Migrants and martyrs in spring magazine

“The treatment of asylum seekers on the Italian mainland is symptomatic of European asylum regulations that prioritise control and border security above respect for individual human rights and dignity,” writes Oscar Spooner of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the latest edition of Jesuits and Friends. In his article ‘Extreme lengths in search of safety’, Oscar quotes migrants themselves as well as the views of JRS staff, including Fr Jean-Marie Carrière SJ, the director of JRS Europe.

“We talk of tolerance,” says Fr Carrière, “but why then do Europeans close their doors to people in need? It’s time to put pressure on our leaders to respect our tradition of solidarity and hospitality.”

Sarah Teather MP, who is stepping down from Parliament this spring to become an Advocacy Adviser with JRS, says that the debate about immigration would benefit from “an injection of Christian anthropology: a vocal defence of human dignity, of hospitality and kinship that extends beyond national identity.” Writing in magazine of the Jesuits in Britain, she says that the political conversation needs new players – “ones that start with the Ignatian principle of assuming good faith in the other, including politicians; ones with a discerning heart, able to spot the seeds of hope that might be fruitful for the future.”

Powerful

The Spring 2015 edition of Jesuits and Friends also includes five pages dedicated to the Scottish Jesuit, St John Ogilvie SJ, who was martyred 400 years ago at Glasgow Cross.  It lists many of the events that are scheduled to mark the anniversary of his martyrdom and there is a preview of some of the resources available for schools and parishes, as well as an account of a Glasgow docker’s recovery from a tumour that helped Ogilvie’s cause for canonisation.  Contrasting paintings of the saint by two renowned artists, Gerard M Burns and Peter Howson, illustrate both the childhood and of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, and Howson’s striking image (that hangs in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow) is featured on the cover of the magazine.

Further afield, Fr Heribert Mueller SJ considers the work of the Jesuits in Zimbabwe and Mozambique over the past 473 years since St Francis Xavier SJ paused in Mozambique on his way to the Far East; Fr Paul O’Reilly SJ – who practices as a GP in central London – recalls an episode during his ministry in Guyana which helped him understand the healing power of touch; and Heythrop graduate, Tom Wall, suggests that the Shroud of Turin – due to be exhibited between April and June this year – can be a powerful aid to faith and reflection on Christ’s passion and death.

Jesuits and Friends is published three times a year by the Jesuits in Britain, in association with Jesuit Missions. It is available free from Jesuit parishes throughout Britain or by contacting Jesuit Missions, 11 Edge Hill, London SW19 4LR (020 8946 0466).