novice master in Haiti, what can you tell us about the young people you
received in the novitiate? About their motivations, their strengths and
The young people who want to enter the Society are
children of their country. And the country is going through a great crisis. The
challenge is to help these young men to maintain the memory of their origins
and to develop the zeal to serve their fellow compatriots, overcoming certain
desires, even unconscious, to find in consecrated religious life an opportunity
for personal privilege.
The fact that
you were a “foreigner,” was it a particular challenge for you and for the
novices? Were there cultural differences to be taken into account?
I suppose so. This is the challenge of inculturation. But
the path of encounter is always one of dialogue. Of course, the Jesuit who
comes from elsewhere must know how to respect the local culture, but the
foreigner also brings a new perspective that can help to broaden the vision of
the very reality of the country.
Many will have
heard about the misadventure that happened to you at the very end of your stay
in Haiti. You were the victim of a kidnapping - the work of one of the gangs
currently operating in the country. How did you experience those days of
wants to be a victim of violence. But when it happens, you can reap a lot of
benefits. I received this episode as a spiritual gift, because it helped me
grow in faith, hope and love. I had never felt so accompanied, first by the
Lord himself, and by my Jesuit companions, by my family and friends. I knew
that people were there praying for me, and this gave me great inner strength.
At the same time, the four days and nights I spent in the hands of the criminal
gang gave me the opportunity to feel more closely united with all the victims
of the violence ravaging the country. The Lord gave me the grace to be in
concrete solidarity and brotherhood with the people who face the same risk