For over 165 years, Canadian Jesuits have been living and working continuously with the Ojibway, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations mostly in Northern Ontario around Manitoulin Island and Thunder Bay.
This work resembles the way we proceed in our parishes with the further specification that we are sent to “those physical and spiritual places which others do not reach or have difficulty in reaching.” (GC35)
We are called to acknowledge, appreciate, affirm, and bless the cultural and spiritual gifts of the Native People to whom we minister, recognizing the Holy Spirit in them, learning from these “treasurers of humanity…[who] manifest the action of the Spirit:” (GC34)Seeking God’s presence in the lives of the Indigenous Peoples reinforces the belief that Native cultural values are worth preserving, in contrast to “modern” societies who, ruled by the law of progress, tend to disregard all such inherited goods. Important, then is the attitude that Jesuits bring to this work of being attentive to the gifts, the culture, and the spiritual hungers of the people.
Having been called out by the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises to give an account of one’s hope, we endeavour to share these gifts with those who prepare for local spiritual leadership or with those who gather to listen to the Word, tell their stories, and break bread in the Eucharist.The Spirit and Faith that animate this work justly reach into the needs of the communities, their internal struggles, and into the realities of the larger society that favours marginalization for a culture which, at times, is in painful transition.
Canadian Jesuits are present at a number of native mission parishes, which can be found on our interactive parish map at this link, and listed below:
Thunder Bay (ON) District:
– Kitchitwa Kateri Parish, Thunder Bay
– Our Lady of the Snows, Armstrong
– St. Anne’s Parish, Thunder Bay
Manitoulin (ON) District:
– Anishinabe Spiritual Centre, Espanola
– Holy Cross Mission, Wikwemikong First Nation
– Immaculate Conception Church, M’Chigeeng First Nation
– St. Raphael’s Parish, Sagamok First Nation