New Provincials – New Ideas

From time to time, you may notice on our website the announcement of the appointment of new Major Superiors by Father General. At the Curia, two or three times a year, the new Provincials are gathered for a detailed presentation of the functions of the various services of the Society at the universal level. At present, eight of them are taking part in this “School for Provincials”. We asked them to introduce themselves and tell us in a few words what their expectations were as participants in this session.

Fr Enric Puiggròs Llavinés, SJ Fr Enric Puiggròs Llavinés, SJ

Enric Puiggròs Llavinés, Province of Spain (ESP)

I took over on 17 June 2023. Before being a Provincial I was the Delegate of the Provincial in Catalonia. Before that, I was for 8 years vocation director of the Province. Since the beginning of my apostolic life, I have been involved in youth ministry and spiritual accompaniment.

My main challenge is to lead the Province with enthusiasm and hope, being aware of the diminishing number of Jesuits. We have to revise the number (and size) of the Jesuit communities, as well as reimagine our presence in the network of our institutions. My hope these days is to familiarize myself with all the officials in Rome. This is a great help for the daily rhythm at the Province level. Knowing each other certainly makes us more efficient.

Thierry Dobbelstein, Province of French-speaking Western Europe (EOF)

I took up my duties on 31 July 2023. Before that date: 17 years as a teacher (math, science, religion) in the Jesuit secondary school in Liège (Belgium) and 6 years as Socius to the Provincial (Brussels then Paris).

The challenges for me: encouraging a common spirit and mobility in a Province that spans five different countries; participating in the formation of a hundred or so young Jesuits from all five continents, thanks to the Facultés Loyola Paris and a network of local communities (despite diminishing human resources); listening to each companion and discerning the mission that suits him and contributes to the greater good.

Fr Thierry Dobbelstein, SJ Fr Thierry Dobbelstein, SJ
Fr John Kobina Ghansah, SJ Fr John Kobina Ghansah, SJ

John Kobina Ghansah, North-West Africa Province (ANW)

I was appointed on 29 June 2023. Before that, I was Socius to the Provincial (4 years), Rector of Hekima University College in Nairobi, Kenya (6 years), and novice master for one year.

I face a couple of challenges: one is to understand Ignatian Planning so as to lead the Province through that process as the previous plan is nearing its end. I am looking for new ways of improving the process and involving our lay collaborators. The other challenge is around the issues of the Society’s laws regarding various aspects of our life, including, but not limited to, areas of delicts. I am also looking for ways to empower and strengthen those who are committed to our mission.

Thomas Amirtham, Madurai Province (MDU)

I assumed office on 11 June 2023. Prior to the appointment, I taught Sociology at a Higher Education Institution. I also served as a Province Treasurer for 5 years.

Some of the major challenges I face are: a) Encouraging our men to be available for pioneering ministries; b) Shifting Jesuits from administration to animation in educational institutions; c) Expanding the role of collaborators through sustained training for them. From our session in Rome, I hope to gain a better understanding of the above areas through my contacts and sharing with my fellow Major Superiors as well as through my interaction with Jesuits here in the Curia.

Fr Thomas Amirtham, SJ Fr Thomas Amirtham, SJ
Fr Jocelyn Rabeson, SJ Fr Jocelyn Rabeson, SJ

Jocelyn Rabeson, Province of Madagascar (MDG)

I was appointed on 19 December 2022 and took over the leadership of the Province on 31 July 2023. Until April last year, I had been working for the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) for seventeen years. I was a librarian and a theology professor at Hekima University College in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2006 to 2018, then Rector of the Jesuit community and lecturer at the Institut de Théologie de la Compagnie de Jésus (ITCJ) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 2018 to 2023.

The main challenge for me, right now, is to get to know the Province after being away from it for a long time. It thus requires a lot of listening with patience and love. This workshop at the Curia is really important in assessing or examining what I have done so far, and in learning more about the governance and leadership in the Society through the different inputs and the sharing with other fellow Provincials.

Sebastian Šujević, Province of Croatia (CRO)

I was appointed Provincial on 29 June 2023. Before that, I was the director of our Jesuit classical gymnasium (secondary school) in Osijek, chaplain for students, and spiritual assistant of Charis Croatia.

As a Maior Superior, some of the challenges I am facing are: having enough time so that, together with each member of the Province and each community, we can hear where the Holy Spirit is leading us; then the reconstruction of two large buildings/complexes that were damaged during an earthquake and give them a new meaning, a vision within our mission; more broadly, the renewal of the spirit in a time of exhaustion, reduction in the number of companions and of new vocations. I think that this meeting at the Curia will help me by passing on experiences, tried-and-tested knowledge and solutions, and above all by strengthening my faith, hope, and love for my Jesuit brothers and our mission.

Fr Sebastian Šujević, SJ Fr Sebastian Šujević, SJ
Fr James Arjen Tete, SJ Fr James Arjen Tete, SJ

James Arjen Tete, Calcutta Province (CCU)

I was appointed on 26 July 2023. My major commitments before becoming Provincial were: minister and Professor in Parasmani Regional Theologate, Santiniketan (2008-2011); lecturer and reader in theology at Jnana Deepa, Pune (2015-2021), and Conference Secretary for integral formation (2021 till August 2023) in Delhi. I attended the Congregation of Procurators in Spain as the elected Procurator from the Calcutta Province.

The main challenge for me, as a Major Superior, is to help the Jesuits of the Province grow in inner freedom so as to avoid a spiritual crisis that could arise from misplaced loyalties. I am hopeful that the sessions in the Curia will enhance my skills of cura apostolica and cura personalis, establishing my leadership on the solid foundations of faith, fervour, and fruitfulness.

Tsutomu Sakuma, Province of Japan (JPN)

I took office on 1 June 2023. Before this, I was Chancellor of Sophia School Corporation, the supervising body of a number of Jesuit educational institutions in Japan. My profession: Professor of Old Testament at the Faculty of Theology of Sophia University.

The priority in my responsibility as Provincial is to implement the Province plan which I have received from my predecessor. For this, the Colloquium, the session that brings us together in Rome, is immensely helpful.

Fr Tsutomu Sakuma, SJ Fr Tsutomu Sakuma, SJ
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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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