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 27, 2011

Recent Twitter Stories

Going through recent "tweets," I came across the following stories that I thought I'd share:

Pope Speaks to Prisoners and Tells Them God Loves Them:

Saint "Action Figures"

St. Francis of Assisi's Vision of the Incarnation:

"The State of the Church" Speech

Pope's Christmas Message: "God Extends Hand to Hurting Humanity"

Pro-Active Christian Manhood

Intro. to Ignatian Imaginative Prayer

St. Ignatius and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, gazing upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus

St. Ignatius of Loyola personally experienced the power of the imagination to be guided by the Holy Spirit in prayer, bringing him closer to God.  This trust in the imagination as a gift from God (as influenced/inspired by Sacred Scripture) is a cornerstone of Ignatian spirituality.  Here are some links to follow, including videos, etc. to teach you more about this way of prayer.  Have fun!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I am having a great time with my family.  Here is a 2 minute video that someone sent me that I got a real kick out of.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NEW Female Doctor of the Church!!!

I was quite pleased to read today that Pope Benedict XVI will name the fourth female Doctor of the Church soon.  To read more about this amazing woman, here is an article (I won't say more, so that you read the article :)  This is a pretty big deal, considering Blessed John Paul II only named one Doctor total during his illustrious career.   That doctor happened to be a twenty-something woman when she died--St. Therese the Little Flower.  Doctors of the Church are those that have made huge, definitive contributions to the Church's understanding of the Faith.

There was also a movie made about this new Church Doctor last year.  You can rent it right now on iTunes.  Here is the awesome trailer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Intro to "The Examen"

The "Consciousness Examen" is a cornerstone of Ignatian spirituality.  I assembled the following guide for learning more about it:

Note that the Examen is NOT simply an examination of "conscience" (which might only deal with sin), but it is focused not on sin but on consciousness of GRACE.  Granted, sometimes we don't respond to grace (and that could be sin), but the point is to find God in all things, throughout our lives.  As St. Paul wrote, "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more."  So, here are a ton of good resources to mull over.  Take your time reading these, watching the video, praying with the Examen. Try to pray it every evening over the next month.  It will really be a blessing to your self-awareness and vocational awareness.  It isn't a quick-fix, but a gradual learning to listen to where God has been in your life.  

I encourage you especially print out and pray with the First Principle and Foundation below:

I hope this will be engaging and relevant to you, offering you a tool for greater spiritual growth.  I am still growing into the Examen myself, but having practiced it for over 3 years, I can attest that it is a powerful resource.  Check this out.  Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for the presentation, things you want me to address, etc. 

PS: word to the wise--don't get hung up on the "right" way to do this prayer; there are a few variations but one common theme: growing as a contemplative in action, able to see God at work through reflection on our daily lives

As you read this: how than this be helpful for spiritual growth?

Examen videos:

In order to make the most of the Examen, it is best to understand the basics of St. Ignatius's discernment of spirits, since the Examen is basically a daily discernment of spirits.  

Quick Video on Discernment of Spirits:

Basic article:

More in-depth: how do I know I'm experience God?

Lastly, definitely read over the short First Principle and Foundation of St. Ignatius.  It is basically the meaning of life, according to him, and the basis of his spirituality.  It is how the 30 day silent Spiritual Exercises begin.  I recommend printing these out, praying with them, seeing how they strike you, etc.  Again, the Examen will make a lot more sense and mean a lot more if these pieces are in place.  It take time, but it's worth it.  

Here is Ignatius' words (of course he wrote in Spanish):

The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one's end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one's end.
To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.
Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.

Here is a more modern but still faithful reading of the spirit of the First Principle and Foundation, written by the late Fr. David Fleming, SJ:

God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life
to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God's deepening his life in me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Love for Jesus and His Church must be the passion of our lives!"

Dear Friends,

Peace of Christ and Merry Christmas!  A couple days ago, I finished my first semester of First Studies and vowed Jesuit life.  Dang, it has been liking climbing the mountain pictured below (but then again, we rode in a car up that one!).  Classes have been tough ("have I gotten stupider or has school gotten harder?"I've wondered, :) and Jesuit life (and, of course, Christian life) is always calling for greater maturity, growth, and fidelity.  However, it has been worth it!  There is so much good work to be done, and I dare not let the little things (or the big things) get me down.  Not once have I wished I were anywhere but Chicago or in the Society of Jesus.  This Jesuit vocation is God's great gift to me; I am confident I made the right choice this past August.  

Below is a recent update and then a poem I have written about the Catholic Church, which I share with you.  Truly, I am reminded of how beautiful and necessary she (Holy Mother Church) is in these times of much turmoil/confusion in the world and in the Church.  But then again, when in the history of the world/Church hasn't there been turmoil?  This Christmas, I invite you who are Catholic to help "bring home" any of those who may need some encouragement to return to the Church this season and into this New Year, which Pope Benedict XVI has declared will be an upcoming "Year of Faith" starting in October for the 50th Anniversary of the great Second Vatican Council.  We are blessed right now to have a successful advertising campaign on television, called "Catholics Come Home" (maybe you've seen the TV ads) but friendly invitations and prayers (more so than commercials) are able to reach out and make the difference.  At the bishop's conference recently, the President of the US Bishops, the joyful Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, echoed Blessed John Paul the Great's words: "Love for Jesus and His Church must be the passion of our lives!"  I can't agree more, and I am indeed using this blog and this moment to spread this message also, as I urge you to do in your own ways.  If you are interested in the Catholics Come Home campaign, here is their best commercial (2 minutes):
And their general website:
Here is the text of Archbishop Dolan's honest, powerful speech:

Truly, these can be sad and difficult days, as scandal and mistrust (caused by a small minority) threaten and loom over the Church we love.  However, let us remember that all of Satan's plans backfire, and that we are witnessing what Vatican II called "a new springtime for the Church."  We aren't giving up, and in fact, the Church is growing stronger each day as we re-build and re-claim Christ's Church so that is a safe, loving, inspiring, and courageous home for all people.  Let us remain faithful to the Church and to her teachings.  Let us consider Archbishop Dolan's reflection upon the late Jesuit theological Cardinal Henri de Lubac: "That truth--that he, Christ, and she, his church, are one--moistens our eyes and puts a lump in our throat as we whisper with de Lubac 'For what would I ever know of him, without her?'"

I am inspired by all of you--people of good will and/or members of the Church--who choose hope over despair.  Indeed, that (HOPE) is the essence of Christmas.  

Give glory to God and have a Merry Christmas!  I love you and pray for you all!  Thanks for your prayers for me; they have carried me.

In Christ,
John, SJ

Some of my Jesuit brothers and I on top of Mt. Evans in Colorado

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Well, I just turned in my last paper.  The first semester of First Studies has come and gone, and it was awesome, albeit occasionally stressful (but what isn't? :).  

Now, I get to do some errands, relax, etc. before heading home for Christmas.  Thanks for all of the prayers.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quick Update


Sorry for being away from the blog for so long!  I bet you all figured that I was super-busy with school, etc., and you'd be right!  It's not over yet (one more test and paper), but I didn't want to go any longer without refreshing the blog.  There is so much more that I could say about each of these, but here it is in rapid-fire fashion:

  • Some of us were able to score some free Notre Dame tickets.  For a few years now, it's been an aspiration of mine to attend an ND game.  I never dreamed I'd get to go see the Irish face Boston College in South Bend.  Although I am quite keen on Notre Dame, now that I'm a vowed Jesuit I would have rooted for BC.  However, I couldn't bring myself to do that at "the House that Knute Rockne built" and at my first ND game.  It was close at the end, but the Irish pulled this one off.  I had a great time.
  • My beloved 16 year old pet frog Cal became ill after an earthquake hit Oklahoma.  Thanks God the family and house were alright.  That was almost a month ago, and although Cal is hanging on, he still hasn't recovered.  Please do pray for him if you can, because I'd like to see him kicking for years to come.  I am of course at peace, despite sadness, about his possible death.   I've been blessed to have him this long.
  • The women's religious life discernment group at Loyola has grown to include 9 women.  They are such inspirational people, and they have so much going for them.  Please pray for them too!
  • I am really appreciating this philosophical education, and I can already feel my mind getting a little sharper.  It is tough work, but I know it needs to be done, and it is worth doing.
  • I am very much enjoying community life and have made many new friends.  I am glad that I took vows (although by no means is this life easy!), because it is an extremely rewarding way of life for me.  I can't begin to say the graces that I have experienced and been a part of in just the 4 months of vowed Jesuit life.  It is priceless.  Still, there is a cost, and every day (like marriage or any other major lifelong commitment) those vows must be renewed.  
  • On Dec. 3rd, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, my Dad finished a flourishing career with the US Army Corps of Engineers as an attorney.  He was the epitome of a virtuous, courageous lawyer, and his coworkers are really going to miss him.  His family couldn't be prouder of him.  Special note should be made of my Mom, without whom such a career could not have happened and would not have had the meaning.  Clearly, they did it all for their children, and in that way I am continually reminded of Blessed John Paul II's call to the strengthening of families and the fundamental "cell" of society, on which its health is based.  My parents are huge Fr. James Martin fans (a Jesuit author).  I Facebooked Fr. Martin and asked him if he could send them an inscribed copy of his latest book about joy to them.  He did, and my Mom and Dad were delighted to receive it.  
  • Being in Chicago is a real experience.  It's a huge city with a lot of riches, not the least of which is beautiful lake next to campus.  However, I am continually reminded of the suffering of many people here and the need for all of us to help build "the culture of life" (as Blessed John Paul II envisioned it).  That is a mighty and never-ending task, but an imperative.  For my little part, my ministry will be working both with retreats for the homeless and with faculty faith formation at our Jesuit middle school that serves the African-American community. 
That's enough from me!  Make sure I hear from you!  God bless!

A Poem About Catholicism

This is a poem I wrote this past summer for someone I know who loves reading/writing poetry, was raised Catholic, feels distant from the Church, and asked me to write a poem about what I see in the Church.  It alludes at one point to both Blessed Pope John Paul II visiting the man who shot him in prison in order to counsel and forgive him, as well as Pope Benedict's pain and grief as he has visited with abuse victim's groups across the globe.  At the end of one of these private meetings, one of the victims said to the media to the effect of, "the Pope wept with us who were weeping."  The point of the poem is really to recognize our baptismal calling to be in Christ and like Christ (i.e., saints), and faithful sons and daughters of His bride, the Church. 

“Why be Catholic?” wonders an age
Confused and daunted, in the wake of so much
Of the past two thousand years
That our heads can reel and soon forget
The vast expanse of Truth revealed
By a humble man born of a peasant virgin
A man who walked seashores and called all people
To become one with Him.

No mere mortal could ever hope
To wash the world clean with the grace He gave:
A Church over which hell cannot prevail,
Offering victory over the grave.

Then we see lives made new in Christ,
Beginning with the least:
Tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes,
And a poor fisherman
Who was charged with leading His Church
And ensuring her faithful increase.

Inspiring countless persons to give their lives
To God and for souls,
It is by the Holy Spirit
That our Mother Church protects, nourishes, and holds
All people to God’s own Son
And the shepherds He has chosen
To keep and guide the fold.

Yet when those brute beasts from the outer darkness
Have attacked us from within,
We must look to Christ and His Church
To see how Mercy and Goodness can triumph once again.

And so we see the heirs of that poor man
Jesus asked to be our Pope
Stepping forward to forgive and console the man that shot him
Crying with those who have been abused
Speaking truth to the forces of death,
And in ten thousand other ways,
Replacing despair with hope.

Can we afford to not accept Jesus’ outstretched hand
In invitation to us?
To follow Him where we did not dream to go,
Yet go with Him in trust,
Into Christ’s Body, the Church,
Into this one big boat
That carries us amidst all life’s doubts and fears?

For with hope of salvation,
An eternity with Jesus, our Perfect Love,
Our Church gives direction,
Calls us to sacrifice,
And thus grants meaning to our years.