Fr. Robert M. Hussey, SJ, the Provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, has decided to close the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, effective August 2021. Fr. Hussey announced his decision on 29 May 2020 in a letter to the Province. You may read Fr. Hussey’s letter, accompanying FAQs, and Br. Derby’s letter of response here.
While we are sorrowful at the decision, we are focused on the remaining time of ministry here in Wernersville. As much as possible in this pandemic, the Jesuit Center will be offering retreats, days of prayer, and other programs for spiritual renewal, and hosting groups, through August 2021. You can see our 2020-2021 program calendar here.
While we mourn the thousands who are losing their lives because of Covid 19, these losses are moving medical professionals to search for a long-term solution that will end this pandemic. Efforts like this are nothing new. So many of us are living today because of so-called miracle drugs and vaccines that owe their existence to skillful and committed scientists. I benefited myself from penicillin, a drug that first became available only in the years that I needed it to cure my rheumatic fever.
With this experience I am naturally optimistic. Our optimism, however, is so often challenged. The predictions of treatments that will save the lives of cancer patients have often been too optimistic. And the nature of this new unknown virus may be such that it will always challenge our ability to control it.
But my optimism also has its source in hope. The gospel record of Jesus’ healings reveals God’s hopes for humanity. I think of the revelation in this way. God understood that we ourselves, created in God’s image, had the ability to care for one another. If Jesus knew nothing about medical science, he shared with his heavenly Father this hope-filled understanding. He shared the Father’s confidence that in imitating his own love for us we would develop new talents for compassion and care.
The committed and curious health care workers and scientists through history are the saints who have practiced this compassion. We see now so many continuing with hope this work of healing. God alone knows how it will all play out. But our efforts at compassion and care can only enhance the plan that God has for us.
“Optimism and Hope”
George Bur, SJ – Superior of the St. Isaac Jogues
Jesuit Community, Wernersville
As Certain as the Dawn | April 8, 2020
Photo by George W. Bur, SJ