Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat of the Society of Jesus
…to exchange social justice and ecology news, stimulate contacts, share spirituality
and promote networking…
Spirituality of Social Action
For last two years I have worked in Centre Avec, the research and social action centre in the South Belgium-Luxembourg province. Our mission is to raise the public’s awareness of social issues of a local and global nature, giving people the means of working towards a more just society. Part of our work is dedicated to reflection and research. Another aspect of it is to give space to ideas and actions promoting increased responsibility for the humanisation of the world, something to which every human being is called. We make our contribution to this goal through the publication of the quarterly review “En question”, and by organising conferences.
The situations and individuals, both closest to my heart and which most grab my attention, are those people who suffer the effects of the diverse crises affecting the world today – economic, environmental, financial, social, as well as the crisis of meaning. Many people in the West live comfortably, but have difficulty finding meaning in their lives. Individualism is a doctrine which just gets stronger and stronger. One situation that appals me, and is becoming more increasingly worse, is economic inequality, both within and between countries. I have the impression that inequality generates a fear of the other; we not only fear the other who appals us, but we are also afraid of the feeling that these inequalities are not sustainable, and that we will be forced to live with less. But consumerism is so absorbing that this would require a real cultural change; a change of the order of spiritual conversion. This is why I think that spirituality offers a real lever to meet today’s challenges, provided it is understood as a space of inner freedom where human beings can direct their desires, in a deeply developed commitment to change the structures of society. In this sense, all citizen action is spiritual.
What gives me hope and a great joy in these crisis situations is the multitude of civil society initiatives which make the world more united, socially just and ecologically sustainable. There are a lot of women and men of good will who put a face to the motto “another world is possible”. A lot of them discover that there is joy in living frugally. The discovery of this plethora of alternatives to the dominant neo-liberal model has changed my outlook on life; and I try to make choices drawing inspiration from this awareness. I acknowledge God is present and at work in this crowd of people who, in taking on their responsibilities, work for the kingdom of God… without necessarily putting these words into their engagement.
Ever since I started working in Centre Avec, I have gradually discovered the richness of Ignatian spirituality. I find it a support in my work, by virtue of its underlying call for freedom and human responsibility. The Ignatian network, by virtue of the community which it built, is also of precious support to me. The arrival of witnesses invited to Centre Avec – (such as Fernando Lopez SJ of the Itinerant team in Amazonia or Paolo Dall’Oglio SJ from Syria) – pushes me, nourishes me and give me the sustenance to go on, both personally and professionally.
Ms. Claire Brandeleer
Centre Avec, Brussels, Belgium
GIAN – Migration and Displacement Network meet in Madrid
Between September 24 and 28, around 23 people from all the six conferences came together for the Specific workshop on migration and displacement in Madrid, Spain. During the meeting they shared the reality of migration in each of the conferences, finalized the position paper drafted earlier, worked out the mission and objectives of the network, and prepared the strategic plan of action for the coming years based on the strengths recognized through mapping. As part of practical learning they also visited a detention centre from outside and also the Jesuit Social Centre Pueblos Unidos that works on the issues of detainees and immigrants and runs a home for the immigrants.
Europe – Red Xavier and European Mission Offices meet in Nuremberg
From October 3- 6, Red Xavier and European Mission Offices came together for their annual meeting in Nuremberg at Jesuiten Mission. These are important institutions supporting works of the Society in different parts of the world. They decided to collaborate more closely in their programs for volunteers, in supporting joined projects and during emergencies, and also in some areas in which they already have experience.
US – Xavier University and Ecology Commitment
Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, has taken a number of steps to educate students about ecological issues. The university now offers history, theology, and economics courses with a special focus on issues of sustainability and ecology. The University takes pride in its effort to ensure “every student participates in experiential learning components related to sustainability before they graduate.” For some students, this means examining firsthand the affects large agribusinesses have on Ghanaian society through a semester long immersion experience. Other students explore the “biblical and theological foundations of care for creation.” To learn more go to Read more…
India: Textbook on Human Rights Education
The Human Rights Education, texts books for VI, VII, VIII and IX standard opens the door to an enchanting new world of human dignity, rights and responsibilities for every living being on earth. That is why this book can become a treasure. It is co-authored by Aloysius Irudayam SJ, Cyril Anthony SJ, Mary John, Joe Rosario and Bella and is co-published by TNPCRI, Tamil Nadu-Pondy, Mithra Foundation, Bangalore and IDEAS Centre, Madurai. Read more…
Guatemala – K’iches indigenous persons killed in a protest
On 4th October at least 6 persons were killed, and dozens injured by shots, during a peaceful protest of indigenous people 170 km west of the capital, close to Totonicapán. Many more were injured due to bullets. These people belong to the K’iche group, and were protesting against the rising electricity charges in the country. The state, using the army and the civil national police, rejected and controlled the protest with its arms. Read more…)
October 17 – “World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty”
UN has recognized that those for whom life is difficult are right when they dare to affirm that poverty is a form of violence and that peace is only possible if each person is recognized in his dignity, knowledge and capacity to inter-react with others. There are lapids in Paris and replica from Manila to New York where people are invited to gather on the 17th to express their will to overcome extreme poverty. Click on the links for more information: (Putting an end to violence), (overcoming poverty), (millennium goals), (World for World ), (Stand against poverty )
South Asia – Province Coordinators and Directors of National Institutes meet in Goa
From October 24 – 26, twenty Province/Region Coordinators of Social Apostolate and the 2 directors of Indian Social Institutes (ISIs) will gather in Goa, India for their annual meeting to share about their activities, to discuss on networking with special focus on SAPI and Global Ignatian Advocacy network and to plan for the future. The meeting is seen as an important one since the members of 4 global Ignatian advocacy networks will report and share their plans for taking this forward. Patxi and Xavier from SJES will also be participating in this meeting.
Other Resources for your reading:
UN water management framework:
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Patxi Álvarez SJ, Publisher
Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, Editor
Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, Borgo S. Spirito 4, 00193 Rome, Italy
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