Jack M. Krouse, SJ
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
- Taught Catholic ethics and the Old Testament at Loyola High School of Los Angeles and served as campus minister and teacher at Sacred Heart Nativity School in San Jose.
- Studied theology and shared community life with Jesuits from around the world in Paris, the city where Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and the other first Jesuits studied and made their vows together on Montmartre in 1534.
- Served with the Jesuits of Colombia and the Missionaries of Charity at their parish and shelter in Cartagena and spent time at the sanctuary and rooms of St. Peter Claver, SJ.
Will return to Centre Sèvres in Paris to complete a Licentiate in Sacred Theology.
Jack M. Krouse, SJ, grew up in San Jose, California, with his loving parents and his younger sister and brother. Raised in the faith by his family and St. Christopher School, Jack came to know the Jesuits while a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. There, he was inspired by his Jesuit teachers and coaches who had chosen for their lives this particular pathway toward God. At Bellarmine, Jack discovered a love for history and literature, which he then studied at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Jack worked part-time in the Office of the President, served as managing editor of the Harvard Political Review and interned one summer at the British Parliament in London. After graduation, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he interned at the White House before serving several years at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During this time, Jack discerned more seriously the call to a different kind of mission and service, in priesthood and religious life. In the novitiate, he ministered in a hospital, at a Los Angeles juvenile hall and on retreats for California state prisoners. He also lived with a L’Arche community; worked at Verbum Dei High School, the Cristo Rey school of Los Angeles; and continued Spanish language studies in Bogotá with the Jesuit scholastics of Colombia. During philosophy studies at Loyola University Chicago, Jack spent one summer working at the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Mexico, and one summer with the Jesuits of Colombia and the Missionaries of Charity in Cartagena. In regency, Jack loved teaching Catholic ethics and the Old Testament to the students at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, while joining his faculty and staff colleagues on student retreats, community service projects and an international exchange with the Jesuit schools of Uruguay and Argentina. He then served as campus minister and religion teacher for one year at Sacred Heart Nativity School in San Jose. In 2020, Jack earned his Master of Divinity at Centre Sèvres, the Jesuit theology and philosophy school of Paris, while serving at the Catholic chaplaincy for the college students of Sciences Po, the political science and diplomatic university of France. After ordination, Jack will finish a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at Centre Sèvres while continuing his ministry at the chaplaincy for students of government and diplomacy in Paris. His first Mass will be at Loyola High School of Los Angeles.
Bachelor’s degree, history and literature, Harvard University; Master’s degree, social philosophy, Loyola University Chicago; Master of Divinity, Centre Sèvres, Paris
What is your favorite movie you’ve encountered since entering the Society?
My favorite film is “The King’s Speech,” a true story about friendship, facing fear and doubts in order to find and use a voice, and the importance of being faithful to duty. Watching the transformation within the future King George VI, thanks to the trusting friendship of his speech therapist and the loving support of his wife, the future queen, remains a great inspiration to me and a reminder that the Lord, as he did for his disciples, invites each of us to greater freedom with the support of those good friends he sends us for the journey. Also, how sometimes, unexpectedly and through no choice of our own, we find ourselves called to a certain duty. It will not always be easy, but if we trust the Lord, he will give us the courage to remain faithful to the duty he has entrusted to us.
What’s one interesting fact about yourself not everyone would know?
My mom has told me the story of how, on the day I was born at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland (my dad was serving in the U.S. Coast Guard at the time), President Reagan came to the same hospital to visit wounded military personnel — and that it was his birthday that day too!
What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
I love many things about the Society of Jesus but one of the things I love most is the story of the Society’s origins — born among the friendship and devotion of Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber and those other first companions who studied together and decided in 1534 to vow themselves to serving the Lord and his people at a time when the world and the Church knew so much upheaval, change and uncertainty.
Each of them different in his own way, whether temperament and personality or background and talents, they committed themselves to laboring with Christ at the heart of the world and to responding to the needs of the church at this crucial time. The 35th General Congregation summarized this origin story of the Society well, in a way that continues to lift up my heart with gratitude for the grace of my Jesuit friends and brothers: “The Society of Jesus has carried a flame for nearly five hundred years through innumerable social and cultural circumstances that have challenged it intensely to keep that flame alive and burning. Things are no different today. In a world that overwhelms people with a multiplicity of sensations, ideas, and images, the Society seeks to keep the fire of its original inspiration alive in a way that offers warmth and light to our contemporaries. It does this by telling a story that has stood the test of time, despite the imperfections of its members and even of the whole body, because of the continued goodness of God, who has never allowed the fire to die. … Legend has it that Saint Ignatius, when he sent Saint Francis Xavier to the East, told him: ‘go, set the world alight.’ With the birth of the Society of Jesus, a new fire was lit in a changing world. A novel form of religious life came about, not through human enterprise but as a divine initiative. The fire that was set alight then continues to burn in our Jesuit life today, as was said about Saint Alberto Hurtado, ‘a fire that kindles other fires.’ With it, we are called to set all things alight with the love of God.”
What brings you joy?
One of my great joys in Jesuit community has been the opportunity to nurture a love of hospitality. I learned a lot from my mom and dad when I was young about the joy of hosting friends and family for a party or celebration. The Gospel stories that show us Jesus enjoying a meal in the company of his friends or even those he just met — the wedding feast at Cana, in the homes of Zaccheus or Matthew or Martha and Mary, or with the pilgrims to Emmaus and the disciples at the shore of the Sea of Tiberias after the Resurrection — are all a great reminder of the power of hospitality, conversation and a good meal shared together. Sometimes the table itself is a place of true conversion for someone. Ever since novitiate, from first studies in Chicago to school events during regency for parents and colleagues, and now to France for theology studies, I have greatly enjoyed the chance to cook and host a celebration. Mealtime is sacred in French culture (bread and cheese are never absent from the table!), and many people still take their time for a real lunch at the table during the week and certainly on Sundays. With an international kitchen team made up of good, fun friends in my current Jesuit community, we’ve enjoyed trying new recipes, repeating old favorites and preparing something special when the time comes for a celebration, from birthdays to jubilees for the elder Jesuits in the infirmary next door. Although Jesuits do not take a vow of hospitality like some other religious orders do, I’ve enjoyed taking a page out of their recipe books and learning from some of the best about how to say, “welcome and feel at home.”
Who is one important mentor who has accompanied you on your journey? What made them a good mentor?
One important mentor for me during my time of formation has been Fr. Jacques Enjalbert, SJ, chaplain to the university students at the Institut d’Études Politiques (known as “Sciences Po”), France’s government and diplomacy university where Presidents Macron, Hollande, Chirac and Mitterrand studied. Since arriving in Paris for theology studies, I have served alongside “Père Jacques,” as the students call him, and learned so much about joyful priestly ministry from his supervision and his mentorship in a lively, busy university chaplaincy, located in the heart of a capital city and the competitive, high-pressure political world in which the students study.
Fr. Jacques offers an inspiring example of what a joyful and exuberant but also deeply prayerful, hardworking and good-humored priest can accomplish and help to flourish in a largely secular setting where the role of faith and the church is not always obvious or encouraged. Serving at the weekly student Masses alongside him, I have always been moved by how he takes a quiet moment in personal prayer before the crucifix in the sacristy before the start of Mass and how he turns to face Christ on the Cross when we say the words, “Lord, Have Mercy, Christ, Have Mercy.”
Then, right after Mass, Fr. Jacques is the life of the gathering — ready and eager to dive into the conversation with a ready laugh and a word of encouragement as we all sit down to a home-cooked meal and the evening’s program for the students. Rooted in the social teaching of the church and with a deep appreciation too for pilgrimage and the intellectual tradition of our faith, Jacques is able to welcome and be present to all kinds of Catholic students and encourage them in their journeys of faith at such an important time in a young person’s life. When I finish this ministry, I will miss Jacques’ exuberant laugh and fun-loving spirit but will never forget the model he showed me of a smiling, joyful Jesuit priest, ever ready to share the joy that Jesus promises us in a life of discipleship among the good friends he sends us.