Name: Mikayla Lofton
Hometown: St. Paul, MN (currently resides in Chicago, IL)
Schools Attended: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Profession: Grants Program Manager, Cristo Rey Network
How did you get involved with the Jesuits?
You could argue I have been involved with the Jesuits since birth. My Dad was working in student affairs and residence life after completing his master’s at Marquette University when I was born. Shortly thereafter, I was baptized at the Chapel of the Holy Family. Growing up in Saint Paul, my family attended the Jesuit parish of the Twin Cities, IHM-St. Luke’s Parish, now St. Thomas More. I was an active participant in the parish starting at a young age, first as an altar server, then as a Eucharistic minister. After completing my undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I entered into a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where I was placed at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School for the year. This past June, after three years at Cristo Rey Atlanta—one as a JV and two as a full-time staff member, I relocated to Chicago to work for the Cristo Rey Network, the national office that oversees and supports all 35 Cristo Rey schools throughout the country.
Tell a story about how a specific Jesuit(s) has impacted your life.
Last year, I had the privilege of making the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius through the 19th Annotation—an opportunity to engage daily in prayer, reading, and meditation. Father Todd Kenny, SJ, vice president for mission and identity at Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit, generously provided this opportunity to all who were willing to commit to the several-month experience. I wanted to challenge myself and signed up to participate. The experience was exceptionally rewarding and taught me several very important lessons. Bi-weekly meetings reaffirmed my daily practice and challenged me to go deeper into the experience. It was through Fr. Todd’s guidance and support that I was able to have such a fruitful experience with the Exercises.
How do you bring Jesuit values into the workplace?
I aspire to be a woman for and with others each day through my work at the Cristo Rey Network. Whether interacting with coworkers or meeting with donors, I treat everyone with respect and great care. The Cristo Rey Network embodies countless Jesuit values, namely putting the needs of the vulnerable first and providing students with a rigorous Catholic education that forever changes the trajectory of their lives.
Can you talk about the Midwest Jesuit ministries you find inspiring?
Naturally, I’m partial to the Midwest Jesuits work in education, specifically their efforts to revitalize the Church’s commitment to serving the urban poor through Catholic education. That being said, I am inspired by all of the Jesuit ministries, particularly social ministries that promote justice and equality, such as direct service, social research, and advocacy for social change.
What would you like your legacy to be?
No matter where life takes me, I want to be a leader committed to faith in action.
What prompted you to support the Province?
As a non-profit fundraiser, I recognize that the work of Jesuits is comprehensive and takes a village of supporters to accomplish. The Province’s work through schools, retreat centers, parishes, social ministries, and internationally is critical to serving the Catholic Church for the greater glory of God. The Jesuits have had such a profound impact on my life so supporting the Province financially is a no-brainer!