To one end of the chapel is an altar
and a statue of Ignatius, perhaps in the same corner where the man huddled centuries
ago. All Jesuits know the story. We’ve heard and reflected upon it thousands of
times throughout our lives, but to see it - to be in the same sacred space
where Ignatius recovered, raged, reconciled, converted, and finally accepted -
is to feel not just the history of the room, but its call today to those who
come seeking consolation and clarity.
Above the altar, on one of the great
beams is an inscription, both in Basque and Spanish, reading: “AQVI SE ENTREGÓ A DIOS INIGO DE LOYOLA”, - “Here, Ignatius
of Loyola surrendered to God”. Truly, it is surrender that this room demands.
The delegates of CP71 are invited to bring in their desires and expectations
for the Congregation the wisdom that they carry from months of listening to
their Jesuit brothers and lay colleagues. But as they enter the room they are
asked - just as was Ignatius - to be prepared to surrender: to be converted, to
let expectations fall away and see not just themselves or their Provinces, but
the needs of the Worldwide Society of Jesus, and the Church it serves.
Centuries ago, the Chapel of
Conversion was the place where St. Ignatius answered God’s call to set the
world on fire. Today, that room is where his sons go forth to keep that fire
* Robert Ballecer is a Jesuit priest working in the Communications
department of the Jesuit Curia in Rome. He is part of the team covering the 71st
Congregation of Procurators.