The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, so that they may heal, learn and shape their own future. It was founded by Pedro Arrupe SJ, General of the Society of Jesus, in 1980.
The Daughters of Jesus has worked in JRS since 2003 in Thailand and Myanmar. Currently, three Daughters of Jesus, from the Philippines and Spain, are working in JRS in Mae Hong Son on the northern border of Thailand with Myanmar. Our work, as JRS defines it, is to accompany, serve and advocate for refugees and internally displaced people in Myanmar through education programmes and pastoral accompaniment.
Pilar Brufal Jaén FI tells us about the last JRS Reconciliation coordinators’ meeting held in Nairobi:
From 22-26 June, I had the opportunity to participate in the JRS Reconciliation programme coordinators’ meeting. The colleagues who met at this meeting represented JRS country presences in Central Africa, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Malta, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand, and Tanzania. Our meeting was in Nairobi, in a natural setting where nature itself spoke to us about Africa and in particular the Maasai culture.
This “face-to-face” meeting allowed us to get to know each other better, to deepen our training as reconciliation accompaniers, to share the reconciliation processes that JRS accompanies in different contexts, to learn from each other and to strengthen the network and the global JRS Reconciliation project.
Personally, our meeting in Nairobi has meant for me to know that I am part of a body which, from the geographical dispersion, like that of the Congregation, JRS, serves, accompanies and defends the lives of the most vulnerable people, generating processes of peace and reconciliation. Convinced that everything happens first of all through me; to feel loved and reconciled with myself, with God, with others, with the creation… I am ready to walk alongside the people I accompany and to be ready to work together with them in a process, a restorative journey. Moreover, the training, study, and reflection with the JRS teams allow me to give solidity and foundation to my daily work and not to feel alone, because sometimes the process is long and the situations of conflict, war, violence, borders… overwhelm me and seem to grow. Even so, in the midst of multicultural, geographical and religious contexts, we can enjoy the God who dwells in us and who makes us feel that we are brothers and sisters, with the hope of extending this fraternity to all contexts in need of reconciliation.