Timed for Feast of St. Francis, Jesuit Organizations Release New Prayer Tool Focused on the Environment
For Immediate Release
(Washington, D.C., October 4, 2017) — Today, on the Feast Day of St. Francis, the saint most identified with care for creation, two Jesuit organizations have partnered to produce what’s being called an Ecological Examen. While St. Francis provided part of the inspiration for the examen, the other muse is St. Ignatius of Loyola, co-founder of the Jesuits and the man responsible for popularizing the examen, also called the examination of conscience.
Developed by the Jesuit Conference, the organization that represents the Jesuits of the U.S. and Canada, and the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the Ecological Examen is similar to a traditional Ignatian examen in that it offers five simple steps for reflection.
Unlike a traditional examen, though, this new one takes cues from Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, asking for reflection on an individual’s relationship with creation, on questions of ecological justice and on how we can all stand in solidarity with those most impacted by environmental harm. The five sections are: gratitude, awareness, understanding, conversion and reconciliation.
In the examen, readers “give thanks to God for creation and for being wonderfully made” and “ask for the grace to see how my life choices impact creation and the poor and vulnerable.”
Cecilia Calvo, senior advisor on environmental justice at the Jesuit Conference said, “We hope this Ecological Examen helps individuals in their homes, parishes, schools, universities and communities to examine their relationship with creation, to hear the cry of the earth and the poor and reflect on ways to reconcile their relationship with God’s creation.”
Christopher Kerr, executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, said, "Now more than ever, we need to reflect on the ways our care for the Earth impacts our brothers and sisters throughout the world. This examen provides a prayerful way for institutions and individuals can engage in ways that lead us into deeper relationship with God, creation and others."
“The beauty of the examen is that it takes repetition,” Jesuit Father Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference, said in a video introduction to the examen. “Our relationship with God takes time, and in that relationship, we’re called to conversion.”
The full examen, a one-page summary, prayer card and all related materials are available at ecoexamen.org.
About the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States
Co-founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. The Society's mission is to put reconciliation into practice each day — with God, with human beings and with the environment. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 80 pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, headquartered in Washington, D.C., represents all Jesuits in Canada and the U.S. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit jesuits.org.