The Jesuit Constitutions instruct all Jesuit novices to do a month-long pilgrimage “without money… begging from door to door… to grow accustomed to discomfort in food and lodging.” Every Jesuit Scholastic, before taking their final vows, must endure this month-long journey alone. They are given a one-way ticket far from home and are given one month to live in poverty, with no money or possessions to their name, before returning home.
In experiencing this pilgrimage, the Jesuits live out their vow of poverty with ideal of simplistic living. They learn first-hand how difficult it is to survive only on the donations and charity of others to put food and water in their stomachs and a roof over their head. In enduring these challenges, they return home with a better sense of understanding of the needs of those living in poverty and gain a better awareness of the value of being charitable towards those less fortunate.
“Homeward Bound” tells the story of Damian Torres-Botello, a Jesuit Scholastic, and his vow of poverty that led him to voluntary homelessness for the purpose of better understanding the importance of charitable giving and human compassion. After his month-long pilgrimage, he shares the lessons he learned and the advice he implores for others to remedy the pervasiveness of homelessness in the U.S.
This documentary challenges viewers to understand poverty from a different perspective: that of someone who has lived in it. Through the lens of one individual’s story of voluntarily taking a vow of poverty for one month, this film seeks to inform viewers about an unfortunately too common set of circumstances that a vast number of Americans are living in or have at one point experienced.