October 5, 2017 — Fr. Jean Denis Saint-Félix, SJ, has been named the new Secretary of the Office of Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. He will be based at the Conference’s office in Washington, D.C., and begins his new assignment next week.
A native of Haiti, Fr. Saint-Félix most recently served as the Local Superior at Résidence Ignace-de-Loyola in Port-au-Prince and dean of faculty and professor of theology at University Notre Dame du Haiti. Ordained in 2007, he completed first studies at the Universidad Centroamericana in El Salvador and studied theology at Regis College at the University of Toronto from 2003-2006 and at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry) from 2006-2007. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the Centre Sèvres in Paris and speaks English, French, Créole, Spanish and German.
“We have been anxiously awaiting Fr. Saint-Félix’s arrival for the last several months, and on behalf of the Jesuit Conference staff, I am very happy to welcome him to Washington,” said Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference. “In representing both Haiti and his French-Canadian Province, Fr. Saint-Félix will bring a fresh, new and broader perspective to our justice and ecology work. It’s a sacrifice for him to leave Haiti and all those who suffer in his homeland, but I know how much his contributions will mean here, and I am grateful for his willingness to work with us.”
In addition to the appointment of Fr. Saint-Félix, the office is announcing its new name: The Office of Justice and Ecology, or OJE for short.
Previously known as the Office of Social and International Ministries (SIM), the newly named Office of Justice and Ecology (OJE) better reflects the core values of justice and ecology as the central component of the OJE’s mission.
The OJE is the voice of the Provincials to the Church, governments, nongovernmental agencies and others, on justice and ecology issues, advocating for and with the poor and other marginalized communities and encouraging others to do the same. The OJE will also serve as the principal liaison with the international Society of Jesus, particularly with the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology at the Jesuit Curia in Rome.
Equally as important, the OJE helps the Jesuit Conference fulfill the mandate of General Congregation 36 for developing Jesuit, Ignatian and other networks by collaborating and cooperating with various groups and encouraging them to live a faith that does justice.
The Jesuit Provincials, at their May 2017 board meeting, affirmed the following priorities for the Jesuit Conference:
Rounding out the team are Policy Director Kristen Lionetti, Senior Advisor on Environmental Justice Cecilia Calvo and Senior Policy Advisor Matt Cuff.
OJE staff members, from left: Cecilia Calvo, Matt Cuff and Kristen Lionetti.