Our weekly series of twenty part-serious part-silly questions designed to allow you to ‘Get To Know The Novices begins…
1. Name, Age and Province
My name is Christopher, I’m 27 years old and I’m from the British Province.
- What do you like most about life in the novitiate?
We have a range of tasks that we alternate (from singing Morning Prayer to choosing the weekly film or cooking the Saturday dinner). I really like these occasions as they are great chances to learn about each other, our tastes, our backgrounds and our interests. I’m also really enjoying the conferences as I’ve learnt lots about the Society and already felt my faith deepen as a result.
- What is your favourite room or place in the Novitiate house?
It’s perhaps an obvious answer but the chapel. It’s beautifully decorated with some meaningful sculptures and artwork which I often get lost in.
- How do you tend to spend your Villa Day (our free Saturdays)?
I tend to head into the centre of Birmingham and explore the city a little. I love wandering aimlessly around the vibrant Bull Ring Markets and just watch everyday normal life unfold around me.
- Who in the novitiate makes you laugh the most?
I shouldn’t admit to this and I hope he doesn’t read this but it’s probably Mick, our Minister. He has a reputation for telling really bad jokes and puns, but I have to admit that I find them quite funny! I’m sure I’m one of the only ones…
- What is your favourite ‘indoor works’ task?
Cleaning the dining room – it takes a while but you can do it with the radio on!
- What was your favourite subject in school?
After PE I presume?? Either History or English. I didn’t really care for the mathematical or scientific subjects.
- What was your first job?
I worked in a fast-food shop selling sandwiches for a few months after University. It was great as I could get-up late in time for the lunchtime rush and I got to take home any left-over stock. I don’t think I had to visit the supermarket while I worked there!
- How many languages do you speak?
Two and a bit: English, French and a tiny bit of Wolof.
- Where is the most beautiful place you have visited?
Most recently it would be Ohrid, a beautiful lakeside town in Macedonia. It was idyllic eating fresh seafood in the sun and then jumping into the azure lake for a swim afterwards.
- What is your favourite book and your favourite film?
Book: It’s so difficult to pick one so I’ll go for something I read fairly recently: The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski. It’s an enthralling account of a Polish journalist covering the African continent.
Film: I always love a film with a good soundtrack so I’ll say Searching for Sugarman. It’s a heart-warming documentary about a little-known soulful singer. I’ll say no more so as not to spoil it – if you haven’t seen it, you need to…
- What is your favourite sport to play or watch?
Football. I’ll admit to finding the modern commercialised Premier League, and particularly my own team (Newcastle United) pretty repulsive at the moment, but it is still ‘the beautiful game’ and the most infectious sport to play and watch, particularly at a local level.
I’ve recently ‘got into’ running, having committed to run the London Marathon next year. It’s great to push myself physically and has a good impact on every aspect of my life. Please visit my fundraising site, read about my story and donate to Jesuit Missions:
- Give us a favourite quote:
‘I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence: / Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – / I took the one less travelled by, / And that has made all the difference.’ (‘The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost)
- What is the best live music event you have been to?
I like quite an eclectic mix of music. While living in Senegal I had the fortune of seeing local legend Youssou N’Dour live, which was fantastic. Even better was Carlou D, a young pretender to Ndour’s crown, who I saw in Dakar in 2014.
- If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
With honourable mentions to both Chicken Tikka Masala and Fish and Chips, I’m going to go for Thieboudienne. Again this comes from my time in Senegal; it’s the national dish of fresh fish on a bed of spiced rice, surrounded by a range of juicy vegetables. “Deffa nieknah!” (It’s delicious)
- If you could witness any historical event what would it be?
This is where my inner-history-nerd springs out: I would have loved to have been present at the deathbed of Edward the Confessor in 1066 to see whether he did indeed promise the English throne to Harold Godwinson or whether he really intended William the Conqueror to succeed him. It would be a good way of finding out the truth behind 1066 and the Battle of Hastings. I’m sure there are millions of better answers to give but as someone who spent weeks writing an essay on the succession crisis (and coming to no clear answer), this is one mystery I’d love to clear up.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to fly – the panoramic views and the ability to avoid the traffic in Birmingham is just too good a power to refuse!
- If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
In the past it probably said ‘Warning: Can react badly to football matches’. Now I think it would read: ‘I’m cooking for 18 people: Danger of death’
- Who is the most intelligent person you know?
I won’t name him but one of the guys in the novitiate has been informally nicknamed ‘the oracle’ – his knowledge is absolutely incredible. I think I’ll go for my Dad though, just because he’s shared so much wisdom with me and I’ve probably learnt more from him than anyone else.
- If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?
Hmmm… a very difficult question. I’m tempted by Jerome but there’s no way I’m cool enough for it. I’ll go for Paul, since that was the result of a name change of biblical proportions! Plus it’s a bit less conspicuous and less clichéd than choosing ‘Ignatius’!