Two individuals who work on Jesuit mission efforts at Le Moyne College played key roles at the Ignatian Discernment and Leadership summit held at the Jesuit Curia in Rome in April. The meeting, which brought together 54 individuals from 23 countries, focused on two main topics - the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) released in February by Superior General Arturo Sosa, S.J. and the abuse crisis and the mismanagement of it by church officials.

David McCallum S.J., vice president for mission integration and development at Le Moyne, was the only person from the U.S. on the meeting’s planning and facilitation team, and helped to co-design the five-day event. In this role, he worked closely with John Dardis, S.J., Father General Sosa's counselor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning. He ran two leadership workshops and was one of the meeting’s primary facilitators.

“It was a powerful reminder of the global nature of the Jesuit mission," said Father McCallum. “Our goal is to build the leadership capacity for the Society of Jesus and our partners and colleagues in mission around the world. We're working to advance the global conversation about discernment and leadership in an Ignatian way of proceeding.”

The meeting, the first of its kind, gave participants time to build community and familiarize themselves with the resources that each brings from their respective cultures and institutions. Workshops were held on various topic, such as leading change and the connection between self-awareness and leadership. There was also time for prayer, reflection, and spiritual conversation.

Karin Botto, Le Moyne’s assistant vice president for human resources and organization development, was one of four individuals - and the only female from the U.S. - representing the Jesuit conference of the United States and Canada. She also ran a poster presentation on the Ignatian Leadership Program that she has developed over the past several years.

“Participants seemed excited to be invited to this experience. Father General's address regarding the Universal Apostolic Preferences was very interesting,” said Botto. “On a personal level, his talk engaged me in a deeper connection with the future focus of the Jesuits. There was a level of curiosity for most as to how this new global network might collaborate in the future. Overall, there was a sense of gratitude by both Jesuits and lay colleagues that we have the opportunity to work together in mission.”

While the meeting was productive, both McCallum and Botto recognize that the historic event serves as a starting point for a much broader and deeper effort that will take place over the months and years to come.

“The mood amongst participants varied - many were excited and enthused to be part of such a high level conversation, and for the opportunity to not only meet with Father General, but to have affirmed that each of them is invested with the mission of the Society of Jesus, whether Jesuits or lay colleagues,” said Father McCallum. “While the mood was understandably heavy around the twin crises of sexual abuse and mismanagement, there was also such a sense of inspiration in the presence and input of Hans Zollner, S.J., and Sr. Pat Murray IBVM, who are leading global efforts to address the scandals and to move the Church forward. By the end of our week together, we shared a sense of deep connection, gratitude, and hopefulness for the future of our collaboration.”

Summit participants are shown in the photo above; Father General Sosa is in the middle of the first row, while Botto is second to the left in the front row and Father McCallum is far left in the back row.