We are just back from a week-long tour of Flanders (North Belgium) and the Netherlands where the Jesuits presented their works and communities to us with some ardor. As we progressed through the week, we found ourselves saying time and time again “well he was certainly enthusiastic about his job!”. Despite living within a predominantly secular society, the Jesuits of the low countries are working with zeal and passion in a vast array of apostolates. They served up a cocktail of spirituality centres, social justice, media and intellectual apostolates, schools, parishes, culture, art, history, and of course…bicycles. I quite liked the bicycles myself.
The four provinces that come together in the novitiate are commited to working closely together in the future. Trips such as this one forge the bonds of friendships and brotherhood that are necessary for this happen. It’s not just Barack Obama and David Cameron who enter into special supranational relationships with a worldwide mission in mind. The Society of Jesus has played this card for nigh on 500 years. There is not much chance of going through the novitiate without having your horizons broadened.