News
I am excited by the deepening partnership between the Jesuits of the Midwest and of Eastern Africa. We are together, and we are much better for it.
A Heart on Fire:
Michael Rossmann, SJ


By Michael Rossmann, SJ

August 28, 2013 - Alumni of Jesuit high schools probably remember jack-of-all-trades Jesuit regents. “Regency” is the stage of Jesuit formation in between philosophy and theology studies and is an opportunity for a Jesuit-in-training to spend a few years working in some capacity, usually by doing a million and one things at a Jesuit school.

In many ways, my experience of regency is very typical. I teach four different subjects, coach basketball, give retreats, and moderate several clubs at the Jesuit high school where I work.

In other ways, however, my experience of regency is quite distinctive. I'm teaching at Loyola, an extremely common name for a Jesuit school, though this Loyola is in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Jesuit provinces of the Midwest and the Jesuits of Eastern Africa have “twinned” or partnered for the past few decades by sharing resources, men, and best practices, and my own work continues this deepening relationship.

While the names, faces, and backgrounds might be different, the same Jesuit identity and shared experience unite my community members in this Jesuit province that includes six different countries. I'm just as often inspired by brother Jesuits here as I am back home.
 
Many experiences teaching at a high school here have also revealed how teenagers around the world deal with many of the same issues; concerns about fitting in are probably universal, for example.

Still, my time here has also been filled with what I call my “Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore” moments.

In the middle of teaching my Catholic religion class, the call to prayer often echoes from one of the neighborhood mosques. A student confessed on a morality exam his addiction to eating octopus, a popular street food here on the coast of the Indian Ocean. A Muslim co-worker was the first person to send me a congratulatory text message on the new Jesuit pope.

My students here demonstrate respect and eagerness to learn that may not be as evident in many American schools, though I also have 500 students, which means 500 exams to grade at the end of each semester and 500 parents to meet at marathon parent-teacher conferences.

Of course, it's difficult to miss the important moments of my family and friends while away and uncomfortable to deal with a climate and diseases that are different from home, but I have also discovered a broader sense of home and unity.

An extremely common expression here in both Swahili and English is “we are together.” Rarely is the phrase followed by anything else. It's not “we are together in order to finish some business” but simply “we are together.”  Being together is the purpose and not some means to an end.

I will eventually return to familiar comforts in the U.S. but am excited by the deepening partnership between the Jesuits of the Midwest and of Eastern Africa. We are together, and we are much better for it.



Michael Rossmann, SJ,
an Iowa native, joined the Jesuits in 2007 just after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. After studying abroad in East Africa during college, he now teaches at Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - a dream assignment. 


To read more Heart on Fire profiles, click here.








Recent News

June 4, 2019 — All 85 graduates will be continuing on with higher education—and all are the first generation in their family to do so.

May 29, 2019 — Cristo Rey alum Cesar Muñoz ('07) has been named the founding principal for Cristo Rey Miami High School.

May 22, 2019 — If Jacob Zelinski's learned anything in his experiences with heartbreak, it’s that you can’t have it all, but you can have songs at sunset that remind you of your brother.

May 14, 2019 — Arrupe College celebrates the success of its first graduating class completing their bachelor’s degrees.

May 6, 2019 - When I was in the third grade at a Catholic primary school in suburban Maryland, I happened upon a book about St. Isaac Jogues, the 17th century Jesuit missionary, getting flogged, flayed, and having his fingers chewed off on a mission to “New France.” At the time I couldn’t for the life of me understand why someone would choose to go through such an ordeal! Fast forward twenty-some years later, and I am a Jesuit brother living with Jesuits from India, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Wisconsin.

May 6, 2019 — The author found an unexpected encounter with grace when he attended Mass celebrated by Fr. Larry Gillick, SJ.

May 1, 2019 — Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, recently gave a speech about the collaboration between Jesuits with the laity.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2019

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2018

Jesuits Summer 2018



Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.