As some worry about the quality of their practice, another way to look at this might be to ask, “What more might we take on as our Lenten penance? What more can we do for Christ? What is the magis?”
From The Provincial

Dear Friends,

This is the time of year when others ask, “What have you given up for Lent?” We all did the math as Ash Wednesday approached: What can I give up that will hurt enough to be a penitential practice, but not hurt too much? 

As some worry about the quality of their practice, another way to look at this might be to ask, “What more might we take on as our Lenten penance? What more can we do for Christ? What is the magis?” 

A living example of the magis (“the more”) is clear to me each time I leave the province office. The work I do requires extensive travel, and while I am away, I trust the work of the province to the devoted Jesuits and laypeople responsible for growing and maintaining the ministries that came to life thanks to our generous friends and benefactors. Dedicated colleagues toil together behind the scenes to ensure that the work of the Society of Jesus continues uninterrupted. 

It is the lay and Jesuit partnership that is the focus of this issue of our magazine; the “invisible infrastructure” makes our work possible not only in the Midwest, but around the world. An example of the magis: Our office recently celebrated the retirement of longtime employee Kay Smolinski, whose 60-plus years of service spanned 10 provincials. It is worth noting that Kay’s devotion is not unique; the former Chicago, Detroit, and Wisconsin provinces had similarly devoted longtime employees. And, because they never really retire, many Jesuits have served as long, or longer, in their assignments. We are grateful and blessed. 

Speaking of partnership, Fr. Samir Talati, a Jesuit of the Kohima Province, reflects on 50 years of the mission in the Kohima Region of northeast India. As I write this letter, a team of Jesuits and laypeople are visiting our works in Kohima, at the same time Fr. General Arturo Sosa, SJ, is there. We pray for their safe travels and fruitful meetings. 

The unique passions of Jesuits and our lay partners are evidenced in the diversity of work that they take on: 

Andrea Bonaccorsi, a graduate of two Jesuit schools, devotes her gifts as a teacher at Chicago Jesuit Academy. 

• Father Jayme Stayer, SJ, one of the world’s preeminent T. S. Eliot scholars, received a prestigious award from the Modern Language Association. 

Brother Mark Mackey, SJ, examines the ties between Ignatian spirituality and ecology. 

Whatever you have chosen to give up (or take on) this Lenten season, please know of my prayers for you and for all who accompany us in the magis.

Yours in Christ,
Brian Paulson, SJ
Brian G. Paulson, SJ
Provincial, USA Midwest Province
Fr. Paulson and longtime employee Kay Smolinski.

Return to Jesuits Magazine Spring 2020 Index

Recent News

July 23, 2020 — Bishop Michael McGovern, installed as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, on July 22, is an alumnus of both Saint Ignatius College Prep and Loyola University Chicago.

July 7, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Frederick J. Deters, SJ, who died on July 5, 2020, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 83 years old. May he rest in peace.

June 22, 2020 — Through this examen, we will start the work of antiracism by examining how systemic racism influences our lives and how we practice the sin of racism.

June 19, 2020 —The Society of Jesus is proud to announce the ordination of 15 new priests in Canada, the United States and Haiti this calendar year.

June 15, 2020 — Mornings at Pope Francis Center start just after 6 a.m. The skeleton crew of workers line up to have their temperature checked, then they change into work clothes.

Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, Fifth Bishop of Youngstown, OH, dies at 71.

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