Daily Step – Let us begin!


During day 5 of JESEDU-jogja2024, we paused to examine our week and consider how Christ was not only moving in us as a global Jesuit educational body but also in and through every other layer of our reality (for me those layers would be JSN-North America, the Central and Southern Jesuit Province, Jesuit Dallas, and as an individual called by God for some and definite purpose).

As I listened to people review their experience on each of these important levels (separate yet also intimately linked), I was struck by both the similarities and the differences. In some contexts, like India, they were examining their secular context more closely. For them, however, secular did not mean “without God” as in my own experience, but instead it meant a diversity of encounters with God through many religious and spiritual means. In other contexts, like those of Canada and the United States, we were examining how to engage in a practice of “pre-evangelization” that meets students where they are and creates spirit-filled environments that set their hearts aflame. 

The search for and naming of Christ alive in the world seemed to be a universal takeaway that spanned all countries and continents present as well as the desire to return to the heart of the early Church and sink our feet into the dirt of the road to Emmaus.

It’s somewhat difficult to put into words what was stirring in my own heart as we wrapped up the experiences of this week. No words really will do it justice, but I want to capture it here in case it resonates with you as well.

In Puerto Rico this past April when the JSN Mission Formation Officers gathered together, I wrote about feeling the tangible presence of the Jesuits who had gone before us filling every empty space in the room and fortifying our work with their prayers. I felt them praying for us collectively and for me individually as well.

As we walked into the chapel of de Brito college and settled in for the start of the final mass, I closed my eyes for a moment and imagined Ignatius walking through the large wooden doors and taking a seat next to me. Then, as if without need for any forced imaginative effort, I began to hear the quiet footsteps of his companions as they filed in one at a time and took their place as well. Soon, I felt the temperature rise with the heat that comes when every pew is filled to overflowing and not even standing room remains. You know the feeling – it’s like the one that comes at Easter and at Christmas when all are eager to experience birth and resurrection and… invitation. As the opening notes of “Here I am, Lord” started to play, we seamlessly rose together, 500 years of companions, standing shoulder to shoulder.

As a woman serving the Society of Jesus, I have often struggled to comprehend what it effectively feels like to be one of the companions of Ignatius yet alone one of the apostles who were commissioned to continue the work of the Jesus who dwelt in flesh and blood among them. Through my time doing and subsequently studying the Exercises, the invitation to companionship with Jesus and Ignatius has taken deep root in me. But, to be honest, I came to Indonesia still struggling to affectively feel the invitation to be one OF and WITH the companions, one OF and WITH the apostles. 

I noted as the seminar came to a close how the image of the presence of the Jesuits in our midst changed for me from the end of our work in Puerto Rico to the end of our work in Indonesia. In Puerto Rico, I was surrounded on all sides by the spirit of the Jesuits praying for me as an individual and the group as a whole. In Indonesia, however, we were now standing shoulder to shoulder intricately linked by the indwelling of the Spirit, individually and collectively commissioned to what might be the most complicated, terrifying, life giving, and vital work yet.

Let us begin.

I am currently in Yogyakarta, Indonesia as one of twelve North American delegates, 100 global delegates overall, meeting to discuss Catholic/Jesuit identity and in-depth faith formation in Jesuit schools at II Seminar JESEDU-Jogja2024. Since I keep forgetting about the 12 hour time change and texting all those I love at 2 in the morning, I decided I would write some blog posts about the most important moments for me and perhaps the moments that might stir something in you as well. Thanks for reading! More to come!

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