The Commission had its first meeting on September 28th. Colleagues from Toronto, Montréal, Guelph and Sudbury held a virtual meeting to learn about each other and see how they can collaborate together.
Fr. Erik Oland, SJ took advantage of this meeting to announce our appointment as co-assistants to the provincial. He also invited the Commission to take the name Justice, Reconciliation and Ecology. This designation expresses his desire to see a focus on the particular challenge of reconciliation with First Nations in the Canadian context. On this issue, we do not really know what we are going to do, but we are aware that the term "Reconciliation" is controversial. It must be inhabited, named and anchored in social justice and in a decolonizing perspective, and in supporting and accompanying indigenous initiatives. The issue of ecology is now part of our mandate, but aside from the work of the Ignatius Centre in Guelph, we are not very active. There is much to be done and invented and we are well aware that the question of ecology is transversal.
All the works and Jesuits in Canada involved in the social field were present. We are twice as many participants as before and I am confident that we will be able to do more than before the creation of the new Province. In addition, the Commission had an almost equal number of Jesuits and non-Jesuits, which should strengthen collaboration between collaborators and Jesuits.
Anne-Marie Jackson gave us an excellent report on the recent meeting of the Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries of the Canada-United States Conference, held in Honduras in September 2018. In particular, she announced that the year 2019 will be marked by various commemoration meetings of the 50th anniversary of the International Secretariat for Justice and Ecology; these are opportunities to update and intensify the Jesuit commitment to social justice in the Society of Jesus at all levels.
For this meeting, we had the pleasure of counting on the participation of Mario Serrano, a Jesuit from the Dominican Republic, who will be the new coordinator of the social apostolate for the Jesuit Conference of Latin America beginning in March 2019. His presence in Quebec for a few weeks allowed us to prioritize a first intervention of the Commission in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people as well as with the members and collaborators of the Society of Jesus who work there.
Elisabeth Garant and Anne-Marie Jackson
Co-Assistants — Justice, Reconciliation and Ecology