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!
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.
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!
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.
"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 :)
Jesuits who do incredible work on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Fr. John Hatcher and scholastic Tom Olson, were featured last night on EWTN Live, the show that Mother Angelica entrusted to Jesuit Fr. Mitch Pacwa. You can watch the episode here: http://www.ewtn.com/tv/live/ewtnlive.asp
As someone who worked on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is 2 hours away from the Rosebud Reservation, I have seen the beauty and the struggle of the Lakota people and their church. God bless!