Graduates for the Church and World

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June 5, 2019


Meet our graduates, ready for a lifetime of work and prayer.

On May 12th, the Graduate School of Theology and Seminary was pleased to graduate the Spring 2019 class of religious and lay professionals serving the Church and world, completing degrees in Master of Arts, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Divinity, and Master of Theology.



Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

I’m a Spring 2019 graduate, and always grateful to have been supported through this adventure by my family. Now that coursework is complete, I’m home with the kids and don’t plan to enter full time employment in the near future and will run a consulting business in the areas of technology. I’ll serve as a Deacon for the diocese of St. Cloud primarily in the Becker/Big Lake area, but in the larger Sherburne area Catholic community also.



Master of Theological Studies

My experience here at Collegeville has been one of finding what I was not looking for, entering the School of Theology and Seminary only thinking this would be a great place to earn a Masters degree. I found so much more – a challenging and uplifting program of study with professors who actually made it interesting to study and learn, and friends and colleagues that will remain in my life for years to come. I also found my fiancé, Alex Blechle. I will be spending several of the upcoming months preparing for our wedding, and also adjusting to my new position as Director of Campus Ministry at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis. 



Master of Theological Studies

This journey through my Theological Studies program has been both challenging and rewarding, and I am so grateful for all the guidance and encouragement I’ve received from the faculty and my classmates. I am particularly happy to have met Maria Siebels, my classmate and now fiancé. As she has accepted a position in the Minneapolis area, I will be centering my employment search in this area. I plan to work in ministry for a few years, and then I would likely want to pursue a Ph.D. program in historical theology.



Master of Divinity

I came to the SOT/Sem because its reputation for liturgical renewal and ecumenical dialogue drew my interest. Upon my first visit to this campus community, I knew that this is where God was calling me to further my theological education. My goal in pursing an M.Div. was to be a much-needed pastoral presence for the People of God. This remains my hope in any ministry I do – formal or informal – and particularly in my work with young women.

 In the first year of my studies, I recall describing to a fellow M.Div. student that this grad school thing feels like I am constantly being stretched, pulled apart, and reassembled – in the sometimes painful or uncomfortable ways that happen when we’re growing and learning. “Thank God,” my friend said. “I thought it was just me who felt that way!” I don’t want to stop being stretched, exposed to different ways of thinking and new life experiences in the ways that I encountered at the SOT.

 Recently, I am thankful to have been hired as a Theology teacher at Immaculate Heart High School, an all-girls Catholic high school in Los Angeles. I started teaching summer school in June and will be teaching full time in the Fall. I also plan to continue freelance writing for publications like U.S. Catholic and LTP. For the foreseeable future, I will be living in Los Angeles with my husband, but I am discerning Ph.D. studies in Practical Theology. Time will tell, but that could be another step sometime in the next five years.



Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

This has been an amazing two years Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary! I’m honored to be a part of such an amazing group of men and women. The Pastoral Ministry program has been so rewarding for me, and I’ve learned so much I can put into practice. I am grateful that the long drive from my home in the Brainerd-area is over but will miss the community and great spaces at Collegeville. Now that coursework is complete, I will be doing a unit of CPE to work towards completing that portion of my education and will continue working in the area of Hospice Care. Also, I am very busy designing and building a mobile hospice care unit with my husband, Russ, which I am hopeful will be a great benefit anywhere this need exists.



Master of Divinity

I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to study at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary. Now that I have completed my coursework, I will again devote myself to the monastic rituals of life here at the Abbey, where I will remain in residence. I am continuing my education beyond my Master’s degree and obtaining a Spiritual Direction Certification as well, which is part of my preparation for ordination in 2021. I am looking forward to also becoming part of the Alumni community and am interested in serving on the Alumni Council in the future to continue the connection between graduates and the SOT/Sem.



Master of Arts in Liturgical Music

Formerly as a student and now as a graduate of the Liturgical Music program and Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary, I am constantly living out their Mission Statement, which expresses the desire for the entire SOT community to "use our diverse gifts for the transformation of our world." Nothing would make me happier than to have the opportunity to attain a career, particularly involving parish positions in liturgy and music, where the musical gifts that God has given me can be used to help others know and grow closer to God. If I can transform the lives of others through my diverse gift, hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.



Master of Theological Studies

Saint John's possesses an incredible heritage as a leader in advancing the Church's liturgical life. Consequently, as a liturgy student, it was humbling to walk, work, and pray in the same place as monks, sisters, and scholars who profoundly shaped how the Church now celebrates our sacred stories, songs, and rituals. My studies inspired and challenged me to continue their legacy. Having completed my program, I had time to work with the Youth in Theology Ministry program at the SOT/Sem for one last summer and depart for Ireland in July to visit old friends. I have been searching and interviewing for a job in a theological organization, hoping to have a position beginning this Fall.



Master of Divinity

I applied to the SOT/Sem based on the recommendation of my undergraduate theology professor. After some research and a tour, I was drawn by the charisma of the community. Throughout my journey, Saint John's  helped me to find my voice, which is like wild honey, kind and sweet but with a little spunk and sass, and I am so grateful to this place for helping me grow the courage to find that voice.

In the gap between graduation and starting my new job, I am spending a bit more time at Collegeville, volunteering in the Development Office and in the monks' garden, reconnecting with people, and preparing to move across the country where I have accepted a position for a yearlong chaplain residency at a hospital in Concord, North Carolina. After this residency, I will be eligible to receive board certification as a chaplain. I do not yet know whether I will pursue a Doctorate degree, but if so, I would be more inclined to get a D.Min. In any case, I plan to be a lifelong learner! One hope I have taken from my time here is that I will be able to incorporate social justice into my ministry, since this is a passion of mine. My heart is drawn to working with people who are oppressed and/or navigate a world in which they are treated differently. As a theological framework, I hope to turn to the rich tradition of black and womanist liberation theologies.



Master of Divinity

Obtaining the M.Div degree with it’s focus on areas of the priesthood is one more step on my path towards ordination. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and would recommend the School of Theology and Seminary to any student. I plan to continue my education further at the SOT/Sem, enrolling in the Master of Arts in Theology program for this coming Fall. My planned ordination is not until 2023, so I will have time to complete this new program as well as continue to devote myself to monastic duties while living in the Abbey here at Saint John’s.



Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

It has been a special and rewarding time here at the SOT/Sem. I have learned and grown in ways I could not have imagined. I am advancing to a new degree program at the University of San Francisco this Fall, so will be spending my summer relocating to California. I plan to take a Master of Arts program in International and Multicultural Education. I combination with my M.Div., I will be able to share my knowledge and help others as I’ve been guided and supported while pursuing my degree at Collegeville.



Master of Theological Studies

While obtaining my Masters here at Saint John’s, I’ve been grateful to not only be educated and developed for my future, but to have had the opportunity to work with the staff in the Admissions office at the School of Theology and Seminary. This was a great experience and I enjoyed the people I worked with a great deal. I have continued to work with this department over the summer as I’ve been looking for employment. I am hoping to use my education to obtain a teaching position soon.



Master of Theological Studies

I learned about Saint John's University through working as a volunteer for two years for the Benedictine Abbey of Newark in New Jersey, which is one of the monasteries that receive two or three Benedictine Volunteers from Saint John's University every year. While attending the SOT/Sem, taking part in prayerful community with others dedicated to the Faith in intense devotion has changed my life. I wish to share the faith formation, knowledge, and experience of community I gained with my family, friends, and the students with whom I hope to work.

Since graduation, I moved home to New Jersey and have been resting, enjoying time outdoors in the beautiful summer weather, and of course am continuing to search for jobs. I hope to work as a Catholic high school theology teacher beginning this fall.



Master of Divinity

Following my graduation from the SOT/Sem, I  returned to my home country of Korea for my ordination into the priesthood and was so pleased to have Fr. Michael Patella attend the ceremony. I am grateful and fortunate to have had the chance to study at Saint John’s and will be expanding my education this fall at Fordham University in New York, at their Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education.



Master of Theological Studies

Coming from my home country of Nigeria to Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary to obtain my Masters degree has been an amazing undertaking for me and has given me a greater understanding of other people and how I can better help them. I had the occasion to work with the YTM program at the SOT/Sem in June, which is so enjoyable, and now I am relocating to Milwaukee to advance my education further by taking a Ph.D. program at Marquette University. These further studies in Theology will prepare me for teaching responsibilities in the future.



Master of Divinity

Completing the M.Div degree is one step in preparation for my upcoming ordination in 2021. I came to the School of Theology and Seminary from my home country of Vietnam to develop my knowledge and skills in ministerial and theological areas, so that when I return home, I can use these abilities to the benefit of my Cistercian community. This fall, I will add to my education by taking an additional Masters program her at the SOT/Sem in the area of Theological Studies. Living and studying here at Saint John’s has helped me grow more than I ever believed.



Master of Arts in Theology

My first experience of St. John's was in high school at NCYC. I promised myself I would somehow come back to St. John's, and I did to get my Master's! I had many great experiences, one particularly memorable occurrence was an impromptu mini-concert with my Hymnody class, which included singing an original composition of a classmate and the favorite hymn of the professor.

In August I will be the Dean of Faith Formation and Campus Ministry at a local Catholic high school. My future goals are to continue growing my family, develop my job and ministry, and to be the best disciple I can be for my family and community. I hope that my degree and experience at St. John's will allow me to connect with the students and faculty at my new position on a deeper level, and give them memories like I take from Collegeville.



Master of Theological Studies

I am very grateful for the time I spent at the School of Theology and Seminary, and made connections I did not think to find here. I was fortunate to have a fellow student who is also from my home country of Nigeria, and met many other passionate and inquisitive people striving to become better for themselves and in their service. I am planning to continue my studies and have enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Theology Studies at the University or Notre Dame, starting this fall.