Jesuit life

Get To Know The Novices part 2: Stephen

The next in our weekly series sees Stephen under the microscope…

  1. Name, Age and Province

My name is Stephen, I am 44 going on 45, and I am a member of the British Province.

  1. What do you like most about life in the novitiate?

In terms of the specific activities: outdoor works, curry night, Wednesday sports, Sunday lunch and morning prayer. But perhaps most important, the time and space we are given to push our boundaries and grow as people.

  1. What is your favourite room or place in the Novitiate house?

The chapel as the sun is rising in the morning.

  1. How do you tend to spend your Villa Day (our free Saturdays)?

A bit of window shopping in the morning, a bit of reading over lunchtime and then gym in the afternoon.


  1. Who in the novitiate makes you laugh the most?

Ken, in the senior community. He’s a constant source of stories and news.

  1. What is your favourite ‘indoor works’ task?

I wouldn’t say I particularly like any of the indoor works, but one, above all, has the potential for real horror, so I will choose that: cleaning the second floor toilets (the 2nd floor is where most of the novice bedrooms are .  .  .).

  1. What was your favourite subject in school?

History or English

  1. What was your first job?

I had a dream summer job combination of postman in the morning and window cleaner in the afternoon.

  1. How many languages do you speak?


  1. Where is the most beautiful place you have visited?

It is almost impossible to choose, but Glencoe for its haunting beauty and Luskentyre for the truly amazing beach.


  1. What is your favourite book and your favourite film?

Trainspotting (book) and Trainspotting (movie).


  1. What is your favourite sport to play or watch?

Crossfit – as I explain here .

  1. Give us a favourite quote:

Mura bhiodh dorchadas ann, ciamar a citheadh sinn reul anns an adhar. (Iain Mac a’ Ghobhainn, rough translation ‘If it wasn’t for the darkness, how would we see a star in the sky’)

  1. What is the best live music event you have been to?

None, I’m not a fan of live music at all. Best performance I’ve ever been to was Impressing the Czar by Ballet Flanders at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007 – it got me hooked on dance. Next best, and very close, was Black Watch, a phenomenal play by the National Theatre of Scotland.

  1. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?


  1. If you could witness any historical event what would it be?

Scottish independence day. It’s not happened yet, but when it does, it will be historic (and eventually historical).


  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Time travel

  1. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

Do not disturb before 8.30 am. I very much like the fact we have silence in the morning before morning prayer – it gives me the chance to wake up properly.

  1. Who is the most intelligent person you know?

I’m lucky to have worked with a lot of very smart people, and there are lots of different types of intelligence, some people have emotional intelligence, others know lots of facts, others are creative or good at problem solving, so no one person.

  1. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

“The novice formerly known as Stephen”.


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