World Union of Jesuit Alumni

World Union of Jesuit Alumni

WUJA - Message of the President at the occasion of the feast of Saint Ignatius

Dear Jesuit Alumni/ae,

What would Saint Ignatius have done in times like the ones we are facing with a pandemic which retreats here to better advance there, which seems to disappear for a while to come back a little later, and basically does not want to go away?

No one knows for sure. An indication may be in the way Ignatius embraced the problems he encountered in his time and in the way he addressed the people with whom he had contact.

In Rome where he lived after the creation of the Society of Jesus, he and his companions were taking care of the prostitutes and the poor, consoling them at a very personal level. At the same time, Ignatius and his men were able to engage in conversations with the mighty in the Church and in the lay world, in Rome and outside of it. This balancing act was always a characteristic trait of the Jesuits of all times in all places.

Nowadays, fighting the virus that plagues our mankind requires to be on the first line in the hospitals or the homes for elderly people, in the basic services rendered to the population whatever the danger may be and in the labotatories rushing to develop a much awaited vaccine. And a lot of Jesuit Alumni, being doctors and nurses, scientific researchers and civil servants are doing exactly that.

In parallel, steering disoriented societies like ours requires a wide range of skills: capacity of analysis and synthesis, serenity and determination, courage to say the truth and make bold and often unpopular decisions. Jesuit Alumni are also doing that worldwide in their capacity of ministers, mayors, corporate leaders, heads of administration and chief epidemiologists.

So doing, they all together emulate Ignatius and his companions half a millennium ago.

On this day where we celebrate Saint Ignatius and his legacy, let us also celebrate and thank the innumerable people, Jesuit Alumni or not, who take care first hand of the sicks and vulnerable or serve the population and the ones who take upon them to lead in an extraordinarily difficult time.

May our saint Patron protect them in what they do and bless us all with the needed discernment and resolution to do the same.

I wish you a joyful feast of Saint Ignatius!

Alain Deneef
World Union of Jesuit Alumni