On a cold, rainy evening in the Christian Brothers Centre in Stellenbosch, the Cape Town Tertianship was officially opened. Sadly because of a visa problem, the JCAM President, Fr. Orobator was unable to be with us to do the honours. The Regional Superior, Fr. David Rowan, stood in for him.
Fr. Rowan presided at an evening Mass, which was attended by the seven tertians who had arrived, the tertian instructor and his assistant, the Cape Town local Jesuit community and Br. Terry Dowling, the director of the Centre.
Apart from welcoming the pioneer tertians to the beginning of this new tertianship, Fr. Rowan pointed out that they are not the first tertians in South Africa. That honour belonged to those who attended the tertianship set up at the Jesuit formation houses in Dunbrody (in the Eastern Cape near
Port Elizabeth) by the pioneering Jesuits of the Zambesi Mission in 1884. However, the tertianship part of Dunbrody closed its doors after a few years, Dunbrody itself in 1934.
In his homily Fr. Rowan stressed that in a world of instant-this and instant-that, there is nothing instant about Jesuit formation. Rather it is a process of spiritual, academic and pastoral formation which tertianship brings to a close. As St. Ignatius wrote in the Constitutions, it is a time to return to the ‘school of the heart,’ a return to the spiritual and affective sources that nourished and formed their Jesuit vocation.
Stellenbosch is a famous wine-growing area of South Africa. After the Mass Father Rowan introduced the tertians and visitors to the culture of wine-drinking. With two South African white wines and two red wines, all enjoyed a wine-tasting experience. A whole new vocabulary was taught as the gathered community sampled a balon of chardonnay (a gentle wine), a cabernet blanc (smell the strawberry bouquet), a pinot noir (taste the coffee especially after gusto reverto), and a cabernet sauvignon (the queen of wines).
After the inculturation experience for Stellenbosch, all continued to enjoy each other’s company over a meal with other drinks available. And so began the first tertianship in Southern Africa after 130 years.
Jim McGloin, S.J.