Monthly Archives: July 2015

Staff Profile: Mirta Garcia

IPS welcomes new staff member, Mirta Garcia. Mirta is the Administrative Assistant for Parish Leadership and Management Programs. This is a new position created in response to the success of the Hispanic Ministry segment of these programs that are spearheaded by Coordinator Mark Bersano.

“Given her extensive administrative experience, religious education background and fluency in Spanish, we are very fortunate to have Mirta on our team to serve parish communities,” commented Mark.

Mirta has only been in the office for a short time, but she already feels like she is part of the IPS family; and we agree!

“I am very thankful and blessed to be part of such wonderful group of people. From the first day that I walked into IPS office, I felt at home. I am looking forward to a great start, supporting and helping kick-off the great program that Mark Bersano and Felipe Legarreta-Castillo are leading in the office of Parish Leadership and Management Programs,” said Mirta.

Read the Q&A with Mirta below to learn a little more about her and be sure to welcome her to the IPS community!

Mirta Garcia
Where are you from?
I was born in Melrose Park, IL, raised in Chicago, and my parents are from Durango, Mexico.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy taking a walk with my husband, Cesar. Together we enjoy watching our son, Andrew, play college football at Augustana College. For the past 4 years, we’ve enjoyed watching our daughter, Alexis, cheer on the High School football and basketball teams. My youngest daughter, Maya, kept us on our toes last year. She participated in volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and dance. Next month Maya will be entering Leyden HS where she will be part of the Marching Band. Is it football season yet?

What is a fun fact or story about you?
I am a Catechist and teach CCD at my parish, St. John Vianney, since 2011. I’ve helped students prepare to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This fall I will be teaching the teenage girls in their first year of Sacrament of Confirmation preparation.  

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, personally or professionally, so far?
My biggest accomplishment was having the opportunity to coach my daughter, Maya, plus 25 other cheerleaders with Leyden Bears – United YFL. I share this experience with my daughter, Alexis, who was one of my teen coaches. This experience created a bigger bond between my daughters and I. Having the opportunity to shape, form and encourage these young ladies was priceless. Bringing home three times Regional and National Champs trophies was a big plus too.

How did you feel when you were offered the position at IPS?
Excited… I even did the happy dance.

What previous education or experience has best prepared you for this role?
I have an associates degree in Secretarial Science from Robert Morris University. I am skilled in Office Management in the areas of Administration, Quality Control, Event Coordination, and Human Resources. I have worked for a Fortune 500 company. One of my unique strengths is the ability to support multiple VP Level executives and multi-task effectively.

What are you looking forward to bringing to this new role at IPS?
I am looking forward to bringing my solid background experience in office administration, my enthusiasm, and my passion towards my Catholic faith.

Do you have a mentor or an experience in your life that helped shape who you are today?
My participation in Spiritual Exercises retreats have really shaped my spiritual life. It is in the silence of the retreat that I am able to enter and deepen my faith and reach other levels of my spiritual journey. Having Daire Ryan, a Consecrated Women of Regnum Christ, as my Spiritual Director has made a positive impact in my spiritual journey.

*Connect with Mirta on Facebook and LinkedIn!


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

IPS Students to Work with Campus Ministry

Two of our IPS students, Elizabeth (Liz) Palmer and Christina (Tina) Cisarik, will be Graduate Assistants for LUC Campus Ministry this upcoming academic year.
LUC Campus Ministry
Campus Ministry’s graduate assistantship is a program for Loyola graduate students who are exploring a call to ecclesial ministry. While examining this call in the context of a university community, Graduate Assistants work toward proficiency in the skills necessary to answer the call, namely pastoral leadership, pastoral care and program management. (For more information, visit the IPS Financial Aid site.)

We are so pleased to have students like Tina and Liz who are eager to give back to the Loyola community and represent IPS in such a wonderful way. Continue reading to find out how these ladies plan on bringing their unique passions, experiences, attitudes and goals to set the world on fire.


First, meet Liz Palmer. She is earning her Master of Divinity (MDiv) at IPS and expects to graduate in 2018.

Liz Palmer
Liz Palmer

Any classes in particular you look forward to taking at IPS? 
This fall, I am enrolled in Introduction to Theology and Ministry. I anticipate this class to create a strong foundation for my studies. I am excited to learn more about the history and traditions of theology and to be able to apply that knowledge practically in ministry. I hope to grow professionally while learning and growing in my faith.

Tell us about your new role at LUC Campus Ministry:
I am privileged to work with Campus Ministry as Retreats Assistant this year. This role will allow me to lead retreats such as Loyola 360, Unwritten, Transfer Student Retreat, among others at Loyola’s Retreat Center throughout the year. Working collaboratively with other students and mentors, I look forward to developing opportunities for students to be reflective, to explore their faith, and to foster relationships. My goal is for the retreats to branch into all areas of life and have an impact even after the retreat weekend ends. Life is a retreat that should be embraced daily. I am eager to spend my time in the Campus Ministry offices to connect with the Loyola community.

What are you looking forward to bringing to your new internship outside the classroom that you have learned inside the classroom?
Pursuing my undergraduate education at Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana) taught me that the mind must be educated simultaneously with the heart. I discovered this as a Biology and Psychology major with a Religious Studies minor. This culmination of disciplines allowed me to understand that faith and reason coexist. I also learned the importance of walking in solidarity with others. Conversations with my mentors and peers highlighted our shared humanity and the value of human relationships. I hope to integrate these lessons into my role of Retreat’s Assistant at Loyola.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
During my time in Loyola IPS, I most look forward to learning about and embracing the Jesuit identity. Through my studies and internship, my goals include promoting justice through my words and actions. This translates to my future plans where I hope to plunge into my baptismal waters as an advocate for human dignity, solidarity, and social justice—where I can promote caring Christian relationships that encompass listening, companionship, and trust.

Any other project(s) you are working on that you wish to share?
I will be serving as the Women’s Varsity Soccer Team Chaplain. As a former collegiate athlete, I look forward to combining my passions for athletics and faith at Loyola.


Now, meet Tina Cisarik. She is earning her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) and anticipates graduating in May 2016.

Tina Cisarik
Tina Cisarik

Any classes in particular you look forward to taking at IPS? 
This Fall, I’m looking forward to taking “Art & Spirit: Sacred & Secular” with Linda McCrary. As my Bachelors degree is in Graphic Design, I’m very delighted to have the opportunity to explore the relationship between my two passions through the coursework and discussions provided through the class.

Tell us about your new role at LUC Campus Ministry:
As a graduate assistant in Campus Ministry on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, I will be assisting primarily with the “Loyola Companions” program, a peer minister-supported imitative whose mission is to build community on our campus through various faith and service leadership opportunities, including welcoming new students, offering hospitality and providing support to students within residence halls. Additionally, I will have the opportunity to gain experience in various other components of campus ministry, including retreat direction and small group faith sharing facilitation.

What are you looking forward to bringing to your new internship outside the classroom that you have learned in the classroom?
I’m excited to see what I read on paper and discuss in the classroom “come to life” in my internship. Whether through implementing new spiritual practices with students or translating theological terms into college-friendly, applicable language, I’m looking forward to seeing how I can further relate my studies to my role as a staff member at a Jesuit institution.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing during your time here at Loyola IPS and how does that relate to your future goals?
During my time as an IPS student, I’m looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of my own, growing spirituality while learning the tools and strategies necessary in assisting others seeking more faith-filled lives. I am confident that the education provided through IPS will equip me with an array of skills and experiences that can translate into a wide variety of career and ministry options.



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