Describe your current role — what do you do each day?
I am currently getting my master’s in social work at Saint Louis University. So my life these days involves daily personal prayer, school, community Mass and dinner, rock climbing, yoga, semi-regular Netflixing and working overnight at a local homeless shelter in blighted North St. Louis. I will be in Latin America for the next eight months attempting to improve my terrible Spanish and working with the Jesuit Migrant Services in Mexico. I look forward to accompanying Central American migrants on their route north and learning about migration from their lived experience.
What do you love most about being a brother?
I love being a space for people to share their story, wherever they may be on their journey. For better or worse, talking to a priest can be intimidating (especially for those who feel far from the church), but as a brother I see myself as a bridge of sorts. I have heard from peers, clients, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, that people feel like they can let their guard down and be themselves around me because I am their brother. If I can be that space for people, meeting them where they are and accompanying them there, I can ask for nothing more.
Why did you feel called to serve as a brother/as a Jesuit?
After college I was a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize and
accompanying the poor was transformative for me. I felt more alive, more
consoled and more myself in Belize than I did at any other time in my life to
that point. Accompanying the indigenous villagers on retreats and days of
reflection, I was not in a position of authority but was on their level. We
were sharing our stories and our lives with each other. I was primarily
attracted to the Society, but never felt called to the priesthood. I felt
called to the Jesuits for many reasons: community, prayer, the vows, commitment
to the marginalized. Being a brother was the perfect fit. I could be fully
myself, being with people. After a few years in the Society, being a Jesuit
brother is an intrinsic aspect of my identity. This life, not without
challenges, calls forth the best of me. I desire to be a brother to others as
Jesus is our brother.
Br. Wooters with his young nieces and nephews.