Father Arturo Sosa (left), superior general of the Society of Jesus, presents King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands with the commander's baton attributed to William of Orange during a ceremony at the Vatican on June 22, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
In recent years the Society of Jesus has been questioning how to serve the Lord and the Church in the social, political and economic context that the world has been experiencing during Francis’ pontificate.
The starting point of our discernment, which has involved all Jesuit communities and all our apostolic works, is the “unity in diversity” of our cultures, languages and traditions.
At present the society is made up of about 15,600 Jesuits scattered across some 110 countries around the world, with a greater density that has moved away from Europe and is now in a belt stretching across Latin America, Africa and Asia.
We collaborate in every part of the world with thousands of laypeople, diocesan priests, men and women engaged in the same apostolic mission in the theological and spiritual, cultural and social fields.
This rich process of listening and discernment has allowed us to present to the Holy Father four universal apostolic preferences: 1) Show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment. 2) Walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice. 3) Accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future. 4) Collaborate in the care of our common home.
In 2003, the society established as its preferences the ministry in China and in Africa, the service of migrants and refugees, the intellectual apostolate, and its international institutions in Rome. They recalled the five great needs of the mission that could be managed with the help of the universal body of the society. These needs remain a challenge for all of us and should not be neglected or replaced.