The Jesuits were readmitted to Portugal in 1829, although it was only to be a brief five year window before they were expelled again for another 24years in 1834. In those brief 5 years there was an interesting series of events. It was a group of French Jesuits who were allowed back into Portugal under the leadership of Fr Delvaux. They were to arrive in Lisbon on August 13th - 5 priests and 2 brothers, and after a year living in the suburbs, at a place called Marvilla, they were to move back into the original residence that the Jesuits had opened back in 1542.
3 years after their arrival they were to celebrate mass at what would become the final resting place of Pombal (Carvahlo). I have read that Pombal had not been buried since his fall from grace and death in 1782 and that the Fr Delvaux was to give his remains the dignity of a Christian Burial. If this is true, the irony of them returning from exile to bury and pray for their bitterest enemy and chief persecutor is strong. It is also very edifying. As a sign of the new trust given to the society – they were given a college in Coimbra. It is also noteworthy that four of Pombals great grandsons became pupils of the Jesuit school and thrived there.
How do we understand this generosity of spirit? A key moment of the Spiritual Exercises is an honest examination of your previous life, during the First Week, and reflecting on sin in our lives and in our world. The retreatant is invited to comprehend sin not just as intellectual act of remembrance, or regret , but also to honestly confront the reality of sin in the world with the heart. In other words to see sin as God sees sin. Hopefully this leads to an awareness of the love God has for us, in spite of our brokenness and in spite of our sinfulness. Realising that we are loved sinners makes us more compassionate with others failings. This curious event of the burial of Pombal by the Jesuits is a fruit of this – the ability to bury the past and a grace-filled freedom not harbour grudges.