Eighteen years a Jesuit: A story from the ’50s and ’60s

From: Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968 by Jim Bowman Reviewed by David H Werning Profiles in Catholicism

 The novice, Milford, Ohio, 1950

For Bowman, landing on his feet took 18 years of Jesuit experience, which is the main thread in his book: the various stages of education and formation and ministry in the society. He was introduced to prayer, philosophy, and theology. More than anything, he was enculturated into the Jesuit way of life, which according to Bowman emphasized academics more than the priesthood: “We Jesuits…were first of all students and teachers and maybe scholars.” Still, the reader gains an appreciation of both the academic and the spiritual regimens required of Jesuits in the fifties and sixties.
There is, however, another story that unwinds beneath the rolling wave of piety: the inner movement of Bowman’s heart toward a deeper desire, which may have been what God had in mind from the start. Bowman hints at it on the appreciation page, where he mentions the “loving” wife and the “perfect” children, who came after the Jesuits. The adjectives bespeak more than contentment with the vocation of husband and father. One could even say joy and happiness, indicators as good as any that one is in step with God’s will.
David H. Werning is a frequent contributor to Our Sunday Visitor.
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