Ecclesiastes reminds us that “for everything there is a season” and in the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States, the spring weather also brings us the season of new missions for many Jesuits. This year, the season has come Fr. Ted Penton, S.J. to finish his time with the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology (OJE) and, also, leave his position as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Magis Americas. 

Ted first joined our Board of Directors in the fall of 2018, shortly after he took on his role as Secretary of OJE. His arrival aligned with the important first steps of Magis Americas and he has closely accompanied and supported the growth of our organization over the last five years. 

In a recent interview, Ted remembered that, “I had no idea until I arrived here that Magis [Americas] existed. [Executive Director] Nate [Radomski] had just been hired as the first staff member of Magis Americas in many years just before I arrived, with the mandate of determining the feasibility of [this project] developing into a larger institution and to determine what are the ways that it could contribute to the mission of the Society of Jesus.” Since that time, our organization has grown substantially and has greatly benefited from the support of Ted and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. 

In January of 2021, Ted accepted this expanded role and took on the responsibilities of Chairperson. Over the past two and a half years, his guidance has continued to contribute to our growth. “I am really grateful to Ted for his exceptional leadership and consistent support during his tenure on our board,” Executive Director Nate Radomski shared. “His vision and understanding of the importance of our mission and our work have continued to push us forward as a team. His previous experience with other Jesuit NGO’s made him a great asset for our Board, but it was his commitment to helping us grow that made him such a good choice for the position as chairperson.”

During this time, perhaps one of our most important milestones was the acceptance of Magis Americas as the 14th member of the Xavier Network in January of 2022. Ted saw this as an important step for our organization since he first arrived. He explained, “Before coming to the US on this Mission, I was in Toronto serving on the board of the Canadian Jesuits International … a member of the Xavier Network and I was very aware that the U.S. [Jesuits] did not have a member [organization] of that network. The US Jesuits have always been in solidarity and worked with Jesuits throughout the world in a number of very important ways, but in this particular area there was essentially a vacuum in the United States and also tremendous potential.” Whether it is learning from the best practices of the other members of the Xavier Network or participating in trainings offered through the same, our staff continues to benefit from the opportunity to be part of this fantastic network.

Of course, the support and guidance that Ted has offered us over these past five years is representative of so many other Jesuits and lay people who serve on our Board of Directors and support our work in so many ways. Ted made it a point to thank the support that he had received from Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States (JCCU), Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., who preceded him in that role, and Fr. Sean Michaelson, S.J., JCCU Treasurer and Socius. Together, these four Jesuits are examples of the continued support that we receive from the JCCU that makes our work possible. 

At Magis Americas, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Fr. Ted Penton, S.J. for his service to and support of Magis Americas over the past five years. We recognize the many hours he has dedicated to our organization, and we are grateful for the sincere and inspiring vision he has shared about the future of Jesuit development initiatives around the globe.