Monthly Archives: December 2014

Student Feature: Meet Eliza

Eliza Stucker is currently seeking a dual Masters degree from IPS. From the beginning, she has welcomed and embraced the new challenges and experiences that higher education brings. Find out more about Eliza and her future goals below:


Nickname: Liza

Hometown: Irmo, SC

A favorite hobby: Cooking – Italian cuisine in particular

A favorite quote:
“Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something that needs our love.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

What is your previous education?
Furman University, Bachelors in Chemistry and Bachelors in Biology (2012).

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I was in college, doubling in Chemistry and Biology, planning on applying to veterinary school.

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I began by realizing that religion is often used as a weapon to judge, demean, or harm others as opposed to being a source of healing. I have experienced God as One who heals, and I wanted to learn more to be able to be a source of healing and counter this trend in our world. I also wanted to work with people and became intrigued by the idea of psychotherapy. IPS’s dual degree in Divinity and Pastoral Counseling matched my interests, and I applied!

What are your studies focused on?
I am in the dual Masters program, getting my Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling degrees. I like to describe the MDiv as a degree focused on how religion/theology play out in the world at large, on the ground. This degree teaches me how to stand beside people as God would and how to be a resource for those who are on their own personal journey and are in need of a companion.

My MAPC degree is a bit more specific to the mind. Pastoral counseling is essentially psychotherapy with a pastoral lens, and it is a unique approach to the psychological issues many people in our society face daily. This degree teaches me about basic psychology, yes. More than that, though, it teaches me how to attune to others, to truly listen and to help someone find his/her own answers. One of the most healing techniques I have found is how to be able to be a calm, supportive person for someone as they face their own suffering, becoming a witness to the life of another. This is not something many feel comfortable doing; we are almost wired to move away from suffering. My field and vocation, however, asks me to stand my ground and face the suffering of life alongside those who need me as a witness and support.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
I am looking forward now to my clinical internship in counseling that will begin either this summer or next fall. It will be my first opportunity to act in a psychotherapeutic role, and I’m very excited for this real-world, hands on experience. Thus far, I am most proud of my completed CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) unit I just completed this past summer. I learned so many things about ministry and chaplaincy, met some amazing people and learned a lot about myself.

Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
Hebrew I and II were my favorite classes that I’ve taken at Loyola as a graduate student. Within IPS, though (Hebrew is in the Theology department), my favorite class has been either Human Relations Skills or Psychopathology…I can’t decide! Both are pastoral counseling classes. I’m looking forward to Testing and Measurement and, as aforementioned, Internship.

Do you see any challenges you will have to overcome during your time here? If so, what is one of them?
I feel as though education always comes with its challenges, and in my 2.5 years at IPS I can say I have underwent some challenges. For the future, though, I cannot predict what will happen next. I rest in the fact that I can come to IPS staff to help me with whatever issues I may come across for the remainder of my time here.

Do you have any recommendations for future students?
I recommend that students come to a class in the program(s) they are interested in and speak to the students about their experiences. While I enjoy what I do, the reality of my programs are very different from what I had imagined going in; it’s hard to understand a program through paper. Since we all have 20/20 hindsight, I think talking to some students about the programs would be very informative for prospective students!

In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
My hope is to be able to provide therapy for all different kinds of individuals that will improve their body, mind and spiritual health.

Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
Well, a final paper for a class that I’m currently finishing up has me researching/writing about the impact of a female victimization narrative on the recovery of battered women. I am weaving together feminist theology with social context and a bit of psychology to speak to how this large, societal problem (domestic violence) can be understood through lenses that can be harmful or unproductive.

What is a fun fact or story about you?
I think one of the funniest facts about me in the context of IPS is that many of my MDiv classmates thought I was Jewish my first year in the program because of how often I cite the First Testament and/or Hebrew!

Connect with Eliza:
Prospective students are welcome to email me at if they have further questions or comments for me!


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.


IPS To Launch New Digital Concentration

Loyola University Chicagos Institute of Pastoral Studies is pleased to announce a new concentration available to students beginning Fall 2015Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree with a Concentration in Digital Communication.

The first program of its kind in the US, the Concentration in Digital Communication combines courses from Loyola’s IPS and its School of Communication. As the contemporary world – and with it, today’s Church – is ever more driven and influenced by content delivered through digital platforms and social media, it is critical that pastoral leaders be skilled in the use of the newest tools for effective evangelization and outreach.

This degree concentration will allow students to hone their communication skills and learn best practices for using digital media in the dissemination of parish/congregation/diocese news, events, and the message of the Gospel in order to reach a wider audience than is possible through, but doesn’t exclude, legacy print and broadcast media.

On February 10, 2015, IPS will host a launch event featuring a panel discussion to introduce and celebrate this new concentration.

After opening remarks from Archbishop Blase Cupich (tentatively scheduled), the event will be moderated by Don Wycliff, distinguished journalist in residence at Loyola University Chicago. Wycliff was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing in 1996, has been inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and received a lifetime achievement award from the Chicago Journalists Association. He was also a long time editor for the Chicago Tribune and is a nationally recognized expert on ethics.

Panelists for this event include four prominent leaders in Catholicismdigital revolution:

  • Bishop Christopher Coyne (@bishopcoyne) – On his 2011 appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis, then-Fr. Coyne became global Catholicism’s first blogging priest to become a bishop. In the time since, Bishop Coyne has expanded his digital ministry to podcasting, Facebook and Twitter – an outreach which saw him featured on the Today show. A former director of communications for the Archdiocese of Boston and a host on the CatholicTV cable network in late 2014, the US bishops elected Bishop Coyne as chair of their Communications Committee.
  • Rocco Palmo (@roccopalmo) – The voice behind the influential Whispers in the Loggia news blog site and a former US correspondent for the London-based international Catholic weekly The Tablet, he’s been a church analyst for mainstream print and broadcast outlets including the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, BBC, CNN, and National Public Radio. In 2011, Palmo co-chaired the Vaticans first-ever conference on social media, convened by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Social Communications, and guided the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national seminar on the “digital church” in 2012. 
  • Kerry Weber (@Kerry_Weber) – Currently the managing editor of the Jesuits’ America Magazine in New York, she is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Providence College in Rhode Island. A former associate editor for Catholic Digest and The Catholic Observer, as well as a onetime TV producer and reporter, Webers account of daily spirituality for the Millennial generation, Mercy in the City, was recently published by Loyola Press.
  • Fr. Manuel Dorantes (@TweetingPriest) – Known affectionately around Chicago as “Fr. Manny,” he is La Voz del Vaticano (“The Vatican’s Voice”) as the Holy See Press Offices chief liaison for Spanish-speaking media. A priest of the Chicago archdiocese and MBA candidate at Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management, Dorantes is a veteran of NBC and Univision and can now be heard worldwide via Vatican Radio as its Spanish narrator and translator for major papal events. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A at the end of the event, and opportunities for real-time engagement through social media are being planned. Check the IPS website, Facebook and Twitter for more details about the event as it gets closer.


For more news and updates, follow @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram!  


Rosemary Hurwitz on the Awakened World Conference and Interfaith Dialogue

Rosemary Hurwitz, 2004 IPS alumna, wrote about her experience at the Awakened World 2012 conference in Italy. She discusses the interfaith dialogue that occurred between lay and religious teachers and authors in many faith traditions.

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                    OCTOBER 13-22

The convening organizations of this experience were:
The Association for Global New Thought;
Michael Beckwith, Barbara Fields, CA
The International Interreligious Peace Council;
Jim Kenney, Chicago, IL
The Interreligious Engagement Project;

There were approximately 250 people (4 buses) from all around the world who attended this conference. Representatives, including educators, authors and people from several walks of life from South Africa, Africa, USA, India, China, Japan, and Europe, Israel, Italy spent five days together near Rome at Mondomigliore Spiritual Retreat Center in Rocca de Pappa, Italy.  Three days were spent in the Florence, Italy area at the Hilton Florence Metropole Hotel.  There were press conferences held in both the city halls of Rome and Florence.

The structure of the conference was set up with large group Plenary in the morning, which identified our topics and mutual calls to action.  We then broke into smaller groups with interfaith dialogue facilitated by core leaders and assistants.

The most powerful part of the experience was simply sharing in a global commons of oneness with all of these people from different cultures and faiths; Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Christians represented and in the large plenary and the small groups which reported back to the large group on our mission and calls to action on the following domains;

  1. Reconciling With the Other
  2. Embracing the Earth
  3. Transforming Society
  4. Rediscovering the Sacred

It will not surprise you to hear many of us wanted the same things, peace, social justice and clean air.  We enjoyed stimulating dialogue and learned more of the Global Commons.  We had a camaraderie that was beyond anything I have ever experienced.

We have a follow up web page and many of us would like to continue to work with specific calls to action on the above domains listed.


Connect with Rosemary at or at


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.

Student Feature: Meet Timothy

Timothy Delong joins us from Michigan and brings a great personality, a dedication to the community and a passion to learn with him. Find our more about Timothy and his work below. Also, “if you see [him] around campus, just say hey!”

Timothy and the Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan
Timothy and the Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan

Funny story: I’m named after my dad, so my family assumed, before I was born, that my nickname would be TJ (Tim Jr.). When I was born everyone took one look at me and said, “nope, not a TJ”. Most people know me as Tim, although my mom still calls me Timmy or Little Tim to avoid confusing my dad.

I was born and raised in Troy, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit. That said, since I lived in the city for a short period of time and worked with various non-profits in the city, I consider myself a Detroiter through and through.

Previous education:
Albion College – Class of 2014 (Go Brits!), BA in Religious Studies, Concentration in Public Service, Minor in Economics and Management

A favorite of yours:
I hate to be derivative of my dear friend Alicia (previously featured), but I love to cook. There’s something about playing with flavors that’s incredibly exciting to me. On the weekends I’ll pick out a recipe for each day, get the ingredients, and start cooking. If I’m cooking something for the first time, I’ll follow a recipe; if it’s something I’ve made a couple of times, then I’ll get weird with it.

Plus, I just started brewing my own beer!

A quote/motto that has significance to you:
I like to remember that life is about the little things. A lot of people (myself included) constantly look towards the big events in their lives as markers of success or happiness (when I get married/buy a house/graduate from school I’ll be happy). I would much rather focus on happiness in the here and now by appreciating the little miracles that life presents to us every day. Some people refer to the concept of mindfulness. I also try to tout this message in the struggle to live a good life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been proud of myself for participating in some large service event and then come home and act rude towards my parents. Those big things are great, but life presents us with a million opportunities a day to do good for others. Those “little goods” often go unnoticed, but they’re the ones that really count. I’ve heard it said, “how you spend your days is how you spend your life.” Something like that…

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I’m fresh out of Albion; I graduated this past May. During the summer and part of the school year, I worked as an AmeriCorps Volunteer as a community organizer with Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies, forming block clubs and tenant organizations while also managing large service projects like house board-ups, community clean-ups, and creating safe walking routes for kids going to school. Before that I took a summer to live in an intentional community in Detroit and work for the United Methodist Church. I also spent a semester in Chicago, doing research at the Newberry Library. Little did I know that I would be working on my Master’s degree only a couple blocks away! So, in conclusion, I was all over the place doing all sorts of things.

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I didn’t see another program like it. I was working for all of these non-profits, and when I saw Loyola’s program, I said: Wait, you can major in that? It was really interesting to see a combination of the practical and theoretical in one program.

Plus it’s Chicago…so there’s that.

What are your studies focused on?
Social Justice right now; I’m also looking into the School of Social Work’s certificate in Non-Profit Management

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
I’m interested in theory and application. There’s this drive that I think all of us in the program have to do good things for the world, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate why. Hopefully I can use my time at Loyola to build a framework around my work and develop a fuller understanding of myself in the process. I need to ground my work in something, that’s what will make it sustainable over my lifetime. Now I’m realizing that I used “framework” and “grounding” analogies, which seem contradictory. I never said I was an English major.

Do you have a favorite class or one you look forward to taking?
Right now I have Rabbi Goldstein in Leadership for Social Justice Organizations. He does a great job of bringing real-world experience to the topic of leadership. Right now we’re working in groups to create our own, fictitious non-profit!

Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Another Social Justice first-year, Daniel Guzman, gave me some great advice when we first started. He told me that you have to have a purpose going into graduate school, you have to know exactly what you want to get out of it, and why. I would echo his advice to future students.

In what way will you go forth to “change the world”?
One house at a time! Let me explain…

I work full-time for a non-profit organization in Winnetka called Open Communities as a Housing Counselor. If people start to have trouble paying their mortgage, they come to our office and we advocate on their behalf to the bank. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning in a pile of paperwork or running into a brick wall, but at the end of the day, I remember that we’re helping people save their homes, which is pretty humbling. I don’t know if that’s “changing the world,” but it’s a step in the right direction.

Are you currently working on any interesting project(s) that you wish to share?
I started at Open Communities a little over a month ago, so I’m still learning every day, which is exciting and challenging all at once.

In the future, I’m going to have the opportunity to sift through foreclosure data for Cook County to look at different trends in terms of predatory and fair lending practices. I get really excited about trend analysis, so that will be a fun project.

What is a fun fact or story about you?
I was a bit of a rabble rouser back in my community organizing days….

There was one apartment building owned by a man who kept the structure in terrible conditions: lead paint, the elevator never worked, and infestations. After working with some of the residents and hearing about all of the issues, our team decided to show up one morning with an inspector from Building Safety and Engineering. I was met at the front door by the building’s security guard, as the inspector started issuing thousands of dollars’ worth of fines….

To this day, I am still banned from the building.

Any additional information you would like to share:
Detroit is one of my favorite places in the world. Don’t believe the negative hype: go there and check it out for yourself. If the spirit moves you, ask me for a tour, I love showing people around when I’m in town!


Join the conversation by following @BrianSchmisek on Twitter and @LoyolaIPS on Instagram! Also, network with the Loyola Chicago IPS community on LinkedIn.