For the love of Jesus, join us, says Jesuit online ad

Australian Jesuits have turned to internet job advertisements in a month-long campaign to reach young people interested in joining the 500-year-old religious order.

In a novel bid to raise the number of recruits, the Society of Jesus has launched the online careers advertisement seeking highly motivated Catholic men "filled with the love of Jesus" to join them, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

An advertisement earlier this year on a recruitment website in Melbourne, where there are 13 seminarians, attracted one interested person.

The response was enough for the order to consider repeating the exercise in Sydney.

The Jesuit ad seeks applicants with a tertiary degree or a trade, a commitment to working in the church, a welcoming and open personality, the desire to "grow in love of God", initiative and the capacity for hard work.

The resort to internet recruitment advertising is believed to be a first for Australian religious orders, which have long relied on religious newspapers or personal approaches.

The order has set up a planning group to review its involvement in missions in four suburban areas: Brisbane, Perth and western and eastern Sydney. Suggestions and findings are to be presented to a gathering of the order's province in December.

Like many Catholic orders, the Jesuits are losing numbers. There are about 150 Jesuits in Australia, compared with 360 in 1965.

The Rector of the Jesuit Theological College in Melbourne, Fr Michael Smith, said the advertisement coincided with a call for candidates on the order's province website. Five had responded to the website search on www.jesuit.org.au.

"They say that most people in that age bracket use the internet, rather than newspapers, when searching for positions," he said. "We received a response from one person. It's early days yet."

Wanted: hard-working men not averse to collars. Only good souls need apply (Sydney Morning Herald, 9/11/06)

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Jesuits Australia

9 Nov 2006