Province: USA West
Birthday: November 24, 1983
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Bachelor’s degrees, architecture and construction management, University of Washington
Master’s degree, applied philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
Master of Divinity, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
Worked with DCDC Architecture Firm at University of Detroit Mercy on a proposal for a community urban farming design in Detroit, Michigan
Gave retreats through the Ignatian Spirituality Project for people experiencing homelessness in Chicago
Taught mathematics and theology and worked in campus ministry at Seattle Preparatory School, where he also co-designed with Hennebery Eddy Architects on Our Lady of Monserrat Chapel
Post-Ordination: Missioned to Most Holy Trinity Church in San Jose, California
Francis Nguyen, SJ, was born in Saigon, Vietnam. At the age of 6, he and his family immigrated to Seattle, Washington, where they were members of the Vietnamese Martyrs Church. Growing up in Seattle, he graduated from the University of Washington with concurrent degrees in architecture and construction management, while working as an intern at a design-build company in Bellevue, Washington. After graduation, he entered the Society of Jesus at the novitiate in Portland, Oregon. His desire to join the Jesuits was inspired by the lives of the Vietnamese Martyrs, the love of his grandfather and the joy of the Jesuits in the Seattle University community. In 2011, Francis completed first studies at Loyola University Chicago and was missioned to Seattle Preparatory School for regency. There, he taught mathematics and theology and worked in campus ministry. During his third year of regency, he collaboratively designed the Chapel of Our Lady of Monserrat at Seattle Prep. After the project was completed, he was missioned to China and Taiwan, where he studied Mandarin, Chinese culture and religions. One of his most memorable experiences was living in very simple homes with different ethnic minority groups in the southern part of China. After two years in Asia, he returned to Berkeley, California, to study theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. During theology, he directed Ignatian youth retreats, offered spiritual direction and guided 19th Annotation retreats. In 2018, Francis was ordained a deacon at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, California, and ministered at Most Holy Trinity Church in San Jose, California. The summer before ordination, he returned to Vietnam to lead weeklong retreats for youth in different parts of the country. During that summer, he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lavang in Hue, Vietnam. Francis will be ordained at Our Lady of Lavang Church in Portland and will celebrate his first Mass of Thanksgiving at Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Seattle. (USA West Province)
Francis (left) giving a “God’s friendship” talk on a Kairos retreat with Jeff McDougall, SJ.
Who’s your favorite saint, and why?
St. Francis of Assisi. After the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, all the officers of the Republic South were detained in what was called "an educational camp." My father was one of them. During those years, the main strength that kept him sane was saying the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi every day. My name Francis, thus, came from such an experience of prayer. Therefore, St. Francis of Assisi is one of my favorite saints because he ties my life with the life of my father.
What was one particularly meaningful experience you had during your
formation, and why was it meaningful to you?
I was missioned to China and Taiwan for two years after regency in Seattle, Washington. There, I learned Mandarin, as well as the Chinese culture and religions. During my years there, I had an opportunity to visit different ethnic minority groups in the southern parts of China and stay with them in their very simple homes. It was one of my most memorable and meaningful experiences because it challenged me to really "seek God in all things" and share my experiences of God in a completely different culture, perspective and language. Being with them was an experience of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
Tell your vocation story. One catch: You must use only six words.
"Speak Lord, your servant is listening."
What are three words a family member or fellow Jesuit would use to
describe you? (Ask someone.) Do you agree with his or her selections?
Taking the first letters from my full name, they described me as: Francis – Faith-filled; Long – Loving; Nguyen – Neighborly.
What’s one interesting fact about yourself not
everyone would know?
I was winner of the U.S. Open Taekwondo National Championships in my division in 2011.
Francis (left) performing tae kwon do at a Jesuit talent show.
What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
I am grateful for the Spiritual Exercises. It gives me an intimate language to speak about my experiences of God and share God with other people. It is also a common language that connects me with all of my Jesuit brothers around the world.
How might you explain the Jesuit motto "ad maiorem Dei gloriam" to someone who’s never heard it before?
Pay attention to the little details in our lives to see the great love of God and be faithful to the little things in our lives to give greater glory to God.