Welcoming Father Dirk Dunfee to the Regis family

From law to nursing, pastoral work to meditation, Regis’ newest Jesuit priest, Father Dirk Dunfee, draws upon many schools of thought to inform his approach to life and leadership. Dunfee, who teaches aspiring family nurse practitioners in the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions, recently discussed his background, role at Regis, and why he loves lifting weights.

Describe your path to the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).
I was a licensed lawyer before entering the Society in 1987, but ever since I was a child, I felt engaged with God. As I grew up, that began to feel more and more like a calling. While studying law at Duke University, I met and came under the mentorship of a Jesuit named Joseph Burke. He had the love of God written all over his face and was completely genuine. In meeting him, I realized I wanted to be like him. A vocation has two parts: God’s call and our response. Our desires color our response to God, but they also help us figure where and to what God may be calling us.

Tell us about your role at Regis.
The biggest part of my job right now is helping get the health service portion of the Cultivate Health project up and running. I also am teaching part time in the nursing program, helping family nurse practitioner students through their clinical experiences and rotations. My background within the Society is in nursing, and I have worked as a family nurse practitioner in health care centers that deliver care to low-income individuals.

Describe your first impression of Regis.
The people here have been extremely kind and welcoming. They really seem to like having Jesuits around, which is wonderful. I’m very grateful to be here.

Tell us something unexpected about you.
I enjoy lifting weights, and I’ve studied Zen Buddhism. They actually go really well together – I’ve integrated what I’ve learned in Zen Buddhism with weightlifting. Both Zen Buddhism and resistance training have helped my Christian spiritual practice. Pushing against resistance is, for me, a metaphor for the discipline and persistence essential to any spiritual practice.

Learn more about the Jesuit tradition and vision and how it can benefit you.