Ben Chu

Ben conducting a prescribed fire 

Areas of work: Wilderness Retreats, Gonzaga Explore, Integral Ecology Workshops, Sustainability Collaborations, Men's Ministry

Ben Chu, MA '21

It's a profound joy to serve as our team's Specialist for Ecological Spirituality. In animating Pope Francis's Laudato Si': On Care For Our Common Home, the hope of my work is to give students an opportunity to experience metanoia through incarnational encounters of the sacred in nature so that they can transform society's consciousness from ego-systems to eco-systems. Simply put, like St. Francis of Assisi, we long to adore God in all things and in all people.

I studied philosophy, psychology, and outdoor leadership at the University of Oregon while assisting in vineyards, a neuroscience lab, and a search and rescue team, and then I began an eight-year career in wildland fire on initial attack and helitack units, a prescribed fire module, an interagency hotshot crew, and a military veteran crew as a foreman and captain, during which I received a master's in organizational leadership from Gonzaga. My calling to ministry started with my Korean Catholic home community in San Diego, and I was formed while living and working with Franciscans on a farm in Siberia, the Jesuit Refugee Services in Cambodia, the Taizé Community in France, and Dominicans at the U of O Newman Center. Some of my most grace-filled moments are when I'm alone with God in the wild, when I'm participating in the Eucharist, when I'm connecting with Zags, and when I'm delighting in my wife and kids.

As pictured above, I loved burning in prescribed fire operations for ecological restoration, and now I feel drawn to St. Ignatius of Loyola's call to "go forth and set the world on fire" in a new way for the regenerative healing of our world.