Tag : faculty profile

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.

Faculty Profile: Felipe Legarreta-Castillo

IPS has had so much success with the Hispanic Ministry efforts of our Parish Leadership and Management Programs that we are expanding our efforts. As part of the expansion, we have been fortunate enough to hire Felipe Legarreta-Castillo, Ph.D. as the instructor for the Spanish language Bible Study program, which will add other parish ministry sites to that currently operating at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines.

Legarreta-Castillo has been a student, adjunct faculty member and most recently, a chaplain at Loyola University Chicago. As he continues his work at Loyola IPS, we ask your help in welcoming him to our IPS family as a full time faculty member.

Get to know a little more about him in the Q&A below.

Felipe Legarreta-Castillo

Hometown: Chihuahua, Mexico

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Sports: Triathlons, Basketball, Kayaking

What is a fun fact about you?
Well, I have a pet, a bilingual non-German speaking German Shepherd called Apache who came from Mexico, and now has an identity crisis.

You know several languages (ancient and modern), which one has been the most difficult to learn?
German, I studied the language, but I still do not understand why it takes several pages to write one sentence. By the time I get to the next page, I forget what I read on the first page.

*For those curious, he knows: Biblical Hebrew and Greek, Ecclesiastical Latin, Spanish, English, Italian, French and German.

What about Loyola makes you want to continue to be a part of it?
It is a Catholic Jesuit University with the highest academic standards seeking God in all things to the service of all, especially the underprivileged. AMDG!

What are you looking forward to most about being the instructor for the Spanish Biblical Theology courses?
Transforming peoples and communities through the reading, interpretation, proclamation and celebration of God’s salvation as found in the Scriptures in order to form one Community, the children God.

What previous education or experience has best prepared you for this role?
My studies at Loyola and teaching Bible here in Chicagoland and before in Mexico.

Do you have a mentor(s) or experience(s) in your life that helped shape who you are today?
God’s people, every community I have served and worked with. They have revealed to me God’s love and compassion in a humble and pristine way.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment so far (personally or professionally)?
Every accomplishment has been simply another step forward in my journey of service and love. Thus, we really never “complete” loving and serving: it is a journey until we meet our Creator, our Father, then all will be accomplished in Christ.


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

Faculty Profile: Michael Canaris

We are happy to announce that Dr. Michael Canaris has joined our faculty and will begin teaching classes this upcoming fall semester!

Canaris already has some great ideas and a lot of knowledge to offer our students. Moreover, he is eager to not only instruct them, but also to learn from them.

“I’m excited to teach not only the Church and Mission class, but related topics like hermeneutics, ecumenism, the theology of immigration, and the interpretation of Vatican II. I’ve also had wonderful experiences with a Theology of Hell class I designed (using Dante, Sartre, C.S. Lewis, Rahner/von Balthasar, etc.) and am currently trying to develop one on the Theology of Bergoglio/Francis, which will obviously include elements of his Ignatian spirituality. I’m hoping these may interest both administration and students at Loyola down the line. The pope’s recent call for theologians, and not just bishops, to have the ‘smell of their sheep’ has really resonated with me as I take up this position.”

Canaris is a valuable resource for IPS and we encourage students to reach out to him with any questions, help or just to say welcome to IPS.

Read his Q&A below to get to know more about Canaris and his different teachings, life lessons and some interesting facts you would not expect.


How did you feel when you were offered the position at IPS?
I spent fifteen years on Jesuit campuses, both as a student and teaching, and then the last few abroad in the UK and Rome, at universities which were not in that network. And while I love those international experiences and have developed some amazing friends, colleagues, and expanded horizons through them, my first instinct when I was offered the position was one of homecoming. That may sound strange, as I’m from the East Coast originally and have only visited Chicago without ever living there, but there was this overwhelming sense of returning to my roots and somehow being welcomed home by members of my Ignatian/AJCU family once again that went much deeper than just being back on American soil.

What are you looking forward to the most about teaching at IPS, and what are you looking forward to accomplishing while at IPS?
More than anything I’m excited about interacting with the students. Of course, the research facilities and institutional support for scholarship at a place like Loyola are unrivaled. But IPS offers such a unique environment for theologians and experts in various disciplines, where we as faculty members can help with formation of those who will be on the frontlines of the encounter between the church and the contemporary world. I honestly believe it’s a place where the faculty likely learn as much from the life experiences of our students as we can teach them. I’ve always been committed to viewing pedagogy as a sort of “co-traveling” toward wisdom and holistic learning. Loyola IPS seems a truly remarkable place for this type of exchange to take place.

What challenges do you foresee and how will you prepare for them? 
I have some experience teaching non-traditional students at various stops, both in America and at the Pontifical Beda College for second-career seminarians in Rome. I’m excited to broaden my perspectives teaching such a wide range of students as constitute the IPS, not only in terms of religious and denominational backgrounds, but especially those who for the most part differ markedly from 18-22 year-old traditional undergrads. There will undoubtedly be some challenges involved in planning successful classes and discussions in this new setting, but ones I feel confident, prepared and excited to find innovative techniques through which to foster transformational learning.

What can students expect when taking your classes, and what do you hope that they take away from your teachings?
Three themes from my own Jesuit education form the pillars of my approach to teaching: cura personalis, eloquentia perfecta, and seeking to become together “men and women for others.” Briefly for this setting: the first means my students will always be my main priority and I will always be accessible to them to help them grow holistically – whether it be intellectually, spiritually, socially, etc. The second demonstrates my conviction that it’s important not only to wrestle with the “big” questions in life about meaning, value, purpose, vocation, what it means to live a successful life, and the like, but also to develop skill sets for being able to articulate this beneficial wrestling clearly and convincingly to the church, academy and world. The last emphasizes the idea that neither theology/mission, nor any of the gifts we are given, are ultimately for our own advancement, but rather to serve our brothers and sisters in the human race, and the divine or transcendent however we come to name that reality in our lives.

Do you have a mentor or an experience in your life that helped shape who you are today? 
Whenever I stop to reflect on this, it honestly floors me how blessed I have been with almost mind-boggling mentors in the steps along my academic and spiritual journey. A question like this is difficult to answer without sounding like you are name-dropping! But, I’m also delighted to give credit where it is due. Brad Hinze, Paul Lakeland, Rick Ryscavage, and Beth Johnson have all been so supportive of my work and influential in my intellectual development. And Paul Murray at Durham University and I remain very close, in a friendship that transcends merely professional or academic interests at this point. However, my time spent studying under Francis A. Sullivan and then working for Avery Cardinal Dulles for five years, including not only assisting the latter with research and publishing, but also providing palliative care for him in his last days when he was suffering tremendously from post-polio syndrome, were probably the most formative experiences for me as a theologian.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time outside of the classroom?
I love all things Italian: culture, food, art, etc. I have been lucky to spend a lot of time there, as well as on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where I often visit in the summer months with friends who are at this point like family. I studied sports-journalism for a few years before theology, so I still love sports and am excited to adopt everything about life in Chicago – short of betraying my Eagles and Phillies.

Any fun facts about yourself or interesting story you wish to share?
My father was a federal agent who led the protection details for cabinet members and on many presidential trips across seven administrations. My mother was a teacher and substance abuse coordinator for a school district. My students always seem interested in that. I also have a very close friend who is a writer and producer for the TV show “Scandal.”


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

Faculty Profile: Timone Davis

Timone Davis began teaching at IPS in Fall 2014 as an adjunct professor. In the short amount of time she has been here, she has brought exceptional and transformative learning experiences to our students. With that said, join us in congratulating her on becoming a full time faculty member beginning Fall 2015.

Headshot timone

Timone has been very busy with several small projects and looks forward to being “less scattered” with her full time role at IPS. “I will be able to put more energy in one place and therefore, have a greater impact on the lives of ministers in training,” commented Timone.

She has been with the Augustus Tolton Pastoral Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union since 1996. She began there as a student and then transitioned to being the Formation Director. Her role there will come to an end this May, but she owes a lot of her growth in spirituality to her time there. “I learned how to devote myself to helping other people come to an awareness of God in their own lives,” she said.

Timone wants to bring a similar experience to her students. In her classes (descriptions below) she said, “students can expect to dig deep for a level of honesty that is not always explored in classes. I will ask to make themselves vulnerable and be challenged not just by the material, but also in the call to witness to the gospel.”

For Timone, the most challenging part of being a teacher is being adequately prepared. “I always want to make sure I am giving my students enough information as possible in order for them to move ahead in whatever they are being called to do.”

Fortunately, she also finds her job very rewarding. Timone says she loves the “aha” moments when students “get it.” She strives for those moment where students are able to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it outside the classroom. She understands the importance of students not just repeating back information, but rather being able to connect what they are learning to experiences in their own lives.

Outside of her professional life, Timone enjoys watching murder mysteries and cop shows. She also listens to audio books and reads books both electronically and in hard copy. Like most of us at IPS, she also loves good food.

You can connect with Timone on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also hear her speak at The Racial Divide in the United States event on March 11.


Fall 2015 class descriptions:

Black Spirituality and Pastoral Care
This course will introduce students to Black Spirituality in the United States, from slavery to the present, in a Christian context. The course will be attentive to the culture of black life so as to get a better understanding of Black Spirituality’s rootedness in scripture, prayer, community and justice. Students will explore how Black Spirituality can be a lens through which they view pastoral care for persons on the margins while enhancing their own spirituality. This course will include scholarship on such themes as African-American ways of being, preaching, storytelling, dance, art, mentoring and self care.

Women in the Church: Bound Freedom
Often seen as the backbone of many churches, this course will explore how women are both free to explore and hold various roles/positions in the Christian Church while simultaneously beset with patriarchy and exclusion. Students will explore the rise of women in the Church and the constant struggle to be seen as an equal. This course will be attentive to Mujerista, Womanist, Asian and Feminist perspectives in the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church of the United States that continue to shape the landscape of women in ministry.


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

Faculty Profile: Meet Fr. Madden

Father Patrick Madden is returning for a fourth semester at IPS. He will be teaching an online course: Introduction to the New Testament.

Fr. Madden holds a degree in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America and currently serves as a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport, Louisiana. Previously, Fr. Madden was a full-time hospital chaplain for eight years and has experience teaching at both St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and the University of Dallas. In addition, he served as Director of the Greco Institute and remains there as adjunct faculty.


During his time at IPS, Fr. Madden hopes that his students get to understand that God’s dealings with His people are a historical development.

“The main mistake that beginners make is that people think they will find the teachings of the church in the Bible. Nobody who wrote the Bible believed in Original Sin or the Blessed Trinity or the divine nature of Jesus, but all of these are legitimate developments of biblical thought,” noted Fr. Madden.

One of his favorite phrases is, “What did it mean when the ink was wet?”

“A concrete example of this would be the meaning of the phrase ‘Son of God.’ Every author of the NT agrees that Jesus is the ‘Son of God,’ but each understands this differently. For example, Matthew and Luke understand ‘Son of God’ as involving a miraculous conception. By contrast, knowing nothing of a miraculous conception, Paul links Jesus’ divine sonship with the resurrection (Rom 1:4). John also displays no awareness of a miraculous conception, but has no hesitation to link Jesus with the ‘Word’ that existed with God in the beginning. The richness of the NT is revealed when we examine the details of precisely what each author means. A common mistake of beginners is to ‘read right past’ such a phrase, and think, ‘I know what Son of God means: I say it every Sunday in the creed: eternally begotten of the Father, true God from true God, etc.’ However, importing this later (valid) development of Christian theology back into the NT will result in a misunderstanding of what the biblical authors were teaching.”

Fr. Madden hopes that he and his students can remember to be humble because “we know a lot less than we think we know.”

Moreover, he believes that the evolution of the church is not over. He poses the questions:

  • If Paul in Romans 16 calls the woman Junia an apostle, what would successors of the apostles look like in the church today?
  • What is our pastoral response going to be to the questions that we are facing today?

“We honor the great saints and those who have gone before us, not by repeating their answers, but by doing what they did – getting the core message of Christianity into dialogue with the events and the spirit of the times,” said Fr. Madden. “There is continuity, but there is also diversity.”

Above all else, he wants this class to be pastoral. “I can show them the evolution, but it is up to the students to take what they learn in my class, and other classes, to find out how the gospel gets incarnate in each of their chosen ministries,” said Fr. Madden. “For me, the study of scripture has been immensely liberating, and I love to teach adults because they are here because they want to be.”

Fr. Madden says his favorite part about teaching is that it forces him to learn. “They say if you want to learn something, teach it. You don’t really understand something until you have to explain it,” stated Fr. Madden. “I learn from the research I do and I also learn from the feedback I get from students. They keep this 66 year old young. I love to learn. It keeps my mind active.”

IPS is happy to welcome Fr. Madden back and is looking forward to this new semester with great faculty.


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