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!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wanna See Something Beautiful?

Dostoevsky said that "The world will be saved by beauty."  It would take awhile to unpack that, but I was reminded of it in watching the following video, which is a preview of a ten-part documentary on Catholicism created by Fr. Robert Barron.  Here is the link to the 10 minute preview.
Indeed, Catholicism is a faith of rich beauty, which comes from the beauty of Christ.  If you would like to see Fr. Barron's outstanding website with many more videos and articles, you can go here.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends and Family, 

Merry Christmas! 

Just tonight, my brothers and I here had some carol-singing in the house, with much good cheer, and even a "Las Posadas" Latino tradition of re-enacting Mary and Joseph's search for a room to give birth to the Christ-child.  I will be able to spend Christmas Eve and the 3 days after that with my family, which also will be very fun. 

It's that time of the year again, and a lot has happened for all of us in the past 365 days.  I know that a lot has happened on my end, and I am glad that many of us have been able to stay in some form of contact, or at least in thoughts and prayers.  If you are interested in a quick re-cap of what has happened since I made the leap into the Jesuits, I refer you to my first blog post in November, which you can access in the Archives section on the right.  

In short, the past year has been one of further becoming a man of faith, community, and service.  It has involved personal growth in maturity, personal discernment of where God is calling me, and developing a realistic love of the Society of Jesus.  There have been so many surprises, challenges, joys, confusions, and adventures.  I am still staying open to God further revealing His will for me, but I do plan this March to begin the process of applying to the Provincial to take lifelong vows.  This will involve writing a 4-5 page single spaced letter explaining why I feel called to take vows, my understanding of the vows, and what I see as my strengths and areas of growth.  Then several people will fill out evaluations of me since being in the Jesuits, and I will have a one-on-one conference with the Provincial who will decide whether or not to admit me to vows this August 13th in Saint Paul.  I am optimistic and hopeful, but prayers would be appreciated. 

As far as next semester, I will be serving in campus ministry at John Carroll University, a Jesuit institution in Cleveland, Ohio.  I will be living with about 12 other Jesuits, who serve in various capacities at the university or around Cleveland.  It is a time to really test how these Jesuit shoes feel long-term, especially in terms of full-time Jesuit ministry and community living (often with men twice or 3 times my age!).  I will be very busy working with many members of the mostly lay campus ministry staff, putting together faith-enriching programming and connecting with the students.  Above all, I hope to be a positive young Jesuit presence in their lives, and to support them in whatever ways needed, especially just to be someone interested in their pursuits, thoughts, and lives of faith.  It should be a great time!  

That is enough for me.  I will keep you posted.  Please do the same for me.  It is a special joy when I hear from any of you.  God bless and merry Christmas!  

Yours in Christ,

Meet 3 of My Brothers!

I live with 19 other men discerning the life in the Society of Jesus, as a Jesuit priest or brother.  Their average age is about 28.  One of the graces of Jesuit life is that we have all kinds of men with whom to share community.  Below I feature both the youngest and the oldest in our house.  In coming weeks, I hope to feature a few more!  Enjoy!

Dr. Kevin Embach, nSJ
Age: 51
Degrees: Bachelor of Science (BS), Doctor of Medicine(MD), Master of Public Health in Epidemiology (MPH)
Major Previous Occupations: Practiced and taught Internal Medicine in an Internal 

Medicine Residency Program for 18 yrs.
Passions/Interests: Society of Jesus, medicine, Ignatian spirituality
Role Models/Inspirations: Parents, Uncles, Blessed Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, Presidents Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy

Hobbies: Power Boats, Sailing, Photography and Golf
Favorite Sports Teams: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Reason he joined the Jesuits: Personal invitation from Christ; the "Invitation of a Lifetime"
Favorite parts of being a Jesuit: Helping others find Christ, the great brotherhood in the Society of Jesus

Ken Homan, nSJ
Age: 20
Degrees: None, but started history and theology majors with a minor in justice and peace studies; will likely finish with a major in history and philosophy
Previous Occupations: Dock boy (2 summers), tutor (a lot), wrestling coach (3 years and still going), National Park Service Tour Guide at Wind Cave National Park (1 summer,, Mission Coordinator for Creighton Students Union (1 year), student
Passions/Interests: weight training, wrestling, climbing trees, hiking, environmental conservation, activism, human rights, social justice, writing poetry and stories (non-fiction), history, theology, giving John Roselle a bad time :)
Hobbies: whittling, playing piano, writing poetry, weight training, wrestling, hiking, pretty much see passions/interests
Favorite Sports Teams: Anything Jr. Billikens, but mostly the wrestling team; I bleed SLUH blue
Reason he joined the Jesuits: To serve God and humanity
Favorite part of being a Jesuit:  the opportunities to continue learning and growing; opportunities to serve others and speak out for human rights around the world; good variety of new people to meet and become friends with, whether in ministry or community


Greg Ostediek, nSJ
Degrees: BA, English; BS, Mechanical Engineering; MA, English; MS, Mechanical Engineering (almost done!)
Major Previous Occupation: Navy officer (13 years)
Passions/Interests: Teaching
Role Models/Inspirations: My father
Hobbies: Running, reading, martial arts, sailing
Favorite Sports Teams: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ohio State University Buckeyes
Reason he joined the Jesuits: God called me
Favorite parts of being a Jesuit: The Spiritual Exercises; the outstanding formation and training

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inspirational Daily Jesuit Reflections

I wanted to point some of you all toward a very fine resource called the Magis Center for Catholic Spirituality, which publishes and sends short but meaningful reflections of the daily Mass readings, written by Jesuit priests and scholastics (the younger guys in formation). You can even get an iPhone app for them!

Check it out and enjoy!

Have a Question?

Dear friends and readers of this blog,

I am trying to create a Frequently Asked Questions section for this blog, with questions that you or other people may wonder about the Jesuits, life in the novitiate, or anything else you might think would be illuminating. Please either email them to me at, post them on this blog, or Facebook them to me. Feel free to be honest without worrying about being intrusive.

Since I hope this blog will give friends and family (as well as those interested in the Jesuits or considering joining) a sense of what life is like here, I too want to be honest and upfront in clearing up any sorts of questions people may have.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Who is Jesus?

One of my favorite parts of Jesuit spirituality (and of the Jesuits in general) is that they are SO focused on Jesus Christ. Makes, sense, doesn't it, considering we are Catholic Christian and are even named the "Society of Jesus"? :)

In the interview with Archbishop Timothy Dolan below, he speaks with Fr. James Martin about how the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits) are literally 4 weeks of silent prayer devoted to further developing an intimate friendship with Jesus. Of course, that is the hope and goal of many Christians, but is a special gift of this Jesuit way of life and prayer.

Just tonight my brothers and I gathered for an Advent prayer service, and it came into my heart what the late leader of all the Jesuits, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, said when he was asked who Jesus was to him.

His answer?

"For me, Jesus Christ is everything."

Wow, I want a faith like that! :)

In light of that, I will share with you an oft-quoted passage from Fr. Pedro Arrupe:

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything."

Great Jesuit Interview with Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Recently there was an illuminating interview between New York's joyful Archbishop Timothy Dolan and renowned Jesuit author (and "chaplain" on the Colbert Report) Fr. James Martin. Below is a link. The two of them speak in mutual admiration of one another and of Jesuit spirituality.
For those interested in learning more about the Jesuits, or about how the Jesuits relate to the overall Church, this is a wonderful window into those topics.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Take a Virtual Tour of my House

Our chapel where we have Mass each morning
A typical guest bedroom
A cabin-like room where we have faith-sharing
Living room
The outside of our house

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Puppets for Others

Tomorrow is the debut of our puppet Christmas program. We are first performing it for our brothers and then taking it on the road for schools and parishes. If you are interested in a synopsis, here it is:

In our "A Frog's Christmas" puppet show, four creative Jesuit novices portray the struggle of Schwan--a little frog--in his search for God. Feeling lost, Schwan meets a somewhat egotistical flamingo who introduces him to several new friends who teach him more about God and about himself. He also meets a mean alligator named Tooth-face who challenges his newfound faith in God. Eventually he comes to a realistic awareness of himself as a loved sinner, who can see that God has come to Earth as a child on Christmas. This show is aimed at kids from kindergarten to fourth grade, and it aims to make some of the themes of the Spiritual Exercises fun and accessible for this age group. It is hilarious, insightful, engaging, and relevant to people of all ages. Similar shows have regaled kids and adults in school, parish, and other settings. "A Frog's Christmas" is between 15-20 minutes long, and can include extra time for questions, audience participation, and other elements as desired by the school or parish.