A Talented Scientist and Researcher Responds to God’s Call
Scott Jakubowski: From NASA to St. Vincent’s “Little Company”
For Scott Jakubowski, the path to the priesthood was anything but ordinary. Scott grew up in Tuscon, AZ. His father is Methodist and his mother Catholic. An only child, Scott was raised Catholic. He always went to Mass with his family and they celebrated the sacraments together. After high school, Scott was drawn to the religious life.
“My parents were very against me entering seminary at that age,” Scott recalls. “They wanted me to go to college first, so I did” Scott studied environmental science and chemistry at Chapman University. Soon after, he was accepted for an internship at NASA, where he analyzed the chemical composition of oceans under the surface of one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, to see if life could be supported.
Scott pursued an advanced degree in oceanography at Florida State and worked as a private consultant in the coastal wetlands. He published many articles in scholarly journals and regularly spoke at conferences.
“I was happy with my career, but I could tell something was missing,” Scott recalls. “I knew I needed to make a change.”
So, Scott gave up a comfortable life in California and moved back to Arizona. He decided to make his faith more a part of his life. Scott worked with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and became actively involved in his parish. He also participated in the Ozanam Formation Experience, and soon after entered Vincentian formation. “I gave up excellent pay, benefits and a career I loved, but I knew that this was where God was calling me,” Scott says.
“I’d like to say, ‘Thank you!’ to all of our donors and friends,” Scott says. “Your financial support is great, but your prayers make the biggest difference.” Scott currently is studying as a Vincentian seminarian at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is grateful for the support of donors who help cover the expenses of his formation, education and pastoral experiences. Scott and the other Vincentians in formation pray daily for all of the people who generously support the Vincentian mission.
“Formation over the past two years has been a wonderful experience, and this summer is no exception. In May, I traveled to southwestern France to retrace the early years of St. Vincent de Paul and the Vincentians including the Berceau, Tihl, Chateau L’Evique, Bordeaux and Toulouse (also the Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes). In June, I spent the month with twenty-two small ecclesial communities in central Arkansas where two Vincentian priests minister to six parish communities–mostly Hispanic immigrants.
The impact of true missionaries is incredible and an inspiration. Working with these communities reinforced the need for more Spanish-language skills, and I spent three weeks in Guatemala in increase my Spanish grammar proficiency. I have learned Spanish from the time I was younger, growing up in Arizona, but now am able to form complete sentences in many different tenses.
This August, I moved into the DePaul Novitiate house on Magnolia Street and will be studying more about St. Vincent de Paul and his Congregation of the Mission. I look forward to meeting more of the Vincentian Family and traveling to Rome in October with 7,000+ friends to share an audience with Pope Francis.
I thank all the benefactors who have donated time, money and prayers to support our vocations and mission. Without them, none of this would be possible. I also ask that people pray for more vocations and cultivate them actively in their communities.”
This is an updated version of an article that first appeared in The Vincentian , the newsletter of the Province of the West