Fr. José Mesa SJ visits India and addresses Jesuits in the Goa and Pune provinces

Rev. José Mesa SJ, the International Secretary for Education of the Society of Jesus, addressed the Jesuits in Goa on September 29th an in Pune on October 1st. 

Fr. Mesa briefly introduced the work of the Secretariat for Education, which was created just after the GC 31 by the General to promote the educational work and the renewal of Jesuit Education. Today one of its main aims is to promote the Network of Jesuit Schools all over the world.

He reminded us the following about our tradition of Jesuit Education. 

  • The first Jesuits did not think about education but they very soon discovered the immense apostolic possibilities of schooling.
  • With enthusiasm, they embraced this ministry in a way that nobody had done before.
  • We still strongly believe that education allows us to serve our mission in a very qualified and unique way.
  • As John O’Malley SJ says, schools allow us to enter in dialogue with the secular world in a way that we don’t have with any other form of ministry.
  • But, our tradition is a living tradition and we should have the same courage and generosity that our forerunners – education is a very dynamic field with new possibilities.
  • Lay-Jesuit collaboration has opened for us great possibilities even with our diminishing numbers. We are expanding all over the world, contributing a lot to the betterment of the world…
  • Therefore, training in our Identity and Mission is the key factor for us today. We cannot ignore this factor at any cost.

He then highlighted some of the international events the ICAJE has sponsored during the last decade. We had the Boston Colloquium in 2012, which created awareness that we are an international network. Many participated in it and adhered to the major decisions of the Colloquium. SIPEI, Manresa, 2014, allowed us to talk about our concerns and the possibilities of working together. Special awareness of the need to renew our pedagogy and especially the innovation in the classroom came into focus at SIPEI. The next major event organized by the ICAJE is JESEDU-Rio 2017.  Delegates, Jesuit Education Delegates and Coordinators of the Jesuit provinces come together for this important international meeting to work together on a common strategic framework for our global network. It is time to WORK – to walk the talk…

At the international level, we have EDUCATE MAGIS – the online project, which provides our schools with a virtual platform to be able to work together. It is a great opportunity for all the schools. He invited all stakeholders to register on Educate Magis and contribute to the growth of the global community. It is an immense treasure of Jesuit resources, interactive community, and a great opportunity for all to work together as a corporate body. He mentioned about the New document: “The new signs of the times”, which is being prepared by ICAJE. After the IPP this document will be a new breakthrough for us. Another development is a Master’s certificate in Jesuit/Ignatian Education Pedagogy. Networking for those working with the poor is a major goal and it needs the cooperation of all. A lot of creativity and innovation welled up especially in education for the poor: Fe y Alegria, Cristo Rey model, Nativity model etc., which inspire us to create newer models in other areas too… What we Jesuits need is a change of mindset.  It is very positive that there is an increasing awareness of our potential as a  Global Network of Jesuit schools. 

Our major Challenge today is this. Exploring and creating new models of Jesuit education. Developing our international network of schools. We will take this seriously and it is also Fr. General’s call to the Society. Let us all follow the GC 36 concerns seriously and Discern and Plan for our educational apostolate all over the world. Let Networking be our goal and thrust area now. Together we can learn, teach and gain.

He thanked the wonderful work our predecessors did for us and now we are carrying forward.