On Thursday 16 December 2021 Jesuit Urumuri Centre ran a capacity building workshop for JUC administrative staff about the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion. The training was facilitated by Fr. Augustin Karekezi, SJ, who is also the President of JUC Board of Directors.
Fr. Augustin begun by giving a detailed history on the life on St. Ignatius from the time of his birth, to his conversion, to his forming the Society of Jesus and lastly to his time of death.
Fr. Augustin shared with JUC staff that the reason Jesuits celebrate this jubilee of the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion, is because in May 1521, Ignatius of Loyola, at the time a Spanish soldier, got injured during a battle and while he lay on his bed recovering, he discovered God and decided to dedicate his life and mission to Jesus. Consequently the Society of Jesus existed.
St. Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus after travelling to Paris for school and meeting his future companions, who included St. Pierre Favre and St. Francis Xavier. While his companions were brighter in school, he was ahead of them in matters of spirituality. Ignatius taught them spiritual exercises that he had composed while recovering from his injury in bed. When the Pope approved and accepted the Society of Jesus in 1540, the companions elected Ignatius to be their leader, which position he held till his death in 1556.
Fr. Augustin also taught on the legacy that St. Ignatius left on earth. One is spiritual exercises. Every candidate that wishes to become a Jesuit is required to study and know them, to encourage him to be prayerful at all times. Jesuits also encourage the ordinary member of Society to know them and use them to grow closer to God. Another legacy of St Ignatius is the Society of Jesus, a kinship of priests and brothers across the world whose mission is to teach the gospel of Christ and to teach and encourage reconciliation, so that women and men can be reconciled with God, with themselves, with each other and with God’s creation.
Fr. Augustin concluded the training by sharing 4 key take-aways from the training for the JUC administrative staff. And those are that everyone should learn from St Ignatius ;
- To help others, especially the most vulnerable in Society.
- To have discernment about every single decision made in everyday life
- To adapt and move with the times so as to be able to interact well with other members of the Society
- To idealize MAGIS, where we should all try to do the more, the better, the greater, for God and not for ourselves.
JUC Communication Officer