Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Ph.D. on Returning to Collegeville

Dr. Zsupan-Jerome teaching a courseWhen asked how it felt to return to her alma mater, Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Ph.D., simply said, “Magnificat anima mea dominum,” meaning “my soul magnifies the Lord.” 

In the Spring of 2021 Daniella was appointed to her position as the Director of Ministry Formation and Field Education at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary and she loves the role she has as an educator in graduate level theology. “It is a blessing to be able to study and practice the faith with the intentional focus of graduate work. My hope is that people called to these roles, especially in a professional context have the opportunity for robust formation so that this can be done in the fullest way possible.”  

Having lived in three countries and ten different cities, Daniella aims to carry something forward from each place she has lived, furthering her theological and world knowledge through experiences. She said, “I love to be able to bring lived faith, intellectual content and pastoral practice together. To me, the best part of theology is reflecting on how we live it, and how to enter into the mystery of faith in an actual, meaningful, self-giving way.” 

Prior to teaching at the SOT/Sem, Daniella worked at two other graduate-level theological institutions. Her favorite aspect of teaching graduate students is getting to know the students and the topics they are deeply invested in. She is passionate about working with students who have a desire to live and share the content of faith as ministers in both professional and personal contexts. Daniella believes “handing on the faith, whether in word, action or accompaniment really matters. It matters above all.” Graduate level theological studies help students to take the task of handing on of the faith seriously.   

“It is a blessing to be able to study and practice the faith with the intentional focus of graduate work. There is something special about it that recalls for me the upper room of Pentecost, where the disciples are given the ability to speak the Word by the Holy Spirit, and they go forth as evangelizers. Graduate theology is a life-changer: one becomes a ministerial leader and/or a professional theologian through this experience.” 

Daniella holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Arts in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, a Master of Arts in Religion and the Arts from Yale Divinity School, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Education from Boston College. Daniella and her husband both graduated from Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in the early 200s. She finds great joy in sharing Saint John’s again with her family, now including two children. 

Daniella as a student at the SOT Daniella returning to the SOT as a professor, pictured here with her two children

This piece was written by Bernadette Donlon, MTS ‘23 Candidate