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A fond farewell to Jan

Tertians, Jesuits, colleagues and staff of the European tertianship based in Manresa Dublin gave a great send off to director Jan van der Poll, who is leaving the tertianship after almost thirteen years of service.

A large group gathered secretly on Friday 18 May in the sitting room of the tertianship whilst Jan was kept in conversation in another room by Fr Franck Janin, President of the Conference of European Provincials. Just before 6pm when Mass was due to start, he chaperoned a very surprised Jan into the hall to be greeted warmly by those wishing him a fond farewell.

Mass followed in the tertianship chapel with Fr Franck presiding.  Referencing the gospel of the day where Jesus asks Peter three times does he love him, and then instructs him to ‘feed his sheep’, Fr Franz said the lesson for every Jesuit, and indeed every Christian, is that there is no love without service.

Indeed one of the features of the terianship over the years has been the home made meals served up by Tommy and his team. After Mass, they did not disappoint, serving up a lovely buffet of warm and cold dishes with wine and soft drinks aplenty. At the after dinner farewell speeches for Jan, Tommy presented him with a book on Dublin as a keepsake from the kitchen staff.

Leonard Moloney SJ, Irish Jesuit Provincial, also presented Jan with a token of appreciation on behalf of the Irish Province. He thanked him for his many years of invaluable service to the many Jesuits from Europe and further afield who had spent the important tertianship year under Jan’s skillful guidance. He commended the  all-round programme that Jan and the late Joe Dargan SJ had developed and implemented since the inception of the tertianship in Dublin.

The new tertianship director Paul Pace SJ, former Maltese Provincial, also paid tribute to Jan, thanking him for passing on his invaluable knowledge to him since he began working in the tertianship two years ago. Tom McGuinness SJ, from the Manresa spirituality centre, who was also present, will join Paul in September when the new group of tertians arrive.

Jan also accepted gifts and a ‘photo story’ tribute from the present tertians before saying a few words himself. He thanked the staff and community of Manresa for their hospitality to him down the years, and he remembered the late Joe Dargan as a wise and close fellow Jesuit.

Jan may be 75 but he won’t be resting on his tertianship Laurels. The Dutch native is now going to work in Belgium where he playfully told us his that his new superior was actually once his novice, when he was novice master many years ago.