Deacon Jean Bertin St. Louis, SJ, was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His vocation started as a teenager while studying with the Salesian priests at a classical and technical school, l’Ecole Nationale des Arts et Métiers (ENAM). There, Jean Bertin was inspired by the loving care that the principal of the high school provided to the students regardless of their background. After completing high school at College René Descartes, he entered the Congregation of the Mission, a religious community founded by St. Vincent de Paul, while studying philosophy for three years at the Salesians’ Institut de Philosophie de Saint Francois de Sales. Working at a Vincentian parish, Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse, Jean Bertin met Jesuit priests and novices and discerned his call to the Society of Jesus. As a candidate, he lived for a year with the Jesuit community in Canapé-Vert teaching French and math and, once accepted, spent time as a novice working with the poor in the northwest of Haiti. Missioned to Bogotá, Colombia, he earned a licentiate in philosophy from the Jesuits’ Pontificia Universidad Javeriana while working with displaced victims of violence in Soacha during the weekends. Although Jean Bertin had taken Spanish and English classes in high school, his time in Colombia helped him become fluent in Spanish. Missioned back to Haiti, he worked for two years for Jesuit Migrant Service in Fonds-Parisien at the border with the Dominican Republic, coordinating projects on migration and human rights. On weekends, he taught Spanish to candidates discerning a vocation to the Jesuits and accompanied the members of the Christian Life Community. Next, Jean Bertin traveled to Toronto, where he became fluent in English. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Regis College at the University of Toronto and worked as a deacon at a Dominican parish, Paroisse du Sacré-Cœur. He will spend the summer back home in Haiti, helping with spiritual direction and retreats at the Jesuit spiritual center, Centre de Spiritualité Manrèse. His first Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at his home parish of Christ-Roi in Port-au-Prince. Jean Bertin will return to Toronto this fall to complete a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, with a focus on theology and eco-spirituality. (French Canada Province)
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