Last March, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States pledged to raise at least $100 million dollars for the descendants of slaves the Order once owned and sold.
At the time, the Jesuit Order contributed about $15 million to Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation trust and planned on raising another $85 million over the next five years.
A member of the USCCB called it the “largest financial commitment” ever to “heal the wounds” caused by the Church’s participation in slavery.
Almost a year and half later, the Jesuit Order is no where close to making progress with its funding goals.
Father Timothy Kesicki, who was involved in making the agreement between the Jesuit Order and the Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation, said he “hoped to be further along” by now.
“We need to show more growth, and that’s a challenge and a pressure that I carry every day.”
The initial plan was to donate the proceeds from the sale of the Jesuit Order’s former plantation properties in Maryland. However, no new land has been sold and proceeds from past sales haven’t been transferred to the trust yet. Kesicki said he thought by now they would have secured $33 million total for the trust, including the initial $15 million contribution.
Joseph M. Stewart, president and chair of the Descendants Truth and Reconciliation Foundation, wrote to the Jesuit superior general Father Sosa “it is becoming obvious to all who look beyond words that Jesuits are not delivering in deed.”
“The bottom line is that without your engagement, this partnership seems destined to fail.”
Stewart said “hard-liners” believe they “never enslaved anyone and thus do not ‘owe’ anyone anything.” He also wrote to the Vatican, urging them to make sure the Jesuits follow through with their promise.
“We’re challenging them to be more expeditious. How long does it take to do this if you’re committed to it?”
He called on Father Sosa to complete the land sales, transfer the proceeds by end of 2022, secure the full $100 million pledge by the end of 2023, and deposit $1 billion by 2029.
The President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United State said yesterday they remained “deeply devoted to our historic partnership with the descendant community and to working together for racial reconciliation and healing in this country” and are continuing to work to increase the pace of their fundraising efforts.