An excerpt from Jake’s personal essay: “Whenever I hear stories from the people incarcerated [at California State Prison-Sacramento], my heart grows, and I am challenged to inhabit myself more authentically. People have shared with me struggles and secrets they had never told anyone else. I’ve been present to prisoners as they learned of the deaths of family members. I’ve heard countless stories of the pain, trauma and abuse that many incarcerated people have suffered. Through all these experiences, people have shown God to me in ways more beautiful than I could have expected, mostly by opening their hearts, owning their stories and telling them honestly and vulnerably. In other words, by radically being themselves.”
Jake Theriot is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May 2022 with his bachelor’s degree in English and theology. From August 2022 to July 2023, he served as the Assistant Catholic Chaplain at California State Prison-Sacramento through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He is currently working towards his Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, and he hopes to continue working with individuals affected by incarceration.
Jake’s essay can be found on Notre Dame’s “Personal Essay” webpage by scrolling to the seventh essay, “Getting Real”, about a third of the way down the page.