Aaron A.C. Bohr, SJ
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
- Traveled to Peru and Northeast India.
- Studied philosophy in New York City.
- Lived in an international community during theology studies.
Will teach Chinese language and world history at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
Aaron Bohr, SJ, is a Jesuit of the USA Midwest Province who completed three years of theology studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, California, before his ordination. Prior to becoming a Jesuit, he taught Chinese and world history at his high school alma mater, St. Paul Academy and Summit School, in St. Paul, Minnesota. In his free time, Aaron enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and walking in the Berkeley Hills in California.
Aaron comes from a multicultural family. His mother is ethnic Chinese from Jamaica, West Indies, and his father is of British and German descent. Because of his multicultural upbringing, he has been drawn to learn about other religions and cultures. He sees his ministry as a way of building bridges between different communities and traditions. Aaron’s motto as a Jesuit is: “Put out into the deep” (Luke 5:4). He sees his Jesuit vocation as deepening his baptismal call of discipleship and having a contemplative stance toward life to put out into the deep.
Throughout his Jesuit formation, Aaron has been involved in school ministry. He has taught and worked with the corporate work study program at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Twin Cities, where he was also involved in campus ministry. Aaron sees his calling and ministry as a Jesuit as deepening his teaching vocation.
Bachelor’s degree, history and East Asian studies, Occidental College; Master’s degree, social science, University of Chicago; Master’s degree, education, University of St. Thomas; Master’s degree, philosophical resources, Fordham University; Master of Divinity, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Who’s your favorite saint, and why?
While it is difficult for me to pick just one, one of my favorite saints is St. Francis de Sales. For me, St. Francis de Sales is a very gentle guide through life. He is always counseling patience and gentleness. He is known as the “Gentle Doctor.” I appreciate his gentle encouragement. He writes about having a gentle and compassionate love for oneself and others and encourages us to have a simple trust in God. St. Francis de Sales invites us to trust in the loving care of the Father, who is taking care of us in every given moment. He writes about focusing on living today well. I have often looked to St. Francis de Sales for wisdom and quiet encouragement throughout my years of Jesuit formation. There are many commonalities between Jesuit and Salesian spirituality, and St. Francis de Sales was educated by Jesuits. Both Jesuit and Salesian spirituality seek to find God in all things.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit, and why is it important to you?
I have many hobbies that I enjoy, including playing the piano, running and going for long walks. In the midst of the pandemic lockdowns, walking in the hills of Berkeley, California, has been very healing. Walking amidst God’s beautiful creation, often as the sun is rising, helps me gain some perspective. In nature, I experience God’s loving care for me and for others. Observing the cycles and rhythms of nature renews an openness and trust in God’s providence. One of the riches of the church’s understanding of nature is that creation is, along with Scripture, part of God’s self-revealing love. Walking in nature, I feel restored and whole. Very often these walks are long, loving conversations with God.
What was one particularly meaningful experience you had during your formation, and why was it meaningful to you?
One of the most meaningful experiences that I had in my Jesuit formation was traveling to Northeast India in the summer of 2015. The simplicity, reverence and prayerfulness of the Jesuits and religious sisters I worked with in India made a deep impression on me. The enterprising spirit of the Jesuits working in this remote part of India was very striking. They would start schools in distant places. Oftentimes Jesuits carried mail and other necessities to the remote mission outposts. I ministered in some of the Indigenous communities in India, mainly among the Garo people in the Meghalaya State and the Naga people in Nagaland and Manipur. This part of India is also a bit restive, so I experienced reporting to local police stations and waiting at military checkpoints. It was quite an adventure.
What brings you joy?
The simple, ordinary things in life give me great joy. I enjoy a quiet cup of coffee while I pray in the morning; a cup of tea in the afternoon; long walks; time in Jesuit community; spending time with family and friends; music; running; prayer and meditation; reading a good book; and writing.