They are a diverse group of 45 Jesuits, religious and lay colleagues, men and women and "everyone has an amazing story to share." They have come from 23 different countries (the Japanese Province member representing EAO Assistancy was Fr. A. Sali Tharappel). They are here to reflect and to discern, individually and as a group, on the possible response of the "Ignatian Family" and its apostolic endeavors to the realities of war, violence, and the challenge towards sustainable peace in our world today. "Violence and War, economic and cultural interests" is the title of the advanced workshop organized by the Social Justice Secretariat during the first two weeks of September in Santa Severa, near Rome. With the help of 10 experts and facilitators, the sharing of personal stories, the discussion of case studies, prayers, plenaries and meetings in small groups, the group engaged in a process of communal discernment through an innovative process that follows the pedagogy of the Spiritual Exercises: a continuous dialogue between a cognitive and an experiential approach.
The more immediate and concrete result of the workshop, besides the valuable networking and relationship building that two weeks of intense work together can create, was the drafting of a document prepared jointly by the group with the help of an Academic team. "Seeking Peace in a violent world: new challenges." This was submitted to Fr General, who visited Santa Severa and talked at length to the group, touching on issues that were at the heart of the workshop, such as the inseparability of the concept of peace and war, and forgiveness and reconciliation, drawing largely on his personal experiences. [Headlines, 3 October 2005]

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