Friday, January 18, 2008

Lay of the Land

I have arrived in Sydney! I got in yesterday at 7:30am, after an uneventful 8-hour flight from Hong Kong. One of the other tertians, an American named Michael Gilson, was there to pick me up and we took a one-hour train ride from the airport back to our new home, Canisius College, in Pymble, which is outside Sydney.

Let me give you the lay of the land. Canisius College consists of a set of buildings one and two stories tall that contains within them four different communities and ministries. There's the tertianship program, which involves this year 11 guys like me from around the world, a director and an assistant director (who also serves as rector of the community as a whole). There's a novitiate -- the two-year program that Jesuits do when they first the Society (mine was in St. Paul, Minnesota). That program includes one second year novice, who is about to take his first vows, two first years, and I understand three guys who will come soon to begin the program, as well as their novice master and perhaps other staff. There's a retirement community for the Jesuits of the Sydney area, in which reside 8 men currently. And on top of all this there is a retreat house and staff for that ministry. All total I'd guess there are something like 20-25 men living here, but for now it's just a guess.

So why is it called a college, you ask? Well, it turns out that until 1969 this was the site of a theologate -- a site where Jesuits would go to study theology in preparation for their ordination to the priesthood. (Mine was in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology).

Everyone here has been most welcoming. I've spent my time meeting people, wandering the property and sleeping. We start our program Monday night.

My Hong Kong posts are coming.