Message from the Provincial of the Jesuits of Canada
Much has been written about tapestry, one of the world’s oldest art forms still being practiced the world over. This practical and beautiful art is enjoying a renaissance today after a significant decline in the 20th century.
Despite their artistic beauty, tapestries were originally conceived to hang on the walls of a dwelling to provide insulation. That is the practical side. Another observation made by art historians is that, in ancient times, tapestries were produced collectively. It was an art that assembled diverse talents; a communal coming together of painters, designers, and weavers.
In choosing the theme Tapestry of Hope and Solidarity for its organizational report, Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) tells us that its mission “to love and to serve by working with people struggling for social justice and dignity in the world,” is a collective effort. It is one where diverse people from diverse cultures around the world make a strong commitment to weave together something truly wonderful as expressed in CJI’s vision: “A world of peace, justice and integrity of creation, transformed through active commitment and finding God in all things.”
CJI, along with its partners and supporters, has never wavered in its mission of accompanying poor and marginalized people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Even at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, whose disastrous impacts are expected to reverberate for many years to come, CJI continued its course.
Today, CJI continues to work in solidarity with its Jesuit partners who walk hand in hand with local communities as they address poverty, access to education, human rights violations, violence, forcible displacement, and environmental degradation.
CJI’s journey is guided by the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) of the global Society of Jesus: Promoting Discernment and the Spiritual Exercises, Walking with the Excluded, Caring for our Common Home, and Journeying with Youth. We are also guided by Pilgrims Together – With Jesus in Mission, the fruit of the apostolic discernment process of the Jesuit Province of Canada.
The Jesuit priorities are reflected in both the international projects it supports, and the education and advocacy CJI carries out in Canada. The UAPs and Pilgrims Together provide CJI the inspiration and fulfillment of the organizational and personal mission of its staff and Board. In turn, its mission contributes and enriches the mission of the Society of Jesus at home and abroad.
CJI also draws hope from its partners and their communities who face challenges head on with admirable courage and commitment.
Together may we continue to create this beautiful tapestry of hope and solidarity which I know will continue to inspire many for generations to come.
Erik Oland SJ