Become a Jesuit
The first stage of Jesuit formation, the novitiate is a two-year experience of prayer, community living and apostolic service as men start their journey in the Society of Jesus. The novitiate of the U.S. Central and Southern Province is located in southern Louisiana.
The Jesuit Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka at St. Charles College provides a location for both prayer and service in the surrounding community. Novices spend a good part of each year away from the novitiate, but it offers them a base for their reflection and growth in understanding their vocations. The building also houses a spirituality center and an infirmary for senior Jesuits.
Nicholas Bernard, nSJ
Nicholas, 22, was born in Tulsa, Okla. He attended a Catholic high school and then Saint Louis University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology and Catholic studies this past May. Nick enjoys reading, fitness and photography, and took up cycling as a quarantine hobby. A Spider-Man comic enthusiast, he has long been drawn to Ignatian Spirituality and was moved to join the Society after getting to know several Jesuits during his time at SLU.
Jason Britsch, nSJ
New Orleans, Louisiana
Jason, 26, is a native of the New Orleans area and a graduate of Jesuit High School, New Orleans. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Dallas, earning degrees in history and politics. After graduation, Jason returned to Jesuit High to teach English and assist in campus ministry as a member of the Alum Service Corps. He then continued to work at Jesuit High, helping coordinate a capital campaign. He enjoys collecting vintage books, duck hunting and raising chickens.
Giovanni Díaz Jiménez, nSJ
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Giovanni, 28, completed a Bachelor of Philosophy at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, and then continued theological studies at the University of Navarra in Spain. He was the pastoral director and a teacher of ethics and religion at the San Juan Bosco Salesian College in Cantera, San Juan, while working toward a master’s degree in history at the Pontifical Catholic University in Ponce. Giovanni also assisted with the Salesian social project and served as a tutor in the youth program in the Cantera community, one of the poorest sectors in San Juan. In addition to reading, drawing and cabinetmaking, Giovanni also spends his free time mountaineering and playing squash.
Jaden Freeze, nSJ
Ft. Campbell, Tennessee
Jaden, 22, was born in Ft. Campbell, Tenn. He graduated from Harvard University in 2019, where he majored in chemistry and physics and minored in the comparative study of religion. Jaden was active in the Harvard Catholic Student Association as an altar server and sacristan and has a special interest in comparative liturgy among Christianity, Japanese Buddhism and Judaism. He spent the past year in Japan studying the Japanese Tea Ceremony. He enjoys preparing and sharing coffee and tea.
A. Marco Garcia, nSJ
El Paso, Texas
Marco, 23, was born in El Paso, Texas, where he attended Cathedral High School. He attended Georgetown University, where he earned a degree in foreign service. Marco spent the last year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Houston, working as a legal assistant at the Cabrini Center for Immigration. His experience at Georgetown and time with JVC led him to discern a vocation to the Society of Jesus. He enjoys painting, music and podcasts.
Beau Guedry, nSJ
Sugar Land, Texas
Beau, 26, grew up in the Houston suburbs and attended Strake Jesuit College Preparatory before pursuing a degree in biology at Saint Louis University. After college, Beau was a member of the Alum Service Corps at De Smet Jesuit in St. Louis before being hired at Strake Jesuit, where he worked as a science teacher and liturgy coordinator. His experience on immersion trips working with people with disabilities and the imprisoned led him to commit to a life of serving others. He is pursuing a master’s degree in theology at the University of Notre Dame and is interested in piano, hiking and cooking.
Richard Joubert, nSJ
New Orleans, Louisiana
Richard, 26, is a native of New Orleans. His family moved to Dallas in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. He graduated from John Paul II High School in Plano, Texas, before attending Saint Louis University where he was involved in student government, peer education programs and campus ministry. After graduating with a B.A. in Theological Studies in 2015, he joined the Alum Service Corps of the UCS and taught at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. Richard moved to Palm Desert, California, to teach theology and direct the campus ministry program at Xavier College Prep. During the summer of 2017, his relationship with Christ was deepened by his encounters with people and nature as he traveled the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Richard enjoys traveling, hiking, reading and coffee.
Fr. Max Landman, nSJ
Fort Worth, Texas
Fr. Max, 33, is a priest ordained for the Diocese of Victoria, Texas. He most recently served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church in Port Lavaca, Texas. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Max attended Texas Christian University before entering Holy Trinity Seminary. He enjoys golf, following the news, travel and hiking. His experience of Ignatian Spirituality led him to discern his vocation to the Society of Jesus.
Stephen Lauer, nSJ
Des Moines, Iowa
Stephen, 32, grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and is an Eagle Scout. He recently received his Ph.D. in sociology at Kansas State University, where he conducted research to help farmers better manage groundwater. A 2014 convert to Catholicism, Stephen has studied abroad in Egypt, South Africa and Uganda. In 2016, his parish priest encouraged him to be more intentional in his discernment, and he began to consider a Jesuit vocation. He enjoys hiking outdoors, reading and discussing philosophy and working with difficult social issues.
Manuel Luna Vega, nSJ
Aibonito, Puerto Rico
Manuel, 21, attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. He served as animator of the youth group and an altar server in his home parish of San José. He also assisted with various pastoral groups and ministries at Parroquia Santos Ángeles in Yabucoa as part of his formation as a diocesan seminarian. During his time in the diocesan seminary, Manuel had the opportunity to learn about the spirituality and the lives of Jesuits, which motivated him to further discern the call to the religious life in the Society. Last summer Manuel was an evangelist and catechist with Obras Misionales Pontificas in the Amazon region of Colombia. He also participated in the “Three Weeks a Jesuit” program in New Orleans. Manuel is a passionate chess player and also enjoys running and travel.
Edgardo Morales Snyder, nSJ
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Edgardo, 41, has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in computer information systems and worked as a project manager and application analyst and developer in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has a private pilot’s license and is an Eagle Scout. Edgardo enjoys movies, reading and exercise and has traveled to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Panama and several places in the U.S.
Josh Rueschhoff, nSJ
Joshua, 33, grew up in northwest Kansas. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in public administration. Josh never considered a vocation to the religious life until a friend gave him a copy of The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything. Ignatian Spirituality resonated with him, but he did not immediately respond to the call to religious life. He worked for the State of Kansas and as a budget analyst for the city of Kansas City, Missouri. Searching for a deeper meaning in his life, he felt called to enter the Society of Jesus.
Joseph Seiter, nSJ
Joseph, 20, attended McGill-Toolen High School where he played football, basketball and baseball. He also was active in the Latin and chess clubs and wrote for the literary magazine. Joe then entered the seminary for the Archdiocese of Mobile. Already inspired by the lives of Ignatius, Francis Xavier and Jean de Brebeuf, Joe found his call to the evangelical counsels nurtured at St. Joseph’s Seminary College. In Mobile last year he assisted with the Life Teen program at St. Ignatius Parish. Joe has participated in several mission trips, including four to Guatemala. His travels include cycling across Ireland and making a pilgrimage to Spain and Italy with his brother. While he is interested in a variety of sports, especially ping pong and spikeball, Joe has recently tried his hand at baking bread, having mastered the cinnamon raisin bread loaf.
Brandon Smith, nSJ
Brandon, 25, is from Anniston, Ala. He attended the University of Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. As a student, Brandon participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and was confirmed and received into the Catholic Church in March 2016. Last summer, he participated in this province’s Three Weeks as a Jesuit program, which helped to solidify his decision. He is into CrossFit and enjoys watching, reviewing and discussing films.
Nicholas Vivanco, nSJ
Nicholas (Nico), 22, is a 2016 graduate of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston. He graduated in May from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies. Nico was part of retreat teams in high school and college. He likes to play the drums, draw, read and hike. He cites as his primary reasons for joining the Society the mentorship of many Jesuits and his time at Cristo Rey, which allowed him to immerse himself in Ignatian Spirituality.