News from the Jesuit Institute
Digital Pathfinding Seminar, Randburg: The Jesuit Institute in a joint initiative with the Catholic Institute of Education hosted a two-day seminar in Randburg, Johannesburg. Around 120 delegates from all parts of South Africa were in attendance. The delegates were mainly educators, especially IT teachers, but also schools’ heads, staff and representatives of senior management teams. The conference attracted top speakers. Researchers, child psychologists, forensic and communications lawyers, digital innovators and teacher training implementation specialists. Additionally, we secured the presence of leading tech companies. These included Apple, Facebook/Instagram, Google and Microsoft. The pioneering initiative received great acclaim and glowing feedback from delegates. There is already a request to expand on this initiative and to continue the efforts to seriously address the issues surrounding the use of digital media and the safety of our young people who are the most vulnerable in the online world and its most avid users. As one of the speakers put it, we hope to develop young people, their parents and educators to have “wings of digital literacy” and “roots of digital resilience”.
Spiritual Exercises Retreat, St Lucia: The thirty-day silent retreat took place during September at the beautiful St Lucia Retreat and Conference Centre which is set on the banks of an estuary filled with birds and wildlife in Kwazulu-Natal. Sr Teresa Mafuta, Mrs Anne Hart and Sr Elizabeth-Marie Ansart under the guidance of Jesuit Fr Gero McLoughlin led 9 retreatants of different denominational backgrounds through the Spiritual Exercises.
Hiking Retreat, Heidelberg: The long weekend, which culminated on Heritage Day, saw some twenty-two retreatants taking to the Klipkraal trail just outside Johannesburg. These picturesque surrounds offered the backdrop for our hiking retreat this year. The day began with a planned moment of prayer led by Jesuits Russell Pollitt and Ricardo da Silva. Then, we took time to pray and reflect together, as we walked the trails on offer ranging from 4-13kms in distance. The retreat offered a space for families, couples and single adults to enter into prayer gently and encounter the Lord in the natural beauty around us.
8-Day Individually Guided Retreat, Benoni: Another individually guided retreat at Lumko Retreat Centre in Benoni drew people from around the country. We had retreatants from Kimberley, Cape Town, East London, Umtata and Gauteng and even from the UK, all taking time out to be in quiet contemplation with God. Annemarie Paulin-Campbell and Matthew Charlesworth SJ together with Kathi Tarantal, a retreat director from Cape Town trained by us, offered the retreat.
Public Lecture on Apartheid, Harare: Anthony Egan SJ delivered a public lecture on “The Origins of Apartheid” on September 20th at Arrupe Jesuit University in Harare, Zimbabwe. The lecture was the first in a series of monthly presentations that the university is hosting. Anthony’s central thesis was that though the unexpected 1948 National Party victory led to the implementation of the apartheid system in South Africa, this was merely the systematisation and intensification of segregationist policies that had been in place for up to a century before. Given to students, professors and guests at Arrupe (including the acting South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe), the talk was well-received and generated a lively discussion, much of it linking his reflections to present-day southern African concerns.
Inter-novitiate Communications Workshop, Johannesburg: Matthew Charlesworth SJ led two days of workshops on communications skills for the inter-novitiate group of about 40 novices from various religious orders. At the offices of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, he shared examples of different types of communication, from traditional print formats to online social media, and invited novices to study Pope Francis’ messages for World Communications Days. It is hoped that many would be encouraged to write for publications in their dioceses and the publications of their own religious orders.
Seminarians’ Retreat, Cape Town: Puleng Matsaneng and Russell Pollitt SJ, were once again invited to accompany orientation-year seminarians on their annual retreat at St Francis Xavier Seminary in Athlone, Cape Town. The week-long retreat was held in the seminary grounds and invited those beginning their training for the priesthood to deepen their relationship of prayer and friendship with the Lord.
LGBTQI+ Retreat Morning: The latest addition to our spirituality programme this year, has been a series of themed retreat mornings. It has been our desire to offer people the space to spend a morning in peaceful contemplation at our offices in Johannesburg. This month saw our first retreat especially directed at the LGBTQI+ community led by Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, Russell Pollitt SJ and Ricardo da Silva SJ. Many who attended expressed their gratitude for finally having been offered a church space, some for the first time, where they could share and reflect honestly and without shame or fear on the intimate and even painful issues that surround their sexuality and spirituality.
Prayer Guide Training, Johannesburg – 25-28 October: There are still places available for the Prayer Guide Training later this month, 25-28 October at the Jesuit Institute in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Prior experience of Ignatian ways of praying is a pre-requisite for the course which trains participants to guide others on retreats in daily life. Anyone interested in the future possibility of training as a spiritual director is asked to do this course first. Application is essential. Limited residential spaces are available for those travelling from far. Please email Margaret for more information or for an application form: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spotlight.Africa: Our online news, reflection, and analysis website is becoming more widely known and the growing numbers of visitors to its pages attest to this. If you haven’t yet visited, now is a good time to see what we’re up to. There are a number of articles written by staff members of the Jesuit Institute for you to read. Go to Spotlight.Africa.