This openness is also
happening little by little in other fields of the apostolate. For example, the
spirituality center of Penboc’h, in Brittany, has just been re-founded with the
project of welcoming disabled people or people in precarious social situations
as well as executives from the business world. The Magis house, which we
have just inaugurated in the heart of Paris, welcomes students for pastoral
activities, young professionals who practice coworking and asylum seekers
seeking integration. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has promoted the
reception and accommodation of asylum seekers in families and, consequently,
also in quite a few of our communities.
Together with this, our
Province has been marked by the commitment of working priests since the 1960s.
Through their work, their commitment to labor unions and their place of
residence, some Jesuit companions joined those who were at the bottom of the
social ladder and from whom the Church was far away. Today they are retired,
they are elderly; some still work as volunteers in associations. The
inheritance that they have left us consists of a few small community insertions
in social housing in very working-class neighborhoods. Living there are
companions who often have another mission, sometimes in the parish of the
district or participating in local associations, and, in the Paris region, some
Jesuit scholastics. The gratuitousness of the daily presence, the simplicity of
this way of life and the proximity to the excluded allow us to interact with
them and learn to see the world from their point of view.
meet these people in their neighborhoods is a challenge for our Province, since
most of the Jesuit companions, due to their mission, are mainly associated with
well-to-do or very well-to-do social milieus. The great weakness of
Christianity in popular environments, the decrease in our numbers, the concern
to train elites and many other factors have led us to this situation.
Here are two movements of the social apostolate of our Province: on the
one hand, to try to include these people in our communities and institutions,
in order to allow them to recover a link with the established society; on the
other hand, for some Jesuit companions, to live simply in their neighborhoods
or to have a principal social activity working for their integration and for
greater justice in society.
[Article from "Jesuits - The Society of Jesus in the world - 2020", by Jérôme Gué SJ]