With Part One completed, the selects picked, and sent to Meg to be retouched, Part Two came about, which I was personally most excited about. Part Two included an extremely long — and at points odd — questionnaire that I gave each of the Jesuits.
Let me put it this way: have you ever wanted to play 20 questions with someone that you looked up to ,or a group of people that are somewhat of a mystery to you? Imagine that, but 23 times. Writing the questionnaire was a task on its own. I could only ask so many questions, but there were so many things I wanted to know the answer to. Over a few weeks of asking different peers, “If you could ask a Jesuit one question, what would it be?” I finally landed on 43 questions — but they were definitely not one word or multiple choice answers.
These questions move from the basic information: What is your name, Where did you grow up, What is your favorite quote? That transitioned into deeper questions: What is love, What is your favorite memory as a child? To very obscure questions: What is something everyone needs to know?
As you can imagine, these Jesuits are extremely busy people so this questionnaire was met with some mixed reactions. On one end of the spectrum I had Jesuits personally thank me as they spent hours completing the questionnaire, telling me that they found it very enjoyable as they have never asked themselves some of these questions before. With the opposite reaction of one word answers explaining to me that these sort of answers come out in conversation.
Above all, these questionnaires allowed me to dive deeper into a group of men that really formed my belief that this is not a project about 22 Jesuits' lives, but one life, and how 22 Jesuits have experienced it. It is extremely surprising that once you dig deeper into the core of a person’s being, you realize that they are not much different than you, and that somehow we are all connected. Maybe it is not 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but something a lot more powerful.