Summit alumnus Wahlbrink professes first vows to the priesthood

Ty Wahlbrink SJ professed his first vows of perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus. He will continue his journey to being ordained a Catholic, Jesuit priest at Fordham University in an innovative community ministry-based philosophy Master's program in New York City. He is a 2012 graduate of The Summit Country Day School.

In 2019, he left the corporate world, including jobs and internships at Kroger, GE Aviation, Nielsen, the City of Cincinnati and Fifth Third Bank to become a Jesuit novice.

“There are people in this life who give everything up to pursue something they feel called to and are passionate about, whether that’s religious life or friends who want to go and do something entirely different – a career change,” Wahlbrink said. “It was in the back of my mind through the years. Hearing that call, coming and going.”

For those who really know him, the switch might not have been much of a surprise.

He went to St. Ursula Villa for grade school and got involved as a server, Eucharistic minister and usher at Immaculate Heart of Mary, his home parish.

“In second grade, I can remember breaking out the Ritz crackers and grape juice and making my mom sit there as I played church,” he says. “In fifth grade, for the yearbook, they asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I actually said I wanted to be a priest. It probably was in the back of my mind for a long time.”

While at The Summit, he investigated becoming a Diocesan priest but didn’t feel God’s call there. So, he pursued other passions — a mix of economics, statistics and data analytics — until he found the Jesuits.

He was part of the 2019 class of Midwest Jesuit novices who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and a fourth vow of obedience with regard to mission.

The journey to Jesuit priesthood will take another decade.