Former Nurse Becomes a Jesuit Priest at Age 56

medinaAs a nurse, Joel Medina treated physical ailments. Now, he wants to treat spiritual ones.

After years working in health care, the 56-year-old has traded his scrubs for the collar of a Jesuit priest.

“I was interested in serving people,” Medina said. “I felt the call to do that by serving as a priest.”

Medina started his career in health care at age 19, working as a nursing assistant. He went on to become a registered nurse  and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wayne State University in Detroit. He then worked about 16 years off and on at the University of Michigan hospital.

That all ended nine years ago, when Medina applied to be a Jesuit and entered The Society of Jesus at Chicago-Detroit Province’s Novitiate at Loyola House in Berkley, Mich.

Friends and family said they weren’t surprised by the decision.

“We always knew (the priesthood) is where he’d end up,” said Medina’s sister, Linda Berkemeier. “He was sensitive and interested in theology. We were just waiting for him to do it.”

Read more about Fr. Joel Medina at

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