Thursday, 7 July 2011

South-American Experience Part I

This post is the first of three parts and consists of a reflection I wrote just after a three month stay in the interior of Guyana, South-America.

In the early stages of Jesuit formation a wannabe Jesuit is sent to different places where he (no she's I'm afraid) can gain first-hand knowledge of the life that awaits him later in life. Last year, I was very lucky to be able to spend three months in a little Amerindian village in the South-American Savannah's close to the northern border of Brasil with an experienced Jesuit priest.

Prior to leaving England, I wondered how I would react to a country and a people so different from everything I knew. Ignatius puts great store on Jesuits who listen and are slow to speak in order to understand the meaning, leanings and desires of those who speak. This, I learned, is the basic attitude of a missionary today. Two aspects stand out from my three month stay with the tribe as belonging to the spiritual attitude proper to the Society of Jesus: service without holding back and the importance of companionship both for sharing on the daily work and for discerning the way forward.

To be continued...

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