I entered the Cortina Community with a fairly strong sense of social justice. Social justice first interested me in the 6th grade when I started speaking out against sweatshops and Nike. This advocacy didn’t garner me much popularity, and I became used to being independent and working on my own. The high school wrestling team gave me my first real sense of community, of belonging and being part of something. I finally felt part of my faith community when I attended the Jesuit Family Teach-In my junior year of high school. I realized how important community is not just for my own health, but also for social justice. Cortina taught me that.
My best friends Bill, Pat and Tim also joined Cortina. I thought we would all live in the same suite, but the leadership thankfully changed plans in the middle. We picked roommates but were assigned suitemates. Unable to be with only the people that made me comfortable, I had to branch out into the wider community. I made amazing friends as I became the guy with a minivan, a self-proclaimed giver of excellent hugs and the oddball who always slept on the couch in the common areas. These experiences not only helped me find joy, but taught me the vital importance of love and community in social justice.
I learned what it means to give myself to community, to serve and to love others. More importantly, I learned what it means to let others love and serve me. I share in the brokenness and struggles. As a weightlifter and wrestler, I sometimes find it difficult to realize that others might be stronger than I am. The wonderful people on my floor, however, demonstrated inexplicable love and kindness. They helped me learn humility, generosity, and what how to engage social justice in a way I could have never done on my own.
Many of my community mates also unknowingly helped me discern my vocation. Most knew I was interested in joining the Jesuits, but only six knew I was in the midst of the application second semester. Through their support and graciousness I learned what vocation means—to be called not just by God, but just as much by the community. My vocation, given by God and community, is to be a voice for the voiceless. It is to live justly, live communally, live as a Jesuit.
-Ken Homan, A Cortinian in