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Muff, County Donegal, near Derry, Ireland - A gathering of returned missionaries at the Island of Saints and Scholars Centre (IOSAS) recalled the long tradition of Irish people leaving families and friends and going overseas, for life, to bring the Gospel message of God's love and to build up the community of justice and faith.
Others will also recall it now, but I am grateful to Mark Chater, director of Culham St Gabriel's Trust in Oxford, for reminding me of one of the most significant sayings said to have been received from Christ by St Francis of Assisi: "Francis, go repair my house which, as you see, is falling completely to ruin."
The election of Argentinian Cardinal-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, to be Pope Francis I is historic in four senses. The new pontiff is the first non-European to be Bishop of Rome for a millennium, the first Jesuit, the first from Latin America, and the first with deep origins in the industrial working class.
Unsurprisingly, the Jesuits are celebrating tonight that one of their own has become the first member of the Society of Jesus to be elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church.