Dushel Heeds the Call to Enter Society of Jesus

By Sean Angelucci ’23

Mr. Dushel joins the Jesuits! Mr. Dushel, who is currently serving as the Prep’s Director of Mission and Ministry, is leaving to join the Jesuits this summer. We wanted to learn more about the Jesuit order and becoming a Jesuit.

Hawkeye: Why did you decide to become a Jesuit?

Dushel: “When I was in high school I actually thought about becoming a priest and became a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I was studying to become a priest for my first three years of college. I decided at that time that it was not right for me so I left the seminary, finished college, and started working. I felt there was something missing in my life and still felt called to work for the Church in some way so I started studying theology at Boston College. That’s where I met the Jesuits and spent a lot of time with people from other religious orders like the Benedictines. It was amazing to be surrounded by people that were all studying different aspects of theology or for the priesthood. I also met an amazing group of lay colleagues that were passionate about their faith and wanted to serve the Church in their own ways. It opened me up to the breadth and depth of our Church. That was definitely where I felt called and really excited about the opportunities and things that I’d be able to do at BC.

After I finished grad school, I ended up at the Prep working as a campus minister and I’ve really loved my time here. The more I learned about Ignatian Spirituality and what it means to be a Jesuit, I found that it really resonates with my own spirituality. It’s deepened my relationship with Jesus and the wider universal Church throughout the world. It’s helped me better understand what God is calling me to with my life and how to listen for God’s call in the midst of my day-to-day life and not just in the midst of grand things. I’ve always kind of thought that listening to God’s call was sort of a one-time big event. But Ignatian Spirituality, especially with the examen and seeking to find God in all things, has made me seek more of where God is speaking to me all the time. As I started to pray the examen regularly, the thought of becoming a Jesuit started to come up more and more. It got to a point where I couldn’t ignore that call so I started the process of intentionally discerning if I was meant to be a Jesuit. The answer kept coming back that I should keep looking more into it and think about it more seriously and so eventually I applied and will be entering the Society of Jesus in August.”

What do you admire most about the Jesuit philosophy?

“I really appreciate being contemplatives in action. I love the intellectual tradition of the Church. I loved studying philosophy in college and theology in grad school. Most of the books I read in my spare time are pretty academic. I really enjoy that side of our faith, but I’m also very active. In high school the thing that was most exciting to me was going on service trips with my youth group. The idea of being a professor wasn’t right for me because I didn’t feel like I would really be doing the kind of ministry where I could make the most impact. Sometimes it felt like I had to choose between theology or ministry, but I loved that the Jesuit’s mission is to be both. Our work is all in the service of actively trying to help people, their relationship with God and their work for justice.”

What advice would you give to anyone discerning a vocation to the Jesuits?

“I would say that it’s not as ridiculous or crazy an idea as you might think. Ged calls everyone to love and to serve as best they can. For some of us, the best way to do that is as a Jesuit. It helped me to think very practically and ask myself questions like, how do you even become a Jesuit? Is it right for me? Who can I ask for help to learn more? Ultimately, it’s just like choosing a major or deciding to apply for any kind of job. How do you become a sports-writer, how do you become a doctor, a teacher? You give it a try. So I would say that the first step is to not be afraid of giving discernment a try. It’s okay if the answer ends up becoming no. People switch their majors all the time. There is no harm in that and it’s always a good thing to learn about yourself. Be open to the idea that God might have a greater plan for your life than you probably do for yourself. And God’s plan leads to extraordinary love. If it is something you think that you would at least find a tad bit interesting, take that seriously and look at it. Fear and apprehension keep a lot of people from becoming their fullest self because they think something might not be possible for them without giving it serious thought.”

This article is reprinted from the May 24 issue of The Hawkeye Student Newspaper with the permission of the paper and the author.