Mark Raper SJ
The World Mobilised: The Jesuit Response to Refugees
*This article is adapted from the first Annual Pedro Arrupe SJ Lecture hosted jointly by Jesuit Refugee Service and ISIRC (Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Religions and Cultures, Pontifical Gregorian University).
Three core insights came together for Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ when he launched Jesuit Refugee Service 30 years ago this week. The first compelling factor was his compassion for the refugees in their suffering. He wrote to the Society on 14 November 1980 ‘…last year, struck and shocked by the plight of thousands of boat people and refugees, I felt it my duty…,’. For Arrupe the refugees were ‘signs of the times’, a feature of his historic time that compelled a compassionate response. Second, having been Superior General already for 18 years, he had a strategic sense of how the Society worked and what it was capable of: its mission, structure and strengths. Third, Pedro Arrupe had confidence in the goodwill and resourcefulness of the many partners willing to share in the same mission – ‘the active collaboration of many lay people who work with us’.