On the feast of Our Lady of the Way, 24 May 2019, Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has written a letter to the whole Society and its partners in mission on the theme of the renewed commitment of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Fr Sosa writes in his letter that the love of the Society for the poor and the excluded, made manifest in its commitment to the mission of promoting justice for refugees, has been confirmed repeatedly not just by past General Congregations and by his predecessors as Superior General, but also most recently by the promulgation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences, entrusted to the Society as a mission by Pope Francis.
Fr Sosa emphasises the need for JRS to respond in new ways to the unprecedented situations of forced displacement in the world, and introduces in his letter some of the steps that JRS will be taking, including a clarification and revision of its governance structures.
Read an extract from Fr Sosa’s letter:
Through a process of strategic discernment that was initially approved by my predecessor, Fr Adolfo Nicolás, JRS has made significant progress in the call to be a more effective sign of God’s nurturing love and reconciliation:
- JRS has developed a 2019-2023 Strategic Framework, laying out four priority areas to focus its accompaniment of refugees over the next four years: the promotion of reconciliation and social cohesion; the delivery of quality formal and informal education; innovative livelihood programmes that lead to self-reliance and sustainability; and effective advocacy for the rights of refugees.
- JRS also engaged in a process of discernment that led to a proposed restructuring of its organizational structure and operating procedures, focusing on the development of mission-driven, strong country offices that will strengthen local capacity and encourage subsidiarity.
- JRS is initiating a consultation with the wider Society and its partners in an effort to implement fully its vision of a world where refugees may attain protection, have access to opportunity, and be full participants in the social, political, and economic spheres where they find themselves.
- As part of this consultation, JRS also desires to engage fruitfully and critically with the often complicated questions of governance, and to explore with the Society and other partners the opportunities of mission and identity that manifest Ignatian values and draw upon the riches of our spiritual heritage.
I have given my approval to these efforts. I applaud the willingness of JRS to take risks and to row into the deep during difficult and challenging times, when it would be so much easier to keep to established ways of proceeding.