A P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E C H I C A G O - D E T R O I T P R O V I N C E FA L L 2 01 2 Achieving Quantity with Quality Dear Friends, A popular word around Jesuit institutions is headcount. Parishes use the October count as a measure of how many people are in the pews. Our schools look at the size of the freshman class to gauge their next four years, and around Labor Day, Jesuit communities frequently ask, “How many new novices are there?” Jesuit missions and ministries depend on an influx of new people, so keeping track of our headcount is a good thing. A significant function of the office of the provincial is accepting new novices each year; without novices our Order cannot survive. I was blessed to accept 10 new men to our novitiate this fall. They will join the 5 new Wisconsin Province novices to make a class of 15. In August, 8 newly vowed scholastics and a newly vowed brother moved from the novitiate to first studies. They, like me, were very happy to see an even larger class moving in. The mission of those first Jesuits to care for souls still depends on new vocations. We need these 15 novices as much as Saint Ignatius needed his first companions. While there is wisdom to the adage “quality not quantity,” there is nothing wrong with working for both. Certainly the demand for Jesuits is as great today as it has ever been, and nothing re-energizes a religious order as much as the zeal and energy of new members. Saint Ignatius Loyola never set targets or goals for bringing men into the Society. He trusted that his first companions would inspire others to serve the Lord in this vocation. I doubt that our founder could During a summer pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his fellow US provincials, Fr. Kesicki celebrated mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes along the Sea of Galilee. ever have imagined how much the Society would grow, or in how many countries and cultures we would serve, but I know he would say that our mission was far from being accomplished. The mission of those first Jesuits to care for souls still depends on new vocations. We need these 15 novices as much as Saint Ignatius needed his first companions. Entering the Jesuit novitiate is not like applying to graduate school or interviewing for a job. Assessing one’s suitability for a lifetime commitment to vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience cannot be done through a form or a transcript. It requires an in-depth period of discernment over a significant period of time. As part of the process, each candidate to the novitiate is asked to write his autobiography. This narrative helps those who take part in the vocation discernment process to see the ways in which the Lord has worked throughout their life. I love reading these autobiographies because I see in them the unique contribution that each novice will bring to the Society. We may be one of the largest religious orders in the Church today, but no two of us are alike. We often illustrate this with the line, “if you’ve met one Jesuit you’ve met one Jesuit!” I look forward to seeing how these new novices will blossom over the course of time, and I know that many, many people will take part in their formation. We continue to depend on your prayers and support for these and all Jesuits. Your commitment to our mission is essential for our growth and ministry. I have great hope for the Society and its future. Sincerely yours in Christ, Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ Provincial To view the enhanced web version of Partners, please visit our website at www.jesuits-chgdet.org and click the red web icon as shown here.