Four Jesuit novices of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces pronounced first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on August 10 in the Chapel of St. Joseph at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
The new SJ’s of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces of the Society of Jesus (left to right): Christopher M. Holownia, SJ, (Northeast), Brian F. Engelhart, SJ, (Maryland), Bryan P. Galligan, SJ, (Northeast), and Matthew J. Briand, SJ, (Maryland).
What has been their journey so far? It usually starts after months, if not years, of discernment, when a young man enters the Jesuit novitiate not knowing quite what to expect of the two years to come. Through this foundational time of formation, a novice learns the joys and challenges of religious life, learns new ways of praying, and over time becomes accustomed to seeing the world the way St. Ignatius invites us. Prayer, study and apostolic service all help to build a stronger relationship with Jesus – a companionship – that empowers each novice through grace and courage so that he can confidently kneel before the Eucharist and pronounce perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Once they have pronounced these vows, each Jesuit receives a special “Vow Cross,” a symbol of this day that they will cherish forever.