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

Why Brother Jesuit?

by Alessandro Di Mauro

This is the question I have often been asked when they learn of my vocational choice. But who is the Jesuit brother? The Society of Jesus has also asked itself this question, and in the 34th General Congregations (GC, the body at the top of the organisational structure of the Society of Jesus) has tried to ‘redesign its features’. As we read in its decrees, the identity of the Jesuit Brother is very interesting, [2]: ‘The Jesuit Brother is a man who has accepted the Father’s call to be a “companion of Jesus”. By his vows, he freely consecrates his life to help the common mission of the body of the Society, which is apostolic, religious and priestly.’ Father Kovlvenbach S.J. already said a year before the 34th GC: ‘In some way, the religious Brother embodies religious life in its essence and, because of this, is able to manifest that life with particular clarity’.

Brothers, therefore, share the one mission of the Society and contribute to it by the personal call they have received, ‘contributing to all kinds of work, material and technical, in the service of the apostolate and of the whole body of the Society, but also in the explicit proclamation of Jesus, in spiritual help and conversation, in the Spiritual Exercises, in catechesis and teaching’ [GC 34a 207].

After clarified this, let us return to my choice. In fact, if you think about it, the only Jesuit brother I remember is the brother who was the porter at Villa San Saverio, which I visited in my youth. When I understood my vocation to religious life I could think of anything I wanted but not to become a Jesuit brother. Because I thought in my heart that I wanted to serve the Lord, but not as a porter! Then I realised that it doesn’t matter what you do but for Whom you do it! I discovered that even as a porter one can serve the Lord. In this I have an example of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez and Blessed Francis Gàrate, both Jesuit Brothers (also porters). Brother Gárate was once asked how he could do so many things and at the same time be so calm, without ever losing his patience. He replied: ‘Father, I do what I can well, the rest is done by the Lord who can do everything. With his help everything is light and gentle, because we serve a good Master’.

Even if the role of the brother has now changed and is not only ‘operational’ but of great contribution to the work of the Company as mentioned above (see also the video I hope to live my religious vocation like Blessed Francis with the certainty that the Lord will always be by my side and that He will ‘do’ what I will not know how to ‘do’.


Alessandro di Mauro

He does…indeed…make all things new

by Alessandro Di Mauro

‘Behold, I make all things new’ Rev 21:5

It has been almost a year since I began this new journey as a Jesuit novice. When I chose to be a Jesuit I was really very happy, perhaps I had never achieved such happiness, it was 3 June 2021, then so many thoughts, so many desires that resurfaced, so much… fear I would say today. But when you are in desolation, you don’t go back on your choices, you go ahead and wait again for the consolation you felt on the day of your choice. Afterwards there were the interviews with four Jesuit fathers and every time I came out of one of these interviews, joy burst in my heart as a sign that I was going in the most beautiful direction for me.

The fear disappeared when I knocked on the door of the novitiate on 2 October: as I entered, the face of the second-year novice immediately made me feel welcome and at home. The smells, the colours, the objects I saw and touched in the novitiate in the first moments told my heart that I was, at last, at home. Thus began my journey in the novitiate, I got to know my fellow novices and the formation fathers. I begin my apostolate in the parish and then there are the experiments: the month of exercises and the month in hospital. Everything runs but everything is lived with a calmness of heart that helps you savour each moment and stop every day to thank the Lord for the gift of life and yours in particular. During the exercises I experienced my frailties: that I do not love the Lord enough (I will say during a sharing), but that the Lord is there extending his hand to me and that even my small attempt to love him is precious in his eyes and it is his grace that is enough to follow him.

My journey goes on and I experience the difficulty of rethinking my life before this choice and community life: it is quite a challenge. But I never felt alone, never abandoned, the Lord took my doubts, my weaknesses and used them to love me even more to make me live differently: fuller, richer and more joyful. The month I spent in hospital supporting the guests of an RSA was the moment when this love of God was poured out to our brothers and sisters in need, the moment when you really understand that you are, as St Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say, a pencil in the hands of God. And here we are during the summer period when I am experiencing the beauty of encounter and free service to understand once again that it is the Lord who makes…really…all things new by taking over and enhancing your life.

Alessandro Di Mauro

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