A Province of Society of Jesus in South Asia Assistancy
What is it to be a Ranchi Jesuit?
Posted on: 4 Jun, 2019|Modified on: 1 Dec, 2014
By Fr. Walter Ekka sj
What is it to be a Ranchi Jesuit?
As a panelist of the topic ‘What is it to be a Ranchi Jesuit’, I believe that it is not a futile exercise to overcome our identity crisis, but a serious effort of forging forward with great hope and determination. Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical - letter on the condition of labour wrote “When a society is perishing, the true advice to give to those who would restore it, is to recall the principles from which it sprung”.
Ranchi Jesuit society has its source in the society of Jesus founded by our Holy Fr. St. Ignatius. We share the same grace filled vocation of the first companions. GC. 31, citing ‘Deliberatio Primorum Patrum’, speaks the experience of the Spiritual Exercises as follows, ‘ Led by the spiritual exercise, they formed a group that was apostolic in its charity, and in which , after they had taken the vows of chastity and poverty and had been raised the priesthood, they would offer themselves as holocaust to God, for whose praise and honour they had given up all that they had”.
History of the society has its beginning in the spiritual exercises, which our holy father Ignatius and his companions went through. They had heard the invitation of Christ the King and had followed it. For that reason, they not only dedicated themselves entirely to labor but desiring to become outstanding in every service of their King. They made offering of greater worth and importance, so that they could be sent under the banner of Christ, by him, into the entire world, spreading his teaching among all degrees and condition of men.
We Ranchi Jesuits also share the same grace filled vocation. We are also the men formed by the same spiritual exercises and continually renew ourselves in the disposition of the exercises. Though we are engaged in different apostolates with different charisms, nothing can replace the experiences of the exercises for maintaing both, one’s personal equilibrium and the unity of the society. Fr. Arrupe, in vol. XV of Acta Romana Sicietatis Jesu writes “If anyone after some years in the society doubts the truth of this, we have to say either he has not yet lived this unique experience or that he has failed in the test”.
We, therefore, as members of the society of Ranchi Province are called in response to socio-economic and political milieu of Jharkhand for the total and integral liberation of men and women we come across in our mission, leading to participate in the life of God himself.
With trained mind and dedicated spirit, we are imbued with the dynamic power of magis, which exceeds any form of mediocrity and instill in us that interior abnegation which a condition for making a choice of what is better.
We are invited by the Lord to his friendship to perform those matters, which advance us towards greater freedom from self- love.
We make ourselves available for the meanest tasks or at least have the desire to be thus available so that we can distinguish ourselves in the service of the Eternal King.
We pledge our commitment to the subaltern groups, for the care of the poor, the marginalized and the abandoned of the Jharkhand.
We let the young people give us hope and dream for the future and learn from crucified Christ that in weakness and vulnerability God’s love can shine forth mightily.
As the members of the Society of Jesus in Ranchi Province:
We are grateful to God for fathers like Constant Livens, Cardon, Dehonh , Hermna Raskat and De Moulder, who gave their lives in the battle for winning souls for Christ and converted as many souls as possible. To save souls they were ready to jump through fires. Deprivation, poverty, extreme discomfort did not deter them from preaching the gospel. They had unshakable confidence and trust in God and strong conviction that they were doing the God’s work and not merely working for God.
We are proud of fathers like Hoffman, Camil Bulke, Albert Van Exem, Clarisse Ponnet who have left the mark of scholarship amidst us.
We are thankful to God for Brothers like Francis Aie, Junas, Joseph, Solo and Fulgence, who worked silently to fulfill their assigned jobs.
We feel great admiration for those who are treading the less traveled road in the mission like Fathers Vanbortel, Vanuffel, and Mark Debrwuer. Delport.
We are encouraged by the fathers and brothers who gave time and energy in the cnofidence building measures after Bis Kand, Dhingurpani Incident, Tapkara Goli Kand, Neterhat Field Firing Range, and for the demand of the primary teachers salary.
We also stand firm along with those who dared to dissent through their writings by exposing Hindutwa agenda,(Fr. John Lakra) Nanesera incident (Fr. James Toppo) and all those who raised passionately the subaltern consciousness in the news papers.
We also feel disturbed that Lisbert De Souza, the previous POSA, could not remember any thing worth mentioning as innovative actions (responsive or relevant to contemporary needs and challenges) in Ranchi Province, in his six years tenure.(Peoples church of Kohima reason,Cultural contribution of Samadarshini Andhra, Folklore institue of Palamkotai, Paharia project in Dumaka, Tarumitra of Patna ,Prerna of Hazaribagh). Is our province still suffering from jack-fruit culture syndrome?( Hard physical labour, O.K. with regard to Bhakti Bhawana but falling short of expectation with regard to mental and with works of ingenuity) Can we with collective wisdom and collective responsibility overcome it.
A pen- portrait of a Ranchi Jesuit:
1. A God centered man with the sense of the sacred.
2. A companion of Jesus, rooted in his love.
3. A simple, sincere and hard working man, trying to do better than the average.
4. A man who reflects the pain and suffering of the tribal people, in their battle to save their “jal, jangal, jamin, and asmita”.
5. A man who is aware of the importance of Christian Sarna unity to stop the influence of Hundutwa elements in tribal society.
6. A man who feels at home in the cultural expression of the tribals in their art, literature, songs and dances.
7. A man who believes working in solidarity with others and not shying from collective responsibility.
8. A man who is dependable and trust worthy and ready available for any mission, particularly where tribal dignity and identity is at stake.
9. A man who is sensitive towards social justice, human rights, and communal harmony.
10. A man who is friend to nature and sensitive to ecological balance.
No doubt, Ranchi Jesuits had a glorious past, future in on young shoulders and the present is full of promises. Though there is nothing exclusively ‘jesuitness’ in what I say, yet these words of scripture, to a great extent speak in favor of Jesuits. “We are putting no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings imprisonments, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God. We are treated as imposters yet we are true, as unknown, and yet are well known, as dying, and see we are alive. As punished yet we are not killed. As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. As poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing everything.(2 Cor.6:3-10)