News Detail
Jesuit Daniel Gustafson at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia
“In seeking acceptance and an opportunity to share something challenging in their lives, these students helped me to recognize that this is a universal human characteristic.”
Jesuit Novice as Chaperone, Coach and Confidant
June 27, 2013  Jesuit Daniel Gustafson is a second-year novice who just finished his long experiment — a key part of the Jesuit novitiate, as it enables the novice to work in a Jesuit ministry and "test out" his vocation. For his experiment, Gustafson taught religion and worked in the Mission and Ministry Office at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, but he found that was just his official job description.

In addition to those duties, Gustafson was made assistant tennis coach, and he also helped by chaperoning mixers, leading the weekly Examen over the intercom and helping to plan, lead and direct retreats and service events. Once, he even found himself cutting tiles to be installed in a house that Prep students helped to build over spring break.

Another part of his unofficial duties were the many conversations he had with students throughout the day, at a retreat or during a tennis match or service trip. As Gustafson came to know the students better, he had two realizations.

The first was that “each and every student was looking for essentially one thing and one thing only — acceptance. A place and person or group with whom they could be themselves, relax, take a deep breath in the midst of a typically busy high school day, and know that they are cared for,” he wrote.

The second realization he had about these talks was that as the students became more comfortable around him, every now and then the seriousness of the conversation would deepen, from discussing a student’s fears about moving away to college to a struggle with believing in God to a difficult situation in the student’s family life.

“In seeking acceptance and an opportunity to share something challenging in their lives, these students helped me to recognize that this is a universal human characteristic,” Gustafson wrote. “These are the same thirsts that I feel and that all of us feel. And it is exactly where God wants to meet us: listening to us, helping to carry our burdens, loving us at each and every turn.”

Through these students, Gustafson found that “God showed me that being a companion of Jesus will also bring me to what may be a run-of-the-mill conversation or may lead to listening to someone vulnerably share an issue that has been plaguing him or her for years.”

Read more of Gustafson’s reflections on his long experiment at www.jesuitvocation.org.


Recent News

April 29, 2016 — The Ecuadoran Jesuits are seeking support to respond to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that violently shook Ecuador, leaving nearly 700 people dead, roughly 16,600 injured, and many missing.

April 28, 2016 — In 1838, high-ranking Jesuits affiliated with Georgetown University sold 272 slaves to pay off debts, a tragic chapter in the school's history.

April 26, 2016 —As a Jesuit-inspired school, Mother Teresa Middle School in Regina, Saskatchewan, aims to instill the values of Jesuit education in the minds and hearts of its students.

April 26, 2016 — Fr. Gonçalves will succeed Fr. François-Xavier Dumortier, SJ, on Sept. 1, 2016.

April 22, 2016 — Today is Earth Day, and Jesuit high schools, universities, parishes and ministries are living the call to action put forth by Laudato Si’.

April 19, 2016 — The French Canada Jesuit Province’s Relations magazine has been awarded the Lyse-Daniels 2016 Excellence Award from Impératif français.

April 16, 2016 — Pope Francis' five-hour visit to Greece ended with him offering safe passage to Italy to 12 Syrian Muslims, half under the age of 18.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 5/2/16

America - 4/25/16

America - 4/18/16



Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House
The Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House is located on the shores of Lake De Montreville in Lake Elmo, Minn.