Loyola House, a residential program which intends to begin its second year this fall, is a community of support and discernment for male Boston College students considering a vocation within the Society of Jesus. Directed by Casey Beaumier, S.J., Loyola House provides opportunities for prayer, service, contemplation, and conversation with both peers and Jesuits. Its goal is to assist residents to grow in self-knowledge, faith, friendship, and vocation. Amenities of the 50 Quincy Road location include a chapel, kitchen, dining room, and other living spaces.
In this Q&A, Fr. Beaumier discusses the mission and resources of Loyola House, and invites interested students to contact him to explore whether the Loyola House experience is right for them. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loyola House is the first of its kind at a Jesuit college or university. Why was it established at BC?
When people ask me about Loyola House I ask them: Do you love that BC is a Jesuit university? I certainly do! With all my heart, I want future students to know Jesuits and to be able to meet them. We Jesuits want to attend to the future of Boston College.
But Jesuits don’t appear out of nowhere. A Jesuit vocation, especially today, needs encouragement – it’s living and it’s fragile. It needs light and oxygen and nourishment. We want to do all that we can to support our students who might be interested in becoming Jesuits, especially as there are fewer Jesuits for the future. Fostering Jesuit vocations at a great Jesuit university like Boston College makes good sense—Loyola House is the University’s way of investing in the future and it's a way for Jesuits to promote this life in an environment that might encourage others to consider what I believe to be, and have experienced as, a great way to live.
Why would you encourage students who are considering vocations to live in Loyola House?
This year, living in Loyola House has provided opportunities to meet Jesuits from all over the world and at the same time, to try out community life. The house members share in the Eucharist, cook for one another three times a week for community meals, talk about discernment, receive spiritual direction, and make a retreat every semester—all while maintaining their regular involvement in and commitments to everyday BC life. Most importantly, it provides an environment for these students to encounter one another and to grow in becoming what we Jesuits call friends in the Lord.
Looking back, would you have welcomed such a residence when you were a student?
When I was an undergraduate, I knew of one other student who was thinking of the Jesuits—and we both entered the Society because we had a marvelous friendship with a Jesuit spiritual father who encouraged us by his example. For me, the discernment was very private—only those two knew of this tiny desire brewing in my heart. I would have loved to have encountered the global Society of Jesus and to know that there were other young men thinking of the priesthood. Loyola House is absolutely innovative in this way—it is simultaneously supportive, creative, and challenging. Yet it is not a seminary nor is it a place for a young man to hide out of fear of love, conflict, or complication. It’s meant to be a place of tremendous growth and encouragement.
"A Jesuit vocation, especially today, needs encouragement—it’s living and it’s fragile. It needs light and oxygen and nourishment. We want to do all that we can to support our students who might be interested in becoming Jesuits, especially as there are fewer Jesuits for the future. Fostering Jesuit vocations at a great Jesuit university like Boston College makes good sense—Loyola House is the University’s way of investing in the future and it's a way for Jesuits to promote this life in an environment that might encourage others to consider what I believe to be, and have experienced as, a great way to live."—Casey Beaumier, S.J.
Can you share a bit about the Loyola House community.
If you ask anyone in the house, they would easily reveal that they have encountered the diversity of the Jesuits. At BC our Jesuit community is global—the world is our house! Loyola House is meant to offer a taste of that kind of encounter. And in our first year, we have had a good mix of people, starting with the other Jesuit coordinator of the house, Fr. Francisco Sassetti da Mota, a Jesuit from Portugal. The two of us are great friends and he has been an amazing presence for our students. And in this first year we have had a good showing of BC undergraduates: someone in ROTC, a pre-med student, a musician for the Liturgical Arts Group, and an ultra-marathoner. But I must say that we need more students.
Father Francisco and I offer the Candlelight Mass at Saint Joseph Chapel on Upper Campus Monday through Thursday nights at 10 p.m. Candlelight Mass is a work of Campus Ministry and Residential Life, and it is also the Loyola House Mass. We sponsor the s’Upper T Club, an undergraduate club for anyone to attend where, under the leadership of the students of Loyola, participants venture into the city of Boston and grab dinner near different T station stops –and the students get a free T-shirt designed by Sam Gray, one of the house members. We have company every week for meals and we make a retreat.
I’d love to see a house service project emerge—we definitely have a vision for moving forward in the future. But that requires greater participation. I know it’s a risk for our undergraduates to try this, but I believe we offer an alternative that is deep in possibility and meaning.
Loyola House offers a one-to-one mentoring relationship for students as well?
Jesuit scholastics from the St. Peter Faber Community serve as spiritual directors. They have been excellent. Because they are young, they have been approachable and engaging, and for all of the house, having a spiritual director has been a new experience. These one-on-one meetings are confidential, warm, and allow the men of the house to speak candidly about the movements of God in their lives—and the struggles that they face as they consider the great options of the future.
What did students who lived at Loyola House during its first year find valuable about the experience?
Here is what one student reported: ”What I've valued most about Loyola House is the opportunity to come to know so many Jesuits, young and old, and to begin to understand their calling, why they've chosen the Society, how it has fulfilled them and their desire to serve God, and how it might similarly fulfill me.”
Who is eligible for residence at Loyola House? How should interested students contact you?
E-mail me right now and let’s find a time to have a conversation. The house is meant to be a place of discernment not only for BC undergraduates—graduate students are most welcome to explore this possibility, as are those in the Boston area who are thinking of the Jesuits for their future. We work with the Northeast Province of the Jesuits so the house relates beyond the university.
I’d love to see the house grow to become part of the culture of this great Jesuit university. Loyola House is tiny, but the imprint of encouragement and influence could well have reverberations in the future that will be, in my opinion, delightful and helpful for all of our students. It’s an experiment—we are not there yet and it might not work, but for anyone who loves Boston College, it’s very much worth our continued consideration and encouragement.