Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ

Ministry Location, Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado, St. Paul, Minn.
Entered the Society in August 1993
Ordained in June 2003

When I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1978,  my three goals in life were to head up a newsroom, have a nice place to  live, and to be able to travel. By 1991, I was heading up the newsroom of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, IA, an 80,000-circulation daily covering Eastern Iowa, living along a local golf course, and each year traveling overseas. I had reached my goals by 35, and I wondered whether I saw myself doing this for another 30 years? I did not. I enjoyed journalism and my co-workers a lot, but I did not like how my newspaper career consumed all of my time and energy. Other parts of my life — family, friends, and faith — began to dwindle in importance and attention, and I didn’t like it and wanted to change it.

Over the next two years, with spiritual direction from my parish priest, I became more certain that religious life would aid me most in encouraging the balance of the personal, professional and spiritual parts of my life. When it came to choosing what kind of religious or priestly life to follow, I was fortunate to have as a resource my older brother, Tom. He had entered the Society of Jesus in 1985 after working in business, and through him the benefits of the Jesuit formation process became known to me from a distance. I liked what I saw. When I sought his advice, he simply asked, “Are you running away from something or toward something?” With the benefit of spiritual direction, I could answer that I was moving toward God’s call.

“…we share a common love of Christ that on our best days overpowers differences, obstacles, mistakes, or weaknesses that get in the way…”

The Jesuits inspire men to take a good look at ourselves, acknowledge the gifts and skills that God has given us, and develop our talents — whatever they are — to the fullest so that our lives can be used for the greater glory of God. We are not a group of uniform, like-minded men; we instead share a common love of Christ that, on our best days, overpowers differences, obstacles, mistakes, or weaknesses that get in the way. We’re companions of Christ, and we go where He goes.

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