Jesuit Social Services’ work is grounded in the Ignatian tradition of keeping one foot raised, ready to go where the need is – ANDY HAMILTON SJ charts the history and spirit of this Ignatian Year.

31 July 2022 marks the Feast Day of St Ignatius of Loyola and the end of the Ignatian Year. Jesuit Social Services’ work is grounded in the Ignatian tradition, which calls on us to keep one foot raised, ready to go where the need is. We continue this tradition in the present day by responding to disadvantaged and marginalised communities who experience barriers to having their basic needs fulfilled, such as finding a safe and stable home and putting food on the table for their families, as well as their more complex needs that affect mental health, ability to find sustainable employment and more.

The Ignatian Year began on the anniversary of Ignatius’ wounding in battle and his reluctant convalescence. This led him into a lifetime of reflection on the movements of his own spirit, his conversion to a deep religious faith, and years of journeying to find God’s way for him and his companions who formed the Society of Jesus.

One of Ignatius’ early companions said that a Jesuit’s home was the journey. They were always going out to meet people in their need and to help them reflect on what mattered. When later most Jesuits lived and worked in institutions, this restlessness reflected itself in their exploring faith, attending to the situations and cultural currents that affected the people with whom they worked, and helping them to focus on what mattered.

This is the founding spirit of Jesuit Social Services, with the rich variety of cultures, religions and philosophies of our staff and the people we work with. We are called to accompany people who are hungry for justice, opportunity and meaning. This demands of us an inner journey to enter the lives of people whom we serve and make their greatest struggles the focus of our programs and advocacy.