Let Us Introduce You: Patrick Cousins

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Let Us Introduce You: Patrick Cousins

Kristen MIano/ News Editor

Kristen MIano/ News Editor

Kristen MIano/ News Editor

Kristen MIano/ News Editor

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Patrick Cousins has a variety of interests: he teaches theology, has a knack for Jesuit spirituality and is an avid baker of pies.

Kristen MIano/ News Editor

“My peach-blueberry pie has come a ways since I started making it,” Cousins said. “I’m actually trying to get a booth next season at one of the local farmers’ markets.”

Cousins is the campus minister for both the Marguerite and Pruellage residence halls and a part-time professor in the theology department. He officially took over the role last year; however, this is not his first time serving in the position.

“I came up to Saint Louis University from New Orleans the year after Hurricane Katrina. Jobs in higher education were a bit hard to come by, so when the job in campus ministry opened up, I took it,” Cousins said.

Cousins served as the Marguerite and Pruellage campus minister from 2006-2009 before leaving to begin his doctoral studies in theology. When he returned to the job in 2011, more had changed about him than just his expanding theological background.

“I was a Sacred Heart Brother for 15 years,” Cousins said. “I joined when I was 18. My entire formative career was spent with them.”

According to Cousins, he left the order not because he felt that the questions he was taught to ask by the brothers were leading him in a different direction.

“I wouldn’t be the person I am today were it not for the tremendous lessons I learned while with them,” Cousins said. “It wasn’t a decision I took lightly.”

Though he no longer has a religious title, Cousins’ spirituality continues to play a large role in his life, including in the way he deals with students.

“Most learning experiences happen outside the classroom, and being a campus minister opens the door to walk with students in possibly the most formative experience of their lives, being at a university,” Cousins said. “It affords the chance to be with people in not just thinking through stuff, but living through stuff.”

Cousins said the “living” bit is his favorite part of being a residence hall minister, as it gives him a greater opportunity to connect with students. He attributes his dedication to building community to the man who has been the focus of his theological research, Thomas Merton.

“He found ways to build a lot of different bridges with people in a lot of different camps,” Cousins said. “I’m very interested as a minister and a teacher not just talking to the choir and not just talking to the usual crowd, but trying find a common ground among a lot of different people.”

This quest for the common ground got Cousins involved in the Interfaith Alliance and Habitat for Humanity. On his own, he invites students to join him in his rock climbing hobby and to participate in his weekly Cross-fit club activity, “Monday Maniacs.” He has also led numerous trips to the Navajo Nation, an experience he feels has impacted his spirituality.

“Both the place and the people have greatly shaped what I understand the Ignatian sacramental vision of the world to be,” Cousins said.

Be it through Micah, Merton or crunches, Cousins is always enthusiastic about working with students in his roles as both teacher and campus minister.