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

Once upon a time there was a Neapolitan in Milan…

by Pasquale Landolfi

It might sound like the beginning of a joke, but it is the account of my latest experiment in the novitiate. I was sent for Lent to Milan, a city that has always exercised mixed feelings. A beautiful, rich, exciting experience, in which, living in the community of Villapizzone, I verify the desires that have matured so far. The community is welcoming. I find men who make their lives as religious truly captivating, sharing their daily lives with families and young people on the road, under the banner of the Word of God.

But the most beautiful surprise was when I was told that I would be spending the Easter week in Selva di Val Gardena. It is one of the places of my heart, where I met the Jesuits for the first time and attended one of the summer courses for young people.

The mountains are still snowy, but the sun blesses the peaks with light every day. Surrounded by that atmosphere, I feel in harmony with creation. Then, what I never expected happens.

The parish of Selva is busy throughout the triduum. Young people, teens, children, families. One of the voices we hear most often these days is the gradual turning away from the faith. This is not what I experience. Easter lived in this atmosphere becomes a resurrection experience. Each celebration is accompanied by the songs of the various parish choirs. From their voices, from all over the valley, a voice rises up that increases in me confidence and hope.

A truly unexpected gift.

2021-04-24 Pasquale Landolfi – second year novice

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