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Cyrus Habib, SJ

Cyrus Habib was an improbable candidate to become a Jesuit. A Catholic convert, Habib was serving as the lieutenant governor of the state of Washington and viewed by many as a rising political star. So, in March of 2020, when he announced that he had applied to the Jesuits, been accepted and was leaving politics to join the order, many were surprised. He entered the Jesuit West’s novitiate in Culver City, California, in August of that year.

Habib is finishing philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago and will soon begin his regency assignment serving in Nairobi with the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar in their Office of Justice and Ecology.

He recently sat down for an interview with David Axelrod, a longtime political consultant and creator of the popular podcast The Axe Files.

About 40 minutes into the podcast, Axelrod asks Habib why he made the decision to become a Jesuit, and most of the remainder of the hour-long interview is about religious life.

Habib with his mom after he pronounced first vows in the Society of Jesus in August 2022

“I finally decided I would rather be happy … So much of my life, my education and elections were always about more, more admiration, more status, more prestige,” he said. “But I asked myself am I living authentically? Am I living according to my Catholic faith in the sense that I follow a guy who 2,000 years ago said ‘here’s what’s important—build up these kinds of treasures, not these kinds of treasures.’”

Later, Habib tells Axelrod: “What I can say now after having been a Jesuit for four years is that I didn’t even understand a fraction of the gift that this life would become for me.

“I love this way of living, which is say that I live in a community … the kind of mutual support and accountability that we provide for one another is just tremendous for me. It’s a beautiful thing for me.”

To listen to the interview, click here or listen below:

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