Golfer? Accountant? Monk! Profile of Brother James Jensen, O.S.B.

It’s not surprising that Brother James Jensen, O.S.B. considered life as a priest or brother when he was young. He grew up in a church-every-Sunday family and attended Catholic schools for 12 years. An avid teenage golfer, he daydreamed about a combo career as a pro-golfer priest, “but that wasn’t realistic,” he realized. His early interest never left, however, and five years into a career as an accountant Jensen started exploring religious life seriously—a move that ultimately led him to become a Benedictine monk, praying seven times a day.

Brother James Jensen, O.S.B.

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(Photo courtesy of Saint Meinrad Archabbey)

What first drew you to religious life?

The idea that I could order my life around the liturgy was attractive, as was praying with a community.

How did you meet your community?

A priest friend of mine in my home diocese is an alumnus of the seminary my community runs, and he encouraged me to visit. I made a vocation retreat and entered four years later.

How did your family and friends respond when you told them you were joining a religious community?

They weren’t surprised but had lots of questions about what life as a monk would be like and how much contact I would be able to have with them. They were supportive but worried I was going to completely cut ties with the outside world once I joined. Although my relationships have changed, I still have wonderful friends outside the monastery.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with your community?

The most fun I have is in daily interactions—whether at our community recreation in the evening or throughout the day as we work together. I work with our youth program, One Bread, One Cup, in our development office, and I’m the assistant archabbey sacristan.

Any hobbies?

I love to ride my bike and get outside and see nature. I’ve biked across my home state of Iowa five times and try to ride parts of an Iowa group ride on my vacation if I can. I also enjoy reading and watching movies.

Your favorite way to pray?

I love lectio divina, our practice of praying with scripture. We block out two times a day for it. Lectio is my favorite because it helps me connect with Christ and better understand our relationship.

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