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

Fr. Agostino Caletti – Novice Master

What is the role of the novice master?

To accompany the person in his first steps after responding to the call to religious life so that it becomes deeper and to verify whether the candidate possesses the appropriate characteristics on behalf of the Society.

In the Society, is the role of the Novice Master the same as in other religious institutions?

No, unlike others religious institutions, the father master fulfils the duties of superior, confessor and educator. In other institutions these roles are separate.

Have you ever thought of being a novice master?

No, my co-novices used to tease me during the Novitiate that I will one day become Father Master. After my experience in Albania, like all the missionaries, I wanted to remain there for a long time.

When you were a novice, what did you expect from your Novice Master?

I had no particular expectations, it was all new for me. From him I sought listening and help to verify my vocation.

Are they the same things you now live in this role?

I live it like this, in the same way I was accompanied, I try to accompany. I recognize that my way of listening relates to the way my spiritual fathers have followed me throughout these years.

In the first conversation with a novice, where do you start?

I usually ask him to tell me about his life to get an idea. Then, if he does not do it himself, I ask him about his relationship with God and his prayer life, because this is a fundamental point.

The novice master teaches, but what does he learn from them?

This is something that I often share with my friends who ask me about my job: I always feel at school, I have a lot to learn from the new generation, from the way they feel and the way they interpret reality. In interviews and in moments of sharing, I am always amazed to see how the Lord is at work.

What is the most challenging and difficult aspect of your role?

I would say the great responsibility in having to carry out all the tasks that my role requires, in relation to a situation of diversity, having novices from four nationalities. And then personally the search for a balance between common life and more personal spaces.

Is there anything you would surely say to a novice?

I would tell him everything that I feel is useful for his path, giving positive feedback on what he is living so that he may have useful elements to verify.

What thoughts would you address to a young men in vocational discernment?

I would tell him to have to go for it, if the attraction he feels generates life. Then there will be time to verify this attraction later. The important thing is not to wait until everything is clear, or to feel worthy, because the call is first of all an undeserved gift.

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