July 22, 2024

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Society of Jesus in Nepal – Jesuits on Mission to serve Nepal


The Society of Jesus is a Catholic men’s religious congregation, founded in 1540. St. Francis Xavier was one of the founding members of the congregation, now called the Jesuits. He arrived in India in 1542. Jesuits continued to work in South Asia, and in 1951, at the invitation of the Government of Nepal, Fathers Marshall D. Moran, Edward Saton, and Frank Murphy arrived in Kathmandu to begin St. Xavier’s Godavari School. The school expanded to Jawalakhel in 1954. In 1959 Fr. Edward Niesen began pastoral service to the Catholic Santals living to the east of Biratnagar. Later this service expanded to Damak, and is now based in two schools and a parish, at Deonia and Maheshpur in Jhapa District. Other Catholic priests and sisters also care for the Catholics in Sunsari, Morang, and Jhapa Districts. To answer the question, “Where will our students study after class 10?” the Jesuits began St. Xavier’s College in 1988. The college now runs classes at the Higher Secondary and “A” levels, eight Bachelor’s level programs, and five Master’s level programs. About three thousand young men and women study at the college.

Fr. Niesen, with help from Fr. Ludwig F. Stiller and Fr. Thomas E. Gafney, began to support the school’s alumni. This service grew into the Godavari Alumni Association. Fr. James J. Dressman and Fr. Eugene L. Watrin continued this work. Now the GAA stands on its own, a tribute to the active alumni who continue to serve Nepal’s poor.

Fr. Stiller, Fr. John K. Locke, and Casper J. Fr. Miller all obtained doctorates from Tribhuvan University, and established a research center, now in Sanepa. Their research and the library they developed continue to serve Nepal.

Fr. Gafney began serving orphans in 1970. This quickly grew into the St. Xavier’s Social Service Center. Fr. Gafney met needs as they arose: “Home for the homeless, haven for the helpless.” Despite his murder in 1997, this service continues in the form of homes for orphans and the handicapped, drug rehabilitation, and care for those who come to the door.

In 1979 Fr. Akijiro Ooki began service in Pokhara, caring for the deaf and mentally challenged, and providing care for the Catholics in the area. That service continues, with support from other priests and religious.

The primary service of the Jesuits in Nepal is education, training young women and men for a meaningful role in a peaceful and just Nepali society. We look forward to a growth in this service as Nepali Jesuits take over from the pioneers of the last century.

Vision and Mission of Society of Jesus in Nepal in their own words

Vision statement

We disciples of Jesus within the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus in Nepal live out Jesus’ law of love, peace and justice in community, and in collaboration with people of good will, boldly present Jesus’ Good News to the people of Nepal especially the poor and the marginalized.

Mission Statement

We respect diversity and become more sensitive to others.
We listen and communicate well.
We have common activities: Eucharist and daily prayer, weekly meetings,     recreations, monthly recollections, celebrations and outings.
We are hospitable and generous.
We are witnesses of love, justice and reconciliation.
We lead a balanced life.

We foster and promote vocations, especially local vocations, with proper candidate selection.
We have a full time vocation promoter.
We spend maximum years of formation in Nepal.
We provide proper accompaniment throughout formation.
We have at least one Nepal Jesuit in the common houses.
We have ongoing formation programs for all.
We prepare personnel for formation work.
We emphasize psycho-spiritual maturity.
We strive for MAGIS.

We revive the research apostolate and send more Jesuits for higher studies.
We have full time qualified directors for the social service centers.
We establish social action centers.
We form active Region commissions.
We discourage multi-tasking at the cost of effectiveness.#
We develop excellent Jesuit administrators and teachers who can transform students into people for others.
We integrate our educational programs to form people of competence, conscience and compassionate commitment.
We animate our staff members, students and alumni in taking an active role in civil society.
We share our Jesuit identity and charism with others.

We encourage continuity in pastoral assignments.
Newly ordained priests understudy a parish priest for at least a year.
We train young men in pastoral ministry.
We reach out to more areas.
Parishes have proper church buildings.
We promote retreat ministry and Ignatian spirituality.
We protect the ecological environment.