Jesuits and their colleagues recognize the importance of being “people for others.” The original concept of “helping souls” included direct service to the poor and vulnerable. Today, helping others in the Ignatian tradition includes volunteering in service projects and working for the greater goals of justice wherever injustice exists. The Voices for Justice highlighted on this page find inspiration in the “worldliness” of Ignatian spirituality and, in turn, inspire others to “help souls.”
Experiences in Ignatian Ministry
Social Ministries Reflection (PDF)
By Suzanne Geaney
A laywoman describes her experiences in Ignatian social ministry. The author is the executive director of the Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps.
By Gregory Boyle, SJ
A touching, heartbreaking story about a member of a street gang in East L.A. The author is the founder of Homeboy Industries, an outreach to gangs.
They Come Back Singing Excerpts
By Gary Smith, SJ
Read several chapters of Fr. Gary Smith’s powerful book chronicling his experiences with Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
Radical Compassion Excerpts
By Gary Smith, SJ
Read excerpts from Fr. Gary Smith’s journal of his years serving the poor in Portland, Oregon.
To Serve, to Accompany, to Defend
By Louise Zanre
The Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK describes the life of refugees in limbo as they await decisions concerning their admittance into the UK. Most live in a shadow land of detention, with no income or jobs, in need of the basics of life. The JRS does its best to provide some essentials, as well as a listening ear and compassionate concern for the individuals involved.
Accompaniment and Welcome: The Jesuit Refugee Service and its Pastoral Role (PDF)
By Mark Raper, SJ
The article describes the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) as becoming listening companions to those they serve.
Social Justice Journal: Promotio Iustitiae
Promotio Iustitiae, the online social justice journal from the Jesuit headquarters in Rome, has a series of articles and experiences from Jesuits and their partners about working together for justice.
Al Fritsch, SJ, writes daily reflections on ecological issues. The site calls attention to dangers to the environment in Appalachia and nationwide.
Why Are the Jesuits Involved in Social Justice Work?
Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)
By Jim Campbell
As the Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965-1983, Fr. Arrupe led the Jesuits to make a commitment to addressing the needs of the poor.
The Promotion of Justice
The site offers links to the texts of critical documents to help understand the Jesuit and Catholic tradition of the service of faith and the promotion of justice. Includes the decrees of several General Congregations of the Society of Jesus and Arrupe’s Men for Others speech.
Social Justice Activism as Religious Experience: The Transformation of the Jesuits
By Peter Bisson, SJ
Reviews the recent history of the Jesuit commitment to social justice. This commitment articulated in GC 31 and GC 32 has led to a new awareness of mission not as filling empty secular spaces with God, but as a response to the presence of God that is already there, most notably in the poor and marginalized.
GC 35: A Postmodern Faith-Justice Mission?
By Peter Bisson, SJ, and Gasper Lo Biondo, SJ
The postmodern world has meant a shift from objectivity to extreme subjectivity, in which truth becomes relative to the experience of the subject. This shift also is an opportunity in terms of the principles of Ignatian spirituality. The practice of the Exercises makes possible an experience of “authentic subjectivity” that frees the exercitant from disordered desires, biases, and prejudices, to engage in the issues of social justice.
Social Commitment and Ignatian Spirituality (PDF)
By Jean Ilboudo, SJ
Jean Ilboudo, General Assistant SJ – Africa, challenges Jesuits to discover that, “A community of insertion, a commitment with the poorest, can be for the companions of a Province a place of true conversion, the discovery of a call to follow Christ, and to follow Christ in poverty”¦ It is important for the Society of Jesus that some of the members of the Body choose to share the condition of the poor and the excluded.”
Features justice initiatives at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Includes syllabi of courses, Ignatian spirituality resources, research, and publications of interest.
Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice
The Jesuit Forum offers open space for people of goodwill to meet, build relationships, and create communities of solidarity. Its goal is to counteract the growing privatization of faith. The groups within the forum are called to develop a process of communal discernment of social issues and create possibilities for change.