//Adipoli (From CMI with Love)

Adipoli (From CMI with Love)

I have the privilege of having a CMI priest as a community member and a sojourner in my Ph.D journey. One evening, as we were involved in a friendly banter, I asked him, “How did you not become a Jesuit?” He smiled broadly and said, “Maybe, I met them late.” That led to a long yet fruitful conversation on his experience with the Jesuits in Loyola College, Chennai and now at XIMU, Bhubaneswar.

“I had heard that Jesuits are intellectual giants,” said Linto, “elite priests who only converse and relate with intellectuals. Such an image made me feel insecure about relating to the Jesuits throughout my religious formation. But it all changed in my second year at Loyola College. I met Fr. Anthony Prabhu, a Jesuit from Andhra Province who had enrolled to pursue his studies in our department. It was my first time having a Jesuit as one of my juniors. Though I did not mind his presence much, he took the initiative to meet me. He was lively, conversed with me on simple topics and helped me at various events, giving me a sense of companionship.”   

“He was a student like me, having no administrative powers, but he could love and treat others with respect and dignity. One day, I was walking alone towards the hostel. I suddenly heard someone calling me, “Linto, oye Linto.” It was Prabhu. He shouted from a distance, “Bro, up for Coffee at Berchman’s Illam?” Was I even allowed to enter the Jesuit Residence? Was he fooling around? I just stared at him in bewilderment.”

“Prabhu took me to Berchman’s Illam, and we had coffee. He introduced me to many Jesuits. Adipoli, we had over four mugs of coffee 🙂 Before I could leave, he invited me even to play basketball. I was thrilled. From then on, it was basketball with the Jesuit brothers and fathers. The more I interacted with them, the more it changed my perspective on Jesuits. The hospitality I enjoyed there made my stay at Loyola more comfortable and memorable. No wonder I am continuing my Ph.D studies at another Jesuit university. I believe you Jesuits have a heart as large as this world. You are magnanimous in opening your doors to “others.” I pray you continue to do so. The day you close it, maybe you are losing opportunities to inspire people like me.”

Our scholastics and priests who study at different institutions have inspired many.

One needs no power to inspire. All that is required is a heart as large as this world. I pray we keep opening our doors to our classmates and others for meaningful conversations. We might even meet potential Jesuits who later can exclaim: “Thank God I met those Jesuits early enough!”

Fr Linto Kanjuthara is a CMI priest pursuing his PhD in Communication at XIM University, Bhubaneswar. Fr Anthony Prabhu is a Jesuit of Andhra Province.