By Celine Klosterman
A couple times before Andrew Hanson entered the Jesuit novitiate in August, people mentioned the priesthood to him, but he always wrote the idea off. “I was determined to have a family and live a ‘normal’ life,” the 25-year-old said.
But while serving in the Dominican Republic through the Peace Corps from 2009-11, the native of St. Patrick Parish in Ottumwa began to rethink his future.
“I lived a simple lifestyle in a collectivistic community, which meant that I had a lot of time to read, pray and just simply be, whether it was alone or with my community members,” he said. “The more comfortable I got with living a simple life in a poor community, the more disenchanted I became with the plans and schemes I had envisioned, my future family, and the way I viewed ‘success.’ Reading material on St. Ignatius, Ignatian spirituality, and other spiritual/faith philosophies, I realized how I was beginning to recognize God’s presence in all that was going on around me. It was clear that the movements of my heart were challenging me to explore the possibility that my deepest desire and truest fulfillment might be to serve God in the Society of Jesus.”
So after returning to Iowa, where his parents Anna and Steve now live in West Liberty, Hanson applied and was accepted as a novice for the Wisconsin Province of the Jesuits. On Aug. 25, he joined 14 other men in entering the bi-province novitiate for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin provinces in St. Paul, Minn.
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