Personal Introduction

Welcome! My name is John Roselle, SJ, and I took lifelong ("perpetual") vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Jesuit on August 13th, 2011 after a two-year novitiate. I am now a Jesuit Scholastic for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. I will study philosophy and theology for the next three years at Loyola University in Chicago. At the same time, I will do part-time ministry in some capacity with the poor. After that, I will likely teach for three years before finishing three more years of theology. Then, God willing, I will be ordained a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest! It's a long road, but a blessed, fun, and enriching one. This blog exists as a resource for friends, family, and others who are interested in my progress through the Jesuit process of formation. Every day is its own adventure, and I am happy to have you along with me to share in this. This blog contains my own personal thoughts and should not be taken to speak for the entire Society of Jesus. Feel free to contact me. God bless you!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Imagine Sisters Movement

Dear Friends,

Peace of Christ!  Happy Feast of Pentecost weekend (the Birthday of the Catholic Christian Church)!!  I am writing to you today to ask for a favor.  I would ask right now that you check out following 6 minute YouTube video:

And if you like it (which I'm sure you will), send it right away to as many of your email contacts as you can, post it on Facebook, and all other social media.  It is a video that is intended to introduce the world to young religious sisters.  More to follow on this.  Please, don't delay, email, Tweet, and Facebook, now!  Also, please "Like" Imagine Sisters Movement on Facebook right away and Follow it on Twitter.  It will daily give you updates and inspirational quotes.  Thank you for your help!

I am back in Broken Arrow for a little family visit.  I will be going to St. Louis this summer to do hospital chaplaincy (CPE).  I have had a TREMENDOUS first year as a vowed Jesuit.  I wouldn't take it back for anything (and you can remind me I said that someday during the "tough times"--not that there haven't been bumps in the road thus far :). 

As mentioned, the Catholic Christian Church is celebrating her birthday this weekend, the Feast of Pentecost when the Church received the Holy Spirit in grace and power.  It is worth noting that Mary (Mother of the Apostles) was present in the room when they all received the Holy Spirit.  Then the first Pope, St. Peter, went out into the streets of Jerusalem and preached Jesus Christ Risen from the dead.  3,000 joined the Church that day alone!  However, there were detractors, some even saying that the Apostles seemed drunk on new wine. 

There are still detractors, and unfortunately, the Church's members sometimes do give scandal.  The great theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar (a mentor of Pope Benedict) borrowed from the early Christian thinkers in calling the Church a "casta meretrix," a "chaste whore."  No matter what the media says (and no matter how many sins her members commit), the Catholic Church trusts that SHE is Christ's Bride, the universal sacrament of God's salvation for the world.  The Catholic Church, like anyone of us, is not called because she is worthy, she is worthy because she is called.  The world NEEDS to see, to hear, to imagine how EXTRAVAGANT is the GRACE of God given in the Catholic Church, born on Pentecost. 

So, how might we celebrate this Pentecost? 

As you know, I am passionate about the ongoing renaissance of women's religious life (nuns and sisters).  Just this weekend in one convent in Ann Arbor, 170 young women are going on a discernment retreat (they have these 3 times a year).  Close to 20 actually enter this convent every year.  Average ago?  21!!!!   Oprah has featured them on two episodes and LOVES them.  Young sisters are one of the greatest evidence of God in the modern world.  They inspire everyone who sees and meets them. 

Let us pray this Pentecost that the Holy Spirit come down on the whole Church, on the whole world, and especially on women called to this breathtaking vocation to be Jesus' consecrated Bride and the spiritual mother to countless souls.  The world NEEDS sisters NOW--they are pretty much the most joyful and influential people I have ever met or know exist.  Nobody knows the name of the Archbishop of Calcutta (important as he is, in his role as teacher and administrator of his diocese), but the whole world will never forget just one sister who picked up and loved 30,000 dying "untouchable" people off the streets.  A reporter once watched as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta tended to a man being eaten away alive by various parasites, "Mother, I wouldn't do that for a million dollars"  You know what she told him?  "I wouldn't either.  But I'll do it for Christ!"  Amen.     

But beware, the evil spirit hates the Church (because he hates God and His Son, to whom the Church belongs), so he hates and tries to destroy all priests, sisters, ministers, believers, and people of goodwill.  We can see the wreckage is all around us.  We ought not be surprised that such good things: peace, justice,  marriage, family, life, freedom, the priesthood, etc. are under serious attack by certain forces who consistently spread deceit and do evil.  Jesus himself warned us about the one He called "the father of lies from the beginning" but promised us the Spirit.  Jesus made the bold claim about Himself: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him."  And He told us, as Blessed John Paul always echoed: "Be not afraid!"  because the battle has ALREADY been won by Christ. 

Not to sound too much like a televangelist, but we just have to live that victory as beloved sons and daughters of God, ransomed, healed, restored, and forgiven by the Blood of Christ.  So, I will close with St. Paul's words to the Church at Ephesus, that it may help us pray and remain strong in faith, hope, love, and the commitment to justice. 

Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.  So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy onesand also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.

Pray for me, and I will pray for you.  Please do share this video with EVERYONE this weekend.  It is my dream and hope that thousands of Christians this Pentecost will see through these sisters, these icons of Mary, that the Catholic Church is "ever ancient, ever new."  She may be 2,000 years old, but no matter what her enemies say or do, she is looking pretty good :) 

God bless!

In Jesus, through Mary,

John, SJ


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Necessary, but Temporary, Hiatus

A Moment's Hesitation at a Party
Should have said this about 2 months ago, but in the course of a hectic semester, I took a break from blogging.  A lot has been going on, mostly good stuff, but blogging got lost in the shuffle.  Sorry for the inconsistency and thanks for bearing with me!  In short, I am doing well, and I am glad to be where I'm at.  There is a lot to say; I'll try to catch you up a bit soon.  Stay in touch and keep me posted with what's going on with you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The Classroom as Holy Ground"

This is for all those teachers out there!

"Christ the Teacher" Icon, as found on

Schindler's List, the Star Thrower, and the Two Standards

This Friday night, a friend brought over the acclaimed film Schindler's List.  I had seen it in high school, but now with different eyes.  It is a breathtaking cinematic masterpiece, for sure.  It is even more a true story of conversion, of grace, and of merciful love.  Before I say anything else, I acknowledge that the Holocaust is a tremendous and terrible historical reality that no amount of inspiration can undo.

Oscar Schindler, as portrayed in the film, was far from a moral role model, due to his penchant for adultery, greed, etc.  Schindler only sees the persecuted Jews of Germany as potential workers for his profit-scheme to open a factory during wartime.  Over three hours, we watch the soul-searing encounter of Schindler with Nazi evil and the goodness of the people whom they hate.   

The strategy of the Nazis is not unlike the death-march of Satan which St. Ignatius encourages us to contemplate in the "Two Standards Meditation."  Satan moves us toward riches, honors, and pride--such irresponsible narcissism is at the heart of all evil.  Christ the Lord, the Great Commander, moves us to seek poverty and humility; from these spring the virtues and the Kingdom of God.  You can read the short meditation here, and remember that Ignatius really wants to us IMAGINE what this looks and feels like.  

Here are a couple other perspectives on the Two Standards:

Schindler slowly melts from his indifference toward the Polish Jews' plight.  He eventually is willing to put his fortune and his very self on the line in order to save those whom he can.  I suggest that in this holy endeavor, he is increasingly but unknowingly conformed to Christ's standard.  By the end of the film, Schindler weeps out of a pained, frustrated desire to have been able to save more people.  

Yet he has done what he was called to do.  But what are we called to do?  Are we aware that although we are not in Nazi Germany, there is a "list" of many people need us? As Blessed Mother Teresa told someone who admired her work, we can do things that she could never do!

It reminds me of a story I heard as a freshman at Creighton called "The Star Thrower."  You can read it here.  

The tale may seem corny, but it points to a rock-solid, yet overlooked truth.  For example, I know a Jesuit medical doctor who when we discussed the tragedy of the epidemic of abortion said that his whole life would be worth it if he could save one child from that (and I know he has saved many more in his profession).  

So, let's go and help others, one-by-one, to live the standard and mission of Christ!

The Freedom of the Vows

Funny personal story: just tonight I received a heartfelt email from a female medical student that I met at a wedding this summer; I was in the wedding party of a good friend.  At the reception, we had a great, God-centered conversation.  She was seeking more in her life, and I felt called to give her my email, with the understanding that I was about to take vows and that we could only be friends (which she understood).  Tonight after a long time of not corresponding, she contacted me and opened up, telling me about some struggles and asking if I could help her learn to pray.  Now, if I were married, I really should be attending to my wife and kids, not helping random people I met at weddings to pray! :)  I can tell you that it is a great joy to be a spiritual father/brother to others in ways that these vows enable.  By the same token, a religious sister is a spiritual mother/sister to those with whom she ministers.  It is a rich life, and I thought I would share this vignette to help bring it home.  Please keep inviting more women (and men) to consider religious life and/or priesthood.  The world and the Church need us (as well as committed, faith-filled laypeople) for the sake of the Gospel and to help souls.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Freezing!

"They weren't kidding about these Chicago winters," I realized today in the bone-chilling cold after what had been a mild one until now.  It IS brutal, and we are only getting "warmed up" this season, since we have yet to experience the wind whipping off the lake at high speeds, further compounding the problem :)