Jesuit Bill Noe remembers pondering the meditation of the Spiritual Exercises on the call of Christ during his 30-day retreat as a novice. He remembers hearing Jesus say, “You are going to live as I live.”
That call came to life in Bolivia, where Noe recently spent two and a half years teaching in a technical college during regency, a time in Jesuit formation that affords each Jesuit an opportunity to work in an apostolic area.
“In Bolivia I had a chance to live at least a little bit of what I discovered in the Spiritual Exercises,” he said.
In July 2008, Noe was sent to teach electronics at the Instituto de Aprendizaje Industrial, a three-year technical institute founded and operated by the Bolivian Jesuits.
In Bolivia, Noe was both a teacher and a student. While he used his training as an engineer in the classroom, he learned to integrate his work with his life in a Jesuit community and with his prayer life.
Although he was welcomed into the community, he soon learned what it was like to be an immigrant. “Jesus was outside of his culture,” Noe said, recalling Jesus’ life in Egypt. “He was a migrant.”
When he returned home, he noticed all the Latino faces on the streets around him. “I didn’t notice them before,” he said. “My time in Bolivia gave me a lot to think about in how I relate to people from other cultures.”
It has made him ask himself, “Who else don’t I notice? Who else don’t I include?”
Read more about Noe’s regency experiences in Jesuits magazine.