Jesuits Accompanying people at the margins in South Sudan (Ignatian Day 2023) 

31 July 2023|Emmanuel Loboka

Related: Pastoral, South Sudan

Ignatian day is a day when the Society of Jesus celebrates St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the society of Jesus (the Jesuits) every year the 31 July.

Francis David is a 23-year-old South Sudanese Jesuits from Western Bahr. He joined the society of Jesus, within the East African province, in May 2023. He is now in a transition period in India studying zoology and biotechnology.

Francis believes that young South Sudanese are fit to become a Jesuit because they know the meaning of suffering.


“Ignatian day it’s a day that reminds me of my personal call to the society of Jesus, to learn from my challenges, in the moment of challenge God call us,” Francis tells us.  “South Sudan is a land that has experiences war, poverty and violence, the young men growing up in South Sudan understand the meaning of human suffering. When they become religious in the society of Jesus, they will be able to serve the people of South Sudan and in other part of the world”. 

 Francis David Francis, Jesuit and student of Zoology and Biotechnology  



As Jesuit Refuge Service our operational presence in South Sudan started in 1997 in Central and Eastern Equatoria States (in the education sector). Following the secession of South Sudan from Sudan in July 2011, and in line with our mission, JRS phased out projects in this region during 2012. The post-independence war in 2013 encouraged JRS to restart large integrated programs in 4 refugee camps with our Teacher Training program, Inclusive Education, English Classes, IT training, and Mental Health & Psycho-Social Support. In Western Equatoria State we are primarily focused on forcibly displaced persons and host communities including cross-border movement and protection and monitoring in the areas of return.


“I am working with the Jesuit refugee service and I feel happy to accompany and bring hope. As Jesuits we play the role of the spiritual aspect of JRS mission, for people to understand that God is there for the difficult and challenging times, God wants us to have a life, to bring hope, companionship and love”. 

Father Fredrick Gabriel Mela  – A Jesuit priest Working with Jesuit refugee Service South Sudan- Maban  


In upper Nile states we have a group of Jesuits working with JRS in the pastoral accompaniment. Focused on two main aspects: the faith promotion nurturing, and the spiritual accompaniment. That’s including celebration of the sacraments of the Eucharist every Sunday in three centres, accompanying refugees, displaced, host community and JRS staff. To bring hope to the people who have lost hope because of the violence displacement.

Our God is a God for all. Sharing love and life with others with solidarity compactions, care, dignity and justice. working together with the host community refugees and IDPs
Father Fredrick Gabriel Mela ,  Jesuit priest Working with Jesuit refugee Service South Sudan- Maban  

In Western Equatoria States our faith accompaniment is in interfaith dialogue, peacebuilding and reconciliation, where we continue to strengthen the capacity of church leaders and other religious leaders without distinctions, to create more awareness of unity and peaceful coexistence among believers. Through public dispute resolution and reconciliations aimed to reduce the tensions and promote reconciliations among community members.

We need to continue praying in light celebrating the Ignatian day, not to lose hope but to remained intact with the love that God want us to share with others, despite the differences, sharing life with others, in celebrating Ignatian day in the light of the Jesuit refugee service in the context of South Sudan.


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