Via the New England Jesuits: Jesuit Provincial Myles Sheehan recently visited the Jesuit Center in Amman, Jordan and met with Jesuit Fathers Michael Linden, Paul Mankowski and fellow Jesuit Provincial Victor Assouad.
Fr. Linden has been superior for a few months and is working with the staff of the Jesuit Center in expanding the Center’s outreach to Christians in Jordan as well as supporting the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
Fr. Assouad, Provincial of the Near East Province, came to visit Amman, along with Jesuit Dan Corrou, who is teaching English and studying Arabic in Beirut. Also on the agenda: a visit to Archbishop Lahham, vicar in Jordan for the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who expressed his hope that the Jesuits would continue to be an active presence in Jordan.
Fr. Mankowski has been acting pastor for this past year in the English-speaking parish that serves the Latin Catholic parishes of Amman, offering Masses that are very heavily attended by the many domestic workers from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and India working in Jordan, as well as businesspersons and embassy staff.
The work of the Jesuits in Jordan is vitally important, as there is a constant need to meet the spiritual, emotional and material needs of the predominantly Filipino congregations and other foreign migrants in the country.
A majority of whom the Jesuits serve are female domestic workers. They live in their employers’ homes and work long hours, with many experiencing intense feelings of loneliness and homesickness. They often have families back home whom they miss desperately.
With few job opportunities in their home countries and families to support, these women come to the Middle East, where jobs in the “care-giving industry” are plentiful. Motivated by the promise of comparatively high earnings, most of which they intend on sending home to their families, they often accept without complaint long hours, little personal time or freedom and substandard living accommodations.
Photo: Fr. Provincial Myles Sheehan, (left) visits the Jesuit Center in Amman, Jordan with Archbishop Lahham (center) and Fr. Michael Linden, SJ.