Let Us Introduce You: Dan Kennedy, SJ


 Boston College graduate, Jesuit scholastic, SLU student

Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor
Ryan Quinn / Photo Editor

Originally, Jesuit-in-training Dan Kennedy did not think he wanted to come to Saint Louis University to complete the mandatory philosophy studies required by the Society of Jesus.

“I was actually attracted to Fordham and Loyola Chicago more because they were bigger cities that I knew about,” Kennedy said. “I had never been to St. Louis before moving down here this past August.”

Such is the life of a Jesuit, though – going wherever called – and Kennedy appreciates where his superiors have sent him.

“Sometimes they can see things that I can’t,” he said, referencing Jesuit leadership. “And I think that that worked out here.”

Kennedy is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and it was at his Jesuit high school there that he began to seriously consider life as a priest.

“I met some wonderful Jesuits at my high school [who] really showed me how Jesuit life could be a very happy life,” Kennedy said.

A Boston College graduate, Kennedy spent two years in the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul, Minnesota, before moving to St. Louis. He said that although he had a strong calling – even in high school – he did not want to enter the Society without having a true collegiate experience. At Boston College, Kennedy said that his call was reinforced (he was accepted in the Society before he graduated), but not before he made good friends and enjoyed the fun of undergraduate life.

“I was one of those über-involved people, that when it came time to planning my schedule … there were more color spaces on my Google calendar than white, open spaces,” he said.

“I think that my favorite times [at Boston College] were late night conversations with my roommates over current affairs or something we had just heard about in a class we might be taking together,” he added.

Kennedy said he has found these types of experiences at SLU, too. Jesuits who are at SLU to study – and train for the priesthood – live in the Bellarmine House of Studies just north of campus. Here Kennedy has found a community of fellow priests-in-training with whom he can share the process of becoming a Jesuit, which includes prayer and learning – and fun.

“We watch movies … a lot of Netflix,” Kennedy replied when asked what young Jesuits do for fun. “We like to go out, so we’ll go out on Saturday nights … to dinner. I play racquetball; that’s one of my favorite things.”

Kennedy is also active with campus life at SLU. He is an SGA senator, and he sits on the student government’s committee for mission and ministry.

Though he had not been to the city before, Kennedy now sees St. Louis as a good place to be a Jesuit.

“The city is hurting right now,” he said, referencing the Ferguson shooting and protests and the city’s crime and poverty issues. “[but] these are the realities that Jesuits are called to turn towards, not turn away from … I’m proud to be a Jesuit to it [the city] – in learning how I can be helpful for the sake of justice and equality in the city.”

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