What is the difference between an Ignatian and a Jesuit work?
This question was addressed by General Congregation 35 which met in Rome in 2008. In Decree 6 of GC 35 – Collaboration at the Heart of Mission, the General Congregation said the following:
Paragraph 9 – The heart of an Ignatian work is the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. Indeed, any work may be said to be Ignatian when it manifests the Ignatian charism: i.e., when it intentionally seeks God in all things, when it practices Ignatian discernment; when it engages the world through a careful analysis of context, in dialogue with experience, evaluated through reflection, for the sake of action, and with openness, always, to evaluation. Such a work does not rely necessarily upon the Society of Jesus for its Ignatian identity, though it may affiliate with the Society in partnership through networks and other structures.
Paragraph 10 – An Ignatian work can be said to be Jesuit when it has a clear and definitive relationship with the Society of Jesus and when its mission accords with that of the Society by a commitment to a faith the does justice through interreligious dialogue and a creative engagement with culture. In such a context, the mission of the work, whether administered by a Jesuit or by another who shares this commitment, will be “ultimately accountable to the General of the Society through appropriate lines of authority”.
Saint Ignatius College Riverview is a Jesuit work that also embodies the best of the Ignatian charism. It is a Jesuit work as there is a clear and definitive relationship with the Society of Jesus in that the College was established by the Society and continues to be owned and governed by the Society. Both the Principal and the Rector are responsible to the College Board for the operation of the College and the ongoing fostering and maintenance of the Ignatian charism within the College. In turn the College Board is answerable to the Provincial, through Jesuit Education Australia, for its governance of the College. And finally, the Provincial is then answerable to the General for all the Jesuit ministries within the Australian Province.
Fr Tom Renshaw SJ
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