Please pray for our novices
The first year novices start their long retreat today at St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales.
The most important part of the two year formation programme for novices, the 30 day silent retreat is made after the first four months of the novitiate. In his Constitutions for the governance of the Society of Jesus, St Ignatius required that novices undertake a range of “experiments” to explore their vocations. Alongside making the 30 day retreat novices still undertake a pilgrimage, hospital ministry and teaching, according to St Ignatius’ original plans.
The 30 day retreat, also known as the Spiritual Exercises, is a programme of meditation and contemplation focussing on the life of Christ, which enables the retreatant to deepen their awareness of Christ at work in their life, and the meaning of their vocation. All Jesuits undertake the full 30 days Spiritual Exercises at least twice during their lives: once in the novitiate and again during tertianship, the final stage of Jesuit formation, which usually occurs about fifteen years later, after ordination and before final vows.
Second year novice Stephen, who completed the Spiritual Exercises last year, reflected on his experience:
The first week was a whirl of ideas and imagery, much of which would solidify over the course of the exercises as the focus did switch from seeing the world through my own, slightly chaotic and confused, framework to a much simpler prism, the love of God and the reality of the risen Christ…I felt both emptier and fuller than I had ever been, freer and also more committed. These paradoxes will now become part of my new reality in the weeks and months ahead and I’ll see where this new lightness of being leads.
You can read Stephen’s full blog post on the Novitiate blog.
Please pray for Adam, Damien, John, Pascal, Luke and Erik as they make their retreat, guided by Novice master Fr Kevin O’Rourke SJ.