August 16, 2023 — After two years of learning to live, serve and pray as a Jesuit novice, Pierre Vu Thompson, SJ, pronounced first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus on August 12 at Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
“To know Jesus and to fall in love with him is to find attractive his countercultural way of being and seeing all things, which is what taking religious vows signals to the world,” said Fr. Andrew Rodriguez, SJ, novice director, in his homily. “Here one offers oneself freely and wholeheartedly in service of God and God’s people without the glamour or the money or the recognition that the world values.”
Fr. Rodriguez added that taking religious vows was choosing downward mobility rather than working toward fame or fortune. “For a Jesuit taking perpetual vows, it is to be a companion of Jesus, saying yes to march under the banner of his cross and being content with the toil and sufferings that following the Lord entails,” he said.
“How is it possible that young men like Pierre can still make the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in today’s world?” Fr. Rodriguez asked. It’s because “they’ve had the privilege, not just once but countless times, of enjoying God’s mercy, tenderness and love. And they just want to make a generous return in gratitude for what God has done for them, through them and in them.”
Fr. Rodriguez also told a story of how Pierre helped distribute food to novices in isolation while they had Covid. He was generous with the portions he plated, which resulted in large servings of food becoming known as “Pierre portions.”
Fr. Rodriguez pointed out that God doesn’t give rationed portions either. “It’s not like you only get this much love or this much forgiveness. No, God gives in full measure, flowing over.”
Before entering the Jesuit novitiate, Pierre earned a bachelor’s in foreign service at Georgetown University and a master’s in peace studies at Uppsala University in Sweden. He then spent a decade organizing and advocating for community development, immigration services and integral disarmament before joining the Jesuits in 2021.
Pierre spent the past two years at the novitiate in Culver City, California, learning about the Society, participating in local ministries and living in community. He also performed community service and completed the 30-day Spiritual Exercises retreat.
Now that he has pronounced first vows in the Society, Pierre will begin the next step of formation, called first studies. He has been missioned to ITESO, the Jesuit university in Guadalajara, Mexico, for philosophy and theology studies.
Watch the recording of the First Vows Mass.