Aside from becoming a parent, the most transformative chapter of my life was being a JV in Belize.
Jesuit Connections: Kristen Schenk

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky, but has resided in Chicago since 2013

School(s) Attended: Saint Louis University and Loyola University Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies

Profession: Pediatric hospital chaplain and community coordinator with Jesuit Volunteer Corps’ (JVC) international program

How did you get involved with the Jesuits?

I first learned about the Jesuits when I was exploring college options, but it wasn’t until my freshman year at Saint Louis University that I really started to understand more about the Jesuits, their charisms and spirituality, and their focus on working to create a more just world in line with God’s vision. After college, I spent two years in Belize City as a Jesuit Volunteer (JV), where I was a social worker. Later, I made my way to Chicago to pursue my Master of Divinity degree and master’s in social justice at Loyola University Chicago.

How have the Jesuits impacted your life?

Aside from becoming a parent, the most transformative chapter of my life was being a JV in Belize. It’s hard to summarize two years of living, learning, and loving, but I’d say that my time there helped make ideas about what it means to live for and with others practical and real. I saw what it means to stand alongside those whose needs are different than my own, to listen to and learn from them, to share my own story, and to figure out together how to move forward. It’s this sense of shared humanity, of mutuality, that drives what I do.

How do you apply your Jesuit values in your day-to-day life?

Being a Jesuit Volunteer showed me that I can’t separate my faith and spirituality from the call I feel to walk with others and work for a more just community. Viewing my work as a chaplain as a ministry of presence helps me to listen attentively to the stories, struggles, and joys of others. The notions of being a woman who is for and with others and of being a contemplative in action both shape who I try to be and how I try to live. My spirituality is rooted in global kinship, an understanding of life as an ever-unfolding journey, a desire for the right relationship with and connection to all of creation, and a sense of attunement to God’s presence everywhere, all of which can be traced back to these notions.

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Recent News

September 3, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Paul V. Mankowski, SJ, who died on September 3, 2020 in Evanston, Illinois. He was 66 years old. May he rest in peace. Father Mankowski died due to a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured brain aneurysm.

August 31, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Thomas H. Tobin, SJ, who died on August 30, 2020 at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Hospital Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. He was 74 years old. May he rest in peace.

August 17, 2020 — It is with great joy that the Midwest Jesuits welcome eight new novices to the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado.

August 17, 2020 — Seven Midwest Jesuits pronounced First Vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience on August 7 at Saint Thomas More Catholic Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

August 12, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Edward S. Sthokal, SJ, who died on August 11, 2020, at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 98 years old. May he rest in peace.

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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.