Some testimonies follow. The first is from the novice
master, Arthur Niry Lanto.
It is a signal grace from God for our Province to receive
a fairly large number of young men into the novitiate. They come from a number
of regions, which range from the north to the south of the island, in fact, from
nine of the country’s twelve dioceses. They have usually had some contact with
Jesuits in the parishes of the interior - “the bush”, as we call it. Quite
simply, these vocations are the fruit of the testimony of Jesuits, of both those
who laboured here in the past, and those who are carrying out their mission today.
Some of the novices come from urban parishes, but it is rare for young people,
who have passed through our schools, to enter the novitiate.
Many challenges face these young men on the road to
religious life. To help them, the novitiate programme provides for ongoing
accompaniment, and formation in fidelity to the spiritual life. We are aware
that, since Madagascar is a country affected by poverty, entering an
international religious order can be seen as a way of escaping difficult living
conditions. It may therefore happen that young people come to us looking for a
way to further their studies and ensure a personal future. As formators, we need
to take time with each candidate, to get to know them before they enter the
novitiate. This is the purpose of the probationary period we offer, and of the
two year pre-novitiate period. These provide an opportunity for these young men
to cultivate their motivations. For formators, it is an opportunity to discern,
together with the candidates, whether the foundations of a true vocation are well
the novices reach the novitiate, I emphasise that our spiritual approach brings
them closer to the Malagasy reality rather than distancing them from it. They
really cultivate a preferential love for the poor, the sick and the afflicted.