Michael Smith SJ
My name is Michael Smith, and I became a Jesuit just over fifty years ago. Almost all my working life in the Jesuits has been with young people in one way or another – as a teacher in several schools, a year head in a boarding school, a headmaster in the Jesuit school in Wimbledon, then I worked in a youth project in London which ran retreats and other activities for groups of young people. Now at the moment i am the chaplain to the senior school at St Aloysius in Glasgow, and I'm also involved in adult education work in the parish there.
I have a degree in science and as well as teaching physics in schools I also do courses in the relationships between science and religion, and have written a few articles on that subject. I keep my interest in science going by reading, and by occasionally tinkering around with electronic things (I specialised in electronics and optical systems at university).
I've enjoyed all my work in the Jesuits. My present job as a school chaplain is especially interesting, as I'm involved with the life of the school, being part of their extensive retreat programme, organising prayer groups and various liturgies, and best of all – no marking!
I never thought of becoming a Jesuit until my last year at school, when I suddenly started to think about it the Christmas before I left. I went to see my uncle – who was a priest – and he advised that the only way for me to find out for sure if God is calling me to be a Jesuit is to join and see. After I'd spoken to him I was on my way home, and standing on Earl's Court station in London – and I can still remember exactly where I was on the platform – I decided to give it a try. Then the train came in: it was the start of a lifetime's journey. Sometimes it's been tough, and the work has often been hard, but I can say I've been really happy being a Jesuit.