The journey into the unknown
I am Janez, 28 years old and I come from Slovenia. My formation with the Society began many years before the Novitiate, since I come from a parish run by Jesuits.
I first began thinking of a religious vocation in my youth. I remember it happened during a trip with my family to a Carthusian monastery. The surrounding of the monastery left me with a strong impression. The environment was almost celestial and I thought of the possibility of being a monk. During that period of my life, I got in contact with the Jesuits of my parish, where I was attending catechism. The engagement and the openness of the Fathers that were teaching there was – and still is – admiring. I saw their life as something noble and probably my desire of becoming a monk was partly due to their example. Anyway, growing up, that desire slowly faded away and was replaced by a more “normal” dream: having a nice wife and a large family.
At the end of high school, I had to choose the studies at university I should apply for. To say the truth, my choice was driven by some practical aspects. I went for Electrical Engineering because it seemed so promising for the future and since when I was a child, I’ve been always interested in technical subjects. After a few years of studies I started to realize that there was something missing. As time passed by, this emptiness was growing louder and louder. I began to ask myself about the purpose of my life. A question I wasn’t quite expecting slowly aroused: “How am I living my faith?” I become aware that I didn’t know very much about my faith. I began to give the matter more importance. I read some books. One of them in particular touched me: “The art of purifying the heart” by Tomaš Špidlik. This reading opened a new horizon in my spiritual life. My childhood dream was still there. After a while, it became so strong that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. And I eventually accepted it.
I found myself at a crossroad, when, ready to listen to my vocation, I had to decide the way. In that period, I took into consideration becoming a Jesuit. I knew the Jesuits through my parish. They were in fact so familiar to me. But I didn’t know anything about St. Ignatius and Ignatian spirituality. I began to explore the uncharted territory. Reading about St Ignatius’ autobiography, I saw myself in him. The journey that led me to reach my inner soul through the spiritual exercises was a bit more difficult. When I first tasted the exercises in ordinary life, it was a great experience. Afterwards, I took the decision of doing a retreat in silence, but that thought was accompanied by great fear. After a while, I managed to overcome this fear and went on a 5 day spiritual exercises retreat and then, the next year, on an 8 day spiritual exercises retreat. The decision to join the Jesuits became clearer and clearer.
With this desire in my heart, I contacted Father Provincial to begin the process to be welcomed in the Novitiate, where the journey of discovering and tasting the wonders of our Lord is still in progress.