[quote="Gavinn, post:8, topic:283324"]
As a Jesuit candidate, I can tell you that you'll encounter a fair amount of uninformed, venomous tripe put forth about the society- on this forum in particular, for some reason. As in any group, there are individuals with unorthodox views on certain issues. I believe you will find that in most cases of people urging against considering a Jesuit vocation, somewhere along the line they just heard something they don't agree with, or that is contrary to "traditional" church teachings, and then lazily use that as an excuse to paint the entire order as unorthodox.
If you feel any pull towards religious life rather than a diocesan life, I would strongly urge you to contact a vocation director for one of the Jesuit provinces. They'll meet with you and answer any questions you have, provide reading materials on Ignatian spirituality and the order itself, and begin connecting you with the "Jesuit world" if you are interested in learning more. There's a never-ending list of pilgrimages, retreats, meetings and events you can attend.
I'm only a few months into the discernment period before I apply to the society, but I've already gone on pilgrimage, taken a retreat and visited several Jesuit universities. I've stayed in Jesuit communities. I've met dozens of Jesuit novices, scholastics, brothers and priests. I've joined them for meals, prayer and mass on different occasions. This summer I will join them as the novices profess their first vows, and again for ordinations.
Whether or not I end up joining, even just this short period of time has been a fantastic, life-changing experience. I am a better person just for having met a lot of these guys- who, incidentally, are by and large the most intelligent, insightful, faithful and (dare I say?) fun-loving people I've ever met in my life.
If you don't feel comfortable contacting the Jesuits, check out one of their websites at thinkjesuit.org/. There is a lot of information there regarding the application process and the course of formation itself. Check out the videos section for some neat personal stories from the guys.
As far as reading, I would recommend two books:
God's Soldiers by Jonathan Wright
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin
The first is a pretty outstanding history of the Society, and the second is pretty much what it says- covers everything...really a fantastic read.
Feel free to shoot me a private message if you have any other questions or need more information!
Brilliantly put Mike. I would not have been able to give a better answer than that.
I will be joining the Society this year and the past one year has been very rewarding.
I worked in the missions for 2 months and spent another 7 months as preparation for my candidature. It has been a fun-filled, prayerful and rewarding experience.