How can Jesuits and their colleagues respond more effectively to the challenges of justice issues all over the world? That was the question explored by an international group of over fifty Jesuits and co-workers from various Jesuit justice organisations when they met together in Loyola, Spain from 17-20 November. Among them was Irish Jesuit Martin Curry SJ, Programmes Officer of Irish Jesuit Missions. As well as discussing the demands that social and environmental crises around the world make on those involved in areas of justice the group also explored how they could best cooperate and network together as part of an international organisation.
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In an interview with Fr Peter Walpole SJ during his recent visit to Ireland, the Irish Jesuit Missions hears of his work and his hopes for the future for young people. He comments on Pope Francis’ stance on climate justice.
St. Peter Claver Agricultural Project In Rumbek, South Sudan – Jesuits Helping A New Country Feed Itself
The Jesuits of Eastern Africa are present in Rumbek town and run a computer and ecological centre. In 2010 local land owners approached the Jesuits in search of help. The local landowners occupy land 10 kilometres outside of Rumbek town. They live in a rural location with few services. Their request to the Jesuits was to help them develop their community by building a school. They contributed a section of land for this purpose. After much discussion and consideration it was agreed that a multi educational agricultural institute would be appropriate. The multi educational dynamic allows the institute to move with the needs of the people and the changing needs of the Nation. A farm in the school would assist the local community to become self reliant and provide a source of food for the institute.
For some years I had been thinking out loud about engaging in volunteer work. Each time I expressed these thoughts my wife would reply, “Yes, wait until you retire”. I worked as Career Guidance Counsellor in St.Finian’s College, Mullingar, Ireland. Five years previously I had completed a training course with Viatores Christi in overseas volunteer work.
Retirement came in June 2014, after my 65th birthday. That week an email arrived asking if I was interested in going to Zambia to assist the Jesuits there setting up a commercial dairy farm enterprise; I had also retired from running my own 55 cow dairy farm about eight years ago. Since God had blessed me with a healthy family and good health, my wife and I decided it was a great opportunity to give a little assistance back to people who are less well off.