Networking provides added values that can be achieved by other means only with difficulty. Previously in this blog we’ve focused on obstacles we usually find in our attempts at networking in the Jesuit world, but we’ve also argued, with Jorge Cela, that networking offers real benefits for the Jesuit Mission. Today we would like to highlight some of the added values to be found in different areas thanks to Jesuit networks:

a. For the local institutions:

  • The network provides help for the weaker institutions by broadening their horizons, reinforcing their social capital, and reducing any sense of isolation they may have
  • Interconnection increases the capacities of institutions without competing with their proper autonomy
  • The local mission gains in universality and also in relevance
  • The local institutions achieve greater visibility and importance

b. Practical advantages:

  • The institutions learn from one another: best practices, methodologies, ways of proceeding
  • There is easier access to relevant information
  • Intersectorial collaboration is made possible around shared apostolic projects
  • Networks have better access to financing agencies

c. For the apostolic body of the Society:

  • Networks bring with them a new sense of being a universal body
  • Networks contribute to the development of a joint strategic vision of the Society’s future
  • New levels of action are discovered which allow regional or global responses to apostolic challenges
  • Networks help to coordinate the efforts of different institutions on behalf of common apostolic challenges
  • Networks project to the public an image of the Society’s common identity
  • Networks allow for advocacy at the international level

While the first and second level are those who usually come up in our regular discussions, we encourage you to pay attention and reflect on the third level, the one focused on how networking actually builds and enhances the apostolic body of the Society of Jesus. That's why we are here. Give us a hand.

This post is part of a document wrote by the Social Coordinators of the Conferences in May 2013 titled Networking in order to respond better to our mission. Networks of the social apostolate in the Society of Jesus. Recently published in Promotio Iustitiae, n° 113, 2013/4, also available on our website [English] [Spanish] [French]. Photo from Flickr by innercore under Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).