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Date
October 8, 2020
Author
Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ
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A Jesuit is a Friend For and With Others

 

One of my favorite artists, James Taylor, sang so eloquently in You’ve got a Friend”: “When you’re down and troubled, and you need a helping hand… I’ll be there…’cause you’ve got a friend.”

This song aligns with my life story. I experience this promise of friendship in my daily living through my Jesuit vocation with a deep sense of care, love, and belonging that reflects Christ’s consolation in my vocation. Last summer, when I experienced a moment of uncertainty in my vocation, my friends in the Society of Jesus showed me Christ’s love with their availability, support, prayers and constant care.

My Jesuit vocation helps me experience true friendship. St. Ignatius talks about God’s love as a source of consolation which can be experienced through true Jesuit friends, as men for and with others. Ever since I entered the Society, my friendships have become more meaningful.

Through my vows for poverty, chastity, and obedience I made a commitment to serve God through the Church. These vows also symbolized my connection to Jesuit companionship. Having a Jesuit companion helps me deeply in my prayer and in my growth as a person.

In this society, friendship helps one to exist not only as a servant of others, but rather as a true companion. As Jesus said in the gospel of John, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I call you friends” (Jn 15:15). A Jesuit friend is available to me in any season; a bridge I can cross to meet Christ; a light that shows me the mission’s path.

My name is Patrick Saint-Jean, a member of the Midwest Province and a Jesuit Regent who lives, teaches, and conducts research at Creighton University in Omaha. I was raised a Southern Baptist, my parents’ faith, but attended a Jesuit high school, where I was introduced to the society of Jesus. I converted upon graduation, at age 16.

I went on to major in psychology at Ecole Lacannienne de Pyschanalyse, then moved to Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico where I completed my research in psychoanalysis, defended my doctoral thesis, and began teaching at the same institution. In 2014 I received a fellowship for the School of Social Science at the University of Chicago and joined the Society of Jesus two years later. What attracted me to the order was the friendship of Jesuits; their sense of care and kindness.

I identify as a proud Haitian, the country of my birth and the lens through which I engage with the world. However, I am delighted to now call Omaha my home. The friendliness of its residents has been a true testament of Christ’s love, demonstrating that Jesuits have a home anywhere. Often times it is not a lack of love that makes people unhappy, but a lack of meaning in relationships. With the Society of Jesus, I find depth, joy, and meaning through my Jesuit friends. I am learning that a joyful life with a Jesuit friend is an anticipation of the taste of Paradise.

As a Jesuit, I cultivate friendships that help me mature in the Lord’s mission. Through the openness, genuineness, challenge, honesty, and vulnerability of my Jesuit friends, I experience Christ in my life. They improve my image of Jesus, which permits a deep conversion and a sense of encounter with Christ. My Jesuit friendships make my heart bloom and remind me that I am never alone.

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East Province

Fr. Sean Hagerty, SJ

Vocation Promoter

The USA East Province is one of the five provinces in the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, incorporating Eastern part of the United States from Maine to Georgia and the District of Columbia. Jesuits from the UEA Province also live and serve in Micronesia and Fiji. The province includes colleges & universities like the College of the Holy Cross and Georgetown University, high schools like Fordham Preparatory School and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, and a number of pre-secondary schools, parishes, retreat centers, and various other works.

Fr. Sean Hagerty, SJ, is the vocation promoter for the UEA Province. That means that Fr. Hagerty is responsible for accompanying men who are discerning a life in the Society of Jesus. He joined the Jesuits in 2012, after having served in the U.S. army. He has ministered in prisons, campus ministries and hospitals, and conducted research into just war, moral injury and the reintegration of soldiers into the Catholic community. He was just ordained a priest in 2022.

Fr. Hagerty is happy to answer YOUR questions about Jesuit life!  Feel free to email him directly at shagerty@jesuits.org, or better yet, submit your information on the above form and someone from Fr. Hagerty’s team will get back to you ASAP. 

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West Province

Fr. Andrew Laguna, SJ

Vocation Promoter

The USA West Province is one of the five provinces in the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. It comprises ten states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Jesuits in the west are a diverse group of men who serve Christ and his Church in 19 educational institutions, 13 parishes, 2 retreat centers, and other social and pastoral ministries like Homeboy Industries, Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI), Kino Border Initiative (KBI), Native American Missions, and Christus Ministries for young adults, to name a few.

Fr. Andrew Laguna, SJ, is the vocation promoter for the US West Province. That means that he is responsible for accompanying men who are discerning a life in the Society of Jesus. He has been a Jesuit for thirteen years and a priest for two years. Over the course of that time he has taught high school theology and coached running; worked and traveled with Jesuits in Latin America; and served as a parochial vicar at parishes in San Diego and San Jose, CA.


Fr. Andrew is here to answer your questions about Jesuit life! Submit your information, and he will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Central South Province

Fr. Robert Murphy, SJ

Vocation Promoter

Fr. Robert Murphy, SJ, grew up in the suburbs of New Orleans, LA.  He met the Society of Jesus at Jesuit High School.  At the University of South Alabama in Mobile, he earned a Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy.  While working as a staff physical therapist in Laurel, MS, he became a Certified Athletic Trainer.  In 2003, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Grand Coteau, LA.  After taking first vows in 2005, he earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy at Saint Louis University while also studing philosophy.  In addition, he spent time in El Salvador studying Spanish.  While in regency at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, he served as director of campus ministry, a teacher of Spanish, and a coach of soccer.  In 2011, he was sent to Boston College where he earned a Masters in Divinity and License in Sacred Theology.  He was ordained a priest in 2014 and spent his first year at a bilingual parish in San Antonio, TX.  After he returned to Saint Louis University, to serve as the campus minister for health care students and coordinator of the retreat program.  After time Ireland and Kenya, he joined the vocations team in 2020.  He enjoys running as well as playing and watching sports.  He also likes traveling, cooking, and watching comic book movies and shows.

Central South Province

Fr. Joseph Hill, SJ

Vocation Promoter

Fr. Joseph Hill, SJ, was born in Phoenix, AZ, the third of four sons of an American mother and a Canadian father. At nine years old he moved to England. He met the Jesuits in high school at Stonyhurst College. He attended the University of Oxford, earning a degree in theology in 2003. In 2004 he entered the Jesuit novitiate in south Louisiana. After taking first vows in 2006, he studied a Master’s in philosophy at Fordham University in New York. For regency, he then spent three years teaching theology at Jesuit High School, New Orleans. In 2012 he was sent to study theology at FAJE in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, earning a master’s degree in 2014. He returned to Boston, MA, earning a MEd at Boston College in 2015. He was ordained a Catholic priest on June 13th, 2015. For one year he was associate pastor at Parroquia San Ignacio in San Juan, Puerto Rico and chaplain of the parish elementary school. From 2016 to 2021 he taught theology and directed campus ministry at St. Louis University High School in St. Louis. He joined the vocation promotion team in 2021. Fr. Joseph loves teaching, giving retreats and leading pilgrimages to holy sites. In his free time he enjoys reading, playing sports, hanging out with friends, and travelling to exotic places. 

Central South Province

Fr. Pepe Ruiz, SJ

Vocation Promoter

Fr. Pepe Ruiz, SJ, is originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He came into contact with the Jesuits from across the border. His father’s Spiritual director was a Jesuit from the now UCS province. Fr. Ruiz, SJ holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Letters from St. Louis University, magna cum laude; and three Master’s degrees: a Masters in Divinity from Boston College, a Theology Masters focused on Spiritual Direction, from Boston College, and a Masters in Ignatian Spirituality from Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid. He taught at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, in Houston, and in St. Louis University High School. He was also a Vicar and a Pastor in Puerto Rico, where he helped start the Institute for Ignatian Formation, and served as the Regional Ecclesiastical Assistant to the Christian Life Community. He currently works as Assistant Director of the Office of Ignatian Spirituality for the province and has been a Vocation Promoter since 2021. Fr. Pepe enjoys a good movie and loves trying out different types of local coffee and ice-cream shops. He also enjoys outdoor walks in nature, hiking, and even rock climbing every once in a while. 

They are ready to answer your questions about Jesuit life. Submit your information, and Fr. Murphy, Fr. Hill and Fr. Ruiz will get back to you as soon as possible.

The U.S. Central and Southern Province is one of five provinces in the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. The province encompasses 13 states from Florida to Colorado, the territory of Puerto Rico and the nation of Belize. We serve the people of God in seven retreat and spirituality centers and 14 parishes. We carry on the tradition of Jesuit education in six institutions of higher education, 12 secondary schools, a middle school and a social research institute.

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Canada Province

Fr. Edmund Lo, SJ

Vocation Promoter
Canada Province

Br. Dan Leckman, SJ

Vocation Promoter
Canada Province

Fr. John O'Brien, SJ

Vocation Director

The Province of Canada is one of the five Jesuit provinces in the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, incorporating all ten Canadian provinces and three territories. It includes Campion College in Regina, Loyola High School in Montreal, Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre in Pickering, and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toronto.

Fr. Edmund Lo, SJ, is the vocation promoter for the Canada Province and also Haiti. That means that Fr. Edmund is responsible for accompanying men who are discerning a life in the Society of Jesus. He’s been a Jesuit priest for two-plus years. Over the course of that time he’s mainly worked with young adults across Canada, busying himself with campus ministry in universities, directing retreats for young adults and giving workshops on Ignatian spirituality, particularly on St. Ignatius’ rules for discernment of spirits.

Brother Dan Leckman, SJ is a vocation promoter for the Canadian province. That means that Daniel is responsible for accompanying men who are discerning a life in the Society of Jesus. He’s been a Jesuit Brother for 10 years. Over the course of that time he’s acted as spiritual director, has run and developed retreats, and has taught catechism to children and adults. Daniel is here to answer YOUR questions about Jesuit life! Submit your information, and he will get back to you ASAP.

Fr. John O’Brien, SJ, is the vocation director for the Canada Province. That means that Fr. O’Brien is responsible for guiding men who are discerning a life in the Society of Jesus through the application process. He’s been a Jesuit priest since 2017. Over the course of that time he’s given many Ignatian retreats to young adults and professionals across the country

These Jesuits are here to answer YOUR questions about Jesuit life! Submit your information, and one of them will get back to you ASAP.

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21
Aug

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Midwest Province

Br. Matt Wooters, SJ

Vocation Promoter

Get in touch with Br. Matt. Send him an email.

Br. Matt Wooters, SJ is a native of Washington, DC. He joined the Jesuits in 2012 after graduating from John Carroll University. After college, he served for two years with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Belize. His graduate degrees are in Social Work and Theology from Saint Louis University and Santa Clara University, respectively. Br. Matt has spent most of his life working with folks experiencing homelessness, migrants, and those struggling with addiction. He is an open water swimmer, a sometimes podcaster, and a lover of stand-up comedy. 

Midwest Province

Fr. Bill Murphy, SJ

Vocation Promoter

Do you have a quick question? Text Fr. Bill  (616-294-0723) or send him an email.

Fr. Bill came to the vocation team five years ago after serving as president of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. A proud native of Michigan, Fr. Bill considers himself a true Midwesterner having lived in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Omaha. In his spare time Fr. Bill loves to read, watch hockey, play golf, and ride his bike.

Br. Matt and Fr. Bill accompany men discerning a life in the Society of Jesus, serving across the Midwest Province’s 12 states. They are passionate about sharing information on Jesuit life, answering questions, and accompanying young men in discernment. Submit your information, and they will get back to you ASAP.

The Midwest Province is one of the five provinces in the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. It comprises twelve states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Midwest Jesuits work at high schools, retreat centers, parishes, universities, and other ministries. If you watch March Madness, you probably recognize Midwest Jesuit universities like Creighton, Marquette, Xavier, and Loyola Chicago.

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