JRS: A commitment to reconciliation, justice and a shared identity

From 24 - 29 June, the Centro Carmelo in Sassone, near Rome, hosted a gathering of 83 Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) representatives. These attendees, who hold various operational and management roles at global, regional, and national levels, convened to discuss the future strategic framework of JRS. This meeting marked an unprecedented event in the organization’s history.

A pivotal moment was the visit of Fr General Arturo Sosa, on Wednesday, 26 June. His presence was immensely reassuring as he shared his vision and encouragement, instilling hope and a renewed sense of purpose among the attendees. Fr Sosa’s visit underscored JRS’s collective commitment to serving those in need and emphasized the importance of unity in mission. He reminded JRS of its origins and reinforced the foundational values that guide its efforts. Fr Sosa also highlighted the importance of grounding JRS in the sensitivity that has been crucial in responding to the needs of forcibly displaced people. This sensitivity empowers the organization’s members to dedicate their lives to reconciliation, justice, and peace, and to utilize their talents effectively in collaboration with others.

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More so, he emphasized the foundational values of the Society of Jesus, noting that JRS’s identity is deeply rooted in the charism of the Society of Jesus. This charism is viewed not as a human construct but as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, guiding JRS in its mission to accompany, serve, and advocate for forcibly displaced individuals.

Central to JRS’s mission is reconciliation - among people, with the environment, and with God. JRS operates globally as an apostolate of the Society of Jesus, grounded in its universal charism of reconciliation and justice. It embodies the Society’s mission to promote reconciliation and justice worldwide. This mission guides JRS in addressing global challenges, such as refugee crises and forced migration, through careful discernment, aiming to achieve the most universal good with limited resources.

Aligned with the Universal Apostolic Preferences (2019-2029), JRS seeks to guide humanity towards God, support marginalized populations, empower youth, and care for the environment. Fr Sosa reiterated the need for JRS to maintain a global-local approach, leveraging its worldwide structure to address the complex issues of forced migration effectively. This approach ensures a cohesive identity and mission rooted in the Society’s universal charism, facilitating impactful actions to accompany, serve, and advocate for refugees and migrants around the globe.

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To succeed in the future, Fr Sosa highlighted two critical challenges: fostering a deeply shared identity among JRS members and enhancing the reception and integration of refugees. This involves ongoing programs to cultivate this shared identity and developing strategies to counter ideological resistance and promote democratic values.

Fr Sosa’s visit reinforced JRS’s commitment to empathy and reconciliation, urging members to embrace the suffering of others and work towards alleviating it. His poignant words will continue to influence JRS’s strategic direction and the organization’s sensitivity to those they serve:

If you are not reconciled, you cannot truly share the mission. We are sent on a mission of reconciliation. If we are not reconciled with ourselves, how can we share this mission with others? We must contemplate the cross with all its suffering, understanding how situations place people on the cross, creating injustice and suffering. But we must not stop there. The next step is to place ourselves on the cross, seeing and feeling reality from this perspective as those who suffer, and from there, choose reconciliation... The cross does not inflict harm. By choosing to embrace the cross, we choose empathy and strive to alleviate suffering, seeking pathways of renewal and redemption, not perpetuating further pain but working towards reconciliation.

Fr Arturo Sosa
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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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