Introduction by Fr. James F. Keenan, SJ:
Director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College
Jesuits are missioned throughout the world, including being missioned to go to those most in need—to accompany the most vulnerable.
One of the founders of the Society of Jesus, Jerome Nadal, wrote that Jesuit ministry does not expand from the Jesuit community; rather, community occurs where Jesuit ministry is: “Wherever there is need or greater utility for our ministries, there is our house.” Jesuits serve wherever those in need are. Nadal continues, “The principal and most characteristic dwelling for Jesuits is not in … houses but in journeyings ...” Thus, from formation to active ministry and even through the last stages of a Jesuit’s life, accompaniment is a quintessential aspect of our worldview—we form communities and relationships in the heart of our mission; we live and walk beside those whom we serve.
Whether walking with middle school students, ministering to the sick and dying, counseling those in prison or helping a university community understand the experience of the poor, in as much as we go out to the whole world, today’s Jesuits remain called toward those who struggle to find a dwelling place in this world. Our perspective does not look at the world as solely the place where we live; rather it calls us to be more attentive to where and how others live, as we work to bring about God’s Kingdom, in the vision of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Click on the links below to read stories from this issue on the theme of accompaniment: