delegatesSAJESAM Delegates of Formation Meeting

The JESAM Delegates of Formation Meeting was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 21st June – 26th June, 2015. Delegates present were Gibson Munyoro, S.J., (Zimbabwe-Mozambique), Hector Mukwato, S.J., (Zambia-Malawi), Ehi Omoragbon, S.J., (ANW), Fidelis Udahemuka, S.J., (AOR), Kondjo Diddy Brossala, S.J., (AOC), Modeste Modekamba, S.J., (ACE), Fulgence Ratsimbazafy, S.J.,(MDG), Shaun Carls, S.J., (SAF) and JESAM President, Michael Lewis, S.J.

Unfortunately, Elisee Rutagwamba, S.J., (RWB), could not attend the meeting because he could not get a visa to travel to South Africa. Fr.General's Assistant of Formation, Fr. Jose Magadia, S.J., could also not attend the meeting because of previous commitments in Rome.

The Delegates and the President of JESAM were welcomed by Shaun Carls, S.J., on behalf of the Regional Superior of South Africa, Fr. David Rowan, S.J., and the South African Region.

Fr. Michael Lewis, on behalf of the Major Superiors of JESAM, welcomed the Delegates to the meeting. In his address to the meeting, Fr. Lewis spoke about the resolutions and recommendations we discussed at our last meeting and which some of the Major Superiors not only reacted to but took action on some matters.

He said the needs of the Strategic Action Plan continues to be addressed and that ways of implementing the General's letter on Solidarity in Formation, is ongoing. He also reminded us about the capital investment needed to service the formation cost of the Conference. He appealed to us to find more effective ways of addressing Fr. General's letter on Intellectual Formation and on Jesuits Missioned to the intellectual apostolate.

We discussed, among other things, reports from Regions and Provinces, successes and challenges in formation, recommendations to Major Superiors, Tertianship, the preparatory group for the consolidated meeting of Formators of JESAM, communication between delegate and Provincial, budgets, etc.

They were encouraged by, among other things, the number of young Jesuits in formation, the revamped guidelines of young Jesuits in formation, leadership programmes offered at formation houses, an increased sense of shared mission across the Assistancy and a stronger sense of identity among Jesuits, an appreciation of the evaluations done by Arrupe College, etc.

The discussions were engaging, fruitful and approached with a great deal of sensitivity. It was clear to me that the Delegates had a great appreciation for and cared deeply for the men in formation.

We also had the opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela's old prison, Robben Island, where he spent the first 18 of his 27 year sentence. Our prison guide was a very animated ex-prisoner, called Styles, who after each anecdote, shouted, "Let's proceed!" We'd obediently march along, quickly squeezing in the occasional selfie or photograph.

Whenever there was a threat to get stuck on an agenda item at our meeting over the next couple of days, someone would urgently whisper, "Let's proceed!" It worked quite well.


By Fr. Shaun Carls, SJ 

From South Africa

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