Don’t run away from a good cause, run for a good cause

May 3, 2023

St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, recognised the need for exercise to maintain spiritual health. Here, three runners reflect on their reasons for running the London Marathon.

Jessica Ward at the finish line

David Laws, 73, was educated at a Jesuit school in London and spent time at the Jesuit novitiate in Edinburgh. After 7 years of study, he realised his calling was to become a teacher, although he has remained close to the Society of Jesus and taught for a while at a Jesuit school in Kingston, Jamaica. David ran marathons in the 1990s and felt compelled to run again this year for charity: “I admire the work that Jesuit Missions is engaged in and having spent my career in education, the goal of supporting the education infrastructure in the poor, war-torn country of South Sudan is extremely commendable”. He feels that “being a part of something bigger, both in terms of physical effort and supporting an ideal, is a reward in itself”.

For Jessica Ward, it is Jesuit Missions’ work supporting education for women and girls that got her running: “I truly value my education and want other girls to be able to value theirs too, particularly those who are in less privileged positions than myself.” Jessica feels passionate about promoting girls’ education and wants to draw particular attention to Jesuit Missions’ project in South Sudan which you can read more about here. Jesuit Missions’ International Programmes Officer, Lucy Gillingham, did an interview about this project (and others) which you can listen to here.

Patrick Magro is a Jesuit priest and Chaplain at the University of Malta. He ran the London Marathon dressed as... a Womble! You can read more about his story in the Times of Malta here. His motivation, other than raising money for Jesuit Missions, was to show it can be done: “I really would not like to be one who preaches about reaching out to others, but rather set a good example, so I decided to run the marathon dressed as a Womble again!”

Spot the womble!

To find out more about the work of Jesuit Missions UK, including active campaigns, please click here.

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