To be “Socius” is to serve in loyalty and simplicity
The Jesuit world uses its own vocabulary that is sometimes not very accessible to outsiders. For example, the word “Socius”. The Provincial Superior always has a “Socius”, as does the Master of novices. From November 6-11, at the General Curia, a session was offered to a number of Socii from different Provinces. Among them was Guy Savi, from the Province of French-speaking West Africa. We asked him two questions.
Guy Savi, how do you understand your function as “Socius of the Provincial”? How do you see this role as more than just “bureaucratic”?
Thank you for this opportunity to share something about my mission. I would first like to thank our Provincial, Fr. Mathieu Ndomba, who has shown confidence in me by calling me to help him as Socius in the mission that the Society has entrusted to him. After a year in this position, beyond all the administrative workload, I perceive more and more my mission as essentially characterized by loyalty. This is what seems to me the most important. I understand this loyalty and I try to live it in the perspective of creative fidelity. More concretely, it is a matter of listening to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, who teaches us true discernment in view of the mission of Christ.
As Socius, I am also a Provincial Consultor - to advise the Provincial in the decisions he has to take - and Provincial Admonitor - to support him on a more personal level. Loyalty understood and lived from the perspective of creative fidelity helps me to keep in mind some key principles of the Formula of the Institute: to serve God alone and the Roman Pontiff as his vicar on earth (Formula of the Institute, n°1).
short, the loyalty that I try to live out on a daily basis as Socius invites me
to help the Provincial to achieve the goal that the Society seeks, so that in
all things God may be served more fully, including in the service of the Holy
During this session of information and formation, what has surprised you, encouraged you, helped you? And what will you bring back from Rome to Africa... at the level of your work, but also perhaps in your heart?
This question inspires me with one word: demystification. I remember the day I arrived at the General Curia. It was the early morning of Saturday, November 5th. The weather was cold. Father Barnabé Ramahatradraibe, Secretary for the Assistancy of Africa and Madagascar, welcomed me heartily at the door of the Curia. This warmed me up in a Rome that is on the verge of winter. Then he invited me to breakfast, and there I found myself with Father General. This was the first opportunity I had to meet him. I think that I was not expecting to see him, at least not in the context of a banal activity like breakfast. I was impressed by his simplicity. This is what I think demystified the idea I may have had, subconsciously or consciously, of the General Curia. This feeling of simplicity between us ran through the whole week of formation. When I came, I thought we were going to go through the Practica Quaedam, a kind of manual, with the long list of administrative procedures that one has to follow. But from the first session with Fr. Antoine Kerhuel, Secretary of the Society, I understood that it was more a question of immersing myself in the spirit of “our way of proceeding”.
am happy to have taken part in this session because it has helped me answer the
question that occupies me as a Socius: that of the Jesuit identity. It is,
beyond procedures, a matter of spirit, of a Jesuit way of proceeding that is
characteristic of our mission-identity. I am returning to my Province, in
Africa, with the idea that my mission to the Provincial is to work more on the
Mission and the Union of Hearts, the two great aspects that run through our Constitutions from the beginning to the
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