“Be what you are; give what you have.” It is with this
quote from the poet Rose Ausländer that Fr. Bernard Bürgler, who has been
chosen to be the provincial superior of the future Central European Province
(ECE,) begins the letter to his companions on the occasion of his appointment.
These few words inspired him, as did the very beginning of the same poem: “Throw
your fear into the air.” It is both challenging and encouraging; it is a call
to embrace life, a life of trust.
On the feast of St. Ignatius, Father General announced
the appointment of Bernhard Bürgler. He is currently Provincial of the Province
of Austria. On 27 April 2021, he will be Provincial of a much larger territory
encompassing the four current Provinces of Austria, Germany, Lithuania and
Switzerland. The creation of this new administrative unit comes as no surprise:
its birth will follow several years of preparation. In the eyes of Fr. Bürgler,
it is a necessity if the Jesuits want to give flesh to their institutions and
activities in view of a service that responds to the needs of our times and
considering their limited resources. In this sense, he sees transnational
collaboration as a source of openness and opportunities.
In his letter to the future Provincial of the
ECE and to the Jesuits of that region, Fr. Arturo Sosa stresses that the
mission of the Society of Jesus has been from the beginning universal,
transcending geographical and linguistic boundaries. “The structure of the
Order, he insists, is to facilitate its mission.” He hopes that the new
Province can live in the spirit of the Universal
Apostolic Preferences and wishes the Provincial energy and vigour, but also
faith and serenity.