Yesterday I made my second trip to Boston College. I had an appointment with the health services office to get some shots. I was about an hour early, so I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the O'Neill library. I read some Fortescue just for fun, and checked to see if my brother's new book was on the shelf. It was, already. He and I are next to each other in the online catalog, which is pretty cool. (Not that I've ever written a book, but they have my licentiate thesis bound up somewhere, so that I may live forever in salutary humiliation.)
After all this fun, I made my way to health office. As I entered the waiting room, I saw a group of men, perhaps in their 30s. Pants and button-down shirts of medium formality, black shoes, watches sturdy but not flashy, clean-shaven with sensible haircuts. I knew right away who they were: Jesuit scholastics. These were the young Jesuits who would be beginning their theology this year, getting their PPD tests and tetanus shots before the first day of school.
Perhaps not everyone would have been able to tell right away that these were Jesuits. But over the years (and ten semesters of Jesuit education) I have developed the amazing faculty of Jesuit-dar. I can tell Jesuits. It's a little harder with the older ones, but not much.
In the course of religious life one develops these skills. Most achieve the power of nun-dar fairly quickly. Despite having abandoned the habit, many sisters have adopted a fairly recognizable look. Pretty soon you know sisters when you see them. You have nun-dar.