Aaron B. Malnick, SJ
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
- Gave his first 10-talk (30 minutes per talk) preached retreat at White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis.
- Found his “vocation within a vocation” in parish ministry during his long experiment as a novice at the Church of the Gesu in Cleveland.
- Served as a deacon at St. Mary of the Assumption in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Will serve at Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.
Originally from the western suburbs of Chicago, Aaron B. Malnick, SJ, received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University and went on to have an 11-year career in real estate. Realizing he was not satisfied with life and that his years in business had passed by unexamined, he began to pray and reflect. His question changed from “What do I want in life?” to “What does God want for me in life?” After some years of discernment, Aaron left his career in real estate to pursue religious life in the Society of Jesus. During his long experiment as a novice at the Church of the Gesu in Cleveland, Aaron found his “vocation within a vocation” in parish ministry. As a Jesuit scholastic he studied philosophy at Saint Louis University where he also ministered with the Missionaries of Charity. During regency he taught theology and worked in advancement at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. Aaron earned his Master of Theological Studies and Master of Theology from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and served as a deacon at St. Mary of the Assumption in Brookline, Massachusetts. After ordination, Aaron will serve at Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.
Bachelor’s degree, marketing, Northern Illinois University; Master’s degree, pastoral studies, Loyola University Chicago; Master of Theological Studies, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry; Master of Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
What is your favorite book you’ve encountered since entering the Society?
Some time ago, I happened across a thin, yellowed book of poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, in a pile of books that one of my Jesuit brothers was giving away. Other than a few of his more famous poems, I had not spent that much time with Hopkins, but after reading just a few pages, I was hooked! His poetry doesn’t dance so much as punch; each word a haymaker of meaning. More than a book that I take with me on retreat, I often pack it when going for a hike or spending time in prayer outside. With so many poems thematically focused on nature, Hopkins’ poetry awakens my awareness to the Creator God of the everyday.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit, and why is it important to you?
I entered the Society having an important devotion to the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, but it was not until I was a novice that I began making my own rosaries. Curling eye pins, bending jump rings and cutting short lengths of chain have, over the years, become less of a hobby and more of a ministry. As I choose the color and material of the beads, style of the crucifix and motif of the centerpiece that I feel embodies the individual, I pray every Hail Mary and Our Father on the corresponding bead that I am creating with the individual in mind, connecting me with him or her in a very tangible way.
What was one particularly meaningful experience you had during your formation, and why was it meaningful to you?
Chaplaincy at the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a novice was a deeply impactful experience. While most ministry situations have so much to do, do, do, jail chaplaincy called for the minister to simply “be.” In being extremely limited in what I could actually “do” for the inmates that I saw every week, I soon realized that giving them an open ear and a listening heart was the “doing.” I would walk with them spiritually through their histories, their smiles, their cries and their dreams without any judgment, for by consciously separating sinful or illegal actions from human beings who were born in the image and likeness of God, I began “to go where love had not yet arrived” (Greg Boyle, SJ). In getting to know the inmates on a deeper level, I was constantly reminded of my own prejudices, biases and stereotypes, of my own sinful nature and of my own need for God’s forgiveness and mercy. In a way, we ministered to each other.
Tell your vocation story. One catch: You must use only six words.
Material meaning met Munificence, motivating metanoia.