Father Sosa is spending two weeks in Poland, where almost 600 Jesuits are members of two Provinces. First steps in Cracow, the heart of the Southern Polish Province. The accent, the main motive here has been the third Universal Apostolic Preference of the Society of Jesus: To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future. The Superior General is in Poland to know the reality of the Polish Provinces but he also wanted to enter in conversation with the youth.
On 7 May, Father General met students and professors at the Ignatianum, the Jesuit University in Cracow. He told them, recalling a statement by Fr. Kolvenbach, that “The real measure of our Jesuit Universities lies in who our students are to become”.
Fr. Sosa answered several questions. About the characteristics of Jesuit universities today, he mentioned the aspiration to being recognized for the human quality of their graduates, responsible for themselves, for others and for the earth we inhabit. This quality should make us look at the world with the eyes of God, said the General of the Jesuits. In practice, this shall be translated into social sensitivity, in order to be able to hear the cry of the millions in real need. Universities, he underlined, should contribute to social change. And the source and inspiration for such a process is the Gospel.
Being questioned about the place of the intellectual apostolate in the Society of Jesus nowadays, Father General surprised the audience by explaining that the intellectual apostolate is not an apostolic sector. It is a characteristic of the charism of the Society and a dimension of the Jesuit way of proceeding: it should be part of every apostolate. What is an intellectual apostolate, he asked? It is to seek wisdom. It is not enough, therefore, for Jesuit Universities to promote knowledge and transmit it as an element of an overall human education. The true challenge is that it should be a way to proclaim the Good News, to grasp the presence of God in the world and the action of the Spirit in history. Father Sosa noticed that wisdom was not the accumulation of knowledge, but an attribute that is recognized in people whose level of humanity and maturity helps others to see further and deeper.
As for the role of Jesuit educational institutions in Europe, Fr. Sosa said that they represent a privileged space for exercising human freedom. Freedom to seek and to find the paths of social transformation through research and teaching. It is a space in which the message of liberation of the Good News can contribute to find better ways of life in the midst of difficulties and uncertainty, opening a space for hope.
The Ignatianum Academy is one of almost two hundred Jesuit colleges and universities in the world; some 3.200 students attend its two faculties and eleven fields of study within the scope of humanities and social sciences.
Look at the photo-album of the first days of Father General in Poland.