Posts Tagged ‘novice’

Peace Corps Service Led Novice to Jesuits

Jesuit novice Andrew Hanson Long before Jesuit novice Andrew Hanson entered the Society of Jesus this past August, several people had mentioned the priesthood to him, but he always wrote the idea off. “I was determined to have a family and live a ‘normal’ life,” Hanson, 25, told the Catholic Messenger. But while serving in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2009 to 2011, he began to rethink his future.

“I lived a simple lifestyle in a community, which meant that I had a lot of time to read, pray and just simply be, whether it was alone or with my community members,” Hanson says. “The more comfortable I got with living a simple life in a poor community, the more disenchanted I became with the plans and schemes I had envisioned, my future family and the way I viewed ‘success.’”

Hanson said that reading about St. Ignatius, Ignatian spirituality and other faith philosophies helped him start to recognize God’s presence in all that was going on around him. “It was clear that the movements of my heart were challenging me to explore the possibility that my deepest desire and truest fulfillment might be to serve God in the Society of Jesus,” he says.

After returning to his family in Iowa after the Peace Corps, Hanson applied and was accepted as a novice for the Wisconsin Province Jesuits.

Hanson had admired the Society since attending Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., where he majored in psychology and organizational communications. Though Hanson didn’t see himself becoming a Jesuit during his college days, he felt inspired to experience life on the margins, which led him to the Peace Corps.

While working as a youth development promoter in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, his religious vocation blossomed, Hanson says.

As a Jesuit novice, he spends much of his time in class, praying, tutoring immigrants pursuing U.S. citizenship and serving at a local Latino community resource center.

“It’s really easy to neglect time for silent contemplation due to our busy schedules, and I’m finding that I have to approach prayer like an exercise routine,” Hanson says. “By that I mean that if I don’t explicitly plan the hour into my day ahead of time, it’s tough to stay true to it. It has been simultaneously a challenge and a blessing.”

For more on Hanson’s journey to the Jesuit novitiate, visit the Catholic Messenger website.

Meet Our New Jesuit Novices!

32 men entering the novitiates of the Society of Jesus last month, beginning the two-year period of prayer, work and study. The largest classes hailed from the New Orleans and Missouri Provinces, which each have 7 men entering their provinces. Of the 32 men, Jesuit alumni represent 40 percent of the novices. The largest alumni groups represented overall include Saint Louis University (4), Texas A&M University (3) and Texas Tech (3).

The novitiate is the first stage of Jesuit formation and novices begin to learn through experience about the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as lived in a community setting.  He learns the traditions, rules and expectations of the Society of Jesus.  During this time he makes the Spiritual Exercises in a 30-day retreat and engages in a variety of “experiments,” such as serving the poor, the elderly, and teaching children. At the end of the two years, he pronounces perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience either as a brother or as a scholastic who will prepare for priestly ordination.

Marcos Gonzales
Northridge, California
Marcos, 26, attended Loyola Marymount University, earning his BA in theology and, while working at an all-girls school, his MA in secondary education. He has traveled to more than 20 states and over 22 countries, including a JVI teaching assignment in Chuuk, Micronesia. He loves being in a band and enjoys singing and playing guitar, piano and drums. (California Province)
Jonathon Polce
Mint Hill, North Carolina
Jonathon, 24, is a 2009 graduate of the University of Dallas with a BA in history. In college he was a member of the student senate and a residence hall assistant. Since 2009 he has been working in Rome, Italy, as assistant to the director of the University of Dallas Rome Program. He loves history, politics and sports, including college basketball. (New Orleans Province)
Brian Strassburger
Denver, Colorado
Brian, 26, is a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School and of Saint Louis University, with a BA in math and business administration. He has worked as a Kairos retreat leader and in campus ministry. After college he served for two years in the Augustinian Volunteers, and most recently worked in their development office in Philadelphia. He loves sports and music. (Missouri Province)
Paul Yanzer
Holmen, Wisconsin
Paul, 26, earned a BS from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. He went on to attend Mundelein Seminary, through which he volunteered as chaplain at a jail, hospital and Boy Scout camp. In college, he worked as an undergrad researcher and a building manager. Paul’s other interests include soccer, outdoor activities, fitness and nutrition. (Wisconsin Province)

Read the rest of this entry »