Jessie Bazan


Where did you earn your undergraduate degree from?

I graduated from Marquette University in May 2014 with a major in communications.

Why did you choose the SOT?

My campus minister at Marquette is a graduate of the SOT, so I figured I had to check this place out. Immediately I was struck by the natural beauty of this campus and also drawn to the Benedictine spirituality and hospitality. There is really a strong sense of place here and the SOT has a great combination of academic, scripture study, church history and pastoral ministry. The Masters of Divinity is a very practical degree and students here receive a strong academic background.

How has your experience been thus far?

The school of theology has definitely transformed me and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve become more confident in myself and my abilities, and I’ve also been really challenged. Growing up Catholic, this place has really challenged me to think about what church means to me. When I profess my faith at Mass, do I really mean it? The academic classes and community life have invited me to take more ownership of my faith, and that has been a real gift.

I’ve certainly been drawn to the monastic community which has taught me what it means to be there for one another. At the SOT, we come together for classes, meals, prayer and so much more. We’re doing this theology work together, because theology has to be learned in community. I’ve definitely learned the value of sharing time and space together.

What are your interests and what is your field of study?

I’ve really enjoyed my systematic theology classes, studying anthropology and pastoral care. The masters of divinity doesn’t have a specific emphasis, so I got a little taste of everything.

What are you doing in your classes relevant to your field of study?

We have studied different ways of speaking about God and what it means to think about different relationships. For example, we explore how our relationships impact the way we see God and how we relate to others. I was in a spiritual biography class where we read the biographies of men and women who have lived very holy lives. It’s opened my eyes to what I can learn from these people and how I can incorporate their work in my own ministry.

What is your current position?

I serve as the Program Associate for the Collegeville Institute. We are working with two exciting ecumenical grant projects aimed helping Christians explore their life callings as individuals and congregational communities. I also do retreat work with the Saint John’s Abbey vocation team and am a columnist for U.S. Catholic magazine.

How has your experience as an alumna been so far?

I graduated with my Masters of Divinity in May 2017. I’m grateful that many of the relationships I developed at the SOT have continued and even grown in the time since graduating! I regularly get together for dinner and coffee dates with classmates who live in the Twin Cities. We continue to support each other in our ministries. I’m grateful to the SOT for planting these seeds of friendship!

What advice would you give to students considering enrolling in the SOT?

I think there’s a place for many different kinds of theologians at the SOT. We have students from all over the globe, some who are young, some old, some lean more traditionally, others more liberally, and there’s some in between. No matter what, there’s a home for you here. Give it a try and take a chance. What this place has to offer has been really profound for me and I hope that it would be the same for others.

Anything else you would like to add?

I do some freelance writing for Catholic publications and that is one way that I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned in my classes with a national and international audience.