The corridor of visitors’ rooms at the General Curia began to come alive again in November. Among the guests, 14 new Major Superiors (Provincials or Regional Superiors) are now completing a two-week formation and information programme. Almost a third of them come from South Asia, another third from different parts of Europe, but the Conferences of Asia-Pacific, Canada and the USA, Africa and Latin America are also represented.
You may think that those who are chosen by Father General to be Major Superiors of the Jesuits of their Provinces and Regions are experienced men who already know almost everything about the Society and its “ways of proceeding”. But no! The programme or the “colloquium” - the traditional name given to these two weeks - is intense. It includes visits to the various departments of the Curia. Above all, it covers over a dozen themes including:
• Good practices for personal meetings with the Jesuits of their Provinces/Regions and how to make fruitful ‘Visitations’ of works and communities;
• Correspondence with Father General, the Curia, the Treasurer’s Office and other of the Society;
• Canonical matters, but also an important session, in act a whole day, on promoting a culture of safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults;
• Vocation promotion, the formation of Jesuits and the call to Final Vows.
A prayerful framework encompasses the whole programme. Father General himself offered reflections for prayer at the beginning of the “colloquium”. Several of the occasions for sharing during the sessions were done following the guidelines for Spiritual Conversation. The last day is proposed as a day of recollection, led by James Hanvey, the Secretary for the Service of Faith.
We gathered the testimonies from three of the participants, as they were halfway through the experience. Here is what they shared with us.