“It is my desire that at the heart of this Ignatian year we would hear the Lord calling us, and we would allow him to work our conversion inspired by the personal experience of Ignatius.” This is the invitation extended by Fr. Arturo Sosa, as Superior General, in a letter addressed to the entire Society of Jesus on 27th September 2019.

This Ignatian year will last 14 months, from 20th May 2021, the date of Ignatius’ injury during the Battle of Pamplona, to 31st July 2022, the feast of Saint Ignatius in the liturgical calendar. The theme of conversion is therefore linked to the experience of the founder of the Society. It is because of his being wounded that Ignatius the knight was forced to undergo a long convalescence during which he was able to reflect on his life, on the meaning that his life had had until then and on the meaning that it could have afterwards.

The year will be marked by important events for the entire Society. The 400th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Ignatius will be celebrated on 12th March 2022. Let us remember that Saint Francis Xavier was canonized the same day, along with Saint Theresa of Jesus, Saint Isidore the Laborer and Saint Philip Neri. The 71st Congregation of Procurators will take place in Loyola from 16th to 22nd May 2022; it will be preceded, in 2021, by Provincial Congregations all over the world.

In his letter of 27th September, Father General makes the connection between these celebrations of 2021-2022 and the spirit of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. He writes “The Universal Apostolic Preferences (2019-2029) have confirmed the call to our personal, community, and institutional conversion, which is necessary for our greater spiritual and apostolic freedom and adaptability. Let us take this opportunity to let God transform our life-mission, according to his will”.

The motto chosen for the Ignatian Year is To see all things new in Christ. This is what conversion leads to. A specific dimension is highlighted by Father Sosa, that of poverty which, he insists, includes personal friendship with the poor and help for the poor. The Ignatian Year should be a privileged opportunity to hear the cry of the poor, the excluded, and those whose dignity has not been respected.

You can read the full text of Father General’s letter by clicking here.