Nota del editor: Este artículo se ha elaborado a través de una verdadera colaboración global, con el apoyo de AUSJAL y reflexiones de participantes internacionales: Susana Di Trolio, David McCallum SJ y Joe Orlando.


Durante la primera semana de abril se realizó la Conferencia “Renovando la Compañía de Jesús a través del Discernimiento y el Liderazgo”, convocada por la Oficina de Discernimiento y Planificación Apostólica de la Curia General en Roma con la intención de conformar una comunidad global que colabore con la renovación creativa de la Compañía de Jesús y la Iglesia a partir de las preferencias apostólicas anunciadas por el Padre General Arturo Sosa, S.J.


El encuentro reunió a 54 jesuitas, religiosos(as) y líderes ignacianos de todos los continentes, con experiencia en diversos campos de colaboración. Michael Garanzini, SJ, Secretario de Educación Superior, postuló a los siguientes participantes: Susana Di Trolio, Secretaria Ejecutiva de AUSJAL, Joe Orlando, de Seattle University y el Francois Kaboré, S.J., de la Conferencia de África.


El Padre General abrió el evento con una ponencia sobre las Preferencias Apostólicas Universales y cómo hacerlas avanzar con el compromiso compartido de los asistentes de las conferencias regionales, las provincias y los encargados de las diferentes obras. La compartimos:

Durante el evento, los participantes abordaron los elementos claves del liderazgo (en una forma ignaciana de proceder); reflexionaron sobre los desafíos del trabajo en las fronteras y las vulnerabilidades del mundo; adquirieron conocimientos teóricos y prácticos sobre cómo liderar procesos comunitarios de cambio y superación de crisis y dificultades; y compartieron experiencias, conocimientos, buenas prácticas y recursos sobre liderazgo y discernimiento ignacianos.

La metodología del Encuentro fue propicia para que los participantes integraran los contenidos teóricos y prácticos recibidos con una experiencia vivencial basada en la reflexión, la oración y el discernimiento, tanto personal como comunitario.

El P. John Dardis, SJ, Consejero General para el Discernimiento y la Planificación Apostólica, también ofreció una reflexión sobre cómo las obras de la Compañía de Jesús promueven la conversión espiritual y pidió a los participantes que se abrieran a una “oración por el liderazgo”.

En el transcurso de cinco días se realizaron talleres, presentaciones sobre los diferentes estilos de liderazgo y los desafíos que enfrenta la Iglesia contemporánea.



Acompañando el artículo, les ofrecemos una mirada más cercana a la experiencia de los participantes que han compartido con nosotros algunas de sus reflexiones.



Susana Di Trolio Rivero, Secretaría Ejecutiva, AUSJAL


First of all, like the rest of the participants, I would like to express my gratefulness for receiving personalized guidance from Father General on the Universal Apostolic Preferences.

I feel compelled to share with the readers my  impression of the workshop.  At the first morning when the meeting started, the setting and the diversity of the particitants reminded me of the story of the construction of the Babel Towel; we were 54 people from 23 different countries from all continents, with different languages, formation and cultural backgrounds, about half of us were lay person and the other half Jesuits, only 9 of us were women!  Some of us work in education, others in the social apostolate. Could there posibly be a more diverse group? All of us convened in Rome with the common purpose of reflecting together and sharing our experiences on Ignatian leaderships and common discernment.

The first thought that came to my mind was: How is the organizing committee planning to make this workshop works so it can achieve its goals? I realized that maybe I felt that way because it took me almost 36 hours to get to Rome and, of course, my first impulse it´´ s always to try rationalizing everything.  Yet, by the end of the first day I felt that we strongly connected and started to feel as members of the same global family; the Ignatian Community. Amazing! That really struck me up and gave me a great feeling of consolation, which I will keep in my heart and get back to it in the future whenever I feel tired or a little bit disappointed. We all are in the hands of our Lord, and one of the most important duties is to let the Holy Spirit work on us. We have to open our eyes and hearts and learn to see diversity, and the richness that it brings, in instead of keep seeing the differences in languages and cultures among us as obstacles to collaboration.  

In the same line, when I received the invitation to the meeting, I did not expect having moments of spiritual conversation and reflection with the rest of my workshop´ s partners. The methodology of the workshop created many opportunities for personal, person to person and in group moments of prayers and reflections, which allow us to bringing the whole of ourselves to the meeting, not only our rationality and brains, but also our hearts with our hopes and fears. For me, that experiential methodology determined the success of the workshop.  I am deeply thankful to the steering committee for showing me that, even though it is difficult, based on our share Christian spirituality and with the right methodology and coaching, it is possible to organize decision making experiences based on spiritual conversations and common reflections with our work teams. 

Along with this feeling of consolation, I also appreciate that the steering committee created the opportunity for us to hear experts and reflect together on the crisis of sexual and power abuses in the Church.  It is always shocking to hear about the abuses, it produced in me a great feeling of desolation. After praying, I felt the calling to continue to pray to God so that he gives the authorities of the Church the courage to implement all the necessary measures to prevent the abuses that leadership and power, without supervision and accountability, will always produce.

Finally, I appreciate the opportunity for sharing experiences, know-how and resources on Ignatian leadership and common discernment. Also, I appreciated that the methodology of the meeting kept a very good balance between the moments for personal prayer and reflection and the ones in group. 




David McCallum, SJ, Vice President for Mission Integration and Development, Le Moyne College


Question 1: The program designed by Fr Dardis SJ and his office wanted to build on Ignatian tradition in leadership. What were the elements that were given a lot of emphasis throughout the five days of the program?

Our conversations and presentations on leadership in an Ignatian way of proceeding had many shared elements and emphases, including the importance of a life grounded in prayer and discernment, an orientation toward loving, humble, and great-hearted service of others, and the role of a hopeful imagination for the future. 

One dimension of Ignatian leadership which is new for many is that of a willing vulnerability- essentially, the courage required to admit one's limits and failures, to learn in public, to surrender to God and work interdependently with others. While many models of leadership emphasize strengths and skills, we are exploring as well how it is also in and through our weaknesses that God's grace operates most powerfully. 

Another theme that received considerable attention is the way that trusting, loving, and reverent relationships, and inner freedom from strong biases are important conditions for doing discernment in common. We can cultivate these relationships through the medium of spiritual conversations that include active and empathetic listening and speaking from one's values, convictions and principles. 


Question 2: This leadership formation program involved experienced leaders, such as yourselves, what new experiences and what new knowledge did you leave with?

Since I was on the planning and facilitation team, I know that we had very high hopes for the experience. While we could not have predicted exactly how the gathering would turn out, we had intentions and objectives that were surpassed by the reality. Specifically, there was a transformative quality to the way we learned from one another, especially as we confronted and worked thru assumptions rooted in cultural biases. It was mutually beneficial that we were so diverse in our backgrounds and that we were a community of Jesuits and colleagues in mission, men and women. For me, it is this inter-cultural experience that I appreciated the most- that we are all colleagues and companions in a global apostolic mission.

It also struck me listening to our participants that such experiences of spiritual conversation, intellectual reflection, and practical planning are relatively rare. People are hungry and thirsty for this whole person style of engagement.


Question 3. Your leadership group spent time reflecting on the new UAP. How did the leadership program contribute to your understanding of the UAP’s?

It was quite powerful hearing Fr. General Sosa speak so passionately about these preferences, about the urgency of the matters they address, yet also about our need to not rush into action. Rather, he encouraged us to foster a conversational approach to discerning our way forward in concrete actions.

As the IAJU develops, it will be the auspice under which we will convene such meaningful and generative global gatherings. It is a matter of imagination, matched with resolve and resources, that will determine how we can address the needs of our times through the combined forces of our educational institutions.




Joe Orlando, Director of the Center for Jesuit Education, Seattle University


Question 1: The program designed by Fr Dardis SJ and his office wanted to build on Ignatian tradition in leadership. What were the elements that were given a lot of emphasis throughout the five days of the program?

Participating in the "Renewing the Society of Jesus Through Discernment & Leadership" workshop designed by Fr. Dardis and his team was an inspiring, energizing and educational experience for me!  Certainly the mix of participants had a high impact:  an even mix of Jesuits and lay colleagues, including representatives from around the world, and the full range of Jesuit apostolates represented as well.  In addition to participants, the role of small groups and the specific use of an Ignatian model of Spiritual Conversation was very meaningful.  I was able to learn more and share more in greater depth, because of this model.  I feel inspired to incorporate this model where I can in my own work in the apostolate of Jesuit higher education.  Time for prayer - opening, end of day Examen, and evening Mass built upon the practice and use of the Spiritual Conversation groups, to make this an "integrated" experience for me, weaving Ignatian spirituality and prayer and discernment into the content and exploration of the week.  Finally, I found the input sessions very important and helpful.  We learned about various ways Ignatian leadership is being taught in different locations around the world, learned about the way we ourselves are seeking to exercise it, learned about links to leadership models such as Theory U (Otto Scharmer), learned about the need to apply it in challenging circumstances, and learned about how the Universal Apostolic Preferences call us to apply ourselves to express our leadership in our respective settings and corporately.

So as you can see, I was impacted by the people, by the process, and also by the material that we explored together.


Question 2: This leadership formation program involved experienced leaders, such as yourselves, what new experiences and what new knowledge did you leave with?

I would say that I gained a deeper sense of the reality that we are, indeed, a large and expansive Ignatian family of leaders, and that we can reach out and collaborate more effectively and confidently within and across apostolates.  This workshop also demonstrated for me the faith, skill and motivation that is shared across the world in the extended Ignatian community.  I learned a great deal in the use and practice of Spiritual Conversation for a small group that is new to one another, and seeks to understand and grow together.  I am intrigued about Theory U and how it may be a valuable framework to weave in with Ignatian leadership material.  The experience also highlighted for me that Ignatian leadership has an adaptive element to it, and that we each will exercise it and teach in slightly different ways in different parts of the world, depending on our context.


Question 3. Your leadership group spent time reflecting on the new UAP. How did the leadership program contribute to your understanding of the UAP’s?

I greatly appreciated hearing from Fr. Sosa directly about the UAP's, and I can more readily understand how these preferences are intended to orient our apostolic efforts.  Our task as leaders is to bring the preferences into dialogue with our current undertakings - e.g. in my case, in my work in Jesuit higher education.  Since I am helping to co-chair a national committee planning a conference on the Commitment to Justice, June 3-6, 2020 at Georgetown University, it is quite natural for me to work with my committee colleagues to have the UAP's shape our presentations and discussion together.  I feel confirmed and strengthened in our efforts by the way Fr. General spoke to us about the preferences.  As Ignatian leaders, we are invited to integrate these preferences, or weave these preferences, into the way we understand and live out our apostolic efforts.  I have returned to my setting in Jesuit higher education both with a sense of responsibility and commitment.