LTE: A Response to “Panel Discusses Dwindling Jesuits in Society”

A November 6th article, “Panel Discusses Dwindling Jesuits in Society” reported on an event called “Celebrating the Global Jesuit Community.” The Jesuit panel at this event represented the global diversity of the Boston College Jesuit community.

Throughout my ten years of Jesuit formation, no experience has given me a greater immersion into the global Society of Jesus than my time at BC.  In my small off-campus Jesuit house alone, we hail from Hong Kong, Tanzania, the Congo, Spain, Chile, India, and even exotic places like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Long Island, and Charlestown!

When I first arrived at BC, I was inspired by a Portuguese Jesuit, Fr. Francisco Mota, who served as chaplain to both the men’s soccer team and the students of Gonzaga Hall. Rather than spending all his time focusing on his studies, he hosted open houses for students and celebrated Masses throughout the week in St. Joseph’s chapel. On the weekends, he would be in Dorchester, celebrating Mass in Portuguese, Spanish, and English.  

Another Jesuit brother, Evarist Shigi, is from Tanzania, and before coming here to BC and serving as our house treasurer, he completed an MBA in Australia, which thoroughly overqualified him for his house job.

Fr. Joe Simmons and Fr. Michael Rossmann, also graduate students here at BC, were ordained together back in June along with ten other Jesuits in the Midwest!  After spending their summers serving at Spanish-speaking parishes in Chicago and Milwaukee, these young priests (only in their 30s!) are on the rotation to celebrate the 8:00 pm Masses.

Regulars at the Candlelight Masses are inspired by Fr. Casey Beaumier. He also serves the young men at Loyola House and the men who are part of a monthly discernment group, all considering a Jesuit or priestly vocation.  Fr. Casey helps train young Jesuits, like myself, to give weekend retreats. Thanks to him, Ramesh, a Malaysian who entered the Jesuits in Australia, and Rodrigo from Mexico, are being trained as the next generation of preachers of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

Every Wednesday, the Ignatian Society hosts the Examen (St. Ignatius’ prayer of reflection) at 9:45 pm at Manresa House (All are welcome!).  There, you’ll meet Ramesh, Ignatius from Nigeria, and Adam from Philadelphia, who comes to BC after teaching, coaching, and organizing a huge gathering of students for Pope Francis’ 2015 visit to Philadelphia.

Boston College is home to Jesuits from all over the planet—literally.  Your article talked about “dwindling” of Jesuits, but the event it referenced was really meant to celebrate our diversity! In this month dedicated to promoting the Jesuit vocation, I hope that students at Boston College find encouragement and inspiration from our diverse Jesuit community, and that some may even discover a desire to join us!  

Please email me ([email protected]) if you would like to get to know some of the many diverse and inspiring Jesuits who study, teach, work, and live right here at Boston College.

Patrick Nolan, S.J.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor