News Detail
Jesuit Daniel Gustafson at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia
“In seeking acceptance and an opportunity to share something challenging in their lives, these students helped me to recognize that this is a universal human characteristic.”
Jesuit Novice as Chaperone, Coach and Confidant
June 27, 2013  Jesuit Daniel Gustafson is a second-year novice who just finished his long experiment — a key part of the Jesuit novitiate, as it enables the novice to work in a Jesuit ministry and "test out" his vocation. For his experiment, Gustafson taught religion and worked in the Mission and Ministry Office at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, but he found that was just his official job description.

In addition to those duties, Gustafson was made assistant tennis coach, and he also helped by chaperoning mixers, leading the weekly Examen over the intercom and helping to plan, lead and direct retreats and service events. Once, he even found himself cutting tiles to be installed in a house that Prep students helped to build over spring break.

Another part of his unofficial duties were the many conversations he had with students throughout the day, at a retreat or during a tennis match or service trip. As Gustafson came to know the students better, he had two realizations.

The first was that “each and every student was looking for essentially one thing and one thing only — acceptance. A place and person or group with whom they could be themselves, relax, take a deep breath in the midst of a typically busy high school day, and know that they are cared for,” he wrote.

The second realization he had about these talks was that as the students became more comfortable around him, every now and then the seriousness of the conversation would deepen, from discussing a student’s fears about moving away to college to a struggle with believing in God to a difficult situation in the student’s family life.

“In seeking acceptance and an opportunity to share something challenging in their lives, these students helped me to recognize that this is a universal human characteristic,” Gustafson wrote. “These are the same thirsts that I feel and that all of us feel. And it is exactly where God wants to meet us: listening to us, helping to carry our burdens, loving us at each and every turn.”

Through these students, Gustafson found that “God showed me that being a companion of Jesus will also bring me to what may be a run-of-the-mill conversation or may lead to listening to someone vulnerably share an issue that has been plaguing him or her for years.”

Read more of Gustafson’s reflections on his long experiment at www.jesuitvocation.org.


Recent News

July 30, 2014 — The Society of Jesus in the U.S. is calling on Congressional representatives who graduated from U.S. Jesuit schools to protect children fleeing violence in Central America.

July 28, 2014 — Fr. Thomas Smolich, SJ, has been appointed International Director of JRS starting on November 1, 2015.

July 30, 2014 — The Institute of Jesuit Sources is moving from its longtime home in St. Louis to Boston College’s Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.

July 29, 2014 — Jesuit Father Robert Hussey, an economics professor who’s also bilingual, is the new provincial of the Maryland Province Jesuits.

July 25, 2014 — The letter called for protection for the thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America.

July 21, 2014 — Jesuit Father Scott Santarosa is taking on a new assignment as the provincial of the Oregon Province Jesuits.

July 18, 2014 — More than 1,200 graduates of Jesuit schools are calling on fellow alumni in the U.S. House of Representatives to act on fair immigration reform.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 7/7/14

America - 6/23/14

America - 6/9/14



Eastern Point Retreat House
Eastern Point Retreat House, a grand house located on the Atlantic shore in Gloucester, Mass., has been welcoming retreatants since 1958.