Education and social commitment: Father General in Děčín

In the very north of the Czech Republic, close to the border with Germany, stands a work of the Society of Jesus, the Nativity School of Děčín. This border region has suffered the negative effects of treaties between the great powers, particularly during the 20th century. The social welfare and development of the inhabitants have not been the priority of the political actors. These were neglected. It was in this context that in 2008 the Jesuits chose to open a secondary school in Děčín. This is known as a ‘middle school’, and brings together young people aged 11 to 15, with a curriculum covering grades 6 to 9.

On Wednesday 15 November, Father General visited the students at this school, which is at the same time an educational and a social project of the Society of Jesus in the Czech Republic. The Superior General took the time to meet the school’s staff and to emphasise how important it is for the Society of Jesus to provide education for young people from less privileged backgrounds.


This is how Fr Jan Adamik, the president of the corporation, described this Catholic NGO.

“The model for our school was inspired by the NativityMiguel schools in the USA. The Jesuits founded the first school, the Nativity Mission Center, in 1971 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. The NativityMiguel Coalition has grown to 50 member schools across the United States and Canada. Outside of these two countries, there exists one school in Africa and one in Europe, in our country, the Czech Republic.

The Nativity School in Děčín has been crucial for the preservation and development of the educational charism of the Czech Jesuits and for formation of their collaborators in God’s mission as committed Catholic leaders. It is one of a very few Catholic institutions in the region other than parishes and forms part of the broader Jesuit mission work in the area. It passes on Catholic values to both the students and the staff and their families in a very dechristianised Northern Bohemia. The school focuses mainly on young teenagers who are motivated and talented but, for various reasons (social background, family conditions, dysfunctions, etc.) do not find in public schools what they need to develop their abilities.


Each class also welcomes a few students who are facing special challenges and need a safe and accepting environment. Classes of only 15 kids enable mutual trust and personal attention. The school includes afternoon club activities so that the time spent in the school environment is much longer than in regular secondary institutions.

Teachers and other staff of the school are there to pass on Catholic values and to motivate, inspire and teach the students. This is achieved through the academic curriculum, of course, but also because the whole project is designed to guide them in their human and spiritual growth.

Last September, a new school Principal, Mgr. Luboš Hošek, joined Nativity. When asked why he chose to get involved in this particular school, he answered: “Why? I have only taught here for a short time, but I can clearly see that the children here are different. I like the fact that they react differently mainly in their relationships with the teachers. The kids’ ways of being reflect their understanding that the teachers strive to offer them not only academic skills but also a deeper, friendly relationship. Many of the students consider one of their teachers as a mentor.”

It is worth mentioning that the Principal of the school starts each one of his days with this simple prayer: ‘Jesus, may You be the Principal of this school’. He encourages other teachers to pray in the same way.”

[Photos by František Ingr - Člověk a víra Association]

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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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