Midwest Jesuits Welcome Eight New Novices

The 2020 class of new Midwest Jesuit novices

It is with great joy that the Midwest Jesuits introduce the eight men who entered the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus at the novitiate in St. Paul on August 15, 2020. Back row: Michael Rushka; Kyle Vieth; Austin Kleman; Brennan Dour; front row: William Garbe; David Abernathy; Patrick Fenner; Brian Martindale.

David Abernathy, 46, was raised in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated from Althoff Catholic High School. He went on to receive a bachelor's degreein law enforcement and justice administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He served for 20 years as a police officer with the city of Belleville and retired in August of 2020. During a period of discernment, Abernathy got to know the Jesuits while attending a "come and see" weekend in Chicago and he felt an instant connection. 

Brennan Dour, 23, grew up in Bremerton, Washington, and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with majors in the program of liberal studies and German. During his time at Notre Dame he also studied in Munich, Heidelberg, and Jerusalem. Dour began discerning a vocation to the Society of Jesus in college after meeting a few Jesuit priests during his studies and reading several works by Jesuit authors.

Patrick Fenner, 22, graduated from Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Fenner continued his education at Creighton University graduating with a degree in secondary education and theology. While at Creighton, he became more acquainted with the Jesuits and began to discern a call to the Society of Jesus. Patrick lead retreats at Creighton and found joy in the deepening of his own spirituality and that of others.

William Garbe, 28, first discerned Jesuit life while living in Cincinnati, following a retreat at Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. He spent several months praying with Jesuit Fr. James Martin’s books and The Examen podcast. A few months later, Garbe left his career as an investigative reporter at the Dayton Daily News and moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to live and work as a donné with Red Cloud Indian School’s Jesuit community. Garbe is a native Michigander born in Ann Arbor, and grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where he attended St. Francis de Sales School. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 2014.

Austin Kleman, 23, graduated in 2019 with a psychology and philosophy degree with honors from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. During his studies, Austin participated in a missionary program in Uganda and an internship program with the Lasallian brothers in Brisbane, Australia. This past year, Kleman worked as the general manager of a Dunkin’ restaurant in his hometown, Wausau, Wisconsin. Kleman first discovered the Jesuits in his final year at Saint Mary’s and spent this past year learning about the order and discerning the call to join.

Brian Martindale, 23, was raised in Carmel, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. He attended Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, where he first encountered the Jesuits and began discerning his vocation. He continued his education and discernment at Marquette University, where he studied biochemistry, philosophy, and peace studies. At Marquette, Martindale was also heavily involved in campus ministry and the Center for Peacemaking. Martindale just completed a year of service with Jesuit Volunteer Corps, working as the outreach coordinator at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Baltimore.

Michael Rushka, 23, was raised in Indianapolis. When Ruska was a senior at Cathedral High School, in the fall of 2015, his theology teacher took him to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia, and that was where he first felt called to the Jesuits. After high school, he attended Georgetown University and graduated in 2020 with a degree in physics and mathematics. While at Georgetown, he was active in the Knights of Columbus and Georgetown Right to Life. He also participated in the university's Gregorian chant schola.

Kyle Vieth, 27, grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in physiology. After earning his master’s, he spent two years working in a research lab at the university studying iron metabolism. He then entered the seminary in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati where he remained for a year and a half. As Vieth desired to reach those on the periphery, he first began discerning a Jesuit vocation at the advice of a trusted mentor and priest. 

Second Year Novices at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado: 

  • Noah Banasiewicz, nSJ 
  • Brian Burtka, nSJ 
  • Nathaniel Cortas, nSJ 
  • Thomas Doran, nSJ 
  • David Herr, nSJ
  • Benjamin J. Jansen, nSJ
  • Evan Krummel, nSJ 
  • Min Keun "Daniel" Park, nSJ 
  • Ryan Serfas, nSJ 
  • John Tyler "Ty" Wahlbrink, nSJ