Social Action and Ecology
Social Justice & Ecology
The early Jesuits often described their work as simply “helping souls.” Our former General, Fr Pedro Arrupe updated this idea in the 20th century by calling those formed in Ignatian spirituality “men and women for others.” Both these phrases express a deep commitment to social justice and a radical giving of oneself to others. General Congregation 32 emphasised the corporate commitment of the Jesuits in a document called “Our Mission today: The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice.” It expressed Jesuit mission as “the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement.” To engage for justice today implies to protect the environment, and vice versa and so we speak about socio-environmental justice. This perspective has been strongly highlighted by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si´ wherein he reminds us, ‘a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach… so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.’ (LS 49)
The Jesuits of the Bombay Province are involved in socio-environmental justice programmes especially in places like Nandurbar, Shirpur, Nashik, Manor and the Raigad District. Non-Formal Education (NFE) classes, legal aid, advocacy and conscientization work are some of the characteristic features of our apostolate.
R.E.A.P., an extensive urban education programme brings education and life skills to literally hundreds of children and young adults in Mumbai’s suburbs.
M. P. S. M. (Maharashtra Prabodhan Seva Mandal), a Voluntary Organization run by the Jesuits in the Nashik district, is committed to Rural and Tribal Awakening ("Prabodhan") through Community Organization, Educational Initiatives, Economic Growth and Natural Resource Development. It focuses on community building through micro finance and economic initiatives, promoting sustainable livelihoods by creating agricultural infrastructure, community management of natural resources, organic farming and dairy development.
Xavier Institute of Social Science and Research (XISSR) provides the analytical, reflective and intellectual dimension to this ministry of ours.
Jesuits also engage in people’s movement such as Lok Manch for the development of leadership among dalits, adivasis, women, minorities, urban as well as rural poor, and other marginalized communities of various regions, religions, and cultures.