JRS volunteers in Greece reveal themselves
Who are you?
• My name is Amans Estivals, a 21-year-old Frenchman, who has studied political science for three years. I have been surrounded by Jesuits, in the EYM (Eucharistic Youth Movement) for 12 years: a very beautiful experience.
• I am Corentin Capelle, 23 years old, from Belgium. I know the Jesuits because my parents are part of the CLC (Christian Life Community.) My parents are very generous: for two years we have been receiving refugees in our home, including an “unaccompanied minor” who is part of the family. I did a retreat in a Jesuit center which led me to a Parisian association - also Jesuit - INIGO. It prepares volunteers for international projects.
• My name is Chiraz Haddad, 21 years old, from the Paris area, with Algerian (my mother) and Lebanese (my father) origins. I studied applied foreign languages at the Catholic Institute of Paris where they offer a one-year degree in international solidarity. My internship here is part of that.
• My name is Mariam Ammann and I am 19 years old. My mother is Egyptian and my father is partly Lebanese and partly German. I wanted to take a break from studying... which became longer than I expected because I had to wait for one year due to Covid.
What have you learned at JRS-Greece?
I didn’t learn so much about welcoming migrants - I had been doing that during the formation session - but rather about the importance of caring. I’m talking here about human kindness. In people who have been through very hard stuff, you find very beautiful things. I also learned that you can have all the ambition in the world, but you cannot change everything in a few seconds: you do what you can!
It’s a leap into the heart of reality, into the experience of refugees. You learn by sharing with them. Then, what strikes me is that the children as well as the adults have an extraordinary resilience, a strength to move forward despite all the obstacles: it makes me grow. Finally, without means or money, they have a great sense of hospitality. “The essential is invisible to the eye,” the Little Prince said.
I was struck by the solidarity found in this Jesuit centre and with the religious organisations. All the people I have met here have this willingness to give without any return. People come here to give: I find it a beautiful way to live religion. The experience of living with people like that is very rich. I have also learned a lot about migrants and that the important thing is to express my solidarity with them, to give them what I can.
I felt - this is something we know but that I had never touched so closely - how unfair the world is nowadays. When you work with people who don’t count in the eyes of society, who are mistreated, you feel overwhelmed when you see how little you can do. But I have seen that these people never lose hope: that is extraordinary!
And what else?
I have an idea: to start a sports project with migrants, especially adult men. JRS has focused a lot on women and children - who are the most vulnerable - but we realize that the men are bored... and when they are bored...
This one-year experience will change me; it will affect my vision and my actions. For the moment, the important thing is to be present for these people who need someone on their side.
Personal attention is the best thing you can do, to see them as brothers and sisters, to see them as equal to you.
What strikes me is the trust that the migrants show us. In Victoria Square, they put their babies in our arms and go to buy what their family needs. There is a strong connection between them and us and it is fantastic!
We pulled one representative from each of six Conferences and asked them for their thoughts about representing their brothers at CP71. Fr. J. Lourdu Xavier represents the Dumka-Raiganj Province (DUM). Fr. Thierry Anne represents the French Speaking European Province (EOF).
For most of the world, Syria has become a synonym for war, violence, and death. But despite everything, the Jesuits never left Syria. The life of the Catholic community in Homs is only possible thanks to the brave spirit of Jesuit priests...
The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa, has appointed Fr. Peter Gallagher (66) to be the next Superior Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain with effect from 1st September 2023.
The Holy Father, as is customary, meets with ‘local’ Jesuits, this time with us, Hungarian Jesuits. The meeting started on Saturday evening a few minutes after six o’clock and lasted about an hour and a half. What characterised our meeting?
Father Arturo Sosa, the Superior General, visited the British Province for a few days during Easter week. As mentioned earlier, the Province is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. The General was delighted to travel to the United Kingdom for the first time...
The musical song Camino - Christ, you are my future has been selected as the official song of Pope Francis’ visit to Hungary, from the 28th to the 30th of April. It was written by well-known Hungarian artists and just released in a video clip format and symphonic version.