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Roused from Slumber

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Roused from Slumber: Four Jesuits Who Woke Up and Found Their Way in India

Francis X Clooney SJ Download iCal Event
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Location: Heythrop College

A lecture by Francis X Clooney SJ, Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

When Pope Francis addressed the Jesuits from around the world who had gathered at the 36th General Congregation in Rome in October 2016, he highlighted the Jesuit virtue of ‘aprovechamiento’ or ‘benefit’ to describe the practical criterion of discernment in Ignatian spirituality: the search for what is more helpful in any given circumstances. This virtue is grounded in the communal mission of the Society but happens in individual choices along the way. ‘In the end,’ the Pope says, this search for what is beneficial — for whatever bears more fruit’ is ‘the magis, the fervour of action that rouses us from slumber.’

This practical discernment in a changing world is of primary concern everywhere in the world, of course, but, for the sake of a fresh perspective, my paper highlights three Western Jesuits and one Indian Jesuit who exemplified in various ways the Jesuit adjustment to new situations:

  • Robert de Nobili SJ (1579-1656), who distanced himself from Western customs and culture in order to become at home in south India;
  • Constantine Beschi SJ  (1680-1742), whose gracious and beautiful Tamil poetic compositions, most famously the story of St. Joseph in epic Tamil style, became a fruitful alternative to polemic;
  • William Wallace SJ (1863-1922), the Evangelical Anglican who became a Catholic and a Jesuit in part due to his realization that there had to be a new way to relate to Hindus, were mission to have any purpose;
  • Ignatius Hirudayam SJ (1910-1995), the Tamil Jesuit who saw, long before Vatican II, the need for a fresh and deeper grounding in Tamil language, culture, and religious sensitivities, if the Church is to survive in India.

The examples are from India, but the lesson is universal: inspired by the Jesuit charism, we all need to reflect on the present  - and be awakened to the future.

This event is free of charge but please click here or use the link above to BOOK your place.


This event is organised by the Heythrop Institute for Religion and Society.

Contact Name: Annabel Clarkson
Contact Email: events@heythrop.ac.uk