Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
In cammino...


On the way …

26 Oct 2019

At the end of September the experience of the novitiate in the Society of Jesus began for me and for eight other boys. From different parts of Italy and Europe we arrived in Genoa, at Villa Sant’Ignazio. I, for the truth, due to bad weather, I landed in Turin and I had to face a small odyssey to get to Genoa. But that’s another story…

Returning to the first-year group, for the Euro-Mediterranean province, we are four Italians and two Romanians. Two Hungarians and one Danish come from other provinces. A decidedly heterogeneous, European and different group. The age: ranging from 22 years of the youngest among us, to 46 of the oldest, even if he prefers “differently young”. There are engineers, graduates in literature, religious sciences and international relations. In order not to let us miss anything, we also have two priests on the team.

For all, at the end of September the first probationary journey started (first adaptation), ending with the spiritual retreat on 11-14 October. In the Holy Mass celebrated on Monday 14th, the novices of the first year were given the text of the writings of St. Ignatius. Then, each of us has transcribed in the novitiate register the formula with which he commits himself to walk in the Company and with the Company, thus sanctioning entry into second probation, or into the actual path of formation.

On October 17th, with the whole community, we went on a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia in Genoa. A rather “apocalyptic” and unforgettable experience! We started with the sun but, once we started the journey and after about ten kilometers, on foot, the sky darkened on us. In short, in the middle of the journey, more or less, so much rain came down that you could not believe. So, drenched like sponges, we arrived almost exhausted at the Sanctuary which, to tell the truth, could hardly be seen because of the haze! There we celebrated the Mass of thanksgiving to Mary, to whom we entrusted our journey as novices and pilgrims.

In short, let’s go! For us, this adventure has begun that will see us walking in search of confirmations, in this choice of consecration to religious life, following the way of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The journey is long and we do not know what the future, life and Providence will reserve us, but we know that this is a propitiate time to discerne and decide. Consoled by the experience of those who have passed this way before us, we walk.

Now, at the end of this article, it is legitimate to ask what is the meaning of a choice like that of the novitiate today. Dare an answer to this question is, perhaps, a too arduous undertaking. So I thought of simply telling you a story I heard from a missionary priest in Brazil. While visiting a small Amazon village, he was welcomed into a rather small and rather poor house, far from any other house or village. At the end of the visit, when it ended, a gift was offered that he tried in vain to refuse. The landlady told him: “The little we have with God is very much, the very without God is nothing, the little shared is abundantly blessed“.

Luca Lacerenza

“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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