As is the tradition at Jesuit Urumuri Centre, every month of January the Centre sets aside one day of the calendar on which to gather Administrative and support staff, to go out somewhere and officially begin the New Year. This is usually marked by the sharing of a meal and drink, and a chat about everyone’s mood and working conditions as they begin the year in their different departments.
On Wednesday 12 January 2022, JUC staff headed to Bugesera district where they arrived in the mid-morning and made their way back to Kigali in the evening. The members of staff took the time chat about life in general as well as about working at JUC in particular.
After JUC director Fr. Ernest Ngiyembere had led the opening prayer, he welcomed all to the event and asked them to share their thoughts and comments about 2021 and what they look forward to in the coming days. He asked them to speak frankly and with ease to determine the safety and the morale of the team in general;
Fr. Ernest SJ, Director: “We are here to wish each other a Happy New Year. For the short discussion we will have here, I would like to hear from each of you what pleased you most during the year 2021 and what you’re looking forward to for the year 2022, whether at work or in your life in general”
Martha, Support Staff: I thank God because my children and I are surviving through COVID-19. I know many of my friends who lost jobs, but the Jesuit fathers continued to employ us even though there wasn’t much work to do especially during lockdowns. I thank Jesuit Urumuri Centre for that compassion towards me and mine.
Odette, Support Staff: I have worked for JUC for many years and I have much to thank it for, but I too am most grateful for surviving through these uncertain times. At the height of the pandemic, the director had to send some of us home because there wasn’t much to do at work, but he called us back every month to provide us with food parcels and an allowance to keep us going. May the almighty continue to bless the Centre to assist the poor and neediest.
Anathalie, Support Staff: There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude to JUC for saving my children and I. Thanks to my job, my children are in school just like the rest of their peers. I too am not idle at home anymore, I have a reason to wake up every morning and make use of my days as I approach my retirement.
Pierre, SJ, Assistant Director: I too am thankful for the trust that was placed upon me by my elders in the Society of Jesus by giving me this mission. Here I am in charge of human relations too, which has been a bit challenging. But I am learning and I am confident I now know how to handle different cases that come my way in the office.
Henriette, Communication Officer: I thank JUC for the growth I have gained since joining the team. The director obviously saw in me some qualifications when he employed me, but I have since gained more skills, more experience and more knowledge in general. I thank JUC for the patience and guidance, and hope to grow even more in the future with the Centre
Gloriose, Programs Manager: I echo what has been said by my colleagues. JUC is like a parent to me, I wouldn’t be here without it. For the 5 years I have worked here I have grown with the Centre and I am grateful that it formed the person I am today. I also thank all my colleagues for the encouragement I get when I see them fulfilling their tasks in their different departments. We are a team working for the greater good of our society and for the greater glory of God!
Ghillaine, Front Desk Officer: I am still fairly new but I was most pleased to join a team that knows God and values his word. I am looking forward to growing with the Centre for the development of myself as well as for my colleagues.
Emmanuel, Support Staff: I thank God for the existence of JUC as it helped me regain my confidence. I started working here as a shy young man but today I am married with a child and I am able to take care of my family. The Centre has taken me from one step to another and I am looking forward to taking even more steps in 2022.
Cyriaque, Financial Assistant: I too am still new but I am grateful to my colleagues for helping me orient and adapt myself to my new duties of my office. I’d like to mention the uniqueness of the Centre as compared to where I was in the past. The humility of our bosses here is unmatched. I found out that Pierre was my superior by accident. If I hadn’t been required to meet with him for some formalities, I would never have known he’s my boss. The working environment here is exemplary.
Fr. Ernest expressed his gratitude for the thoughts and comments provided and then encouraged every member of staff to work towards meeting expectations that the Centre places on them in their different departments; “I am touched by your gratitude to the Centre, we thank God for enabling us to continue employing you and helping you when you need us, even through tough and uncertain times. Of course our work at JUC revolves around promoting everyone’s human dignity and that has to begin at home, at JUC.
Now, I encourage you all to work to the best of your abilities and help the Centre grow. You must have diligence and sincerity in the work that you do; this will result in the overall development of us all and of the Centre”.
The director concluded the short chat by reminding all about St. Ignatius who founded the Society of Jesus;
“Let us imitate the spirit of MAGIS that was left to us as legacy by St. Ignatius. We are celebrating an Ignatian year of the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius Loyola where we are encouraged to search deep within our hearts and determine whether we are constantly working towards putting Christ at the Centre of our lives. Let us work towards perfecting every task that we do or are assigned, for the greater glory of God!”.