Global Leader of Jesuits visits the Laudato Si’ Research Institute
The Laudato Si’ Research Institute was honoured by the visit of Father Arturo Sosa SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, on 12 April 2023. The visit formed part of his tour of the British Province of Jesuits to see its key spiritual works and parishes.
Fr General met with members of the LSRI in the afternoon of his visit to Oxford, and engaged in a presentation and discussion session, during which the Institute shared with him its vision to provide the intellectual foundations for a reordering of society towards care for the earth and for the poor. The session offered a valuable opportunity for the Institute to share some of its current research projects. Highlighted works included:
- The Endangered Languages project with NEILAC (North Eastern Institute of Languages and Culture).
- Our research project on the role of faith communities in natural resources governance disputes in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil in collaboration with the World Resources Institute and funded by the Ford Foundation.
- Our collaboration with the Bethany Land Institute in Uganda to support an integral education programme in sustainable land use and spiritual formation.
- The partnership with the diocese of Salford and St Mary’s University, Twickenham to help Catholic dioceses achieve carbon neutrality.
- Our project exploring the gene drive technology from a theological, philosophical and ethical perspective.
After an engaging discussion, the LSRI led a tree planting ceremony in the Campion Hall garden, where Fr General took part in planting a quince tree. Members of the wider Campion Hall community gathered to celebrate this special moment.
Fr General’s visit concluded with Mass in the Campion Hall chapel. In his homily, he praised the distinctive work of the Institute in furthering theological and philosophical reflection on integral ecology:
“I am delighted to see the British Province undertake such a bold and necessary initiative, and I want to congratulate Professor Celia Deane-Drummond and her remarkable team for the progress they have made in implementing so rapidly their vision of the Institute.”
Fr General went on to highlight the role of the LSRI as a response to the fourth Universal Apostolic Preference, also having roots further back in the 36th General Congregation of 2016 which “called on the Society to respond to ‘the multifaceted challenge of caring for our common home’ by, among other things, convoking our ‘theologians, philosophers, and other intellectuals and experts’ to ‘contribute to the rigorous analysis of the roots of and solutions to the crisis.’”
Although Fr General’s visit was short, his presence left a lasting impact for members of the Institute. LSRI Director Dr Celia Deane-Drummond commented:
“Fr General's visit was deeply encouraging for all of us at the Laudato Si Research Institute. His interest in our academic work through an integral ecology paradigm and how we are interpreting the fourth apostolic preference by joining up the cry of the earth and the poor through our research efforts is extremely important. His presence was instrumental in not only reinforcing and celebrating what we have done and are doing, but also encouraging us in our intended strategic plan to develop a Global Integral Ecology Research Network, led by a Jesuit who will be in close contact with Jesuit universities and partners the world over.”
Further reporting of Fr General’s visit to the LSRI can be found on the Jesuits Global website.