Global Leader of the Jesuits visits Campion Hall

Father Arturo Sosa SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, visited Campion Hall on 12 April 2023, as part of his tour of the British Province to see its key works and parishes.

His first time in Oxford, and indeed the UK, Fr General’s visit started with a walk through the grounds of Christ Church College and into the city centre, stopping at iconic sites such as the Sheldonian Theatre and Bodleian Library. The tour ended at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, where the group spent some time reflecting on the lives of the martyrs, Protestant and Catholic, who are remembered on a memorial within the church.

Nick Austin with Fr General at Bodleian

Upon returning, Fr General was given a tour of Campion Hall and a viewing of some of its treasures, including Edmund Campion’s Agnus Dei and his copy of the Summa Totius Theologiae. During lunch, Fr General enjoyed an informal chat (at times in Spanish, his native language!) with some of the Hall’s current students.

A highlight of Fr General’s visit to Campion Hall was to meet with members of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute to learn about its wide-ranging research projects that seek to address the global socio-ecological crisis. After a presentation and discussion session, the LSRI team led a tree planting ceremony with the Hall community, where Fr General took part in planting a quince tree.

Fr General planting a quince tree

The day concluded with Fr General presiding at Mass. In his homily, he spoke of the value of Campion Hall as a Jesuit institution in the University of Oxford: “It strikes me that Campion Hall is an unusual, perhaps unique institution in the Society: an authentic Jesuit presence within an ancient and elite University, which, while secular today, has profoundly Christian roots.”

Fr General presiding Mass

Fr General’s visit would no doubt be one of the highlights of the year for Campion Hall and its community. Political Science graduate student Wil Buitrago Arias described the visit as “an important opportunity to remember that Campion Hall is a treasured part of a vast network of platforms for social and intellectual work that extends beyond Oxford.”

The Master of Campion Hall, Dr Nick Austin commented, "Fr General has shown great support for Campion Hall over the years, and it was a very great honour and pleasure to welcome him to Oxford and introduce him to the Hall community of Students, Fellows and Staff. Fr Sosa impressed us all by his personable style and acute interest in the work and mission of the Hall. He clearly enjoyed the day immensely and even the English weather cooperated!"