Care for Creation
“As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil, and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.” —Pope Francis, Manila, January 18, 2015
The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor are inextricably linked. All of us are called to pursue right relationship with God, with each other, and with creation.
In his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invited us to embrace a simpler lifestyle that sharply contrasts with our wasteful, throwaway culture. He affirmed that climate change is human induced and that we must transition from highly polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources without delay.
As a faith community, we can bring our values to this important conversation as we promote policies and practices that care for creation and the poor and vulnerable, who suffer the worst consequences of environmental harm.
In 2011, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, made a similar call in his letter On Ecology and accompanying task force report Healing a Broken World, which encourages an ecological change of heart that manifests our gratitude to God for the gift of creation.
Care for creation remains a frontier for Midwest Jesuit institutions, communities, and ministries. We see a growing and significant number of programs led by Jesuits and colleagues that are advancing care for creation through conservation practices, ecological restoration, research, education, and advocacy in both the public and corporate sectors. Universities convene public forums and opportunities for dialogue, schools and parishes implement ecological and educational initiatives, and retreat centers provide prayer and reflection opportunities to deepen the relationship between spirituality and ecology.
Some online Jesuit/Catholic related resources to promote care for creation are:
- Earth Healing (Daily reflections and more from Fr. Al Fritsch, SJ)
- Ecojesuit (Newsletter/blog of ecology news and views)
- The Global Catholic Climate Movement
- Ignatian Carbon Challenge (Practical suggestions for implementing Laudato Si’ in high schools)
- International Jesuit Ecology Project: Healing Earth (Free online environmental textbook)
- Loyola University Chicago Institute of Environmental Sustainability (Research and service opportunities)
- On Care for our Common Home (Dialogue guide for Laudato Si’ by the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice)
The Society of Jesus is one of the largest missionary orders in the Catholic Church. This vibrant apostolate dates back to Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier, one of Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s earliest companions and the patron saint of foreign missions. Recently, this spirit was exemplified by the courageous Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador.
Midwest Jesuits and colleagues are immersed in a variety of international projects, including work with forcibly displaced people through the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and international service programs, such as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and International Samaritan.
We also participate in twinning relationships, or convenios, with Jesuit provinces in Eastern Africa, Kohima (Northeast India), and Peru. Twinning emphasizes a cross-cultural, two-way partnership that includes financial support and, more importantly, apostolic, formation, and educational exchanges across provinces.
Through greater international contact, Midwest Jesuits and colleagues have been evangelized by the heroic work and witness of South Asian, African, and Latin American Jesuits we have befriended. We work together to foster reciprocity, solidarity, and advocacy for social change. In so doing, international missions become gifts and opportunities.
Currently, we maintain three active convenios with Jesuit provinces of Eastern Africa, Kohima (Northeast India), and Peru. Click a photo below to read more.
Historic Apostolic Partnerships
The Midwest Jesuits also have had and maintain aspects of partnerships with Jesuits in:
To be a companion of Jesus today requires an authentic service of faith and the promotion of justice. Entrenched social injustices and resource inequities erode the common good and compel us to compassion and solidarity with the least. Issues of particular concern for Jesuits include migration and displacement, the growing wealth gap, and care for creation threatened by a throw-away culture.
Most of our ministries, which provide direct service, social research, and advocacy for social change, are found in our affiliated educational, pastoral, and non-profit institutions. The struggle for justice is fundamentally a work of faith, which we do cooperatively with other people of faith and good will.
Midwest Jesuit parishes provide opportunities for direct service and advocacy, while Nativity Jesuit Academy, Cristo Rey Network schools, and other educational institutions welcome volunteers and provide professional services to underserved communities.
Ongoing social justice news and opportunities are posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. The list below includes Jesuit social justice ministries and resources in the Midwest and beyond. Click individual ministries to learn more and get involved.
Direct Service and Accompaniment
- Pope Francis Center (Detroit, MI)
- St. Francis Mission (Rosebud, SD)
- Holy Rosary Mission (Pine Ridge, SD)
- Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership at Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland, OH)
- Ignatian Spirituality Project (Chicago, IL)
- Casa Romero Renewal Center (Milwaukee, WI)
Social Analysis and Dialogue
- Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Center for Health Policy and Ethics at Creighton University (Omaha, NE)
- Center for Social Entrepreneurship at University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, MI)
- Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH)
- Marquette University Center for Peacemaking (Milwaukee, WI)
- Peace, Justice and Human Rights Program at John Carroll University (University Heights, OH)
- Schlegel Center for Service and Justice (Omaha, NE)
- Claver Jesuit Ministry (Cincinnati, OH)
- University of Detroit Mercy Law Clinic (Detroit, MI)
National and International Jesuit Social Justice Opportunities
- Jesuit Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (Rome)
- Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States Social and International Ministries (Washington, D.C.)
- Jesuit Refugee Service
- Jesuit Advocates
- Jesuit Committee on Investment Responsibility
- Ignatian Solidarity Network
- Jesuit Volunteer Corps (affiliated)
- Ignatian Volunteer Corps (affiliated)
- Jesuit Networking
The works of the Midwest Jesuits are available in PDF format (Click Here).