Explaining the Steps of Jesuit Formation

vow crucifix

Each Jesuit is given a vow cross on their Vow Day as a sign of his commitment.

Jesuit formation is a long multistep process, which takes years to complete. It can be difficult for Catholics, even those familiar with the Society to keep track of the process. To help clear up the confusion about a Jesuit’s formation, Fr. James Martin, SJ, wrote an article after last year’s Vow Day Mass.

Vow Day occurs early in a Jesuit’s formation when a novice takes perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society also known as First Vows. It comes after two years of formation as a Jesuit. This process includes a 30-day retreat in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, apostolic experiments in a variety of Jesuit ministries as well as studying the history and Constitutions of the Society.

This Saturday, August 16, men from the Maryland, New England and New York Provinces will profess First Vows in the Society of Jesus at Holy Cross Church in Dewitt, N.Y. Visit the blog next week to see photos from their Vow Day Mass.

Click here to read Fr. Martin’s full article on the language used for Jesuit formation, including Vow Day.

Jesuit Word of the Day


Examination of conscience. Found in the Spiritual Exercises (No. 43) and consisting of five points:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.

– Source: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/#sthash.45LlSqcF.dpuf

If you would like a Jesuit Examen card, please contact Christiana Weller at weller@nysj.org or 212-774-5548 and we would be happy to send one to you!

Jesuit Word of the Day

Cura Personalis

A Latin phrase that translates to “care of the whole person.” It suggests individualized attention to the needs of others, distinct respect for unique circumstances and concerns, and an appropriate appreciation for singular gifts and insights. The phrase is also a motto of a number of Jesuit colleges and universities.

Source: Jesuit Dictionary, by Peter Schineller, SJ, Wikipedia

Jesuit Word of the Day

Abbreviation of the name of JESUS.  The official Seal of the Society, used by St. Ignatius of Loyola, often with one star on the top, two stars below, and a crescent moon between the two stars.   IHS: In Greek, the first three letters of the name of Jesus — Iota, Eta, Sigma.

Source: Jesuit Dictionary, by Peter Schineller, SJ

Jesuit Word of the Day

A.M.D.G.   Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam.
[ahd mah-yaw-rem de-ee glaw-ree-ahm]

Is the motto of the Society of Jesus, a religious order within the auspices of the Catholic Church known better by their informal name “Jesuits”. The motto is translated into English as

“For the greater glory of God”

The origin of the phrase is attributed to the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who intended it to serve as a cornerstone sentiment of the society’s religious philosophy. The full phrase attributed to St. Ignatius is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salute or “for the greater glory of God and salvation of man” It is a summary of the idea that any work that is not evil, even one that would normally be considered inconsequential to the spiritual life, can be spiritually meritorious if it is performed in order to give glory to God.

Source: Wikipedia