Photo above: Former Jesuit Volunteers reunite years after vital service in Micronesia.
WHILE DISCERNING A CALL TO THE JESUITS IN COLLEGE, I had a deep sense that I needed something else before entering the novitiate. It was my desire for community that led me to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. The transformative experience of JVC at Xavier High School in Chuuk laid an incredible foundation for my understanding of what simplicity, community, social justice, and spirituality looks like in my life, as an FJV and as a Jesuit.
During my tenure in Chuuk, there were two JV communities and Peace Corps volunteers spread throughout the other islands of the lagoon and outer islands. Together we all formed a bond that we couldn’t have found another way. They continue to teach me the importance of openness and honesty in community and a committed sharing of self that is true to any vocation. It was through community that I also got to meet many of the Jesuits at work on the islands — their different examples of love for Micronesians and all the people of God was inspirational and changed my perspective on what a religious community looks like.
I don’t think I could be a Jesuit if it weren’t for my JVC experience. Or at the very least, my outlook on what it means to be a Jesuit would be incredibly different. Like many FJVs, I have found myself constantly looking back at the values and pillars of my time of service, guideposts for who and how I want to be in the world, Church, and community. It all goes back to those initial desires of community. Through JVC I began to hear more deeply the call to live a life of simplicity, justice, community, and faith, which allowed me to finally say “yes” to my call.