Inside the Congregation: Missionaries

Even before the foundation of the Society of Jesus, missionary work has been part of the charism that would come to guide the Jesuits. From Ignatius of Loyola, after his conversion when he vowed to spend his life in the Holy Land, to Francis Xavier ministering to Asia, to Matteo Ricci laying the foundations of the Jesuit missions in China, to the generations of Jesuits who have gone to the corners of the Earth to spread the Gospel, “going forth” is part of our institutional DNA. There is something commendable, inspiring, even romantic about those who are willing to leave behind the world they know, and embrace the unknown for the greater good - trusting that their faith and their training will be enough to do what they must do.

While the modern world doesn’t hold as much mystery as did the one into which the Society of Jesus was born, that missionary spirit still drives modern Jesuits. A mission may no longer be a one-way-trip into the unknown with nothing more than the knowledge and training that a missionary carries, but the contemporary Society of Jesus still asks its members to be ready and willing to undertake any work for the betterment of the Church, Society, and the people they serve.


Jesuits today still leave behind the comforts of the cultures they know in order to minister to those in need. They still accept missions with no clear path to success - that require skill, training and cunning to accomplish. They still take on the work that others are unwilling or unable to do. In short, though the modern Jesuit CAN return home, the Missionary Spirit is always redefining what “home” means.

At CP71, we were able to speak with Fr. Erik John Gerilla SJ of the Philippine Province. Since 2008 he has accepted multiple missions to Timor-Leste, with the most recent being to the Parish of Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Railaco. Fr. Erik is a modern missionary, fully aware of the challenges of mission, and fully embracing that the Society asks of him.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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