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2024 Ordinands

Ketler Lysius, SJ

Province: Canada

Hometown: Saint-Louis du Sud, Les Cayes, Haiti

Highlights of Jesuit Formation:

  1. Worked during regency as minister and treasurer of the Ignace de Loyola community and then as a professor at the College Saint Ignace de Croix-des-Bouquets and at the Institution Mere Délia.
  2. Worked with candidates to the Society of Jesus in Colombia.
  3. Served as a deacon at Sainte Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus Parish in Carrefour-Charles, Haiti, where he was treasurer and in charge of pastoral care, and as a teacher at UNDH-UDERS in Jérémie, Haiti.

Will serve at Sainte Thérèse de Carrefour-Charles Parish in Jérémie; as treasurer of the Jérémie Jesuit community; as a professor at the University Notre-Dame of Haiti; and as a coordinator of an Ignatian youth ministry program.

Ketler with family after his ordination to the diaconate in August 2023. From left: His brother, Bedler; Ketler; his sister, Marie-Francelaine; and his uncle, Jude.

Bachelor’s degree, philosophy, Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame d’Haïti; Licentiate, theology, Centre Inter-Instituts de Formation Religieuse; Licentiate, dogmatic theology, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana; Master’s degree, systematic theology, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Ketler Lysius, SJ, was born in Saint-Louis du Sud, Haiti, into a Catholic family of four children. He grew up attending Sainte Anne Parish, where he was active in a choir he founded with young people. After completing his secondary education at Collège Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours de Cavaillon, Ketler studied philosophy at the Grand Séminaire Notre-Dame and then theology at Centre Inter-Instituts de Formation Religieuse (CIFOR).

As a young theology student, he discovered the spirituality of the Society of Jesus through Fr. Jean Denis Saint-Félix, SJ, who taught his introduction to theology course. Ketler then began a long process of discernment with Fr. Godefroy Midy, SJ, and Br. Marcel Charélus, SJ. As a candidate for the Society while completing his undergraduate studies in theology, he worked with destitute children at the Foyer de Charité de Sainte Marie community, giving lessons in catechism, math and French. In August 2017, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

After two years of spiritual formation in which he grew in his knowledge of Jesus and the Society, he professed first vows on August 6, 2019. He then served as minister and bursar of the Ignatius Loyola community in Canapé-Vert, while teaching philosophy and methodology at Collège Saint-Ignace in Croix-des-Bouquets, Institution Mère Délia in Delmas and Institution Mixte Sainte Marie Guadalupe in Canapé-Vert. At this stage of his formation, Ketler also engaged in pastoral work with the children and young people of the Kiro Group of Sainte Marie. During this time, he discovered the presence of Jesus as a servant among disadvantaged people, which gave him a lot of joy in his simple service to people.

In November 2020, he was sent to Colombia to continue his formation. It was an opportunity for him to discover and experience the universality of the Society. During his theological studies, Ketler worked with candidates of the Society in the Colombian Province.

This valuable experience in Latin America led him to El Salvador in January 2022, in the footsteps of the martyrs of Central American University (UCA), for Arrupe Month — a formation program of spiritual deepening in preparation for priesthood in the Society. His experience at the Sainte Therese Parish of Carrefour-Charles was an opportunity for him to confirm his vocation as a priest in the Society and in the Church. The Universal Apostolic Preferences are for him a great source of inspiration in his mission among people, which is why he spends a lot of time in training groups and supporting young people for a better structuring of Jesuit parish pastoral ministry.

Ketler was ordained a deacon on August 5, 2023. Since his return from Colombia, he has been on mission in the Diocese of Jérémie, Haiti, working in the parish of Sainte Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus in Carrefour-Charles. He coordinates Ignatian youth ministry, is treasurer of the Carrefour-Charles Jesuit community and is a teacher at the Université Notre-Dame d’Haïti (UNDH-UDERS de Jérémie). It is in this diverse environment that he exercised his diaconal role in preparation for ordination to the priesthood, and he will continue this work after ordination.

Ketler (front) with a delegation from Sainte Thérèse de Carrefour-Charles Parish in Jérémie, Haiti, that attended a youth congress in November 2022.

What’s one piece of Jesuit history that you find really inspiring?
The experience of St. Ignatius being wounded in Pamplona, where he learned to listen to God’s voice through his afflictions, is for me a light that always invites me to return to God’s merciful providence. From this rich history, it is the commitment of the UCA Jesuits in El Salvador during the last century that calls me to bring together faith and justice.

What are three words a family member or fellow Jesuit would use to describe you? Do you agree with his or her selections?
 My companion Jean Pierre Paul would say that I’m altruistic, disciplined and studious. Yes, I agree with him.

What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit, and why is it important to you?
There are two things that help me in my Jesuit life: soccer and movies. I think cinematography brings a broader culture and a more global vision of life. And since my childhood, I have always had a passion for soccer. That’s why I like watching beautiful films, playing soccer and watching a good soccer match. I like to both watch a good game of soccer, as well as play. I like to watch a good film that gives me broad general knowledge and makes me aware of other sociopolitical, economic and cultural realities.

Ketler (third from right) after a farewell Mass at the Manrese House in Colombia in September 2022 with the Jesuit candidates he worked with for two years. Fr. Gerardo Villota, SJ (center), was in charge of the candidates.

What’s one interesting fact about yourself not everyone would know?
Not everyone knows that I love dancing and the beach.

What does Jesuit community mean to you? What’s one example of this lived out?
It’s in the community that I find the energy I need to respond day by day to the Lord’s call and the Society’s mission. For me, the Jesuit community is the support for my spiritual life and my apostolic commitment. Thanks to it, I am gradually able to fully integrate Ignatian discernment into my daily and apostolic life. In this sense, community discernment represents a great tool for my progressive integration into the body of the Society of Jesus. Thanks to the community, I experience the joy and generosity of being able to collaborate with other companions in the same and unique mission of Jesus.

For me, Jesuit community means fraternal and friendly support, the joy of feeling part of a large and beautiful body, and the awareness that I’m not alone in my mission — that I need the support of communal discernment. Finally, Jesuit community conveys the hope that community joy is the source of the apostolic magis.

Ketler (third from right) during the opening Mass of the Spiritual Exercises Congress in Colombia in November 2021.

Where did your Jesuit vocation lead you, even though you never thought you’d go there?
At no time did I think that I would work in Grand’Anse. Moreover, until August 2021, the Society did not yet have a mission in the deep south. After my theology studies in Colombia, the superior asked me to enter a process of discernment concerning the mission of the Society in Jérémie. With great joy and generosity, I responded in the affirmative to collaborate in this great adventure of opening for the Society in this region with all its challenges and opportunities. After two years of experience, I can say that I am very happy to collaborate in the mission in Jérémie. The small services rendered, the accompaniment to people, the sharing of life in the community, the way in which people teach me about life, God and hope: All this is for me a great source of consolation.

What’s one thing you’d say to someone who is considering joining the Society today that you wish you’d known?
I would tell them three things. First, he must have a lot of love in his heart to love Jesus and his brothers and sisters. The second is that he must be open: open to God, to others, to the world, to different cultures. Finally, he must rely strongly on the merciful providence of God, knowing that being a Jesuit means learning to let oneself be surprised by God.

What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
I really like the Society’s way of doing things (the Spiritual Exercises, discernment, the examen) and its community life.

What is a particularly significant experience you have had during your training, and why is it important to you?
The experience of the Spiritual Exercises was fundamental for me. It changed my relationship with God, purified my vocation and confirmed me in my calling. For this reason, one of the things I really like about the Society is the question of discernment. The other thing is that the Society seeks to find God in all things through the attention that the Jesuit must have in the face of reality. Finally, the apostolic character of the Society is also very inspiring for me.

Ketler (second from right) took part in a soccer match between Jesuit scholastics and young people from the youth ministry in Colombia in November 2021.

What brings you joy?
What brings me great joy is that I know that I am saved by Christ out of love. Indeed, the gift of faith, the gift of vocation, the call to follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Ignatius … all this is for me the expression of pure undeserved grace. As a result, this opens me up to others to support those who feel hurt in life. Finally, it gives me joy to be a member of a Jesuit community, where we are all there for the same cause — faith and justice.

Name an important mentor who has accompanied you on your journey. What made that person a good mentor?
Fr. Midy Godefroy, SJ, has been one of my mentors who has accompanied me on my journey. We’ve had a beautiful adventure of faith and friendship. His simplicity, his understanding and his humanity really appeal to me. He made me desire to always be the bearer of joy and hope for others. A man with a big heart, Gogo’s humanism inspired me by inviting me to be good to people, by providing them with simple but beautiful service.