A Province of Society of Jesus in South Asia Assistancy
What has it meant to be a Ranchi Jesuit?
Posted on: 4 Jun, 2019|Modified on: 1 Dec, 2014
By Fr. James Lakra, S.J.
Due to my family contact with the Jesuits and also my personal contact the Jesuits of Ranchi, the seed of an attraction or a liking for the Jesuit Fathers, was sown in the early childhood. The Belgian Jesuits young and old, threw a challenge to be like them, to work with them.
Before joining the Society – Jesuit life, through very vague, threw a challenge to me. The lives of some Jesuits surely attracted me very much. A life some how different may be of a higher level, gave me some goal/objective/aim. I could leave home, parents, learn things, and put my self fully for this not so clear an ambition.
The Jesuit mission in Ranchi was in full bloom, Belgian Jesuits had established themselves. Their dedication commitment had tremendous effect on Chotanagpur Church. The mission field – parishes – educational institutions, every where Ranchi Jesuit presence was not only felt, but people also began to notice them and were attracted towards them.
Well established institutions, very dedicated individual – lots of initiative, trying out new experiments – so much of commitment and self-sacrifice that each one of this had to succeed. In spite of language bar, by far, they were so much incultured – really identified themselves well with people.
So, Jesuit life meant for me – a life full of challenges – life of things to do – a very good company of Belgian Jesuits – a life full of achievements.
My active life – once I plunged into active apostolic life.
Well established good infrastructures, well planned traditions, strong support, timely positive monitoring these are some of my rich experiences of my active life as a Jesuit in Ranchi province. The pioneering work had been done.
Since my main apostolic work was education, I prepared the plan for this apostolate. I had been given regular chance to work in educational institution. I felt that the Society gave me enough freedom to choose my own apostolate,. It also allowed me to prepare my self in whatever way I could. So when I plunged into my apostolic life I had the feeling that the Society had prepared me for this.
I see two clear periods in my life as I jumped in an active Jesuit life. The first period as I was not fully in charge, I had to play the second fiddle. This period demanded lots of hard work following instruction. I found very difficult to cope with the demands made. Quite often I did not agree with the person I was assisting. But just to learn I practiced law of obedience and tried to understand and following my head. I must say this period was very much for learning. The superiors created an atmosphere of learning. There was openness, transparency, there was mutual trust and there was trust and respect. All these allowed me to learn. There was success, achievements; there were also incidents of failure. Sometimes the relationship with other Jesuit co-workers was difficult. Other times it was smooth going. But what I want to stress here is that the first part of my active life as a Ranchi Jesuit had that atmosphere – environment, which was very conducive to ler5ning. The period of learning prepared me as a confident and capable Jesuit to take up an apostolate and put my whole self to it.
Early years – formation days of my Jesuit life through quite active – may be over active, doing hundred and one things.
During the formation period, right from the beginning, I got to know the rich heritage, resources of Jesuit spirituality. As the Jesuit spirituality unfolded it self, slowly and steadily it began to empower me.
As I look back my formation days I realize that a live of purpose has been building up my personality, my character, my talents even weaknesses were being integrated. My values, attitudes started being formed and focused. This balanced integrations of oneself could be possible only because a Jesuit charism.
Jesuit life and environment whole through my formation gave maximum expose to an every talent that I posses. It may be true that certain talents could not be fully developed but I had the feeling that some of my talents got full opportunity to develop
Jesuit life gave me opportunity to interact with other Jesuits of different caste and background. Ranchi Jesuit scholastics were liked very much for their simplicity, cooperation, and talent in sports and music.
In all t formation period as a Ranchi Scholastic I felt accepted and trusted through not very intelligent and smart.
The whole Jesuit formation I felt that as Ranchi Jesuit scholastics I was being prepared for the apostolate. Some how, Ranchi Jesuit Charism, its own strength and weakness both instilled in me, certain self image, self confidence that I could take up any work in the province.
Ranchi province with its rich tribal heritage well focused plan to work for the tribals attracted me. It was very clear what the province wanted. It gave me enough incentive to prepare myself for the job ahead.