The charism of the Society of Jesus, which springs from the very of experience of its founder St Ignatius of Loyola which is verbalized in the Spiritual Exercises, calls us Jesuits first and foremost to be the “men of Spiritual Exercises”. Furthermore this invitation lays before us a trust area of spiritual ministry, involvement in the retreat apostolate and spiritual direction.
On 24th April, Fr. General wrote a letter in which he has stated that “our mission today must always involve three vital dimensions: The service of faith, promotion of justice and collaboration with others in works of Faith and Justice.” Keeping all these in mind, the Retreat Ministry Team brings forth this position paper to be presented in the province assembly.
The Sri Lanka Jesuit Province has been involved in rendering its spiritual ministry to the people of Sri Lanka from the very beginning of the advent of the Jesuits in this island. The two retreat houses, Fatima Retreat House- Lewella and Manresa Retreat House – Batticaloa, have been places of retreats and other spiritual ministries and sought after by hundreds and thousands who came to the Jesuits to get their spiritual needs met. The Fatima Retreat House was considered one of the best retreat houses in the island until recent times.
We live in the postwar period in our country. People are very much affected by the war physically and psychologically. We are called to listen to their stories and help them to relive their life anew, forgetting or deleting the past memories and bad experiences that the war caused. Thus the current mission of the Jesuits in Sri Lanka is to help the people to create an understanding and reconciliation among all the ethnic groups.
- Eradicating ethnic conflict, race and religious conflict.
- Creating a society of one nation and one human race, breaking the barriers of language and religion.
- Working with the contemporary youth and war affected women and children.
- Creating unity among Christians or working with the other denominations.
- Strengthening healthy relationships and creating interreligious dialogues with other religions.
- Difficulty to gauge various thirsts of people with regard to their spiritual life.
- The understanding of people with regard to their spiritual life: Often it is thought that attending the Sunday mass is the only means of satisfying one’s spiritual thirst. Most of them are satisfied with that and do not go beyond the regular religious activities.
So we envisage “Peace and Reconciliation” in our spiritual ministry as an intervention to address these challenges and core issues.
To bring the people closer to God and one another through a holistic, humanizing, healing and reconciling spiritual ministry.
- Fatima Retreat House- Lewella, Kandy
- Manresa Retreat House – Batticaloa
Prepared by Retreat Ministry Team