Matt Donovan, SJ
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
- Made a four-week pilgrimage during novitiate that included stops in midtown Manhattan, staying in a homeless shelter and sleeping on the streets of Miami.
- Worked at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, where his eyes and heart were opened to the challenges and joys of high school ministry as a Jesuit.
- Taught RCIA at Saint Columbkille Parish in Brighton, Massachusetts.
Will serve at the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, Ohio, this summer and then teach theology and serve as campus priest at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland.
Matt Donovan, SJ, was born and raised in Houston. He met the Jesuits at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory (Class of 2001), where he first encountered the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He went to Loyola University Chicago where he majored in history and was active in Greek life as a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, university ministry and other Christian organizations, and residence life. Matt joined the Jesuits in 2011. He completed his first two years of Jesuit training at the novitiate in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he worked at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, served as a chaplain at the Ramsey County Jail and assisted at a local parish. After taking first vows in 2013, Matt continued his Jesuit formation at Saint Louis University, where he studied philosophy. In St. Louis, he assisted with ministry to the homebound at a local Jesuit parish, volunteered with Labre Homeless Ministries and facilitated a Christian Life Community faith group. Matt continued his Jesuit formation as a regent at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, where he taught in the history department for three years. While there, he served as a chaplain to the Father’s Club, led student retreats, assisted with Taizé prayer services, accompanied a service trip to Louisville, Kentucky, and served as faculty advisor to the Senior Senate. In 2019, Matt moved on to Boston College, where he completed his theological studies in preparation for ordination to the priesthood. Most recently, he has been working in Kairos retreat ministry at Boston College as well as at Saint Columbkille Catholic Parish in Brighton, Massachusetts, where he serves as a deacon and teaches RCIA.
Bachelor’s degree, history, Loyola University Chicago; Master of Divinity, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
What is your favorite TV show you’ve encountered since entering the Society?
“Fleabag,” seasons one and two. There are two general themes of this show that I appreciate very much: First, salvation is open to everyone and is offered to us in the most ordinary people and ways; and secondly, redemption rarely follows a straight line.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit, and why is it important to you?
Cooking has been a great joy of my life for as long as I can remember. I love good food and sharing it with others; as I Jesuit, there are many opportunities to cook for large gatherings, whether it’s a Sunday meal in one of our bustling formation houses or for the celebration of St. Ignatius’ feast day.
What’s one interesting fact about yourself not everyone would know?
I have an identical twin brother, David.
What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
I love the incredible people I have had the privilege to live and work with as a Jesuit. My Jesuit brothers inspire me, challenge me, and help me to find the joy and laughter in our shared journey. My students keep me humble and teach me, and my colleagues have become some of my greatest friends. I am truly a rich man through these diverse relationships.
Who is one important mentor who has accompanied you on your journey? What made them a good mentor?
Ray Guiao, SJ, has been an incredible friend and mentor to me. When I entered the Jesuits in 2011, Ray was the province’s formation assistant. He showed such tremendous care, compassion and concern for each Jesuit he accompanied during his tenure, always offering his steady support and encouragement. He left this post to take on the president’s role at Saint Ignatius High School, where I was fortunate enough to work during regency. Ray brings the same steady, caring concern he showed to Jesuits in formation to this great school community. He is consistently present and available, always ready to serve the greater good, whether that’s in the Jesuit community where he lives or the apostolate that he serves. He is the kind of Jesuit priest I hope to be.