The Crucible of Racism: Ignatian Spirituality and the Power of Hope
By: Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ
“An urgent, vivid, accessible—and important—invitation to confront racism using the practical tools of Ignatian spirituality.” —James Martin, SJ, author, Learning to Pray
"Patrick Saint-Jean in this powerful book does not settle for moral outrage, but holds out for moral compass. He doesn't shake his fist, but invites us to roll up our sleeves. He doesn't just point something out, he points the way. Therein lies the hope of his message. It is a light we can see by.” —Gregory J. Boyle, SJ, Founder, Homeboy Industries
“Patrick Saint-Jean brings his whole self to the essential, Gospel work of antiracism. Through his reflections, we, too, grapple with the need to critically reflect on our own role in the building up or tearing down of the reign of God in our world.” —Eric A. Clayton, deputy director of communications at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States
“An important contribution to our understanding of the interaction of religion and racism.” —Thomas J. Reese, SJ, Former Editor In Chief, America Magazine
“The voices of civil rights and racial justice, those past and current, and those of Jesuit spirituality and ministry, likewise of legacy and at work today, join Saint-Jean’s own thoughtful testimony in a parlor of discourse that is at once vulnerable, insightful, challenging, and timely.” — Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, president, Creighton University
Upon coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies and then to embark on training as a Jesuit, Haitian-born Patrick Saint-Jean discovered something he had not known before: racism. “I learned I am a Black man—and that America, including the Society of Jesus here in this country, is white space where people of color are not welcome. This direct experience of racism became a crucible for me.” In describing this painful journey, which included becoming aware of the ambiguous history of his own Jesuit order, Saint-Jean embarked on a fresh reading of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The basic principles of Jesuit formation—the “discernment of spirits,” the examination of conscience, the imaginative identification with Jesus in his sufferings, death, and resurrection—became an entry to his own journey of hope and resurrection. These principles and practices, he concludes, hold promise of conversion and healing for a church and a society still caught in the crucible of racism.
Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ, is a member of the USA Midwest Jesuit Province. He is currently a regent at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he teaches in the Department of Psychology. He did his undergraduate education at the Universite Victor Ségalen de Bordeaux in France and received his graduate degree in psychoanalysis from the Parisian Ecole Lacanienne de Psychanalyse in Paris and his PsyD from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Before joining the Jesuits, he studied, conducted research, and worked in various countries throughout Europe, as well as the Congo, Brazil, and Haiti. He also earned a Masters of Divinity at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.