Five novices of the Society of Jesus moved to Krakow to begin three-year philosophical studies at the Ignatianum Uniwersity. Philosophical studies are the next stage of formation, which follows the two-year novitiate period and taking monastic vows. This time, first-year scholastics form an international team, which consists of two Poles, two Ukrainians and a Russian. Get to know the inspiring stories of  their lives and vocations that they told us themselves.

My name is Bakhtier Alimov. I come from Russia and was born in Moscow in 1992. My mother has distant Polish roots, and my father is a Muslim from the Turkish-speaking countries of Central Asia. My second birth took place on Holy Saturday in 2008, when I was baptized in one of the then two Catholic churches in the Russian capital. If I could live my life a thousand times and in a thousand ways, and in each of them Christ came to me, I would always answer: „This time, too, I will follow you.” When God proposed the monastic path to me, although I felt surprised, I had no doubts. If I could sum up what my relationship with God has taught me in one sentence, it would be: total trust. I am an orientalist who is passionate about the culture, history and art of the peoples of the East, especially India and Japan. I am well versed in music, history and traveling to the most unusual places.

My name is Szymon Dębczyński. I am 28 years old and I come from Włocławek, Poland. I am a hairdresser by profession. Before joining the Society of Jesus, I studied geology in Poznań. I wrote my bachelor’s thesis on Precambrian paleogeography, i.e. continental migration, and my master’s thesis on komatiites – one of the oldest rocks in the world.

After graduating, I entered the Major Seminary in Włocławek. During Lent, Father Józef Augustyn SJ led retreats for seminarians. He was the first Jesuit I had the opportunity to meet. He made a great impression on me. After leaving the seminary, I decided to enter the Jesuit novitiate in Gdynia. After two years, I made vows in the Society of Jesus and went to Krakow to study philosophy.

I am Bohdan Melnytskyi. I was born 26 years ago in Khmelnytsky, Ukraine.

There was a time in my childhood when I had a great desire to serve God deep in my heart. During high school, I began to distance myself from the Church, explaining to myself that God was simply with me, and I had to take care of many professional and personal responsibilities. Already during high school, I worked as a hip-hop and break dance coach (everyone asks if I like dancing. I immediately answer: no, I worked for money). During my teacher studies, I ran my own school, having everything. I lived for myself. Over time, I realized that something was wrong, that this was not what human life was about.

What’s missing when you have everything?

After making a kind of Examination of Conscience of my entire conscious life, I rediscovered my vocation and Christianity as an invitation to a deep relationship with Christ. After a long discernment, reading fragments of the Autobiography of St. Ignatius and after making retreats several times, including spiritual exercises, I decided to join the Society of Jesus.

In 2021, I entered the Novitiate in Gdynia. After two years with a wealth of beautiful, sometimes difficult experiences, I made my perpetual vows. In October I start my Philosophy studies in Krakow…

My name is Yurii Nadra. I come from Ukraine, from the city of Ternopil. After graduating from high school and studying, I started working. The type and location of work changed from time to time. Until recently, I was involved in independent renovations of apartments and houses.

One day I was standing at my uncle’s funeral and listening to the priest’s sermon. One sentence moved me very deeply. These were the words of St. Augustine: „You created us, O God, without us, but you cannot save us without us.” While discovering Augustine, my entire ontology and perception of the world fell apart and I found something completely new.

It seemed that I had everything, but from somewhere deep inside there was an unsatisfied desire. One day, while renovating another apartment, the thought occurred to me: Should I let God satisfy my spiritual hunger?…

A former student of Polish philology who tries to describe the Extraordinary in simple words.

And also a former employee in a factory producing foams for electronics and household appliances.

Adrian Wieczorek, Jesuit – an unspectacular hero of everyday „being yourself”,

Who is delighted with the extraordinary everydayness of life.