The Four Provinces Novitiate based in Birmingham held a weekend for prospective novices in March 2015. There were five young men from different backgrounds and cultures all interested in exploring Jesuit life.
Two were from Ireland. Organised by the British vocation director, Matthew Power, and supported by Ireland’s Brendan McManus, the weekend was a ‘slice of life’ approach with direct contact with the current novices, the novice director (Brendan Callaghan), and the daily routine including prayer, apostolates and lots of washing up! Potential candidates had a chance to tell their stories of God’s working in them. Later that day, Brendan McManus told his vocation story and answered questions on discernment, reflection and the Exercises. The session with the novice director was probably the most lively, as Brendan Callaghan spelled out the practicalities of the two-year period.
The implications of the pilgrimage caused the most impact, as evidenced by the questions. Everything else pales in comparison with a month spent on the road living by providence alone!