At the start of 2021, I was in Portland, Oregon doing what we Jesuits call Tertianship. It’s a 6-9 month stage of our formation that takes place before we take our final vows. During this time, we do the Spiritual exercises again, we take a few seminars on our Constitutions and history, and are involved with some field work. My version of it was cut short due to the pandemic, but it was just as impactful! For 4 months, I felt so deeply engaged by my Catholic faith, and by my Jesuit identity. Tertianship is nicknamed ‘the school of the heart’ because it helps us appropriate our identity as Jesuits a little more deeply. The influence it had on my life is quite significant.
The deepest shift in my spirituality during this time, has been learning to acknowledge the role of love in my vocation. I have always known how important it is to my journey. I did not become a Jesuit because I had a desire to read or study theology or because I had ambitions of being an academic. I did it because my heart, which is in profound union with Jesus, even when I’m not consciously aware of it, longed to love the world with the heart of Jesus.
I embraced this journey as a religious, because I genuinely want to care for the whole world more deeply and knew that the charism of this community could teach me how to do that. I knew all of this about myself. What Tertianship did was help me remember that ‘God’s infused love’ is essential to my spirituality.