Peter O'Sullivan SJ
My name is Peter O’Sullivan, I’m from Farnham in Surrey and I am a Jesuit scholastic. I have just come back from Regis College in Toronto, Canada where I studied philosophy and I am now preparing for Regency, a type of work placement, in the UK.
Simply, I became a Jesuit because I want to change the world. I wanted to become a priest at university when I decided that if I was going to change the world, then it could not be a 9 to 5 job, it had to take up all of my time. As a priest is a lifelong vocation, more so than a career, I realised that I was going to need some help doing it (who better to help than God?), so I decided that being a priest was the right thing to do. In addition, I was studying the history of Greece at university and I wanted to see the country. After spending two years there teaching English, I met a priest, not a Jesuit, but someone who travelled vast distances just to say Mass for very small congregations. I realised that to get people into church, more work had to be done outside of the church building to get people in. It was when I returned to the UK that I felt that the Jesuits fitted this idea of working for the people in the church. I contacted the vocations director, and after about a year of discernment, for both of us, I joined the Jesuits.
People who join the Jesuits begin as novices for two years. As a novice in Birmingham I worked in a community for disabled people, walked across northern Spain begging for food and lodgings for a month, worked in the Jesuit school, an ecumenical chapel in Brussels and taught English to asylum seekers. After my time as a novice, I went to Toronto to study philosophy. Whilst there I helped in St Basil's Parish Church in a food ministry for the homeless, something I found to be an eye opening and important experience.