Throughout the upcoming year, Jesuits and their friends worldwide will take part in conferences, events and other activities to mark the 200 years since the restoration of the Society of Jesus – the period of resurrection that took place after Jesuit schools, ministries and social works were completely shut down following political strife in Portugal, France, Spain and parts of Italy, beginning in 1773.
Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás issued a letter last week, outlining five themes for reflection and prayer during the coming year: “creative fidelity,” “love for our Institute,” “fraternal companionship,” “universal mission” and “faith in Providence.”
While the restoration anniversary is milestone and reminder of new life, Father General reminds readers that it is most appropriate to look at the anniversary not with blind pride but, instead, with humility and gratitude. Today, he writes, the Jesuit mission is the same as it has always been – to find and encourage others to find a path to God in the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola.
“I wish…that our commemoration of the Restoration… avoid any suggestion of triumphalism or pride,” Fr. Nicolás writes. “Nevertheless, even in simple, modest ways, I hope that all communities, Regions and Provinces of the Society make efforts to commemorate this anniversary in a manner that is memorable as well as personally and communally significant.”
The Jesuit Conference – the national office of the Society of Jesus – has organized a speakers’ bureau to coordinate Jesuits and other experts who will discuss the suppression and restoration of the Society at various events throughout the year.
In addition, two key academic conferences will take place to mark the anniversary. Boston College will host Jesuit Survival and Restoration: 200th Anniversary Perspectives from Boston and Macau from June 11-15, 2014, examining neglected aspects of the history of the restoration in east-central Europe and Russia, China and the United States. Loyola University Chicago will host Restored Jesuits and the American Experience from October 16-19, 2014, and has coordinated a lengthy seminar series featuring leading scholars of religion leading up to the conference, during this current academic year.
To learn more about the history of suppression, click here to access a book published this past summer by Fr. Robert Scully, SJ, history department chair at Le Moyne College.
To view the full letter issued by Fr. Nicolás, click here.