David Stewart SJ
I've been one of the British Jesuits for over half of my life, since I left my native Scotland to begin my journey, first to the Novitiate and then to an extraordinary life, one full of gifts and surprises. The great Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ once remarked that it isn't an easy life but that it is a wonderful vocation: "everything for the glory of God", he wrote, "what more is possible?". However imperfectly, I've thoroughly enjoyed trying to live up to that affirmation of Don Pedro. I know that I couldn't have done any of it on my own. The ones who have made it possible for me have been my Jesuit companions - wonderful brothers and good friends on every continent - and the great people to whom I've been sent to minister, and those holy and special persons with whom I've worked. All have mediated God's grace in so many ways.
I have recently been one of our Superiors, in London, hoping to serve and support a small international Jesuit community of men in studies for the priesthood. Now I live in a pleasant community house in north-west London, from which we travel for studies and ministry in various parts of the city and further. We pray together when we can and personally when we're busy, which is most of the time!
My own work is varied, mainly focussed on Ignatian Spirituality, a field in which I have worked in diverse ways over many years. Last year I was asked to direct the Apostleship of Prayer here in England and Wales, managing its transition to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and I join the teams on our increasingly-popular Weeks of Guided Ignatian Prayer, and other forms of the Ignatian Exercises in everyday life, in parishes and chaplaincies around the country. We are developing this ministry in innovative ways to broaden its appeal. Often, I’m able to visit parishes to promote the Prayer Network and that’s always a delight. I enjoy writing occasional articles for the US Jesuits’ America magazine, as its London correspondent.
What else have I done? I've been missioned at various stages to work in Ignatian Spirituality, in secondary education and Chaplaincy, and in Young Adult Ministry, in which I was one of the team that set up our thriving Jesuit young adult ministry in London, FSPlus. Studies and work have taken me to four continents. Being a British Jesuit is only part of it. In the twenty-first century, our Society is more than ever marked by its universality; we try to hold ourselves in readiness & freedom to go anywhere that we're needed, sent, unrestricted by bonds of nation or territory. Every day is even better than the day before. Fr.Arrupe was right. It is a wonderful vocation.