There is a threefold focus at the MRI:
- Comparative Spirituality
Inspired by The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the contemplative dimension has played a crucial role as an instrument of dialogue with other wisdom traditions, such as Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Islam. It has also enabled the Christian faith to take root in different cultures. With its annual Symposium and a variety of Forums, the MRI brings together different circles of society and offers them different ways to dialogue with Chinese culture and wisdom traditions. Biographies of missionaries, such as Matteo Ricci, Alessandro Valignano, Johann Adam Schall, and Giuseppe Castiglione, as well as the story of the Rites Controversy.
- Moral Leadership
The widening gap between the rich and the poor, as well as the growing ecological crisis, require new approaches to economics which are oriented to the common good.
The history of missionary activity in Macau offers insights for values education, highlighting solidarity, subsidiarity, fairness, and the importance of role models. The MRI is committed to sharing key insights from the lives of the missionaries with students from high schools in Macau, Hong Kong and beyond. It has also launched Cinema Forums which allow the participants to better understand Chinese culture and specifically feature examples of Confucian ethics.
- Social innovation
The history of exchange between China and the West documents how deeply missionaries have contributed to social innovation. Examples include their sharing of knowledge about the natural sciences, including mathematics, geometry, cartography, astronomy, and medicine. They also used music and the fine arts in order to share their friendship with local people. The MRI highly values cultural events, featuring music and art, as a privileged way of dialogue between different cultures. The Institute sponsors research projects focused on the music and art of Jesuits in Macau and China. The MRI collaborates with the University of Saint Joseph and the Jesuit Worldwide Learning network in an effort to reach disadvantaged student demographics using blended learning methodologies in both online and offline courses.