Jesuits' quiet progress in Myanmar

As major developments sweep through Myanmar - the staging of the first elections in 20 years, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from seven years of house arrest - Jesuits continue their quiet work in the country, making their own contribution to improving the lives of the local people, reports Province Express.

The former Australian Provincial, Fr Mark Raper SJ, was recently appointed Regional Superior of Myanmar. He will oversee the work being undertaken there by Jesuits such as Fr Paul Horan SJ, who has spent recent months teaching English in Yangon.

The Director of Jesuit Mission, Fr Phil Crotty SJ, recently visited the country to see first-hand the work that Jesuit Mission supports. "The Jesuits are working in Myanmar as a kind of NGO. They have several English language centres where they provide this opportunity for young people to learn English," he says.

"Learning English is an approved occupation, and it’s a point of contact. Myanmar is a very restless place, especially in the border regions with Thailand, with China, with India, and these young people who come in from troubled areas are given a sense of hope.

"Back in their villages many would be press-ganged into either joining the military or the rebels."

Young scholastics from Myanmar represent the future of the Society of Jesus in the troubled country.

*Arun, who is undertaking his training abroad, looks forward to the day when he is able to return to his homeland and find new ways in which to implement the faith that does justice. He recalls the difficulties of training as a Jesuit novice in his homeland, where he was forced to undertake his formation in secret.

"Myanmar is a very cold place and sometimes we try to get (outside to warm ourselves in) the sun. But we can't gather in a big group otherwise [the officials] will become suspicious."

FULL STORY A quiet apostolate (Province Express)

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