Spiritual Life

Pastor Jeanne Aamot headshot

The Chaplain’s Voice: Q&A With Our Chaplains- Pastor Jeanne Aamot

We are thrilled to welcome you to our Q&A series, where we will be shining a spotlight on our extraordinary chaplains at Cassia. Through their unwavering support and compassionate presence, our chaplains provide comfort and guidance to our residents, their families and our staff.

In this installment, we are honored to feature Pastor Jeanne Aamot, Chaplain at Praha Village in New Prague, MN, and The Rosemount Senior Living at Steeple Center in Rosemount, MN. Join us as we delve into her approach to chaplaincy and explore the vital importance of spiritual care in our communities.

A: “My background for ministry is not typical. No one in my family is a pastor and in my early years we were not regular church goers. However, both my parents were people of faith and we always read the Christmas story from Luke 2, on Christmas Eve. 

My undergraduate degree is in Meteorology – yes I’m a science geek – and I worked in business for 17 years before becoming a pastor. Additionally, I have a master’s degree in International Management, so I felt like my advanced education was complete.

However, over a five-year period, I felt God’s call into ministry. Eventually I said yes, went to seminary and became ordained in the Congregational Church (National Association of Congregational Christian Churches – NACCC), and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 

The senior population has always been in my heart. Before seminary, I worked in sales and marketing for a manufacturing company that makes assistive listening devices. A large customer base is the senior population. I very much enjoyed this work, but God had a different plan for me. God opened the door of chaplaincy as a way to serve in ministry part-time and also be present with my family. 

I am married to Gregg and have a son (Manny) who is within months of graduating from high school! I enjoy spending time with my family, walking our dog (Moose, a 12 year old, 90lb., chocolate lab), watching baseball and sitting on the deck at our lake cabin on Lake Carlos, just outside of Alexandria, MN.

A: I served three different congregations before becoming a chaplain. I very much enjoyed congregational ministry, but the schedule of pastor was difficult to manage with family life. So, I took a leave from call for family reasons.

After a couple of years, I was starting to think about what a return to ministry might look like. Chaplaincy was one of the possibilities. The Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA recommended that I talk with a couple chaplains to learn more about part-time possibilities and daily work responsibilities. In one of those conversations, the chaplain shared that there was an opening for a part-time position serving at Praha Village and The Rosemount.

After prayer and some conversations, it seemed like the right fit. I just celebrated my 3-year anniversary and I tell people my work is my joy!

A: At both The Rosemount and Praha Village, spiritual and emotional support happen in many ways by the wonderful staff at each location. More specifically, as the chaplain, we have weekly worship and bible study. I also connect with residents for pastoral care visits.

A: I have lots of favorite bible verses but I’ll share two of my favorite: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you have against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14

I love both of these verses because they speak about hope, love, forgiveness, and compassion for individuals and for community. Life is hard, there are ups and downs, joys and sorrows, heartache and tragedy all mixed together. 

These verses remind me that we always have hope in a God who loves us and the world. They also remind me that the Holy Spirit is with us and gives us power and strength to live and work through the challenges. Because we are forgiven and loved, each day, we can “wear” and give God’s love to all who need it. This is good news!

A: At both locations, the diversity of faith beliefs is more Christian denominational than different world religions. There are a mix of folks coming from Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, non-denominational backgrounds and some folks who might consider themselves not from any particular tradition. 

While I am Christian, I appreciate, value and respect a diversity of backgrounds and beliefs. I am called to serve, encourage, listen and walk alongside others showing Christ’s love. All are welcome to the worship services and bible studies. At Praha Village, this past Ash Wednesday, we offered an ecumenical worship service with St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. There were about 40 participants. Several residents told me how much they enjoyed worshipping with other residents whom they don’t normally worship with. This was a highlight for me, to collaborate and offer a broader sense of community.

A: Each person has value and importance. I truly delight in learning people’s stories, their history, their passions and hopes. I try to get to know people as people first. That happens in one-to-one visits, and at both locations we have a monthly pastor’s lunch. It is not faith based, it is simply gathering around food and having conversation and getting to know one another.  It is a highlight for me because it is informal, relaxed and very conversational. I learn a lot!

A: At The Rosemount, last May, we invited an outside speaker from Pax Christi Catholic Community to come and talk about the St. John’s Bible. (The St. John’s Bible is a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. It is a holy work of art, commissioned by St. John’s Abbey and University in 1998.) About 30 people attended, and it truly was an inspiring learning opportunity. It was a different way, outside of regular worship, to experience and grow in faith together.

A: God continues to shape, inspire and transform me through my work as a chaplain. I learn and grow through the residents as we read the Holy Scriptures and have conversations in bible study. Preparing for worship each week, keeps me centered in God’s word and helps me reflect on, do I practice what I preach, in my work but also in my daily living. Interacting with both residents and staff, sharing in their joys and sorrows, praying with them or for them (and their prayers for me), enriches me personally. I am grateful for my current call as a chaplain as I receive many blessings through my work.” 

Thank you, Pastor Jeanne Aamot, for everything you have done for our residents, their families and our staff at Praha Village and The Rosemount!