Sept. 8, 2023 – The Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province on Aug. 19, 2023, welcomed seven men to the Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka, temporarily located in Culver City, California. Over the next two years, they will learn about the Society of Jesus and deepen their relationship with Jesus. A mix of prayer, apostolic service, community life and studies of Jesuit primary documents and the Society of Jesus’ contemporary mission will help each novice discern how the Lord calls him to live his life generously.
For the first two weeks of their novitiate experience (called first probation), the new novices spent time learning about the Society of Jesus and getting to know one another as companions in the Lord. Novices put aside cell phones and social media to discern more clearly how to offer their gifts and talents for the service of the Church and the care for others.
New novices close this time of first probation in a three-day silent retreat led by the second-year novices in order to prepare them to fully enter the work of the novitiate.
The seven first-year novices join five 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 seven incoming novices of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province:
Paul Gillam, 22, earned bachelor’s degrees in Catholic studies and economics from Saint Louis University, where he worked in the admissions office, was a member of the Edmund Campion Society, led an a cappella group and developed a deep appreciation for Ignatian spirituality. A native of St. Louis, he graduated from St. Louis University High School, where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and a member of the pastoral and chess teams. His pastimes include reading, playing the piano, trivia and enjoying nature.
Jackson Graham, 19, is from Brandon, Florida, and graduated from Jesuit High School in Tampa, where he participated in peer ministry, the Pro-Life Club and the Agmen Christi service club. Jackson studied at Loyola University New Orleans, where he was active in the Catholic studies program, the Marian Sodality and Wolf Pack for Life. Jackson’s decision to join the Society was influenced by his Jesuit education, where he saw the care and intentionality behind each Jesuit he encountered. His interests include painting, fishing and playing cards.
Corey Jackson, 32, entered the Catholic Church in 2020 at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham, Alabama, where he taught in parish education programs and was a young adult ministry leader. He was also active in civic organizations in the Birmingham area. Originally from Decatur, Alabama, he graduated from Liberty University in 2016, then worked as a credit officer for a local bank. Corey enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, cycling, creative writing, cooking, film and retreat ministry.
Thomas Laughlin, 28, graduated from St. Louis University High School and earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and social entrepreneurship from Creighton University. During college, Thomas participated in campus retreats and the Ignatian Wisdom Group. He worked as a human resource specialist for the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Nebraska, and with parks and recreation for the city of Overland Park, Kansas. Tom enjoys talking with friends, playing the guitar and watching Creighton basketball, Nebraska football and the Kansas City Chiefs. He is from Mission, Kansas.
Robert MacArthur, 40, served as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force before earning his dental degree and a master’s degree in public health from A.T. Still University. Robert worked as a public health dentist in Alaska, opened a private practice in the Aleutian Islands and participated in dental service trips. He earned bachelor’s degrees in biomedical engineering and theological studies from Saint Louis University, where he was a cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Originally from Columbia, Tennessee, he enjoys yoga, gardening and retreats.
Trinidad Raj Molina, 31, worked for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri), founding its Immigrant and Refugee Ministry and organizing the Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation program. He lived at Jerusalem Farm, a Catholic intentional community in Kansas City, and wrote a book on global migration. Originally from Lenexa, Kansas, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Spanish from Rockhurst University, studying abroad in El Salvador and Jordan. Trinidad Raj’s interests include writing, martial arts and enjoying good food with friends.
Viet Sy Vu, 35, first became acquainted with the Jesuits while attending Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He interrupted his education to move with family members to the United States, settling in Texas. Soon after, he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Houston and worked as a revenue accountant for two oil and gas companies. Viet was an active member of Our Lady of Lavang Catholic Church in Houston. He enjoys playing the piano, soccer and fishing.
Please keep these men and the novitiate community in your prayers as they continue to discern their vocations.
Think you might be called to life as a Jesuit? Visit www.BeAJesuit.org to learn more about.