Sunday, 23 October 2016

The congregation started 3 weeks ago today - meetings on the sidelines- 21st of GC 36.

Besides the the ongoing work of the Congregation  one of the great gifts of this meeting is the meeting on the sidelines with Provincials and Delegates from parts of the world where one had previously worked or where there are missionaries from one's own Province. it is a time to catch up, share news and do other business.

One such meeting was with the Australian Jesuits who wanted to remember and celebrate the arrival of the first Irish Jesuits to Australia 150 years ago.   It was an evening of remembering and celebrating with a commemorative bottle of shiraz from Clare Valley the Jesuit vineyard in Australia.

The Australian archivist writes "Fr. Joseph Lentaigne and William Kelly arrived aboard the steamer, Great Britain on the 21st September 1865.  (The ship still exists at a museum in Bristol) The ship anchored in the harbor and a launch brought the passengers to shore.  It was rather unsteady and as it beached at Sandridge (Port Melbourne) Kelly stood back to allow Fr. Lentaigne to climb out first.  Lentaigne signaled him to go first.  Fr. Kelly objected, “No father, you are the superior you should go first”.  Lentaigne replied, “Yes I am the superior and I am telling you to land first”.  So Father William Kelly became the first Irish Jesuit to set foot in Australia.   As they landed a boy from the wharf called out and asked to be enrolled in St Patrick’s which with two more recruited aboard the ship on the voyage out, meant they had three pupils before they actually touched land". 

It was a lovely evening to remember and celebrate the work of not only Irish Jesuit missionaries but of all Jesuit missionaries because so many Jesuits of this Congregation from the South  are the fruits of the work of European missionaries.

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