Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE

Keith Nelson, SSJE grew up first in New Jersey, then in Alabama. He studied at Kenyon College and Harvard Divinity School. Prior to his arrival at SSJE in 2014, he worked in secondary and adult education, as well as in church administration. He was life professed in 2019, and has served the community as Assistant Superior, Novice Guardian, and director of the Monastic Internship Program. He enjoys drawing and painting, journaling, hiking, spending time with trees, and foraging (a new hobby!).


Learn more about Br. Keith's Catch the Life journey to monastic life >

Selection of Br. Keith's teachings from "Brother, Give Us a Word"


Repentance is always relevant to us, because we are always in need of it. Repentance can happen any moment that we discover a need to turn around, and if we are repentant, we are ready and willing to turn at a moment’s notice throughout the length of our journey.-Br. Keith Nelson, SSJERead More and Comment…

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The true wonder, the real cause for astonishment, is that Jesus continues to give us himself. He continues to entrust himself to our distracted, careless, fumbling, human hands, because his love for us is endless and unbreakable. -Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE Read More and Comment >

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When the fresh air of the Gospel becomes our oxygen, the collective sin of the world, of others and our own, will burn our sensitized lungs like toxic fumes. We will notice injustice everywhere we turn, and though we will do all we are able in response, we will feel powerless against so much of…

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Selection of Br. Keith's writing

A Heart of Flesh in Place of Stone: God-with-us in the Midst of Climate Grief

“What if the awakening of our conscience to profound new layers of the world’s pain is a sign – not of God’s absence, but of the Spirit of God excavating strata of our personhood and our collective attention that we are now called to engage? And what if the path of grief thus sensed could become a sober and conscious choice – claimed and lived, come what may, as the cost of our full becoming?”

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow

“If the feeling of absence in our lives has anything to do with the purposes of God, growth will be its gift, but not in a way we can predict or even recognize. This has been the experience of many saints, whose patient endurance through the night of God’s felt absence has catalyzed their growth, not in fondness but in holiness.”

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Swimming in Meaning, Rooted in God: A conversation about vocation with Br. Keith Nelson

I had a really wonderful day with God in this community yesterday; let’s do it again today.

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