News
Bryan accompanies a group of Xavier students to the annual March for Life in Washington D.C.

Support the Midwest Jesuits

Send a message of encouragement to
Bryan Norton, SJ

Not a subscriber?
Stay connected with
our e-newsletters



Suddenly something clicked, and I found myself overwhelmed by the magnitude of Jesuit life and mission
A Heart on Fire: Bryan Y. Norton, SJ

A Vocation Reflection

By Bryan Y. Norton, SJ

Everyone knows that the best views in St. Louis come from the top of the Gateway Arch, that iconic portal to the West. The most important vista for me, though, came into focus from the fifteenth floor loft of Jesuit Hall, the main residence at Saint Louis University (SLU). I’ll always remember passing through there on a trip as a senior undergraduate at Williams College (2007). At the time, I was in the thick of my vocational discernment, still very much going back and forth between marriage on the one hand and diocesan or religious life on the other. 

On my short overnight stay, I rendezvoused with a dear Jesuit mentor, who had taken me under his wing during my junior year abroad at Oxford University. I’ll never forget what he told me there as we looked out upon the horizon: Bryan, he said, this–sweeping his hand across the vast expanse of the city’s dappled landscape—this is my vineyard, this is my parish. Suddenly something clicked, and I found myself overwhelmed by the magnitude of Jesuit life and mission. In that beloved Jesuit’s  joyful example of priestly ministry—teaching and preaching and giving retreats and saying Masses and hearing confessions and doing baptisms all throughout the city—in all of this, my heart swelled with holy longings for the Lord’s service. I entered the novitiate in the fall of 2008.

Nearly a decade after that fateful St. Louis sunset, I am humbled and overjoyed to find myself as a Jesuit regent in full time ministry at Xavier University. Providentially, the path that led me here ran through St. Louis of all places. Upon taking our perpetual religious vows in August of 2010, I completed two years of philosophy and theology studies at SLU (2010–2012)—only to head down the road a few miles for a master’s in classics from Washington University (2012–2014). Now, as a “Visiting Instructor in Classics” at Xavier, I teach Latin and Greek language and literature to undergraduate students. People often ask me, “Why Latin and Greek? Aren’t those dead languages?” Well, since my high school days at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland (1999–2003), they have deeply animated my mind and formed my heart, ever beckoning me to what is good, true, and beautiful. The study of these ancient cultures has helped teach me what it means to be human. In so doing, the classics have made me a better disciple of Jesus Christ, preparing me to hear and follow the Lord’s call as a Jesuit. 

Now, as a regent, I get to pass on this precious gift that I myself received from the Society. My mission certainly begins in the classroom, with all the exacting rigors of ancient languages—those pesky declensional endings and shifty verbal tenses! But it continues outside of class in every interaction that I have with students. Whether at Mass or in the dining hall, on a camping retreat or a pro-life march in our nation’s capital, Christ is present and at work: forming the students, forming me, drawing us together in His love. As I look forward to the start of a new academic year, I simply marvel at the expansiveness, the fruitfulness, of the Lord’s vineyard here at Xavier. It reminds me so much of that St. Louis sunset and fills me with profound gratitude for my life in the Society.



Read more vocation reflections by young Jesuits
.

Learn about the stages of Jesuit formation and a vocation with the Jesuits.





Recent News

August 21, 2018 – As we reckon with the Grand Jury report on sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania and the failures of bishops to protect the children entrusted to their care, our hearts and prayers—first and foremost—are with the victim-survivors.

January 21, 2019 — In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are 31 of his inspirational quotes to help us remember the power of a vision and give us the courage to act upon our own dreams.

January 18, 2019 — Former college president brings extensive experience and commitment to innovative education models.

January 17, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Eugene F. Merz, SJ, who was called to eternal life on January 16, 2019, around 5:30 a.m. Gene died at Zilber Hospice in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was eighty-seven years old, a Jesuit for seventy years, and a priest for fifty-seven years.

January 16, 2019 — It was a homecoming fifty years in the making. In 2016, Fr. Casey Bukala, SJ, moved to the Colombiere Center near Detroit, where elder Jesuits live in community, receive the healthcare they need, and pray for the Church and the Society. It was not Fr. Bukala’s first time at Colombiere, however.

January 9, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. John “Jack” R. Crocker, SJ, who died on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2018

Jesuits Summer 2018

Jesuits Spring 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.