It is July 29, 2022, the last day of Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Canada. His time in Quebec is coming to an end and he is about to head to Iqaluit, in the North, for a meeting with the Inuit. The conversation with the Jesuits is scheduled for 9 a.m., but the pope enters the hall in Archbishop’s House a quarter of an hour early. There are 15 Jesuits from the Canadian province, which also includes Haiti. A provincial congregation that had been planned for some time is in progress, which explains the provincial’s absence.
After the spontaneous greetings on the pope’s entry, Fr. Marc Rizzetto of the Quebec community extends a cordial welcome to Francis on behalf of those present and the more than 200 Jesuits of the province. In particular, he mentions the 45 members of the provincial congregation gathered in Midland, and the senior Jesuits in the provincial infirmaries of Richelieu and Pickering.
“In this country, which is one of the largest provinces of the Society of Jesus, we work with joy and hope, in the image of St. Jean de Brébeuf and companions, the Holy Canadian Martyrs,” he begins. “Living among the fragile, being courageous despite our fragility, aware of the greatness of each person and always eager to share the treasures of our spirituality, we are called today to be men for and with others, pilgrims.” He goes on: “We are with you in the boat, rowing with you, appreciating the direction you are giving to the Church and praying for you. Thank you for contributing to the work of reconciliation with the indigenous peoples.”
Finally, he offers the pope a gift: a picture of a butterfly, which the pope admires, even joking: “Seeing this beautiful photo sows a doubt in my mind. It is so beautiful that it could be a Jesuit trap. I don’t know whether it’s a butterfly or a bat!” All those present burst into laughter. After some words of thanks, Francis goes on to recall his previous trips to the country.