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March 2015

Longtime chaplain of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital to Speak at Santa Clara University's Jesuit School of Theology Commencement May 23

The longtime chaplain of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Sister Bernice Gotelli, PBVM, will be the commencement speaker at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University May 23.

SANTA CLARA, CALIF., March 18, 2015—The longtime chaplain of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland will be the commencement speaker at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST).

Sister Bernice Gotelli, PBVM, will address the 2015 class, their families and friends at 3 p.m. May 23 at Pacific School of Religion’s Chapel of the Great Commission at 1798 Scenic Ave. in Berkeley, Calif.

Sister Gotelli has spent 26 years providing vital hands-on pastoral work.  She is the sole chaplain at the 100-year-old hospital, working with critically ill and dying children throughout the hospital, as well as following through with their families.  She has supervised students from the Graduate Theological Union’s pastoral care field program, including 30 to 35 students from JST and several students from the other schools of GTU who have engaged in supervised ministry at the hospital.

“In Sister Gotelli, JST honors a true leader in pastoral ministry,” said Thomas Massaro, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology.  “Few people have given more time and expertise to JST students over the years than Bernice Gotelli, and we are honored to welcome her as our commencement speaker this year.”

In her ministry as bedside chaplain, Sister Gotelli is a member of the hospital’s Medical Ethics and Palliative Care committees. 

“Working with the Jesuit School of Theology has been a real gift in my life,” said Gotelli.  “Not only are the students a help to my ministry, but it is also a blessing seeing their pastoral skills develop as they minister to children and families in need of knowing God’s presence in their illness.”

Sister Gotelli worked in elementary education for 16 years, followed by 10 years as a parish sister conducting religious education classes for adults, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and community organizing around justice issues.   After completing an extensive clinical pastoral education at Saint Mary’s Hospital, she began her chaplaincy career.

She received her B.A. from the University of San Francisco and her MRE from Seattle University. She also holds certification from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. During the commencement event, Sister Gotelli will receive an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from JST.

About the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley, California, is a preeminent international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology. Its mission is to inspire and prepare men and women to become leaders in the Church, academy, and society, serving others through a faith that does justice. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, JST educates and trains Jesuits, religious, ordained, and lay students from across the United States and from 40 other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship. For more information see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | 408-554-5121 |