O’Brien’s Odyssey

Santa Clara’s Jesuit School of Theology gets a new dean.

In his late 20s, Kevin O’Brien, S.J., was called from corporate litigation to the priesthood, joining the Society of Jesus. He recounts that in his award-winning book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life. His journey led him to India, Mexico, and Bolivia, and to serve with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Los Angeles and on the Arizona–Mexico border. Then to his alma mater, Georgetown—as executive director of campus ministry and vice president for ministry, and to found the Kino Border Immersion experience, which brings students to southern Arizona to meet with communities on both sides of the border. In August, Fr. O’Brien joined SCU as dean of the Jesuit School of Theology. Located in Berkeley, the school is a preeminent international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology—educating and training Jesuits, religious, ordained, and lay students from across the United States and from 40 other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship. Fr. O’Brien brings wonderful energy and administrative chops. He takes the dean’s baton from Thomas Massaro, S.J., who concluded a four-year term as dean this year and returns to teaching moral theology.

post-image The new dean of the Jesuit School of Theology, Fr. Kevin O’Brien once had his sights set on a career in politics and policymaking. Then came a calling for the priesthood. Illustration by Kyle Hilton
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