Preserving history, embracing tomorrow: Innsbruck Jesuits harness sun

Pope Francis is publishing, on 4 October - Feast of St. Francis of Assisi - an apostolic exhortation (a letter to the Catholic faithful and to all men and women of good will) as a follow up to his Encyclical Laudato si’ (2015). In many places, the Jesuits have already responded to Francis’ appeal to care for the environment. Here is one example, from Austria.

By Lumnesh Kumar, SJ

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of Innsbruck in Austria, the historical Jesuit College has long stood as a testament to the enduring spirit of knowledge, faith, and progress. Today, it etches yet another momentous chapter in its storied history, as it embraces solar power and leads the charge towards sustainable energy.

For centuries, the venerable walls of the Collegium Canisianum have witnessed the pursuit of knowledge, the nurturing of young minds, and the cultivation of a deep-rooted sense of community. Rooted in tradition and guided by Jesuit principles, the community has continually adapted to the evolving needs of the times.


With the installation of one of the state’s largest residential photovoltaic systems, generating an impressive 120 KW peak, they are poised to cover a remarkable one third of their electricity consumption through solar energy. Aligning with Pope Francis’ call in Laudato si’ to protect and cherish our planet, and in harmony with the Society of Jesus’ Universal Apostolic Preference, the College follows the way towards a more sustainable future.

The challenges faced during the installation of the solar panels mirror the resilience and determination that have always characterized the Jesuit community. While preserving the historical integrity of the College and its surroundings, they deftly overcame hurdles, paving the way for a brighter and cleaner tomorrow.


In the eyes of Fr. Christian Marte, the Rector of the College, this milestone achievement is not just about harnessing solar energy but also represents a profound expression of ecological and economic sustainability, contributing to a broader movement towards comprehensive and lasting positive change. The vision of solar panels gracing the roofs of churches is, indeed, a glimpse into a future where renewable energy is integrated seamlessly into our daily lives.

On a momentous day, coinciding with the feast of St. Ignatius, the newly installed photovoltaic facility was blessed and set into motion, its presence will serve the Jesuit Church, Youth Center, Collegium Canisianum, workshops, Novitiate, and Jesuit Community. It will remain as a constant reminder of the College’s unwavering dedication to leaving a positive impact on the world and symbolizing the Jesuits’ commitment to embrace sustainable practices and reduce their carbon footprint.

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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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