Josh Shutter



Hometown: Green Bay, WI

Year in Formation: Postulant

High School: Preble High School (Green Bay, WI), 2010

College: University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI), 2014

College Major: Chemistry

Graduate School: University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK), 2019

Graduate Degree: MPhil in Chemistry, 2016

Graduate School: Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), 2022

Graduate Degree: PhD in Chemical Physics

Previous Jobs: Postdoctoral Scientist

Patron Saint: St. John Vianney

Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings, Stand and Deliver, Remember the Titans, The Atomic Cafe

Favorite Books: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks

Favorite Music: The Piano Guys, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Gregorian Chant

Hobbies: Photography, cooking/baking, writing, DIY projects, traveling, hiking/walking, conversation

Most Memorable Prayer/Liturgy you have Attended: My favorite liturgy is that of the Easter Vigil as the fasting and penitential aspects of Lent give way to the joyful and jubilant Easter season. There’s just something special about the Exsultet, the ringing of bells/turning on of lights at the Gloria, singing the Litany of Saints, etc. that elevate the soul.

Place of Pilgrimage you Most Want to Visit and why: The Holy Land, since even though I have my own mental imagery of what Jerusalem, Galilee, and the surrounding area looks like, I think an added depth to my meditations would be achieved if I walked in the areas where Christ and his apostles once trod as well.

Favorite Way to Pray: Adoration and Gregorian Chant

Favorite Devotion: the Way of the Cross

What Drew you to Holy Cross: The charism of Holy Cross to educate folks in the faith is the primary reason for drawing me to the Congregation. I really resonate with Moreau’s statement that this education requires both the “development of the mind” and “cultivation of the heart.” We have to “develop the mind” of those folks we encounter to ensure they are useful citizens for society, and I hope my scientific expertise would be of value in that regard. At the same time, we must also be “cultivating the heart” to ensure that we are “preparing citizens for Heaven” (Bl. Basile Moreau).

Your Vocation Story: In brief, the first inkling of a religious vocation came during my senior year of college at UW-Madison while attending daily Mass, but it wasn’t until I started serving at Mass and becoming involved in the activities of the Catholic chaplaincy at the University of Cambridge that the idea became much more distinct. As I was altar serving, I could start to envision myself as a priest saying Mass, and as I imagined this, I felt a peace inside me that something about that just felt right. Perhaps Fr. Kevin Grove, CSC, who was the assistant chaplain, saw something going on, since he told me about a religious community in Indiana called Holy Cross that would also find great value in my chemistry research expertise and teaching.

That thought honestly stayed with me throughout my PhD studies at Harvard, so I continued to explore the priesthood by getting heavily involved in multiple capacities at St. Paul’s Parish in Harvard Square while doing my doctoral research. Volunteering there for six years was extremely fulfilling and helped to strengthen my resolve to explore a religious vocation in earnest with Holy Cross after a two-year postdoc in Minnesota.

Favorite Verse: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” – John 15:13

Favorite Quote: Here are two from St. John Vianney:
“The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love.”
“The priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus.”

How can visitors to this page pray for you? Please pray for all those discerning their vocation so that they might have a fulfilling and meaningful life.