harsh Mander, former civil servant and activist writer, and his ‘Karwan e Mohabbat‘, feel it is important to stop the spread of hate in any form. Suspicion, distrust and generic hatred for the ‘other’ were not a part of the Indian psyche in spite of sporadic riots, even a decade ago.

When the BJP came to power under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I thought ‘great. We need a strong opposition.’ There were several brilliant minds with the BJP then. ‘That will also help the country,’ I reasoned.


Also read: Finding Hate, Despair and Hope on the ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat’


Yet, coming face to face with the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 uncovered the fact that this pogrom was a cold blooded, well thought out, pre-planned affair. The question that came to my mind most frequently was, with so many smart people in the party, why would they reduce India to a Kosovo-Rwanda sort of scenario? Do they not see that everyone will be hurt? That our nation, famed for ‘unity in diversity’, will be ruined? The phrase ‘cry the  beloved country’, resonated in my brain like a broken record.

Harish Poojari

Harish Poojari. Credit: KeM

In coastal Karnataka, near Mangalore, Harish Poojari, a young Hindu boy went out to buy milk for the family. The shop was a three-minute walk away. His mother had already started boiling the water for chai, expecting her son to be back in a few minutes. Poojari made the fatal mistake of accepting a ride back from the shop from Samirullah, a Muslim friend. The three-minute bike ride cost him his life. A group of fanatic men, allegedly from the Bajrang Dal, blocked the bike and attacked the two boys. Samirullah survived the multiple knife wounds. Poojari, stabbed 14 times, his intestines pulled out, died, probably instantaneously. His heartbroken cancer-ridden father died two months later. They were a desperately poor family, who rolled bidis for a living.

In Ranchi, Jharkhand, where Adivasis had never been part of communal tensions, coal trader Ansari, left for work in his car. His 17-year-old son received a terrifying WhatsApp video of his father being lynched by a mob. Jumping on to his bike, the dazed boy crashed. He called his brother who rushed to the scene with their mother. They found their car overturned and gutted in the centre of the marketplace. Their father’s blood stains covered the ground. He lay dead in the police station.

Almost more shocking, since lynching and murder appear to be the new normal, is the fact that the family can watch the video of their father’s murder. The young criminals consider themselves patriots. They’ve video taped it with glee. One boy turned the dying man’s face to the camera to get a ‘better shot’. The horror of mob violence and vigilante-ism seems not to have penetrated the mindset of a large part of our population. How can such violence and hatred be condoned under any pretext?

Creating a chasm between Sarna Adivasis and Christian Adivasis is another new strategy that can only lead to more chaos and mindless murders. I abhor the conversion of simple, illiterate people to Christianity by offering them inducements, the so-called ‘rice Christians’. However, the Indian constitution offers religious freedom to all. As someone pointed out in a comment, the same Indians who want equal rights in Britain and the US, wish to curb minority rights back home in India. Even the might of the British Empire could not manage to convert more than 2% of the population to Christianity. But facts and statistics are not important.


Also read: Amid Growing Communalism, ‘Karwan-e-Mohabbat’ Aims to Spread Message of Peace


Today, September 11, the Karwan meets thousands of people in Delhi. A trip will be made to the widows of the 1984 Sikh massacre to remember those senselessly killed and for whom justice remains a distant dream, over 30 years later. The Karean will proceed to Gandhiji’s samadhi, prayers, poems and songs will be offered to honour the memory of all those martyred so tragically because they were different. Because they shared different beliefs, different faiths, even different food.

Karwan-E-Mohabbat

Karwan-E-Mohabbat in Delhi. Credit: KeM

Hope, however, comes in the middle of heart wrenching tragedy and grief. In Jharkhand, a small band of Sikhs who settled in Ramgarh after partition, invited the Karwan to their gurdwara. They recalled the two epidemics of hate that engulfed and destroyed their lives twice. In 1947 after Partition and in 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. They read from the holy Sikh scriptures of Guru Nanak and Kabir. Messages that exhorted peace, harmony, solidarity and love.

In Giridih, there was a replay of a vicious lynching of Usman, an old Muslim man. The gory details don’t bear repetition. There’s a sameness to them, from Junaid, to Akhlaq, from Dadri to Assam to Mangalore. The man has received no financial help from the state government or indeed from anyone. His son has lost his mind, traumatised by the fact that neighbours could do this to his father.

Karwan-E-Mohabbat in Delhi

Karwan-E-Mohabbat in Delhi. Credit: KeM

The only silver lining, if one could possibly call it that, lies in the fact that a brave young district commissioner risked facing the wrath of a stone pelting mob to whisk the old man to safety. The mob had planned to set his unconscious body ablaze.

The Karwan will after a break, visit Mhow, Ambedkar’s birthplace and end on October 2 in Porbandar. My hope is that with the heinous silencing of Gauri Lankesh, more young people will respond to calls for a peace movement and stop the spread of the cancerous hate which threatens to destroy India.

We must salute all those people who have decided to stop being mute spectators and climb on the bandwagon to rescue our country from hate-mongers and those who seek to destroy the peace and harmony which is at the core of all major religions in India. May their tribe increase.

Mari Marcel Thekaekara is an activist who writes on social issues.

11 Sep 2017 - 19:29

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