As you cross the wooden bridge over the Samsen Canal, leading into Xavier Hall, Bangkok, the first thing that strikes your attention is the Chapel. Draw nearer and you will notice at the center of the Chapel steps a small fish pond. In the wall above it, two bricks of different size are imbedded. They are historical relics: the smaller one is thought to be from the ruins of a church of the Society of Jesus in Ayutthaya; the larger one from the ruins of the Jesuit observatory of Lopburi. The historical ruins can be seen even today.
In Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, two or three miles south of the present city, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, there is a small mound that the local people call “Baan Yesuit”, that is, Jesuit Village. On the ground can be seen two stone steps, a few bricks, and a stone holy-water fountain. Not far from the “Baan Yesuit” to the north, there is a similar mound called “Baan Yacobin”, that is, the Dominican House.
In Lopburi, southeast of the present city, in the forest on the east side of the railway,
there is a rather impressive ruin, eight to ten meters high, called by the Thais,
“Wat Sao Paolo”. This was most probably the tower of the observatory annexed
to the residence of the Jesuits.
This 17th century map is the result of France’s first embassy to Southeast Asia in 1685,
which was led by the Chevalier de Chaumont in the company of six Jesuit fathers.
Teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve You as You deserve,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to ask reward,
Save that of knowing that I do Your will,
I love thee, God, I love thee—
Not out of hope for heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu so much in love with me?
Not for heaven’s sake, not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and will love thee.
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.
With great devotion and new depth of feeling,
I hope and beg, O God, that it finally be given to me
to be the servant and minister of Christ the consoler,
the minister of Christ the redeemer,
the minister of Christ the healer,
the liberator, the enricher, the strengthener.
To be able through you to help many--
to console, liberate and give them courage;
to bring them light not only for their spirit
but also for their bodies,
and bring as well other helps to the soul and body
of each and every one of my neighbors.
I ask this through Christ our Lord.
You can contact any Jesuit to ask more about a vocation to the Society of Jesus
It might be more helpful for you to visit with a Jesuit in your area.
Bangkok Fr Manasan Wongvarn, S.J.
43 Phahonyothin Road
Saam Pran Fr Pitoyo Sugiyo, S.J.
91/1 Mu 6, Tha Kham
Nakhorn Pathom 73110
Chiangmai Fr Saichon Khanyulai, S.J.
97 Huey Kaew Road
Chiang Saen Fr Vinai Boonlue, S.J.
Xavier Learning Center
219 Mu 8, Tha Khaw Plyak
Mae Jan, Chiangrai 57110
[You can also contact any of them through the email of this website]
Thank you for your interest in vocation discernment.
First, let us touch on some basic concepts.
The word vocation basically means the call. In religious contexts, it refers to God’s call to us. In a broader sense, God calls all of us to live our lives according to God’s plan for the growing Kingdom. However, God also calls each of us to live a particular lifestyle. Some are called to be married, others to be single. Some few others yet are called to priesthood or religious life. Jesuits are called to live religious lifestyle in an order called the Society of Jesus. Most Jesuits, though not all, are also called to be ordained priests. Some men will ask to serve God as a Brother in the Society of Jesus.
If we want to live according to God’s particular plan for us, then, we would really want to know whether God is calling us to live the life of a layperson or of an ordained minister. We also would want to know whether God wants us to go into religious life and, particularly, which religious congregation. The process of understanding God’s life plan for us is called discernment.
The discernment process starts with an attraction or interest in a particular lifestyle. This attraction can be explosive or subtle, instantaneous or prolonged, earlier or somewhat later in life, from the interior or through people or events. If a Christian feels an attraction to religious life, a proper response for him would be to examine whether this attraction comes from the Holy Spirit. He could start by finding more information about religious life and a particular religious congregation and perhaps to seek guidance in clarifying his vocation and his possibilities.
Many religious congregations, including the Jesuits, post information about themselves online. Most also assign a member of the congregation to be the vocation director. However, if the person who feels the interest also knows another member of the religious congregation, that member might also serve as a preliminary resource on the process of discernment. Meanwhile, the discerning person will enter into more prayer, asking God to clarify the call. A spiritual director could help him with this process, which might include a few days of discernment retreat.
If the discerning person reaches a degree of certainty that God is calling him to become a Jesuit, he could meet more formally with the vocation director, who might direct him to meet with other Jesuits or invite him to vocation camps. If he decides to apply, he could be admitted into the candidacy program, where he lives with other young men who are discerning their vocation.