Everyone has a great calling. How are you called to respond?
"I came that all might have life, and have it abundantly" - John 10:10
God calls each of us in a unique way to live a life of abundance. Is God calling you to a life as a Jesuit priest or brother?
A life committed to God is not for the lukewarm or the faint of heart. It takes courage, conviction and a lot of prayer to commit oneself to religious life, particularly because promising perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience is at such odds with the individualistic culture in which we live. Religious life can be profoundly countercultural, affirming the goodness of all creation but also pointing toward an ultimate reality beyond the world we share. Men in the Society of Jesus seek to find God in every moment of life, desiring deeper and deeper friendship with God in the service of the church and the world.
You think you have what it takes?
Discerning your vocation
If you feel that God is calling you to religious life, the process of understanding what that means is called discernment. You might feel drawn to a particular religious order; often candidates explore different websites to help decide which community might be suitable, then arrange to visit them in person.
Jesuits can choose to be priests or brothers; the latter are religious who take the same vows as ordained priests, but who do not administer the Sacraments or celebrate Mass.
Jesuits in the United States belong to a particular province, or home community, although they may serve outside that province at various times.
Wherever you live, we welcome your interest in the Society of Jesus and will gladly discuss whether becoming a Jesuit might be your vocation in life.
"Come and See" gatherings, other events
"Come and See" is an informal gathering for men ages 18-45 who would like to explore a possible vocation to religious life, serving as a priest or a brother, and to get to know the Jesuits of the California Province. These gatherings and other events are held periodically around the California Province. For details, check "Upcoming Events;" see tab above left.
Exploring your vocation
- For more information, click on the link below.
- The Vocation Director will send you materials that answer basic questions.
- The two of you will meet in person, which enables us to explore your vocation as co-discerners. You might also speak with a Jesuit you already know about how he likes being a Jesuit.
- At these meetings, ask questions and tell us your story. When you take the initiative, it helps us assess your readiness for religious life.
- Make the daily Examen of Consciousness (see link at right) and begin spiritual direction.
- Candidates may also attend the ordination of Jesuits and experience our community life firsthand at the Novitiate.
For more information, click here.
You may want to read more about the Society of Jesus and the ins and outs of vocation discernment; there’s much literature to be found on both. The following books might help you in your journey:
A Pilgrim's Testament: The Memoirs of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, translated by Parmananda R. Divarkar
Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way, by William A. Barry, S.J., and Robert G. Douherty, S.J.
Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality, by David Lonsdale
Hearing with the Heart: A Gentle Guide to Discerning God’s Will in Your Life, by Debra Farrington
Ignatius of Loyola: The Pilgrim Saint, by José Ignacio Tellechea Idígoras
In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, by James Martin, S.J.
Letting God Come Close: An Approach to the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, by William A. Barry, S.J.
The Fifth Week, 2nd edition, by William J. O’Malley, S.J.
The First Jesuits,by John W. O’Malley, S.J.
"The Church needs you, counts on you and continues to turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach."
Pope Benedict XVI, address to the Society of Jesus, General Congregation 35, February 21, 2008