September 7, 2023 — Many weeks ago, host Eric Clayton visited a coastal town in Kenya called Malindi — and the Jesuit community that lives there. It’s a new community, only about five or so years old, and it’s been tasked with carrying out the legacy of St. Francis Xavier who visited that very place many, many years ago.
Xavier — the great missionary — spent only a few days on that shore. But while there, he engaged in interreligious dialogue, meeting with and learning from the local Muslim communities. The bishop of Malindi has asked the Jesuits of today to return and continue that work.
Fr. Thomas Aquino Deshi Ramadhani, or just Deshi for short, is the Jesuit who has been tasked with leading these efforts. Originally from Indonesia, he’s accustomed to building community with Muslims and those of other faiths. He’s also a writer — an author of many books — and a retreat director. When Eric was with him, he was preparing to give a retreat on the enneagram and Ignatian spirituality.
Today’s conversation is very rich. It touches of course on interreligious dialogue — and why Deshi prefers to call it inter-spiritual trialogue — and about how the enneagram influences the writing life. Deshi dives deep into his own spiritual background and shares with us countless nuggets of spiritual wisdom.
But one thing that is worth highlighting is that the fruits of this conversation reflect the nature of our global Catholic faith: an Indonesian and an American meeting in Kenya and bound together by the Ignatian tradition and our desire to live out the Gospel.
- Deshi’s Books
- Video on Malindi
- Video on Xavier’s Chapel in Malindi
- Vocation Story on an American Jesuit in Africa
AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.