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Tuesday, August 4, 2009


When things got a little tough for me in my early years as a Jesuit, my friend "Dutch," (above, right, vesting me at my ordination) an older Jesuit priest, could always be counted on to provide a listening ear, and words of affirmation. Recently the New Orleans Times-Picayune ran a story about him:

Jesuit priest shares stories of a lifetime

Sunday, July 26, 2009

By Sarah Druen

. . . Why write about the Jesuit experience? The short answer is because I recently had the great privilege of becoming acquainted with a group of retired Jesuits who live in Algiers at the Ignatius Residence, located at 6321 Stratford Place.

In particular, after visiting with 83-year-old the Rev. Tom "Dutch" Jenniskens, I was inspired by his reflections and remembrances and given his blessing to share these various gems with you, our eager readers.

Jenniskens may never have become a Jesuit or served at Jesuit High had it not been for his own father's acts of courage and unselfishness. In answering Monsignor Peter Wynhoven's plea to assist in the staffing at Hope Haven, Jennisken's father relocated from Holland to Marrero, serving as a lay missionary.

Initially, the greatest need was in getting the dairy started and following the enlistment of the Salesians, the focus shifted toward working with the needs of the boys.

In 1945, the young Jenniskens, who had graduated from Jesuit High in 1943, was confronted with one of the most important and difficult decisions of his life. The U.S. was in the middle of World War II and Jenniskens knew without a doubt that he had a vocation to the priesthood. Although Jenniskens' brother, Peter, chose to become an archdiocesan priest, Jenniskens knew his call was to become a Jesuit, yet he was torn because of a desire to contribute to the war effort.

Ultimately, Jenniskens chose to serve his country by pursuing his religious vocation. To this day, Jenniskens recalls not only his frame of mind, but his exact location when he made his final decision. While sitting up in one of the windows, by the fish pond, Jenniskens received the grace of conviction, stating, "I knew this was where I belonged and I never looked back." . . .

You can read the whole story here.