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

Interview with fr. Iosif Şandoru SJ

by Fr. Iosif Şandoru – Socius

Father Iosif has been the new socius of the master here in the novitiate since September 2020. He therefore helps to train the novices. You can read a description of his life in the Society of Jesus here.
In this interview he briefly answers seven questions:

From 2006 to 2008 you made your novitiate right here at Villa S. Ignazio in Genoa. How do you remember that time?
There was a great diversity of people gathered in the house from all over the world as if for a great feast. It gave me the feeling of the Kingdom of God. For me it was a time of adventure, generally joyful, in some ways exhausting, but lived with childish unconsciousness and recklessness. Time of meetings, exploration, expansion of horizons.

What has changed in novitiate since then?
There are fewer novices, but this is only temporary. Some internal activities have changed the way they are carried out. The house is more frequented by various groups and people who wish to take a time of prayer or do spiritual exercises. I notice that priority is given to apostolates in the “periphery”. For the rest, the dynamics have remained substantially the same.

Is there an experience in your time in the novitiate that has marked your way of being a Jesuit?
The presence of the Jesuit brothers, with their pragmatic wisdom, was very significant for me. In the novitiate I learned to entrust myself not only individually to the Lord who guides me, but also to trust in the mediations of His providence (superiors, companions, events), however imperfect they may be. In the apostolate I then discovered that it is important to love and work (in this order) and that, in following the King, even failures can be celebrated.

You arrived in the novitiate in September after two and a half years as assistant parish priest in Satu Mare in Romania. Was it difficult to leave life there, and is there one thing about parish life that you miss here?
I miss the mobility of parish ministry and perhaps also the simplicity of life I lived in my Romania. The experience of the parish has been very rich and the immersion in the life of God’s people has done me a lot of good. I still feel affectionately connected with many people I left behind. On the other hand, I am quite flexible as a person and I have adapted to the new environment, I would say without many bumps.

What more do you want your presence to do for the novitiate?
I am still discovering my role here. For the moment, I simply want to walk together with the companions that the Lord places beside me and be of help to someone.

Can you share with us a desolation that has struck you lately?
I was deeply shocked by the sudden lack of a childhood friend.

Can you mention a consolation you have received recently?
I will mention two. The first is that every time I have the opportunity to share the Word of God with people I feel regenerated. The second is that next year I will be an uncle for the fifth time… This gives me hope.

Praise as the day decline

by Gianluca Severin

As evening falls, if we are not attending the apostolate, we gather to celebrate Vespers, the evening prayer of the Christian community.

We pray for our families, for our friends, for our confreres, for the people we meet on our journey so that the memory keeps our affection alive. We pray with our community, with our confreres everywhere in the world, with those in joy and with those in difficulty. We pray with those who pray alone, with those who, in the solitude and silence of a crowded and chaotic world, whisper the words of their heart. We pray with those who do not know how to pray, with those who cannot find the words, with those who fear opening their souls, with those who fear that their cry will fall on deaf ears or that it will be received with judgment and condemnation. We pray with those who do not pray, with those who do not feel like it, with those who do not have time, with those who do not find something to thank or to plead for, nor hope that someone will listen to their gratitude or plea.

Our prayer blends with the thousand voices of the human family, with the praises and pleas, joys and sorrows, anger and peace, desires and fears that animate the hearts of men.

In praying we use words that Christ, that prophets and saints, that common people used before us, uniting ours to their voice, their feeling, their living, their meeting the Lord; in praying we perceive the echo of everyone’s voices in ours, and ours resound in those of Christ and those of Christ in us.

The prayer of each one merges and intertwines with the prayer of all; in the psalms, canticles and hymns, I find the words to express the stirrings of heart that I share with that psalmist trusting in God of thousands of years ago. I am not the only to seek, I am not the only to feel, I am not the only to love: the words of others, of the ancient ones, of the distant ones, remind me that I am not alone. That image, that expression, that experience give shape and light to my inner life.

In praying I infuse in ancient words the very current and concrete meaning of my life, that unique beat of my heart. In those words I tell my life, I read my past, I see traces for my future. Just as a thousand sparks spring from the same flint, a thousand lives ignite from the same Word.

The whole life, with its succession of days and nights, of actions and thoughts, of words and silences, with praise for the beauty of life, with respect for the mystery of truth of every creature and person, with loving service to God and to men is prayer, sacred and precious.

As evening falls, in communion with all men and women, we gather to celebrate the prayer of God’s people.

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