We began our consideration of The Constitutions and Complementary Norms this week. These foundational documents always form an important part of Tertianship. They reveal their relevance for our lives today when we take time to get in touch with their inspirations and intentions.

In reading and reflecting on them we are in touch with those we call ‘The First Fathers’ – the founders of the Society of Jesus. We were led into our reading of the Constitutions by a visit from Fergus O’Donoghue, historian and Irish province activist. He gave an overview of Jesuit history with acknowledgement of John O’Malley’s The first Jesuits, as he referred to the cultural, political and religious developments in Europe in the last 500 years.

Elizabeth Cotter, the Dublin diocesan Vicar for Religious, spent some time with us on Thursday evening, describing her vocation story, her work in the diocese and its current priorities. Referring to Sandra Schneiders’ view of religious life, she believes that orders and congregations have much to offer to the church at this time.

Joe Greenan, one of the designated child protection officers of the Irish Jesuits, presented the scope and intention of the child protection provisions of the Irish province, describing the importance and application of such documents as Children first, Safeguarding children and The Jesuit policy for safeguarding children. This was an opportunity for the Tertians to recognise the strategies adopted by the Irish Church and to consider how they apply in pastoral contexts.