Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit novice Tim Casey’
After two years of Jesuit formation, which includes living in community and making the Spiritual Exercises in a 30-day retreat, this month second-year U.S. Jesuit novices pronounce their first vows—perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
On August 18, New York Province Jesuits Doug Ray and Jason Downer and New England Province Jesuit Timothy Casey will pronounce their first vows in Syracuse, N.Y. In advance of the vow ceremony, the novices reflected on the significance of this event.
Doug Ray said, “Part of me thinks I should be nervous about this … but really what I’m feeling is a great deal of peace … I’m recognizing this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”
Jason Downer expressed his excitement. “This idea of giving my life to Christ and to God and these vows is something that has grown deeper and deeper inside of me over the past two years. I can’t wait, and I’m humbled to be called a Jesuit, men that I’ve looked up to for 15 years of my life.”
Tim Casey felt at peace with vows on the horizon. “Walking with him [Jesus] is our ultimate purpose; it’s why we’re here. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s what drives our work.”
For more of Ray, Downer and Casey’s thoughts on first vows, watch the video below.
During the twelve years that Jesuits are in formation, they participate in a series of what are called “experiments.” These experiences were designed by the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola, to test if these men who are in formation, also known as “novices,” can do what Jesuits do and live as Jesuits live. One of these experiences is called the “long experiment,” and is a time when each Jesuit novice does five months of full-time apostolic work while living in a Jesuit community.
For his long experiment, Jesuit novice Tim Casey taught at Yap Catholic High School in Micronesia. In this shortened piece below, you can read about Casey’s experience. The full piece can be found on this page of the New York, New England and Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus’ vocations website.
Before I entered the Jesuits, I had been a high school teacher. I worked in two affluent school districts in the metro-Boston area and I felt confident that I had become a good teacher. I knew that there were better teachers than I, but I was confident that I was good. And so when the novice director asked what I wanted to do for long experiment, teaching was not at the top of my list. In the novitiate, I had enjoyed branching out into other ministries. I had worked in the jails and prisons of New York State, I had helped administer an annotated version of the Spiritual Exercises and I had worked as a hospital orderly in the Bronx. I remember feeling lukewarm about returning to my former profession, and made my preferences known to the novice director about what would be best for long experiment.
The Jesuits have an old Latin expression, agere contra, which roughly translated means to go against the grain. By this, St. Ignatius of Loyola meant that if you feel a certain resistance to something in your life, then it might be beneficial for you to engage those feelings, trying to see what you are resisting and why you are resisting it. And so when my novice director asked me to teach during my long experiment, I said that I would be willing, but I was not particularly excited about the prospect. However, I did make one request of him: Could this teaching position be in some way unconventional and different from my former career? He honored my request. I was sent to a remote island in the North Western Pacific Ocean to teach in a newly established high school in Yap, Micronesia.
Yap is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, a place that has been called “The edge of the world,” by a Jesuit who spent most of his life here. It is one of four states that make up the FSM. I didn’t know much about Micronesia, except that the Jesuits ran a prestigious school on the island of Chuuk called Xavier High School. But that was not where I was headed. Where was this place?
The local church on Yap had been trying for a number of years to open a Catholic high school. In the summer of 2011, two New York Province Jesuits were sent to Yap to make good on the promise of Catholic education and opened Yap Catholic High School in August of that year. They had four teachers (including themselves), two borrowed classrooms, and 34 students. I would become the fifth teacher, teaching Science, Social Studies, moderating the robotics club, acting as an assistant basketball coach, and doing a variety of other odds and ends to aid them in getting this school off the ground and running.
It is an intriguing place, a place that seems to be unencumbered by the events that have transpired in the other parts of the globe. The expression, “An island onto itself” seems to be fitting in more ways than one.