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

Memory Picture

24 Sep 2019

My legs hold my upright position securely as columns. Going slow, few steps and I find myself in front of three steps. I pass them without effort, without avoiding them any. I reach the point  established and indicated by the presence of a pillow. I fold first then the other leg. I’m on my knees, with my head bowed, pupils pointing towards a clod of white cellulose on which I read words written by me in black ink. It is calligraphy born from my right hand, guaranteed by the signature. Rather than columns, now the legs bent crossed by a slight flickering look like shaken bamboo canes from the wind. It is emotion, it is a kaleidoscope of emotions, it is the strength of the meaning of a life which is opening up.
I have to read, the microphone is brought to me. I fear, I fear that the grave and clear voice is  intimidated event. I start. I am there and I can do it. I don’t run, the words I hear come out of the
mouth scanned well. The sweat instead accelerates a little. I don’t look up. I reduce that moment to a meeting between a few close friends: me, the formula, the Lord.
I come to the last sentence, the commitment of the voice seems to be too much. The pronunciation of the  last sentence is a rough road. Another voice comes to mind, that of mine friend: “For a few things it is worthwhile to compromise life, the consecration is one of these. Come on, jump! ”
Even the last step is accomplished. The microphone is moved away from the mouth. I get up.
The Eucharist is still majestic and discreet before me. A quick exchange happens.
I find Father Agostino on my left. I give him the sheet, he ghives to me a little cross. On the back is the name of a city, Jerusalem. The inner kaleidoscope slowly begins to move towards silence. Inside me some thoughts go, someone comes: it’s like a river that flows over a bed of silence. A threshold of choice and mystery has been crossed, and one of the first to wait for me is there, it is silence. However, it is not alone. It is in the company of joy. Some new few measured steps and back to my place, I stand as a watchful sentinel listen to the jump of the other companions after me.

Italy, Genoa, Church of the Gesù. It is a warm afternoon of September 14, 2019. The city Enjoy a day at the beach. But not for everyone. There is a mass at 4.30pm in which some, called novices, choose to enter the Society of Jesus throughout their lives.
There are six of them, without all of them in white shirts, arranged on the sides of the altar. One for
kneeling before the altar and at the Eucharist to pronounce their vows, just a  simple formula with their name in them. A step that has been prepared from afar.
About twenty-three months and a half have passed since the beginning of the novitiate. It is at the end of a journey full of discoveries. Many events have occurred from the first days spent in this big house to take care of it. It took some time to make it our home.
Up to the periods outside, the experiments, from the silence of the month of Spiritual Exercises to dust warm of the pilgrimage in poverty. From Turin to Milan, from the Alps to Sicily. So in this way is articulated our path. Many are present in this ancient church of the Company spectators. The faces facing those six, there in front of the altar. The faces tell the many stories crossed by us  novices in these two years. Some are surprised, some perhaps moved, some stretch their necks to see better what is happening. Maybe someone wander among them thoughts like: “Will they make it?” “Will he be excited?” “And then what happens to him?” “But he had to just leaving? ”
Many roads seem to converge here: the novitiate formators, who have supported and supported each of us, each of them in their own way, in listening and with affection. The parents, who saw us, children move away and now they are there. Maybe now they can feel strangely close to those children who felt so far away. There are novice comrades who have already taken this step and those who will do so next year. They are perhaps gathered in a sense of chain, like a passing witness. In fact, some glances between the benches make sense an understanding based on common experiences, perhaps not easy, had beside  side. Then perhaps there are the faces of those who met as novices in various services.
Thus it seems that the various pilgrimages, not only physical, of these novices converge here. In the warm sun of Genoa seems that a road opens up. Everyone stands up, a little staggering. We embrace each other. The Mass is over and on our faces six novices remain a smile, a little tired perhaps but sincere.
This is our photo of the votes.

Alessandro Cocozza and Carmine Carano, jesuit sholars

“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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