|The Application Process|
The overall purpose of the application process is to discover the suitability of a man for the novitiate and his capacity to live a fruitful and happy life as a Jesuit.
The Thirty-Second General Congregation of the Society of Jesus said:
What is it to be a Jesuit? It is to know that one is a sinner, yet called to be a companion of Jesus as Ignatius was: Ignatius who begged the Blessed Virgin to “place him with her Son” and who then saw the Father himself ask Jesus, carrying his Cross, to take this pilgrim into his company.
And so, the man we seek is one who is aware of his humanity and weakness but has the self-knowledge and the openness to grow that would enable him to follow Jesus as one of us now and in the future.
Applications to the novitiate usually happen between September and November of each year. Aapplications are usually completed by the first week in December. The process involves:
All of the material is presented to the Provincial of the Australian Province who, in consultation with his consultors, makes the final decision regarding admission of a candidate to the Jesuit novitiate.
For further information about a Jesuit vocation or the application process, please complete our request information form.
What happens when someone is accepted?
The formation of Jesuits is a priority because the quality of our apostolic service depends in large measure on a good and lasting preparation. The one thing that most people know about the Jesuit course of formation is that it is long. Actually, it has now become a very flexible arrangement — its length and shape are very much dependent on the age, previous experience and studies of the individual person.
Jesuit formation begins with a very solid time of spiritual preparation: two full years of noviceship, where a man comes to grips with himself and his call, laying a deep foundation for total dedication. This time is spent at Canisius College, Pymble, NSW.
There is much instruction on prayer and on the Jesuit way of life, under the guidance of the novice master. At all times the novice is encouraged to consider his growth as a person — in self-acceptance, in contributing to community life, in relating to others with an ease and readiness which is vital to his own happiness and effectiveness as an apostle in the years to come. His personal and spiritual growth is tested and promoted by various “experiments” — lengthy periods spent away from Canisius living in Jesuit communities and working in various apostolates. There are also periods spent among the disadvantaged — in hospices for the dying, with refugees, and for people in various kinds of distress. Saint Ignatius wanted Jesuits to have a deep love for the poor and to learn from direct experience the richness to be gained by meeting Christ in the poor.
The Thirty-day Retreat
The heart of the Novitiate experience is the making of the thirty-day retreat. This is time devoted to the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and is usually about half-way through the first year.
Ignatius of Loyola developed The Spiritual Exercises and offered them to his companions and proposed them as a month-long series of reflections, prayers and contemplative approaches to the scriptures that would assist Catholics to become more fully to the work of God in and around them.The Exercises are a way of conversion, a means to help each individual to see and celebrate God's presence in everyday.
The Jesuit way of life draws continually on the insight of Saint Ignatius and Jesuits assist others in appreciating creation as Ignatius did. The 'long retreat' is an important Jesuit experience as 'Ignatian spirituality' relies on the Spiritual Exercises as a foundation.
Jesuits: priests and brothers
During the first year or so of formation, the novice makes a choice about whether he feels called by God to be a Jesuit priest or a Jesuit brother . The formation process for the Jesuit brother and the Jesuit scholastic have different emphases, although they often overlap.
At the conclusion of his two years noviceship, if both the Society and the novice are satisfied that he is really being called to the Jesuit vocation, the novice pronounces his First Vows (perpetual simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience) and becomes either a scholastic (entering onto the path of priesthood) or a Jesuit brother. The scholastics and brothers of the Society of Jesus have different courses of study, although they often overlap.
For more information about what happens after the noviceship, see the Stages in Formation.