After finishing his visitation of Nepal, Fr. General left for Darjeeling Province, North India. The first stop in Darjeeling was to St. Joseph’s School in North Point. When the storied institution was founded in 1888, it had but 25 students. Today the school has almost 3,400 students, but it wasn’t the growth of the student body that most caught Fr. General’s attention. Here are some excerpts from his speech.
Our educational goals have been clearly articulated in recent decades in and through our various documents. Let me now elaborate a bit on one dimension which is central to Jesuit work and spirituality today: Faith that leads to reconciliation and justice.
In our increasingly secular world, our mission is to sustain true faith in God our Creator and Sustainer. There is a strong polarisation between people who have faith in God, whatever be the name used, and those who view the world and human existence purely in materialistic terms. Our aim is to spread a genuine faith in the Divine, a sense of the Sacred in people and to show people a way to God.
Justice is an equally important consideration in our education. Every person is created in the image of God. However, millions in our world today are deprived of natural justice. The world is increasingly polarised between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, and along gender lines. People are forcibly displaced due to various reasons such as poverty, war and conflict of various kinds. These injustices are endemic and structural in nature.
Our education must make us the voice of the voiceless millions. Our students need to become men and women for and with others. Our youth are our future. We build our future and theirs when we truly form them into agents of desirable changes in our society and in the world. Our students need to be made aware of the injustices perpetrated and perpetuated in our societies. They should be imbued with a sense of justice and desirous of establishing just structures wherever they are.