Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Formation’
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.
Jesuit Vincent Marchionni spent five months working at the Father McKenna Center in Washington, D.C., for his Long Experiment, during which a Jesuit novice engages in full-time apostolic work while living in a Jesuit community.
The center, named after Jesuit Father Horace McKenna, serves the poor, providing meals for homeless men, groceries for local residents and assistance for those facing eviction and utility cutoff.
Marchionni said that the Long Experiment taught him that simple acts of compassion and generosity profoundly and positively affect people’s lives, making God’s presence real and tangible.
“The men show tremendous gratitude for their meals, and it is God’s way of showing me that such grunt work truly does manifest His presence to those in dire circumstances,” he said.
Marchionni also led 12-Step meetings that focused on drugs and alcohol. The group used the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola to supplement 12-Step spirituality.
Marchionni said that through his experience of serving D.C.’s poorest he realized, “Jesus Christ is always laboring, always desiring to bring his brothers and sisters closer to him. He does hear the cry of the poor, and he answers them with gifts of hope and gratitude.”
Read more about Marchionni’s long experiment in Jesuits magazine.
Regency is a time in Jesuit formation that occurs after First Studies and just prior to the formal study of theology, affording each Jesuit an opportunity to work in an apostolic area.
“The students provide a context for me to work out what my own particular vocation means for me and to the world,” said Baker. “They constantly teach me about what it means to be a Jesuit and, in ways they cannot fathom, they instruct me on what kind of priest they want to see me become one day.”
Baker taught at a Jesuit high school before he entered the Society, but doing this work as a Jesuit scholastic is something completely different. “For reasons that often make me shake my head in utter disbelief, this work — and doing it in this particular way as a Jesuit — suits me better than I ever could have imagined.”
For Brenkert, the magis takes on a new meaning in regency to include the search for the quality, excellence and mastery of a craft and the freer and more personal service of others.
“To be a successful regent,” he said, “I believe that my love for my students must pour forth, flowing from my prayer and from my participation in the sacraments.”
Read more about Jesuits’ regency experiences in Jesuits magazine.
Jesuit Keith Maczkiewicz had hoped to do something he had never done before during his Long Experiment, a time when each Jesuit novice does five months of full-time apostolic work while living in a Jesuit community. He had worked in high school campus ministry, but when he was missioned to Georgetown University to assist in campus ministry there, his novice director said, “You may have done this job before, but you never did it as a Jesuit.”
Maczkiewicz, who was involved in Sunday liturgies, Catholic chaplaincy programs and retreats and ministry as a chaplain-in-residence in a dorm at Georgetown, soon realized that his novice director was right.
Maczkiewicz said he was very conscious that the 30-day experience of the Spiritual Exercises was affecting all of his life and ministry. “I realized that the Exercises had become not only important to me, but had become my heritage, in a way, had become an inherent part of my life.”
Working with the Exercises as an instrument of prayer, and helping to lead others in prayer and discernment, helped him to solidify his own relationship with God. “The Long Experiment has helped me to fall in love with Christ all over again in the midst of my ministry, in the context of my Jesuit community, and with the lenses of poverty, chastity and obedience focusing, broadening and enriching my life,” Maczkiewicz said.
Today, Maczkiewicz is a scholastic in First Studies at Loyola University Chicago. He professed his vows to the Society of Jesus last year. You can read more about Jesuit novices’ long experiments in Jesuits magazine.
Jesuit Vincent Marchionni, a scholastic, recently reflected on his first semester of “First Studies,” the first mission for scholastics after taking their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus.
Marchionni is studying at Saint Louis University and writes that while many see philosophy as a tedious and frustrating subject, his first semester has taught him the opposite.
“Philosophy is so interesting because everyone philosophizes, whether they know it or not. Everyone has opinions on human nature, or how we know things, or ethics,” he writes.
He also writes about his vows, which he says “are a means to enhance his [a Jesuit’s] performance in mission.” Of his vow of obedience, he says that it “demands that, as a Jesuit, I am as available for mission as possible. The point of all this studying is to make me a better Jesuit who can engage different people in different apostolates.”
Read more of Marchionni’s reflections on his first studies and vows.