Become a Jesuit
Jesuits today serve in 112 nations on six continents and number about 16,000 priests, brothers and seminarians worldwide. Jesuits discharge a wide variety of roles including that of retreat directors, teachers, doctors, poets, lawyers, social workers, writers, administrators, professors, pastors, scientists and artists. Jesuits also engage in missionary work, upliftment of the poor, social justice activities, inter-religious dialogue and other ministries.
Becoming a Jesuit is a lifetime project, whose sole aim is to love and serve God. Pedro Arrupe, one of our last Superiors General said to a young man who wished to join the Society of Jesus:
“Stay at home if this idea makes you unsettled or nervous. Do not come to us if you love the Church like a stepmother rather than a mother. Do not come if you think that in so doing you will be doing the Society of Jesus a favour. Come if serving Christ is at the very centre of your life. Come if you have broad and sufficiently strong shoulders. Come if you have an open spirit, a reasonably open mind and a heart larger than the world. Come if you know how to tell a joke and can laugh with others and… on occasions you can laugh at yourself.”
Jesuits look for men who feel called by God and who also possess:
a deep personal love for Jesus Christ
a habit of prayer which develops into action
good religious practice
an intellectual capability
a sense of sociability and availability
some familiarity with Jesuits
good physical health
a history of service and concern for the poor
the joy to live a life of poverty, chastity, obedience
a strong desire—zeal for being a Jesuit!
Here are some ways in which you can learn more about the Society of Jesus in Mumbai:
Speak with a Jesuit brother or priest in your area
Contact a Vocation Director
Make an Ignatian discernment retreat at one of the many Jesuit retreat centres
Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and share your journey
Visit our Jesuit Mission stations
The Journey to becoming a Jesuit
Men considering entering, or applying to, the Society of Jesus are called candidates. Upon acceptance of their application, they join the Society as novices. This is when Jesuit formation begins. Not all Jesuits become priests. Some choose to be brothers but their formation follows a similar pattern.
Novitiate: This is a two-year programme of prayer, work and learning about the Society of Jesus, which includes making the Thirty-Day Retreat, i.e., the full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola, in their first year. Novices live in a novitiate under the direction of a novice master. They also engage in a variety of “experiments”, that see them working in various ministries, usually with the poor or the sick, sometimes in a less developed country. In their second year, novices go on a long experiment, spending several months in a Jesuit apostolate. In some provinces the novices also make a pilgrimage across the country with little money. At the end of his novitiate, a Jesuit pronounces his First Vows (of poverty, chastity and obedience).
First Studies: The Jesuit is now a brother or scholastic (in formation for the priesthood). This is when many study philosophy for three years.
Regency: The Jesuit works full time in a Jesuit ministry for generally two to three years, but possibly longer depending on the man’s provincial. During this time, they are called regents.
Diaconate: Jesuit scholastics are ordained to the transitional diaconate (rather than the permanent diaconate for married men). He is now a deacon.
Priesthood: The ordination of a Jesuit to the presbyterate (priesthood) usually takes place within a year of becoming a deacon. He is now a priest, and only now is called “Father”. This, however, is not the end of formal Jesuit formation.
Tertianship: This final stage in Jesuit formation comes after the Jesuit has worked for several years after completing his studies (for the brother), or after his studies and ordination (for the priest). The Jesuit, now called a tertian, undergoes six to nine months of spiritual training during which he makes the full Spiritual Exercises again. He does so under the guidance of his tertian director or tertian master.
Final Vows: After completing tertianship and subject to the approval of his provincial and the Jesuit superior general, the Jesuit is invited to take final vows. All make three vows (of poverty, chastity and obedience, re-affirming the First Vows) and some make a fourth vow (of special obedience to the Pope with regard to missions). This is the end of the formal formation period. From start to finish (novitiate to final vows) it can take as many as 15 to 20 years.
Jesuits today serve in 112 nations on six continents and number about 16,000 priests, brothers and seminarians worldwide. Jesuits discharge a wide variety of roles including that of retreat directors, teachers, doctors, poets, lawyers, social workers, writers, administrators, professors, pastors, scientists and artists. Jesuits are also engaged in missionary work, uplift of the poor, social justice activities, inter-religious dialogue and other ministries.
All Videos Courtesy – Society of Jesus Channel