Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus



A course on the social apostolate

by Gellért Török

Although the first objective of the novitiate is not study, the different courses are part of our life, helping to deepen some aspects of the Society and the life of the Jesuit.

This Monday and Tuesday Father Remondini, a Jesuit from the community of Turin, came to talk to us about the social apostolate of the Society of Jesus. We had two intense days, with so much richness, inspiration and thoughts for reflection.

On Monday morning we started from the roots, which is the experience of Saint Ignatius, then we briefly saw how this area has developed over the centuries: what were the most important moments and the people who made the changes. We continued with the situation of our days, seeing some Italian but also foreign examples. We made acquaintance – in addition to the various institutions and realities – with a method, a process of Ignatian pedagogy, which can be used in many areas. During the course it was not only Father Remondini who spoke, but also we could share our experiences, express our questions, opinions, doubts. This also brought a lot of color. A particularly beautiful moment of the day was watching a film together after dinner, which presented a very interesting and particular reality, the life of the people of a small village in the Amazon region, in Bolivia, where an Italian missionary has been working for many years.

The second day was no less rich than the first, indeed.

The focus was on human relationships which are the most important part of social activity and where the heart of this ministry can be found. Also because usually we are not sociologists, and often we cannot even solve a problem, but what we can give, what we can do is to be present in the situation, to listen, to accompany – and in that way grow something within the other and equally within ourselves. Speaking of the last and the poor of our society, very legitimate but not simple questions have come up, to show that alongside the beauty there are always many challenges and difficulties, even complex ones. At the end of the day we closed with a sharing of our reflections.

I am personally very grateful for this course, which helped me to discover many things. I will definitely take them with me, trying above all to put them into practice.

New Year’s Eve and Pink Floyd

by Giovanni Barbone

4 February 1974 In the new Pink Floyd album “The Dark side of the Moon”, the singer David Gilmour in the song Time sings provocatively “every year is getting shorter”, leaving behind them a melancholy atmosphere, in front of the inevitable pace of the days lived in an empty way.

31 December 2019 It is around 19.30 when together with another novice I am going to ring the Crocicchio bell, a homeless hospitalization of the opera S. Marcellino of the Company of Jesus, to celebrate my New Year in “an offhand way”.

As usual, the operator opens the door to us smiling and, after greeting us, assigns us the room where we would have spent the night.

After settling in quickly, we went down to the refectory where a large table was set up to spend our New Year’s Eve dinner with all the guests. Our neighbors were those people who silently accompany us every day in our walking in the cities where we live, without we really realize it.

Sitting around that table, the days of mid-November seem far away when, in front of the fateful question “What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?”, that feeling of anxiety arose spontaneously inside me to have to try to give an adequate answer to such a general expectation . As if it were fundamental not to have to “throw away” not even an opportunity of one’s youth to fully enjoy one’s life.

Yet, this coping with the repetition of this question, with the hope of finding the right answer to not waste the umpteenth opportunity proposed, has never prevented the sun from “continuing to sink and then coming up behind you, while you run to catch it up”.

In the simplicity of our lives, I realize how truly “every year it is getting shorter”, indeed, also that “the sun is the same in a relativel way but I am older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death”. Yet I really don’t feel like saying today to “fritter and waste time”.

Of course, as novices, we employ it in an unconventional way. But we do not squander it.

Christmas, which we celebrated a few days ago, in fact, reminds us that we have already found “Someone or something to shows you the way”, or perhaps better, has already found us and the way to fill our days with meaning.

Faced with this awareness, albeit partial, not immediate and painless, the moments of anxiety disappear when it seems mandatory to have to go back to optimizing one’s time. The time that before seemed to me that I do not have and that I employed to save my plans and prevent them from leading to nothing.

It is true that “no one tells you when to run”, but the starting shot is not somewhere outside of us, but within our history.


Time is gone, the article is over.

Happy new research year.Happy 2020!

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