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Sept. 9, 2022 – The USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus welcomed five new novices on Aug. 20, 2022. These five men with diverse backgrounds entered the Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Grand Coteau, La., to begin the first stage of Jesuit formation. Over the next two years, they will learn about the Society of Jesus while deepening their relationship with Jesus. A combination of apostolic service, studies of Jesuit primary documents, and community life will help each to discern the Lord’s call at this pivotal point in their journeys.

The new novices of the UCS Province
The five newest members of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province, (l to r): Will Hayes, Reed Proctor, John Nuttli, Hai Nguyen and Gus Hardy in the chapel of the Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Grand Coteau, La.

The first two weeks of their novitiate experience, called First Probation, focused on learning more about the Society and getting to know one another. A challenge from the start is to separate themselves from worldly distractions.  Electronic devices and social media are put aside so that novices can slowly give their attention to Jesus’ invitation to put their gifts and talents at the service of the challenges faced in our world and Church. New novices spend extended periods in prayer while assisting second-year novices in their apostolic engagement with the local community. First Probation culminated in a three-day silent retreat.

The five first-year novices join seven second-year novices at the novitiate, along with Novice Director Fr. Drew Kirschman, SJ, and Fr. Hanh Pham, SJ, assistant to the novice director.

Meet the five incoming novices of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province:

Gus Hardy, nSJ
Gus Hardy, nSJ

Gus Hardy, 28, is from Aurora, Colo., where he taught theology at Regis Jesuit High School. Born in Japan, he  grew up in Berkeley, Calif., where he was received into the Catholic Church in 2012. Gus holds a bachelor’s and master’s in theology from Santa Clara University and Boston College, respectively. His formative travel includes time in the Philippines, Rome, Brazil and the Holy Land, which shaped both his education and his vocational discernment. Gus lived his faith through service to the homeless as a Jesuit Volunteer in Montana. He enjoys swimming, cooking and hiking.

Will Hayes, nSJ
Will Hayes, nSJ

Will Hayes, 30, is from Denton, Texas, and graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in May 2022. He is a mock trial national champion and worked as a law clerk dealing with human trafficking. Will earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M University, then attended the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. He went on to study theology at The Catholic University of America. An Eagle Scout, Will enjoys backpacking, kayaking, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Hai Nguyen, nSJ
Hai Nguyen, nSJ

Hai Nguyen, 30, is from Fort Worth, Texas. He was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and came to the United States at age 13. He later earned a bachelor’s in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. Hai continued his studies at St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, La., and assisted with youth ministry at Our Lady of Fatima Parish. He has been involved with the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement for many years. In his spare time, Hai enjoys designing houses and furniture, drawing and painting, and reading theology. He participated in Three Weeks a Jesuit last summer.

John Nuttli, nSJ
John Nuttli, nSJ

John Nuttli, 23, hails from New Orleans. He graduated from Jesuit High School of New Orleans, where he was a member of the Sodality, National Honor Society and the tennis team. John also participated in campus ministry, peer support and choir, and recently received his bachelor’s in political economy from Tulane University. While attending Tulane, he was an active member of the Catholic Center, belonging to the pro-life club and the student leadership team. His interests include reading and writing poetry, studying languages and literature and conversations with friends.

Reed Proctor, nSJ
Reed Proctor, nSJ

Reed Proctor, 23, is from Grapevine, Texas. He graduated from Nolan Catholic High School, where he was in the jazz, marching and concert bands, as well as the choir. He was also involved in musical theater and served as a Kairos leader. Reed later attended St. Joseph Seminary College and, in May of this year, completed a degree in philosophy from Holy Apostles College & Seminary. His pastimes include singing, hiking, rock climbing and playing guitar, bass guitar and drums. He also enjoys deep conversations.

Please keep the novitiate community in your prayers as they continue to discern their vocations.

If you think God is calling you to a life of service as a Jesuit, you can learn more about the Jesuit vocation at www.BeAJesuit.org.

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