Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Speaking at the University of San Francisco about Jesuit administrative techniques, he started by talking about the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits.

The book the spiritual exercises is based on exists, and can be read by anyone, but this speaker said reading the book won't do it. You need to be led, as every Jesuit is, through the process by someone else who has been through the process.

One thing going through this intense process leads to is being able to do discernment. For Jesuits, that is really knowing their own souls, really noticing the situation there is, and really getting with God, discerning, what they should do in this situation.

The speaker noted that intense interest in right here, right now made Jesuits different from many other Catholic orders founded at roughly the same time. They weren't moving early to another better world. They were noticing and acting in this one right here, and still are.

As he moved through his speech on Jesuit manangement, he moved out of talking about the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius into how the Jesuits are governed today. The Pope, the Pope's office has approval/disapproval on everythint they do, but rarely uses it.

In Rome, the central organization of the Jesuits consists of about one hundred administrative types--Jesuits acting as administrators. Saying it's a hundred doesn't include support personnel, the people who fill out and office and file and answer phones, but just the administrators.

There are roughly 25.000 Jesuits world-wide. One hundred administrators in Rome. The more local administrators usually (or maybe always?) have other full time jobs. The speaker noted that a man with an important post in California Jesuit administration is basically the president of the University of San Francisco.

The 25,000 Jesuits are lightly administered. They are trained to discern and their organization trusts them to discern.

Walking the talk.

--Heard the talk on KUSF, the USF station, during the season when Christianity can seem content free.