IN THE NOVITIATE AS AN OLD MAN!
I thought I was beginning a new apostolic commitment, after the closure of the Jesuit Community
Community of Cuneo. Instead I was sent back to… Novitiate, after sixty years of religious life!
How have I experienced this new ‘obedience’?
I say it sincerely: with a lot of peace.
I relived, as in the other transfers, the tranquillity that accompanied me each time, at the thought that each time the Lord was waiting for me where I was.
Lord was waiting for me wherever he sent me.
And here, in Genoa, He welcomed me with the new novices who arrived with me on 4 October 2021.
What is my task now?
Not that of spiritual father of the high schools of the Social Institute of Turin, where
I had been there for ten years after my priestly ordination.
Not that of superior and responsible for the Church and the Youth Centre of Carrara, for another
another twelve years.
Nor that of Head of the Community and Youth Centre of Cuneo for twenty-seven years.
But as an ‘apostolic Jesuit’. What does that mean?
At least one Jesuit, rich in years of experience, is needed to accompany the Novices, together with their Father Master.
accompany them, together with their Father Master, Agostino Caletti, Father Associate, Iosif Sandoru, Brother Paride Colombo, and another Jesuit, Nicola Gay, younger than me, but very committed to the work of San Marcellino for the homeless in Genoa.
What had my previous work consisted of? Besides preaching and ministries in the ministries in the Church, I was involved in Meg, CLC and Scout groups, religious education, after-school activities, dialogue with Muslims and non-Catholics, organising social work for the poorest, in
collaboration with lay volunteers, as well as many contacts with people.
And now? I had left behind, among others, the experience of the Spiritual Exercises in groups and on-line; and now I will be able to continue it. But my main task will be to remain available, almost like a grandfather, to stay with the novices and to tell them how the Lord has brought me here as a religious and as an apostle.
Indeed, these young men have shown themselves to be very open to listening and requesting for what I first wanted to communicate.
I am finding that they are teaching me a lot about their way of thinking and feeling, and about the feelings they are experiencing in the first steps of religious life. It is like
a reciprocal school; and the true Master I feel is the Holy Spirit. We all receive from him to help one another.
And for all this I thank the Lord from my heart!
Fr. Luigi Manino