Jess Panlener

Director of Discipleship

Jess and her husband had a deep desire to come back to southeastern Wisconsin at some point. When her sister-in- law mentioned that St. Charles was looking to fill a position that sounded just like her, she quickly applied. The process moved so quickly and smoothly that she knew Jesus had orchestrated all of it. She began working at St. Charles in July 2018.

For this ministry, Jess wants firstly whatever God wants.This means continuing to grow the spirit of discipleship and fervor for souls that is already here, and letting the model for discipleship and Small Group evangelization continue to ripple outward into our community.

Jess has a BA in Dance and a major in Religious Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison where she graduated in 2014. She spent most of her time in the Center for Jewish Studies during school. She then spent a year as a pastoral intern with St. Paul University Catholic Center where she was the retreats and Rite of Christian Initiation intern. She then enrolled at Marquette University where she earned a Master's Degree in Theology in 2017. After graduation she spent time as a campus minister for a small, Catholic high school in northern Wisconsin.

Jess grew up with a mix of Protestantisms, leaving faith behind in high school and through the first years of college. When her best friend, despite her protests, pulled her into St. Paul’s, she was so hungry for community and something greater than herself that she stayed. Gradually, she came to believe that Catholics were, in fact, Christians! Someone signed her up for Winter Retreat that year, and in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Jess believes that she was delivered. Jesus expressed to her, “I want you, and I want all of you. And that means I want you to be Catholic.” She accepted. She went through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and the following year was received into full communion with the church. Jesus has proven Himself faithful and generous to her time and again since the day she let Him in.

When Jess has a day off she enjoys reading, board games and weightlifting.

(262) 367-0800 ext. 214
  • Small group evangelization and discipleship experiences
  • Small Group Leader Mentor
  • Coordination of Becoming Fully Catholic