The Vocations Department of the Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church in Ghana has announced January 28 for the commencement of its 2022 Vocation Camp.

A notice by the society indicates that the 4-day camp is targeted at individuals aspiring to be Catholic Priests and Brothers with the Society of Jesus and will be held at the Claver House Jesuit Community at Brafoyaw in Cape Coast.

Candidates are expected to be males, unmarried and single between the ages of 18 and 30, and are also required to have with them a copy of their CVs, 2 passport pictures as well as available certificates.

The camp will among others arm participants with the necessary information and requirements for religious life.

It is as well opened to individuals who seek knowledge on the Catholic Priesthood, the Society of Jesus, and the Ignatian Spirituality.

About the Society of Jesus

The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola and his companions with the approval of Pope Paul III. The Jesuit mission is a mission of reconciliation, working so that women and men can be reconciled with God, with themselves, with each other, and with God’s creation.

The man whose name has become synonymous to the Society of Jesus, Ignatius Loyola, had gathered around him an energetic band of well-educated men who desired nothing more than to help others find God in their lives. It was Ignatius’ original plan that the Jesuits be traveling missionaries who would preach and administer the sacraments wherever there was the hope of accomplishing the greater good. Since its foundation, the Order has grown from the original ten to more than 15,000 Jesuits worldwide.

From the very beginning, the Society of Jesus served the Church in Europe as well as in Asia, Africa, and the Americas sending courageous missionaries like Francis Xavier, de Nobili, Peter Claver, Roch González, John de Brito, Jean de Brébeuf, and Eusebio Kino brought the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

The Suppression of the Society

In 1773 Pope Clement XIV, yielding to pressure from the Bourbon courts, issued his brief Dominus ac Redemptor suppressing the Society of Jesus. This religious Society of 23,000 men dedicated to the service of the church was disbanded. The Pope promulgated the brief of suppression in an unusual manner, which caused perplexing canonical difficulties. So when Catherine, Empress of Russia, rejected the brief outright and forbade its promulgation, 200 Jesuits continued to function in Russia.

Restoration of the Society

Pope Pius VII restored the Society in 1814, forty-one years after the Suppression. Although many of the men had died by then, the memory of their educational work had not, and the new Society was flooded with requests to take over new colleges around the world.

The Ignatian Spirituality – Finding God in All Things

The mission of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus and his companions was born in personal experience of God. This encounter with a loving God is at the heart of the mission Jesuits as they call themselves reach out to others and live the gospel. The spirituality of Jesuits is grounded in the conviction that God is active in our world.

The spiritual path laid out by Ignatius helps discern God’s presence, to find God in all things, reaching out to a diverse, grace-filled yet imperfect world.  This spirituality is brought into the wider human context as the world strives for social justice, peace and dialogue.

Jesuits are of the conviction that being a contemplative in action means that our active life feeds our contemplative life and our contemplative life informs our active life.

Jesuits in Nigeria and Ghana (North-West Africa Province)

The story of the advent of the Jesuits in Nigeria and Ghana is closely linked to the aspirations of Archbishop Sergio Pignedoli, the then Apostolic Delegate to Nigeria. In 1961, he sent a request to Fr. Jean Baptiste Janssens, S.J., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, inviting Jesuits to establish a Catholic center at the University of Lagos that was scheduled to open in September of 1962.

Though the New York Province of the Society of Jesus was already planning on opening a mission in South America, they gladly accepted to take up the Nigerian mission.

With the arrival of the Jesuits in Nigeria in 1962 and in Ghana in 1968, the stage was set for what was to become the Nigeria-Ghana region in 1992. The Nigeria-Ghana region was a dependent region of the New York Province.

The years between 1962 and 2005 saw the influx of Jesuits from various provinces into the Nigeria-Ghana region. They worked tirelessly in spreading the gospel through educational, spiritual, and pastoral ministries under the successive leadership of three regional superior.

In the year 2005, the Nigeria-Ghana region of the Society of Jesus became an independent province with Fr. George Quickley, S.J. as the first provincial. The North-West Africa Province as it is now called comprises of Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.

By the year 2012, the North-West Africa Province was blessed with 106 Jesuits. 96.2% of these are indigenous Nigerian and Ghanaian Jesuits. The other 3.7% of the membership were expatriates drawing mainly from the United States. Also in 2012, Fr. Jude Odiaka, S.J. became the first indigenous Provincial of the North-west Africa Province of the Society of Jesus. The majority of the Jesuits of North-West Africa Province are still in formation as novices, brothers, or scholastics.

Though the number of Ghanaian Jesuits is not encouraging, the order appears to be gaining ground with the establishment of the Arrupe Jesuit Insitute with Rev. Fr. Kpanie Addy, SJ as its founding director.

The Jesuits also take care of the St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church and Basic School at, Batsona in Accra.