Posts Tagged ‘Military’

Deployment of a Lifetime: A Different Kind of Service

God’s invitation to the priesthood or religious life reaches us through parents and family, teachers and friends, and through the many events and experiences that each of us encounters in life. This includes military service. St. Ignatius Loyola was a soldier wounded in action. As he read the lives of the saints while he recovered, God invited him to reconsider his goals in life.

Here are the stories of three men who entered the Society of Jesus after serving in the military.

Missioned in a New Way
By Thomas Simisky, SJ

“How could you go from being a Marine to a Jesuit?” This is the question I am always asked when people hear a little about my past. I asked myself, and God, the very same question many times throughout my discernment.

Having been a Marine artillery officer for four years after graduating from Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts, with a political science degree, I had already received a strong formation that shaped my character in many lasting ways. And in spite of growing up active in our local parish and attending St. John’s High School, I had slipped away from regular Mass attendance. All of this led me to wonder if I was worthy, or even capable, of a priestly vocation.

I was finally able to listen to Christ’s call when I was a graduate student at Boston College. While on a five-day Ignatian retreat, I reflected back on when God was most present in my life and when I felt most alive and fulfilled. Strangely, I thought of my deployment to the Persian Gulf in 1995.

I realized that I enjoyed working with and teaching the young Marines in my unit, many of whom came from difficult family backgrounds. I also felt inspired by the sense of being sent on mission, doing something greater than myself in which it was understood that we had to sacrifice our individualism for the greater good. And I enjoyed living in community (as shipboard and barracks life really is). All of this allowed me to see that my missionary vocation as a Jesuit was actually always present.

Many close friends were surprised (though always supportive) when I told them I was entering the Society of Jesus. Over time, the response inevitably becomes, “It makes total sense.”

Vowed life permits me to be missioned in new ways. My eight years in the Society have been filled with many travels and assignments. But fundamentally it continues allowing me to grow in faith, increasingly free to follow Christ with greater courage. SEMPER FIDELIS!

Thomas Simisky, SJ, is a first year theology student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

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