Jo Anna Royackers

Time, effort and education

By Jo Anna Royackers

Canadian Jesuits International is one organization dear to my heart. Its outreach is so wide I cannot fathom all of it. I just have seen what was done in Jamaica when my son Fr Martin Royackers SJ was there in the nineties, among a lot of other things that I only heard about. We saw the time, effort and education that went into the organizing of co-operatives so that farmers could get better prices for their produce. I remember, on our first visit, we went to a meeting to try and get a bunch of them to commit to the co-op. Fireflies were floating around through the long grass, there was a presentation and finally a board got voted in, but not before the streetlight died and votes were counted by the light of a truck.

L-R: Jo Anna Royackers, Fr Paterne Mombé SJ, the AJAN Coordinator, and Jo Anna's daughter Maryann Hendrikx

L-R: Jo Anna Royackers, Fr Paterne Mombé SJ, the AJAN Coordinator, and Jo Anna’s daughter Maryann Hendrikx

We were there when Martin made his final vows and told his parishioners he would never ask to leave them, which he did not; his grave is up in the hills, a place he loved.

I was familiar with the work of Fr Michael Czerny SJ in Africa. In 2010 I went to Burundi for the opening of the Martin Royackers Clinic, an experience I will treasure as long as I live, to see the wonderful work being done there in education and support.

The Jesuits have been a wonderful part of my life. I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful priests; some are my dearest friends.

This is only my personal experience of some of your work but I wish you God’s blessings on all the causes that you are involved in.

Jo Anna Royackers is the mother of Fr Martin Royackers, a Canadian Jesuit who was gunned down in 2001 at the door of his parish of St Theresa’s in Annotto Bay, Jamaicahis murder was never solved.