Br. Matt Wooters, SJ
Br. Matt Wooters, SJ

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. 

Click here to read about Br. Wooters' podcast at St. Louis University.

Br. Wooters with his young nieces and nephews.

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Located 45 miles east of Omaha, Neb., in rural Iowa, the Creighton University Retreat Center is situated on 154 wooded acres on the Nishnabotna River.