Posts Tagged ‘Ignatian Solidarity Network’

Jesuit Honored with Social Justice Award from Ignatian Solidarity Network

In 1995, Jesuit Father Don MacMillan, a newly minted campus minister at Boston College (B.C.), was approached by a student interested in honoring the memory of the six Jesuits and two lay partners who had been massacred in 1989 in El Salvador.  That chance encounter led Fr. MacMillan on the path to a long and fulfilling new role as a social justice activist, a commitment that will be honored tonight as the Ignatian Solidarity Network presents its “Robert M. Holstein: Faith that Does Justice Award” to Fr. MacMillan.

The Holstein award honors one individual annually who has demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. The award’s namesake, the late Robert (Bob) M. Holstein, was a former California Province Jesuit, labor lawyer, fierce advocate for social justice and one of the founders of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) – the precursor to the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

The first memorial service commemorating the El Salvadoran victims was organized by Fr. MacMillan and the Boston College students on the B.C. campus, but by the next year, the group had taken their commemoration to Fort Benning, Ga.  Here, they held a prayer vigil at the gate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas in order to call attention to the school that, according to a U.S. Congressional Task Force, had trained those responsible for the executions in El Salvador.

Over the years, thousands of students have been empowered by Fr. MacMillan’s teaching and ministry. At Boston College, Fr. MacMillan coordinates the Urban Immersion Program, a weeklong experience of prayer and service for undergraduates to learn about the lives of those in Boston suffering from poverty and homelessness. He also organizes an annual trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where B.C. students have direct experience with Latin American refugees and the poor of Mexico.

Fr. MacMillan earned two Boston College degrees: a bachelor’s degree in 1966 and a master of divinity degree in 1972. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1960 and was ordained in 1972.  He previously served as both a teacher and administrator at Boston College High School and Bishop Connolly High School.

The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) promotes leadership and advocacy among students, alumni, and other emerging leaders from Jesuit schools, parishes and ministries by educating its members on social justice issues; by mobilizing a national network to address those issues; and by encouraging a life-long commitment to social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Since the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s inception in 2004, Fr. MacMillan has been an integral part of ISN’s effort to mobilize a national network of leaders committed to justice grounded in Gospel teachings.

The previous “Robert M. Holstein: Faith that Does Justice Award” honorees include Jesuit Father Charlie Currie, former president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities; and Jesuit Father Steven Privett, president of the University of San Francisco.

Learn more about the “Robert M. Holstein: Faith that Does Justice Award” at: www.ignatiansolidarity.net/holstein.

Changing People’s Lives: The Society of Jesus in Eastern Africa

In November, over 1,100 students, teachers, parish members and others passionate about faith-inspired social justice gathered in Washington, DC for the 14th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

For this year’s Teach In, Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, provincial of the East African Province of the Society of Jesus, was the keynote speaker who discussed the issues facing his province today. During his time at the Teach In, National Jesuit News interviewed Fr. Orobator about the challenges that the Society of Jesus faces in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Republics of the Sudan in the North and South.

“I think the unique mission of the Society of Jesus is that we are able to think ‘outside of the box’.” I think that is very unique to Jesuits,” says Fr. Orobator. “We can work in parishes, we can run schools, we can run communications centers, we can run many different apostolates, but we can do it in a way that is unconventional.”

The theme of this year’s event was “The Gritty Reality: Feel It, Think It, Engage It,” derived from a speech given by former Jesuit Superior General, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, in 2000 entitled, “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education.” Kolvenbach said, “students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively.”

You can watch National Jesuit News’ interview with Fr. Orobator below.

After Fort Benning: What’s Next for the Ignatian Solidarity Network and School of the Americas?


Share/Bookmark

Since 1995, Jesuits, lay partners and members of the broader Ignatian family have gathered with others organizations at the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., to call for the closure of the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests were shot to death by a Salvadoran military squad, who then proceeded to murder the Jesuits’ housekeeper and her daughter while they slept. The Salvadoran soldiers, who killed these Jesuits and their companions, were trained at the SOA. The Ignatian Solidarity Network annually hosted a teach-in for justice prior to the protest at the fort’s gates.

In 2009, the ISN gathered the national Ignatian family for its final year of participation in the SOA protest. While other groups will carry on at Fort Benning, the ISN is transitioning to a regional model of raising awareness. The focus will be on teaching and informing the public about a variety of issues in their local area.

Watch the video below to hear more about last fall’s protest and the transition plans for ISN.

After Fort Benning: What's Next for the Ignatian Solidarity Network and School of the Americas?


Share/Bookmark

Since 1995, Jesuits, lay partners and members of the broader Ignatian family have gathered with others organizations at the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., to call for the closure of the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests were shot to death by a Salvadoran military squad, who then proceeded to murder the Jesuits’ housekeeper and her daughter while they slept. The Salvadoran soldiers, who killed these Jesuits and their companions, were trained at the SOA. The Ignatian Solidarity Network annually hosted a teach-in for justice prior to the protest at the fort’s gates.

In 2009, the ISN gathered the national Ignatian family for its final year of participation in the SOA protest. While other groups will carry on at Fort Benning, the ISN is transitioning to a regional model of raising awareness. The focus will be on teaching and informing the public about a variety of issues in their local area.

Watch the video below to hear more about last fall’s protest and the transition plans for ISN.