Who can become a Jesuit? A Catholic man who desires to be a Jesuit should have right spiritual motivation. Namely, to give one’s life totally to God, and to the promotion of faith and justice wherever there is a greater need. Added to this one should have a genuine love for the poor and should have the desire to share their life and customs.
Though the Jesuits have inspired several independent groups of religious women, who keep close ties with the Society and who have adopted the Jesuit spirituality, it does not accept catholic women into the fold of Jesuits.
Qualifications? (i) You require a reasonable intellectual ability to go through the Jesuit and priestly studies. (ii) sufficient emotional maturity and human qualities, and (iii) a good health to be able to undertake the various apostolates of the Society of Jesus. It is generally accepted that you should have minimum a second class in Plus Two.
Nepal Region works with in Nepal and now is collaborating with Darjeeling Province in India. So eventually there is a need to master Nepali and if possible be working knowledge of other ethnic languages spoken in the country.
Formation Period and expenses?
The Jesuits do not demand from the candidates any payment; the Society bears all the expenses of the training. The minimum qualification is the 12th standard, i.e. junior college. Then the usual training consists in:
* 1 year of pre-novitiate, to learn the required language, and to get more deeply acquainted with the spirit of the Society of Jesus.
* 2 years of novitiate for a solid spiritual formation after which the life-long commitment of Religious Vows is taken.
* 1 year of Juniorate to study literature, art and film appreciation, and other such skills.
* 2 years of Philosophy studies or to finish the graduation if not done before.
* 2 years of apostolic experience (in the city and in the rural areas).
* 3 years of Theology studies, after which the Diaconate is given.
In all about 13 – 15 years. There follows, however, a period of about 9 months of Diaconate ministry ending with the Ordination to the Priesthood. Then come about 3 years of priestly ministry in various apostolates. At the end of these varied experiences of training and ministry, there are 5 to 9 months of a profound spiritual renewal called the Tertianship followed by the Final Vows, which add a greater legal bond to the Society than the First Vows did.
The training is long because the Church wants the Jesuits to be well formed to undertake any missions that the Holy Father, the Pope, may like to entrust to it. It is important, however, to understand that once the novice has taken the Religious Vows, after the 2-year novitiate, he is already a full member of the Society of Jesus even though he is still in training.
Diocese or Jesuits, are they same?
Not exactly. (i) Becoming a Jesuit means joining a Religious Order in which one takes Religious Vows. A ‘diocesan’ priest does not take these Religious Vows though he is also bound by celibacy. But as far as the priesthood goes, both are the same.
I have a friend who is a ‘brother’. What exactly is this?
The Society of Jesus is a Religious Body that has both priests and brothers called lay or better Coadjutor Brothers. So one may opt to be a full-fledged Jesuit without becoming a priest. Except for the priesthood he is like all the other Jesuits, and has the same rights and duties of the Jesuit priests.
A friend tells me that Jesuits spend a lot of time praying. Please explain how and why this is so?
Jesuits do pray. They do give time to prayer as a necessity to maintain their deep union with God and to draw inspiration and strength for the apostolate. But St. Ignatius, the Founder, wanted the Jesuits to be so habitually immersed in God that they would not need many hours of set prayer, but they would find God in all things. They would be deeply united with God even in the midst of their apostolic activities.
Will I be allowed to leave once I have joined?
A Jesuit who commits himself to God for life and maintains this commitment through regular and deep personal prayer does not want to leave the Society. If, however, if later on he discovers that he joined without knowing clearly what he was joining, or, because of lack of prayer, he later loses his vocation, he has to be dispensed from his Religious Vows before leaving. This dispensation has to be obtained from Rome.
How am I sure that God has called me to become a Jesuit?
If I feel deeply convinced that God calls me. If I have the right spiritual motivation and qualifications. And finally if the rightful authority accepts me, I can safely assume that I do have a vocation and that God does call me to be a Jesuit.
What kind of Young Men do we seek?
We look for; a person of notable human and Christian qualities; with an inclination to study and the capacity to undertake a long period of intellectual formation; capable of working in a group, having already had the experience of true friendship; with talents that can be put to use in the specific works that the Society promotes. He should also possess genuine love for the poor and marginalized.
If you think you have the above characteristics, you have the makings of a Jesuit candidate. Every year vocation camps are held in various parts of India and Nepal during summer. You can come and participate in it and perhaps discover your vocation.