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Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
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Gellért Török

Stay listening… to let love grow

My name is Gellèrt. I’m 22 years old. I’m Hungarian, born in Budapest, raised not too far from the capital, in a small country, Màny. Our family consists of 9 people: my parents, four brothers and two sisters. I’m the oldest.

Before high school, my life took place in Màny, in Budapest and some other village nearby, where I attended middle school, where my grandparents, cousins and friends lived, where I played sports and did music. A first period full of gratitude, in which I received a lot of love, experiencing the strength and joy of a big family and the help of the community in my growth. When I was 14 years old I started attending the Benedictine high school, 100 km away, on the hill of San Martino, in the town of Pannonhalma: a wonderful place both for the monastery next to the high school and the nature all around. Here I spent the most eventful years of my adolescence. I studied, read, talked endlessly with my friends, played football. I was happy, but I had no idea what to do with my life. I didn’t really know what to do after high school, except that I would go to university. At that time – today I am sure – Providence, with the help of several people, proposed me to go to Brussels for a year before my studies, to live in the community of “l’Arche”, with disabled people. The desire to “do something useful”, to serve, to “be among the people, and not at school” was strong in me. So I went to Brussels, where I lived for 10 months. The meeting (and comparison…) with many people, disabled, volunteers, educators, nuns, priests, people of different nationalities – Belgians, Germans, Italians – and many others, silently sowed in my depth love, freedom, joy, compassion, humanity. But I needed to go back to Hungary and start university, chemical engineering, to experience soon all my resistance to the course of this study.

It was not my way and I enrolled in another faculty, to become a professor of Hungarian language and mathematics. It was January, I had an empty semester before classes started. I started working in a carpenter’s workshop and moved into a small apartment. Although I was doing a lot of good things (I was in charge of a youth group, playing in a music band, attending a training course for educators) these were difficult months. I wondered with increasing anxiety: where am I going? What am I going to do with my life? Is this the right way? Where will the girl be who will become my wife? What are my greatest desires?

In these circumstances the call of the Lord touched my heart. An elderly Jesuit told me about his life. In the end I couldn’t say anything else, that “I wish I were like him at 90…”. I took part in the ordination of a diocesan priest: that mass gave me courage, it showed me, that one can really give one’s life for that service. I read a book, by another Jesuit, and that guided me towards a more sincere, more honest prayer. Small signs, a gentle and patient voice: all still inside me. I began to look for ways when suddenly an advertisement struck me: “a year of discernment with the Jesuits”. That’s what I’m looking for – I said to myself. I could no longer avoid talking about my still insecure desire. I talked about it with my parents, friends, priests and fathers. In September I started training as a teacher. I moved to the Jesuit community, where I received help, especially through spiritual guidance. So, as I climbed a ladder, I saw love, freedom, and joy grow in me and I felt confirmed in the desire to enter the Society of Jesus. The meetings before entering, the conclusion of my other projects are as much part of the way as the new challenges like for example the language. But this is only the beginning of the novitiate. The rest will already be another chapter.

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