Thomas Bambrick, SJ is a 2nd year student in
First Studies at Fordham University in New York City. He is a Chicago native
who attended Loyola Academy, graduated in 2003 from Middlebury College in
Vermont, and taught for several years at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in
Chicago before joining the Jesuits in August 2010.
Thomas Bambrick poses with his parents at
St. Thomas More in St. Paul, MN, where he pronounced First Vows in the Society of Jesus
on August 11, 2012.
As Jesuits, we commit to go wherever we are sent
to fulfill with joy and love the mission entrusted to us. During my two years
in the novitiate in St. Paul, I learned over and over again to offer myself to
God in prayer, in the words of Jesus, “Father, not my will but yours be done.”
Since by myself I have a very limited perspective and foresight, I rely on my
superiors to listen to how the Spirit is moving in my prayer, to take into
account the bigger picture that I cannot see, and to help me discern how I can
be formed and prepared most fully to live out my vocation. This process led to
my being sent to New York City for First Studies.
I have to admit: as I was committing myself to this life and imagining all the
wonderful things I want to do for God, I was certainly not dreaming about
studying philosophy...far from it. I long to spend my life serving and loving
others as a Jesuit and as a priest. So why am I studying philosophy?
Studying philosophy is not only a practical requirement for ordination to the
priesthood; it also allows me to wrestle with the difficult questions about
life, understanding, relationships, and God, with which all sorts of people
struggle, especially in our contemporary world. I am gaining knowledge and
tools that are helping me grow personally and that will help me serve others
better in the future. And, thanks to generous donors who support my formation,
I have this great opportunity. What an amazing gift!
As a Jesuit from the Midwest, I have a unique opportunity to spend three years
in New York City studying philosophy (and a little theology), living in
community with Jesuit scholastics from across the country, serving part-time as
a chaplain at a hospital in the Bronx, and meeting wonderful and inspiring
people. I can go from an afternoon philosophy class, discussing how people in a
postmodern world speak about and imagine God, to Mass and dinner with my Jesuit
community, to an evening of Bible study and conversations about peacemaking
with Catholic Workers in the city. I come to God in prayer every day with
gratitude for this vocation and for this time of formation. These years of
First Studies are exposing me to various ideas, communities, and experiences,
and they are forming me to be the person God is calling me to be as a Jesuit,
ready to go anywhere to love and serve others.