Advancing off Retreat

The nine men in the 2024 Australian Tertianship programme talk about
spiritual nourishment and what it means to their sense of self. 


This group shot, taken at Faber House in Parkville, Melbourne, shows Tertian driector Fr Steve Curtin SJ (seated, third from left) with the 2024 Tertians. Back row, from left: Hyung-wook Kim SJ, Eric Anthony Escandor SJ, Matthew Charlesworth SJ, Braulio Mendoza Dahunan SJ, Marcin Wlodarek SJ, Gregory Tan SJ. Seated extreme left: Harvey Mateo SJ, second from left: Melkyor Pando SJ and extreme right: Jae-wook Anselmus Lee SJ. All photographs: David McMahon

Fr Eric Anthony Escandor SJ 
Philippine Province 

I’ve always considered tertianship as a time of renewal and a chance to truly understand and embrace more fully the mission of the Society. The 30-day retreat at Sevenhill really nourished me, giving me the opportunity to encounter the Lord in a deeper and more profound way. Many aspects have become a lot clearer because of the experience of the retreat.  

One of the differences so far in Australia – and it surprised me – is the journey inwards. It’s not that I haven’t had those experiences before, but this is what I regard as a privileged time, enabling us to go deeper into oneself to discover and see the presence of the Lord.   

Fr Braulio Mendoza Dahunan SJ 
Philippine Province 

I’ve had time for reflection and time to connect with the Lord in prayer, especially during the 30-day retreat, which was my second time at Sevenhill. It was a very fruitful and meaningful experience and it was also very spiritually nourishing for me. Of course, I was also nourished by the place and by being exposed to the wider Society of Jesus here in Australia.  

Another important aspect is sharing this time with my fellow tertians who have come from different countries and have brought so much to my own experience here. I’ve learned a lot by listening to their experiences and their perspectives. It’s been very interesting to see what the Jesuits are doing here in Australia in their various ministries. I am very grateful for these wonderful experiences and I will carry every aspect with me when I go back to my ministry in the Philippines. I hope the sum total of these experiences will make me a better Jesuit, a better priest and a better minister.  

Fr Marcin Wlodarek SJ 
Poland South Province  

First of all I would like to acknowledge the deep sense of brotherhood in this group of tertians, and how this has helped me deepen my own sense of vocation and my priesthood. When we came back from our retreat at Sevenhill, one of the major aspects for me was the nourishment I received from Nature, which is so different than it is in my part of the world, in Europe.   

I definitely have a deeper sense of gratitude for the hospitality of the Australian Province. I feel a real sense of privilege for being able to spend this time here in this country with my brothers from all these different provinces.  

Fr Hyung-wook Kim SJ 
Japan Province (originally from the Korean Province) 

This has been truly an overall experience for me – new country, new friends and new insights. The combination of all three factors made me grow and as a result, my world has become a lot wider. Both from an Intellectual and spiritual point of view I have become much more free than before.  

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ 
Southern Africa Province 


I have been nourished by the experience of the caring companionship and the cura personalis so compassionately offered to all of us in this international tertianship. It has enabled me to meet Jesuits across the Asia Pacific region and to appreciate the good work done by so many Jesuits and partners in mission around Australia. I am encouraged by the loving and inviting encounter once again of Christ through the Spiritual Exercises. Hearing anew his call to me and to my brothers here has deeply encouraged me in my vocation and I am looking forward to returning to my province with a renewed sense of hope.  

One of the surprises for me during my retreat was an invitation to consider how the Lord’s call to peace and non-violence is part of the Christian message, especially in this time when we’re seeing more violence in the world. I also feel challenged and encouraged to bring Christ’s school of non-violence to those whom I will minister to in the future. I am encouraged and challenged by the encounter and I am grateful to God, the Society, the Australian Province and my own Southern Africa Province for missioning me here. I look forward to learning more about the Australian Province as I go to Sydney for my tertianship experiment. 

Fr Jae-wook Anselmus Lee SJ 
Cambodia Mission (originally from the Korean Province) 

What nourished me was not just learning to appreciate differences but also understanding and appreciating shared experiences, challenges, wounds, consolations and desolations in this wonderful and secure community. The long retreat was definitely the highlight for me. It was fantastic to be accompanied by two great tertian masters – Fr Steve and Fr Brian – as well as my best fellow tertians. I am recovered, reconciled and renewed in every dimension and I am very grateful to be able to proceed, both physically and spiritually.

Fr Gregory Tan SJ 
Malaysia-Singapore Region 

My nourishment came from the time to think, as well as the time to pray. The long retreat in particular was a chance to renew my ties with God, as well as my sense of calling and mission, which brings a renewed spirituality which I can share. It has given me time to reflect on what I’ve been doing and how I move forward. There will be some changes, as well as some things I would like to emphasise a bit more in my own life and in my ministry. 

I have also been renewed with this contact with the international members of the Society. Because I work in one country, a small country, it’s possible to sometimes forget that we are part of a bigger mission and it’s been very enriching to be so closely connected internationally once again. I did my theology here in Australia, so it was also good to connect with familiar faces and old, just as it was good to strike up new relationships. In essence, it has been time to think, time to rest, time to pray, time to reconnect with people.  

Fr Harvey Mateo SJ 
Philippine Province 

The companionship of my fellow tertians from various provinces and the spiritual accompaniment of Fr Steve and Fr Brian have been among the most life-giving aspects of this programme. I returned from the long retreat with renewed vigour for the gift of this vocation and more confident in the love of a God who invites me to grow with him in greater intimacy and freedom.

Fr Melkyor Pando SJ 
Indonesia Province 


I have been nourished here by many experiences so far during my tertianship, especially by the second long retreat of my Jesuit life. This really deepened my experience and my relationship with the Lord who called me. Also, I have been nourished by the brotherhood of my fellow tertians as well as the hospitality of the Jesuits here in Australia, especially in the community at Faber House in Melbourne. This has really enriched my life as a Jesuit. I was also deeply embraced here by our tertian masters, Fr Steven and Fr Brian, who have displayed cura personalis for each and every one of us. So too by my spiritual director who showed real care. 

Banner image: David McMahon

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