Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Brother Pat Douglas’

Jesuit Ministers to Troubled Youth on South Dakota Reservation

Jesuit Brother Pat Douglas

Jesuit Brother Pat Douglas (far left) with co-workers at the Lakota Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

Jesuit Brother Pat Douglas, of the Wisconsin Province, is a youth counselor at the St. Francis Mission in South Dakota, and he works with young men at the juvenile detention center on the Lakota Rosebud Reservation. He sees his ministry as a way of making an impact on young people in trouble.

Spirituality is very strong here, Br. Douglas says. The Lakota people see no separation between counseling and spirituality.

Douglas has developed a mentoring program for young men, “many [who are] active in gangs and from families plagued by alcoholism and abuse.

“I’m all for consequences,” Douglas says, “but if we do not address the hurts these young men have had since they were children, they will keep hurting others. To be empathetic to a perpetrator does not mean you condone what they do.”

Douglas sees Jesuit spirituality coming alive through his work.

“I pray before and after I meet with the guys,” he says. “I also know the limitations of my skills, and have many times asked questions or offered advice that I know is beyond me. I consistently feel the Holy Spirit working with me and these young men.”

For more on Jesuits engaged in prison ministry, visit the Wisconsin Province website.

Reflections from a Jesuit Brother

Jesuit Brother Pat DouglasShare

Jesuit Brother Pat Douglas, who has a master’s in counseling and works with youth in detention centers and with alcoholic recovery on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, says the most common response he gets when people learn about his vocation is: “Why would you just be a Brother?”

Br. Douglas says that while it hurts to hear this comment because “just” denotes some kind of lesser than or lacking, the question does seems to reflect many people’s thoughts on vocation in the Catholic faith.

He writes, “There seems to be a mentality that if one wants to serve God it can only be done through the priesthood…If God is the focus of one’s life it can never be a ‘just’ or lacking in any way.”

As far as his desire to serve as a brother, rather than a priest, he writes, “I guess one never fully knows and that is where faith comes in, but I do know what makes my heart happy and my soul sing and that is being a brother.”

Without the priorities specific to the vocation of a priest or married man, such as sacramental ministry or children, Douglas writes that as a brother he is “free to focus all his energy on his prayer, work and community life.”

Read more of Douglas’s reflections on being a Jesuit brother.