Extra Credit: Kent A. Beausoleil, S.J.
Kent A. Beausoleil, S.J., has served as an emergency room orderly, bartender, pastry chef, governmental budget officer and assistant city manager. He was born at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Waukegan, Ill., the second youngest of seven children.
After earning his BA in political science/public service and MA in public administration at Northern Illinois University, he served stints as an assistant village manager in Palatine, Ill., and as budget and risk management officer for the city of Rockford, Ill., as well as an emergency room orderly at Mercy Hospital Detroit. He entered the Jesuits in 1997, earning his MA in philosophy from Fordham University and an MDiv from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He was ordained to priestly ministry in 2007.
“I came to Xavier right after ordination, and I started working both in campus ministry and as associate pastor at Bellarmine. My second year, I moved over to Brockman Hall and became resident chaplain. My third year, I started a doctoral program in philosophy of education.
“Right now there’s a lot on my plate, a lot of good stuff. My average day is pretty much catch as catch can.
“At the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice, I do a lot of retreat work and spiritual direction, liturgical functions, prayer services and the like.
“I also do different things for Bellarmine: Masses, daily works in the parish, baptisms and weddings, residence hall blessings and such. Weddings are a big ministry. I do 12 to 15 a year and really enjoy that.
“I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel. I have taken a lot of trips to Guatemala, Mexico and Paris to learn languages. I spent four weeks in Israel. I took a comparative education course where I toured all the different universities in New Zealand to see how they provided for student services. This past summer I studied in Europe—London, University of Oxford, Belgium—for a paper on their best practices of higher education.
“Before I entered the priesthood, I worked in some Chicago restaurants, as a waiter at first, and as a bartender, and then moved over to pastry chef. I considered a career in restaurant management. Instead I went from serving tables to serving at a different table.
“Once a month, I bake cookies for the students since I used to work in restaurants as a pastry chef. In Brockman, I cook all the time.
I will make pies, brownies or cakes for the Jesuit community. For Manresa, I used to make desserts to accompany the dinner out in Milford.
“I came from a family where both my parents loved to cook. We had family dinner parties all the time. Faith for us as a family was very important. I remember the dynamism and mystery present during Mass and worship.
“The heart of the ministry is caring for each other. For me, it’s a move away from being physically fed, to being spiritually fed.
“Some of my profound moments have come through listening to a person suffering with HIV or coming out of emergency surgery, helping a person face a difficult decision or being with a student struggling with tests,dating, fitting in.”