Stephen M. Pitts, S.J.
Fr. Stephen M. Pitts, S.J., 33, was born in New Orleans and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Though baptized Catholic as an infant, he attended an evangelical Protestant church with his family during his upbringing. After high school, he went to the University of Oklahoma, where he received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science and spent his junior year abroad in Kyoto, Japan. At St. Thomas More University Parish, Fr. Pitts was received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil as a college freshman and worked as a student leader in campus ministry during his undergraduate years. His campus minister, an alumna of Boston College, encouraged him to consider the Jesuits because of his interest in education and in working abroad. Fr. Pitts entered the Society of Jesus after graduating in 2006. As a novice, he spent four months at the Casa de Los Pobres, a Franciscan-run soup kitchen in Tijuana, Mexico, an experience that opened his heart to the stories of immigrants. After first vows in 2008, he pursued studies at Loyola University Chicago, earning a master’s degree in philosophy in 2011. Next, Fr. Pitts taught mathematics at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas from 2011 to 2014, where he served as chaplain of the wrestling team, crew team and robotics club, as well as helped with student retreats and faculty formation. At the end of his time there, he and eight of his colleagues completed a two-week walking pilgrimage of Ignatian sites in Spain. This past May, he earned a Master of Divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California. This summer, Fr. Pitts will spend six weeks in Chiapas, Mexico, doing pastoral work and field research at a Jesuit-sponsored cooperative, Yomol A’tel, that serves indigenous coffee growers. In the fall, he will return to the Jesuit School of Theology to complete a Master of Theology in social ethics while he finishes a Master of Science in international and development economics at the University of San Francisco. Fr. Pitts will celebrate his first Mass at St. John Bosco Church in Harvey, Louisiana, the parish where he was baptized. (Central and Southern Province)