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07 de June 2018

Where the next World Assembly will take place?

A place with history

The Loyola Center is the setting chosen for the XVII World Assembly of Christian Life Community (CLC). Located in a place with history, testimonies and experiences, the Colegio Máximo de San José was home to one of the most outstanding personalities of this century, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis.

“El Máximo”, as it is known, is located in San Miguel, about 50 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires. It is surrounded by a park of 7 hectares, with places for recreation and physical activities. It is currently the headquarters of the Loyola Center, a work belonging to the Society of Jesus that was created to promote spirituality, education and culture, with spaces for study, reflection and meditation.

Pope Francis lived for many years in the Máximo, and his influence is felt in every corner of the emblematic center. Jorge Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958 and began his studies at Colegio Máximo. There he was ordained a priest in 1969. He was the vice-rector and the instructor of novices, as well as a professor of theology. In 1973 he was appointed Superior of the Argentina Province of the Society of Jesus, and in 1975 he moved the Provincial Curia to the Colegio Máximo and returned to live there. Among other works, he built two chapels in the area (San Francisco Javier and Santos Mártires Rioplatenses) and reconditioned the chapel of San Alonso Rodríguez and the Patriarca San José Parish, of which he was the first parish priest. He left as one of his legacies the Santa Teresa de Jesús Library, which today has 127,000 volumes and is one of the most important of its kind in Latin America.

In these facilities that will welcome delegates from more than 60 countries where CLC is present today, we can appreciate the rich history of the Society of Jesus in the region. Colegio Máximo was, in its heyday, the only school in South America that could grant academic degrees in Philosophy and Theology, and it received students from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Mexico.

In addition to offering history, art and science, the headquarters of the next World Assembly of CLC has a modern infrastructure: a conference room for 60 people, auditoriums with capacity for 120 people, and an auditorium with sound system and screen with capacity for 300 people. It also has offices, meeting rooms, rooms with capacity for 40 people and sleeping accommodations.

The Loyola Center was created recently to offer a space for exchange between culture and Ignatian spirituality, a place where courses, meetings, retreats, spiritual exercises and congresses are held. As we walk down its wide corridors, we can see classrooms and the school auditorium, the green inner courtyards, the dining room, and the rooms for boarders and those who today choose the place to make retreats.

In the school’s park is the cemetery of the Jesuit Province, which currently includes Argentina and Uruguay. They say that Francis often crossed the extensive park, always choosing the so-called "Camino de los Plátanos" (Road of London plane trees) to go to the Patriarca San José chapel.

Definitely, this Ignatian encounter will take place in an auspicious environment, with its modern and comfortable facilities and with its rich history. An encounter with the greatness of the Society of Jesus and the immeasurable legacy of Ignatius of Loyola in the heart of the Río de La Plata.