A personal encounter with the Superior General
Fr Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has just returned from his first official visit in Canada, ahead of the erection of a single Canadian province this summer. The programme of the trip - which lasted twelve days - included attending the ordination of Jesuit priests and deacons in Toronto and Quebec City, as well as visits to Jesuit institutes and the Martyrs’ Shrine and Sainte-Marie among the Hurons.
On the second day, the 19th of May, Fr Sosa spent some time at Regis College in Toronto, the theological school of the Society of Jesus in Canada. Among those welcoming the Superior General and attending the talk he gave to the Jesuits in formation, there were also Rene De los Reyes, Richard Webster and Stephen Noon, Scholastics from the British Province. The three were part of an international group that represented 18 nationalities and 10 different provinces.
The visit was memorable and it provided wonderful words of encouragement. Fr Arturo Sosa spoke for an hour on a range of topics including the implementation of decrees from GC36, collaboration in the mission of the Church, the theme of reconciliation, and the meaning of poverty in the life of scholastics.
“Seeing him in real person and listening to what he has to say to us were both a grace from God” says Rene De los Reyes. “I busied myself talking and catching up with other scholastics while the Superior General was surrounded by the superiors. A pat on my shoulder made me turn around, lo and behold, the Superior General was smiling at me, with an arm stretched, ready to shake my hand. Surprised by the moment, I shook his hand and said ‘Hi’, and never had a chance to introduce myself as he moved onto the next person. I felt consoled and special that moment. I found him warm, approachable and simple in his ways.”
During his conversation with the scholastics, Fr Arturo Sosa mentioned that Jesuit’s work is based on a mission in the service of the Church towards humanity. The members of the Society of Jesus are commissioned to work in collaboration with others: other Jesuits, religious, the laity, and the rest of humanity.
The Superior General pointed out that in every Jesuit apostolate, planning and discernment are inseparable. Jesuits who discern without planning are considered dreamers, and those who plan without discernment are considered managers.
Another fundamental aspect of Jesuit vocation is reconciliation. Every Jesuit must be reconciled to his peers, other religious orders, the laity, the environment and with the Holy Trinity. A Jesuit scholastic must develop in oneself a desire of promoting, upholding, and living a life of forgiveness, justice and austerity. Fr Arturo Sosa encouraged every scholastic to live in proximity with the poor, the needy, the marginalized.
After the talk, breakfast was served. Of all the tables and the small groups scattered in every corner of the hall, the Superior General had his breakfast with the scholastics from the British Province and Rene had the chance this time to introduce himself. “The conversation was light and warm because of his sense of humour and openness,” he says. “I felt blessed again that I was able to engage in a conversation with the Superior General together with Richard Webster SJ and two others from the Canadian Province.”
The visit was a special moment for everyone at the Regis College and for whole Province.
“The Lord uses every opportunity and ordinary situations in my life transforming them into unique moments that will help flourish my own being,” Rene de los Reyes SJ reflects. “Such moments usually affirm my vocation and provide a sense of direction in my path to holiness. God’s great goodness allows me to recognize his presence in every situation and be filled with consolation, peace and love.”