Finding a Welcoming Regency in Chuuk

By Fr. Edward Quinnan, SJ

In August of 2018, Antonius Siwi Dharma Jati, S.J. received word that his Provincial, Fr. Sunu Hardiyanta, SJ, wished to speak with him. Siwi had already started his second year of regency, teaching in an Indonesian secondary school. His Provincial, however, told him he wanted Siwi to move to Chuuk, Micronesia, to teach at Xavier High School. The Jesuit scholastic who had been slated to join the Xavier faculty was ill, and so the Provincial needed a replacement and believed Siwi the best fit. Siwi reflected, “I had already started a new school year and taught one week! For now, obedience is the easy vow. So I said yes. In two weeks I got the U.S. visa. I think God wanted me to come here.” Yet his departure from Indonesia came with some unwelcome questions. Was Siwi being pulled because he had done something wrong? The suspicion was a burden, but Siwi found consolation on being accompanied by his superior, Fr. Tom Benz, SJ, and by Fr. Mark Thibodeaux, SJ, in his annual retreat.

Pictured with Siwi Jati, SJ, who is on the far right, are fellow regents Dickson Tiwelfil, SJ, and Erwin Susanto, SJ.
At the end of the school year, Fr. Benz spoke with Siwi about remaining at Xavier for an additional year. After prayer and reflection, Siwi requested of his Provincial that he stay. However, the Indonesian norm is to have two years of regency. Again questions arose of whether Siwi was being punished with a third year. But instead of a burden, Siwi learned that Xavier has made him a better Jesuit. “This is not just a school. It is also a good Formation house. I learn a lot about Jesuit Community in an international community.” 

Siwi has begun his second year of teaching at Xavier with optimism. He sees himself growing in his Jesuit vocation because of the ministry and the community. “I hope this year will be fun. I thank the USA Northeast Province for giving me the chance to learn in this place. People doing regency here have become good Jesuits.” The Jesuits of Micronesia and the Xavier School community in turn have appreciated Siwi’s companionship—his sense of humor and dedication.

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