Birthday: November 18, 1976
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Bachelor’s degree, mathematics, College of the Holy Cross
Master’s degree, philosophy, Saint Louis University
Licentiate in Sacred Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
Volunteered at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York
Studied Latin under Fr. Reginald Foster
Completed clinical pastoral education at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston
Will continue to serve as a chaplain at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
Richard Nichols, SJ, 42, grew up singing in the choir at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. He first met the Jesuits as a seventh-grade student at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland, and studied with them again at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. After earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1998, Fr. Nichols was commissioned as an officer in the Navy and volunteered for submarine service. When the Navy sent him to do intelligence work in the D.C. area, he met priests from the Archdiocese of Washington. Inspired by their example, he left the Navy and went to Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange, New Jersey. As a seminarian, he completed the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and decided to enter the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in 2008 in Syracuse, New York. After the novitiate, the Jesuits sent him to Saint Louis University, where he earned a master’s degree in philosophy in 2012. Then he taught math and served as athletics chaplain at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. Missioned next to the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology before going on to serve as a deacon at St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside, New York. Highlights of his formation include volunteer work at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York; Latin study under Fr. Reginald Foster; and clinical pastoral education at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. After ordination, Fr. Nichols will continue to serve as a chaplain at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. His first Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at St. Anthony’s Church in Oceanside, New York. (Maryland Province)
Richard enjoys powerlifting.
What is one hobby you’ve cultivated as a Jesuit and why is it important
One hobby that I have cultivated as a Jesuit is CrossFit. I find this exercise regimen both challenging and rewarding, and it has introduced me to friends I would not otherwise have made.
Tell your vocation story. One catch: You must use only six words.
God planted. He also gives growth.
Who is one important mentor who has accompanied you on your journey?
What made them a good mentor?
Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ, is an important mentor who has accompanied me on my journey. In his position as formation director, he was responsible for my growth and development as a Jesuit. He challenged me when I needed to be challenged and gave my support when I most needed support. For example, he challenged me to develop my skills in hospital chaplaincy, despite my hesitations, and now I love it.
Richard receiving an award in the Navy.
What is your favorite book, movie, music, or TV show you’ve encountered
since entering the Society and why do you love it?
My favorite book that I’ve read since entering the Society is “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo. I like it as a story of good choices, bad choices and redemption. I like the way that the people and the city of Paris are depicted.