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


I speak Italiano

06 Sep 2019

Summer is a time of rest and vacation, but also is a time to prepare for the activities of the following months, especially when people start a new mission or a new assignment. So also this summer the Novitiate welcomed 17 Jesuits in formation, who were sent by their respective provinces to study Italian, before starting in Rome either their universitary studies or their apostolic mission.

The Jesuit scholastics who participated in the language course are mainly from outside Europe and, increasingly, the Indo-Asian component is prevalent. We believe it is significant to spend this month studying the language in the novitiate: as those who make their first stop in the Company learn the rudiments here and take their first steps, so even these companions, later on the path, face in a new country and a new culture. The presence of the novices who alternate in the tutoring service, sometimes transforms the hours of tutoring into real spiritual conversations, or reciprocals intercultural exchanges , which further enrich the time invested in learning / teaching Italian. Furthermore, the welcome and personal care that the novitiate community can offer help to get used to a new rhythm of life, a new climate, a new type of cuisine. The effort to try to understand and take understandable a new language is close to the effort that we encounter in the first months of the novitiate to learn many “Jesuitisms”, that are those terms of our spirituality or of our Constitutions that initially could appear obscure. The desire for a new stage of the life and the humility to question oneself are required both to those who want to approach a new culture, and to those who verify their call to religious life.

All these components have accompanied our students of the Italian language in these weeks, in which they were committed to know not only the grammar rules, but also the uses, the traditions, the idioms and some Italian cities. We would like to emphasize that learning was not one-sided: one of the riches that life in the Company gives you is to get in touch with many people from different cultures, recognizing with them common points, but also specific traits. The biggest challenge – but also what gives greater consolation – for those who coordinate a course like this is not so much to teach the language or to take care that everything is in order, but to create the conditions so that, despite the cultural and character differences of the participants, it is possible to establish a climate of communion and fraternity, without which it becomes much more difficult to get involved and it increases the effort to learn. In building a community all of us are always a bit “novices”, because there is no instant recipe, but it is an art that requires a common effort. And what made it possible to reach this climate was precisely the time given freely by everyone – the novices, the formators, and, of course, the students -, regardless of waste.

Going to Rome and Turin, at the end of this course, the heart is full of gratitude for the journey shared with so many confreres in various stages of their formation; and the hope is that, apart from boring grammatical rules, will remain imprinted the built fraternity.

Ivan Agresta SJ and Andrea Marelli SJ, coordinators of the Italian course

“Blessed is he who finds his strength in you and decides on the holy journey in his heart” (Ps 83:6)

by Daniele Angiuli

Every pilgrim who leaves his home, his affections, to embark on a journey, brings with him contrasting emotions: on the one hand the joy of setting out, of encountering places of unprecedented beauty and new gazes to meet; on the other hand, homesickness for what he leaves behind, for the people he is separating from, knowing, however, that love goes far beyond geographical distances. Above all, he is animated by the desire to be ‘enriched’ along the way, not so much by souvenirs as by encounters capable of transforming him, of ‘letting himself be made’ by the journey rather than ‘making’ the journey.

I believe that similar sentiments animated the men and women of whom the Gospel tells us who, leaving occupations, relationships, set out to follow the Rabbi of Nazareth, who taught from an ‘itinerant chair’ and fascinated many with the strength of his gaze and gestures… Among the many names there is Peter, called from the Sea of Galilee to the sea of humanity; Matthew, invited to turn his gaze towards a Love without measure; Mary of Magdala, liberated by Love and called to be an Apostle of the Resurrection.

But among these names are also ours, today: Jacopo, Paolo, Andras, Gabor, Soheil, Paolo, Daniele, young people with dreams in their hearts, characterised by fragility and strengths. From 1 October, we started a journey in the novitiate community in Genoa, to enter into a more intimate relationship with the Lord, to get to know ourselves better and the lifestyle that makes us happy and makes others happy.

Each of us left a part of ourselves, attracted by a Sight and moved by the desire for a full life, in order to be ‘men all the way, or rather all the way to the top’, as Don Tonino Bello used to say. We certainly have some fears about the future that awaits us, but we trust in the One who becomes our travelling Companion who, like with the disciples of Emmaus, listens to our worries, welcomes our defeats, and rekindles hope.

A month ago, on 16 October 2023, we entered our second probation, a favourable time to go deep into the Word of God, into the writings of our Founding Father St. Ignatius, through prayer life, study, fraternal life.

The possibility of having a day punctuated by precise times, places in which we can contemplate the beauty of creation, adult people in the faith to talk with, companions on whom we can rely, is indeed a great gift from God that we hope to cherish and make bear fruit.

But your name too, dear reader, is called with love by the Master: he does not ask us to be perfect in order to leave, but the desire to dare and the will to entrust ourselves to Him, just as we allow ourselves to be moulded by Him. For us and for you, “homo viator”, the wish dear to the Scout world: “Good path!


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