Tag : Institute of Pastoral Studies

IPS by the Numbers: 2016

As a way to recap the 2015-2016 school year, we’ve gathered 16 quantifiable facts about IPS students, faculty and staff. Read below to see how IPS measures up!

IPS_LOGO_transparent copy

  1. Number of students graduating from IPS: 65
  1. Number of new IPS hires who started this year: 5
    • Mirta Garcia, Administrative Parish Leadership and Management Programs
    • Kristin Butnik, Enrollment Advisor
    • Felipe Legarreta, Clinical Professor
    • Michael Canaris, Assistant Professor
    • Timone Davis, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, with emphasis in Black Catholic Theology
  1. Number of new degrees, concentrations and certificates: 3
    • Church Management concentration
    • Church Management certificate
    • Counseling for Ministry degree
  1. Number of events held: 37
  1. Number of students who work full time: 117
  1. Number of books & articles published by IPS faculty: 56
  1. Number of classes held: 1,420
  1. Number of merit and matching scholarships awarded: 96
  1. Number of travel grants awarded: 12
  1. Number of faculty members who fly to get to work: 1
    • Peter Jones lives in Fort Worth, TX and commutes weekly via plane to work
  1. Number of miles traveled by faculty & staff (not including commute): 108,748
    • This is equivalent to going around the world’s equator almost 4.5 times
    • Some places include: Rome, San Antonio, Puerto Rico, Washington DC, Baltimore, Canada, Anaheim, Guatemala, Atlanta, New York, Albuquerque, Norway, Orlando
  1. Number of faculty who received promotions: 2
    • Dr. Heidi Russell
    • Dr. Timone Davis
  1. Number of cups of coffee consumed at the IPS office: 314,159*
  1. Number of people going to Rome this summer: 19
  1. Number of pets owned by IPS faculty & staff: 10
  1. Number of snow days: 0

*rough estimation

Congratulations and thank you to everyone for another successful school year! #IPSGreatGrads

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

Events from the IPS Parish Leadership & Management Programs

As part of its mission as a world-class institution of applied pastoral education and spirituality, IPS offers coursework, consultation, and other unique training and networking events to support parishes and congregations. Our aim is to assess unmet areas of pastoral need and create innovative programming through the expertise and vision brought to the table by our extraordinary faculty and staff.

Specifically, IPS Parish Leadership and Management Programs are derived from on-the-ground experience and learning from Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago as part of INSPIRE—Identify, Nurture, and Sustain Pastoral Imagination through Resources for Excellence.

During the 2016 Spring semester, IPS Parish Leadership and Management Programs held four events at Cuneo.

  • “Day of Lenten Spirituality” facilitated by Dr. Heidi Russell.
  • “Spirituality and the Mind” facilitated by Nancy Dolan
  • “Lectoring with Spirit” facilitated by Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP
  • “The Medicine of Mercy” facilitated by Bill Huebsch

View the gallery below to see some photos from those events.

Special thanks to Mark Bersano, Coordinator of Parish Leadership and Management Programs, for his continued dedication and hard work toward making these events a success.

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

Success is in the Stars for Dr. Heidi Russell

Dr. Russell joined IPS in 2008. She holds an M.Div from Washington Theological Union and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Marquette University. She also served for six years as Director of Christian Formation for a parish.

In addition to a number of peer-reviewed articles, conference papers and parish presentations, she has written two books, the most recent of which is Quantum Shift: Theological and Pastoral Implications of Contemporary Developments in Science.



While the field of science has made incredible advances in the past century, and more and more scientists have gone to great lengths to make these developments accessible to the public, we still rarely hear ministers and communities of faith discussing the implications of these developments for the life of faith. Quantum Shift explores recent developments in science from relativity to quantum mechanics to cosmology and then suggests ways in which people of faith might engage these scientific developments to foster their understanding of God and what it means to be part of the world we believe God created. Heidi Ann Russell demonstrates how these scientific developments offer us new and exciting images that spark our theological imaginations and reinvigorate our spiritual lives.

When describing her motivation for writing this book, Heidi talks with passion and a sense of discovery:

“I find the developments in contemporary science fascinating. When I first read about the double slit experiment in quantum physics, it made me realize that everything I had learned about science growing up and what I thought of as reality was not really the case at the most fundamental levels. It seemed to me that if theology is going to be relevant in today’s world, we must engage this shifting view of reality,” said Dr. Russell.

Though she loves learning about new scientific developments, Dr. Russell said writing this book was just as challenging as it was rewarding.

“Each chapter opened up a whole new world of science, and I was really starting from scratch each time. It was exciting, but also overwhelming at times,” commented Dr. Russell. “Karl Rahner has a great phrase he uses – ‘gnoseological concupiscence’ – in a nutshell, it means that we live in a world in which there is too much for us to possibly know everything. There has been such an explosion of information across so many fields, no one can possibly learn it all. I felt that challenge in writing this book.”

After reading this book, Dr. Russell hopes that “people walk away seeing developments in science as exciting rather than threatening.”

She added, “Too often people view theology and science as pitted against one another. I hope people read the book and stand in awe at the mystery of the created world and the God we believe created it.”

For more information or to purchase the book, please visit the Liturgical Press website.


Dr. Russell has another recent accomplishment – she has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

She was first hired as a Clinical Instructor for IPS. Two years later after a national search, she was hired as a tenure-track Assistant Professor, and has developed a well-earned reputation as a gifted teacher. Dr. Russell brings solid scholarship and pastoral experience to the classroom, whether in Chicago or overseas, having taught with IPS in Kenya and in Rome, Italy.

Receiving the promotion, especially tenure, “was a tremendous relief” to Dr. Russell.

“I love IPS and teaching here, and I truly had no desire to go somewhere else.”

When asked what her proudest moment at IPS has been, she did not hesitate to say it is seeing her students succeed.

“Every year at graduation, I feel like a proud mother watching my children leave the nest. I am so proud of our students and what they do and how they change the world and the Church on a day to day basis.”

Dr. Russell went on to describe a touching moment between her and her students:

“My most significant memory at IPS was the day I came to my Liturgy and the Christian Sacraments class following the adoption of my son. Unbeknownst to me, the class had prepared a special prayer service for me, blessing me in the adoption and baptism of my son, who had been with me for almost two years through foster care. It was a blessed moment, when I felt overwhelmed by the gift of being able to work every day with the amazing people that are our students here.”

Looking to the future now, Dr. Russell said she is excited to be able to continue teaching at IPS, witnessing how students will serve the Church and the world, and continuing her research for her current book, Source of All Love: Catholicity and the Trinity.

To conclude, Dr. Russell said, “I am so grateful to my students and colleagues who have made IPS the special place that it is to work. I’m delighted to know that I will be a part of IPS for many years to come.”


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

IPS Director Brian Schmisek Authors Two New Books

IPS Director Brian Schmisek authored two books that were recently published.

The first book is titled Ancient Faith for the Modern World. 

Ancient Faith is actually a revision of a book I wrote almost a decade ago. It’s a popular topic and I am asked to speak on it at parishes and various conferences. So it’s as though the book is getting new life breathed into it,” said Dr. Schmisek.

Ancient Faith for the Modern World

The Apostles’ Creed is the most ancient statement of the Christian faith still in regular use in the church today. Children are taught to memorize it, anyone who prays the Rosary says it at the beginning of each set of mysteries, and it remains one of the basic prayers in the Catholic canon. Yet where did it come from, what does it actually mean, and why are we called to believe it? In this well-researched, engaging, and accessible book, author Brian Schmisek carefully explains each of what the church calls the twelve “articles” of the Apostles’ Creed and explores their meaning for a twenty-first century faith. Included at the end of each chapter is a “bottom line” summary of that article of the creed and questions for discussion on how the belief can impact daily life.

You may purchase Ancient Faith for the Modern World through ACTA Publications.

A Greek Reader for Chase and Phillips

The other book is titled A Greek Reader for Chase and Phillips. 

“The Greek Reader is a project I started in graduate school and picked up again only recently. It’s dedicated to two of my Greek professors who inspired me with a love for the language,” said Dr. Schmisek.


This companion reader to Chase and Phillips, A New Introduction to Greek, (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1961) is a compilation of slightly edited “real Greek” from Plato, Xenophon, Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius, and the Septuagint. The reader has a preface introducing the student to the Greek authors. The lessons reinforce grammar and vocabulary in this classic introductory textbook. Students meet Socrates, Plato, Cyrus, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, his horse Bucephalus, and more. They read about events surrounding Socrates’ trial and execution, Plato’s analogy of the cave, Caesar’s capture by pirates, the first chapter of Genesis, and a famous Psalm. In short, students are exposed to some of the classics of Western Civilization in this short reader, which seeks to complement the proven Chase and Phillips.

You may purchase the book through Wipf and Stock Publishers.

***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 Carrie

Carrie Czajka was an online student and recently completed the MA in Health Care Mission Leadership program this past December. Read our Q&A with her below to see what she has to say about her experience at IPS and how she is going forth and setting the world on fire.

Carrie Czajka

Some of the young guys from my last job called me ‘Old School.’ Hey, if the shoe fits…

Where are you from?
I am from Detroit, MI. I recently saw a sewer cap on a sidewalk in downtown Detroit that had the following names listed on it: The Motor City, Day-Twah, The Big D, and Dee-Troit. It made me chuckle.

A favorite of yours:
I love Detroit Tigers baseball and spend a ridiculous amount of time listening to their radio broadcasts. What I like about baseball are the stories. Every player, every team, every city, and every stadium has its own backstory. Our local broadcasters (as I’m sure others do around the country!) do a terrific job of weaving these stories into their broadcasts.

A quote/motto or prayer/bible verse that has significance to you?
I am a talkative, high energy person by nature. I was well into my 40s before I learned to appreciate what “Be still and know that I am God” really meant. Silent retreats have become an invaluable part of my faith life.

What is your educational background?
I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology. I was so happy to finish my undergraduate degree that I swore I was never going back to school again. Ever. But I was bored in my career and decided to go back to school. I completed a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the School of Public Health at UNC in Chapel Hill. A tidbit about Chapel Hill: the fire trucks there are painted ‘Carolina’ Blue. No kidding.

Anyway, a few years later I completed a Certificate in Leadership Training from Georgetown (the hardest work I have ever done…lots of self-exploration…it’s exhausting!). Then I did an Internship in Ignatian Spirituality at Manresa in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

What were you doing before beginning your IPS journey?
I was working in a large Catholic health care company.

What made you decide to come to Loyola IPS?
I was really fortunate to have a mentor who encouraged me to go back to school. He told me that there are people who have a heart for mission work and specialized training would be useful. He was right.

How would you describe your experience at IPS?
I had an extraordinary experience at Loyola…even as a distance-based student. My professors were first rate, my classmates were engaged, prepared, and committed to their coursework. The shared commitment to learning made for a much more rewarding experience.

What was your favorite class? 
I had so many great classes that it is hard to pick one. I had an opportunity to go to Rome with IPS in the summer of 2014. I would highly recommend a ‘Summer in Rome’ session if you are able to attend. It is simply wonderful.

I loved the course I took in Cultural Competency. And I am still talking about a leadership course I took last summer. What I loved most about my experiences during IPS was seeing my faith tradition with fresh eyes. I am grateful for the discussions, readings, assignments etc. that challenged my way of thinking or feeling about a topic.

Do you have any recommendations for future students?
Take a course that seems out there, but sparks your interest. Don’t be afraid to completely rethink how you feel about something. It can be very liberating. Most importantly, take time for good self-care. Rest, exercise, visit with friends, and find some quiet time to be with your own thoughts.

In what way will you go forth to “change the world?”
About a year ago, I started working with with a Jesuit priest in Detroit on the launch of an Ignatian leadership program. The ‘Contemplative Leaders in Action” (CLA) program is up and running in several other major metropolitan areas, but is new to the Motor City. The CLA program has three focal areas: leadership development, spirituality, and service. The target audience is young professionals (mid 20s to late 30s) and I am having a great time with this project. It is bringing a lot of my gifts and talents together in ways I had not anticipated. And I feel really fortunate to working on this effort…particularly at a time in Detroit’s history when there is so much growth and activity. There is a sense of hope in the City that we have not seen or felt in a very, very long time.

In addition, my Capstone project for Loyola included the development of a formation program for emerging leaders working in Catholic health care. I have been brainstorming with some former colleagues about ways in which we can use this program for first line managers working in the local system office. I have a soft spot for the ‘next gen’ of leaders and I am excited to be involved in efforts to encourage their growth and development.

Connect with Carrie:
Part of the reason why some of the young guys at my former job called me ‘Old School,’ is because I have been slow to adopt social media. I can be reached via email: cczajka@luc.edu.

***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 Sr. Rose

Sr. Rose Namawejje is pursuing her Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling at IPS.

“First and foremost,” Sr. Rose would like to say that she is “grateful to Almighty God for the constant sustaining and good health. And for all He has done for [her] all [her] life.”

She continues, “I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Lorraine. It was through her effort I was connected to Loyola Mission grant and Loyola regents who have contributed toward my studies at IPS, and to all members in those mentioned organizations, thank you. To the Cenacle sisters at Fullerton Parkway for hospitality given to me since I arrived in United States of America till to date. My further gratitude continues to go to the instructors who have been inspirational to me, especially Professor Steve Martz and Dr. William ‘Bill’ Schmidt.”

Sr. Rose

Sr. Rose’s nickname is Michael the Archangel, a name which means “who is like God?” She is from Kampala city in Uganda and Matooke is her local language.

Her favorite things include:

  • Hobby – singing and listening to music
  • Food – cooked bananas and fresh beans
  • Book – Holy Bible
  • Sports team – Chicago Bulls
  • Color – dark brown
  • Singer – Don William
  • Motto – My God and my all
  • Bible quotes –  “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” Psalm 116:12 and “Love one another” John 15:12

Sr. Rose has had extensive education, studying topics like public health, strategic management, psychodynamic counseling and more. She has studied at schools in both Uganda and the United Kingdom. Currently, she is a volunteer at St. Joseph Hospital.

Before joining Loyola IPS, Sr. Rose was the Project Development Coordinator for the Institution of the Little Sisters of St Francis.

“I offered free counseling services at Home Care Department in St Francis Hospital for the HIV/AIDS patients and those who went to the hospital to be screened to know their status of life. Also I taught primary Healthcare to expecting mothers in an antenatal clinic,” said Sr. Rose.

She said her decision to make a change and come to IPS was motivated by her desire to reduce pain in people’s lives.

“With poverty and disease so rampart in my country, I have seen a lot of pain in the lives of many people,” commented Sr. Rose.

Her goal is to extend medical solutions and create more options for health care to those who need them, especially for people living with HIV/AIDS.

“In my ministry, I continually encourage people to invest in viable developmental projects as a way of fighting poverty. By increasing family incomes, I believe people can take care of themselves and their children better.”

Sr. Rose went on to share thought provoking advice from a lesson she learned:

“One of the life’s lessons I have picked up through the years is that while many of our contributions may seem small, their impact in the lives of people can be huge. They may not always be correctly estimated. It is imperative, therefore, to always do the best we can in the moment we have and not to procrastinate, because we are never sure whether we will actually have the future moment we keep waiting for.”

Sr. Rose is getting her MAPC from IPS because she believes it would be good for her to further develop her counseling skills so she can draw more qualified people back to Uganda and continue rendering services to the people there. In fact, a future goal of hers is to start an IPS in one of the Catholic Universities in Uganda, so that Ugandans who wish to study such courses will not have to travel abroad. Though she is enjoying her time and studies here.

“Joining Loyola IPS has opened my eyes, seeing that all people can study pastoral studies not only priests and religious people as it is known in Uganda,” noted Sr. Rose. “Each class is different with different challenges, but important. I look forward to taking two electives from Dr. Peter Jones because I have had so many students speaking about him as a very good instructor.”

Here time here has not been without its challenges though. Sr. Rose is trying to adapt to American culture and is also learning English so she can write her papers and assignments. She said she has overcome these obstacles with the help of colleagues and nuns she has met.

Sr. Rose said she with “go forth to change the world” by transferring the knowledge she is acquiring at IPS to the people of Uganda.

“My major dream is to establish IPS in one of the Catholic Universities in Uganda in image of Loyola IPS and students who will go forth in the programs will help me to change the world too. This school will not be limited to few people, but open to all Ugandans without discriminating in tribe, race, religion, et cetera. Even though studying abroad is fun, especially in developed countries, not all Ugandans can afford to study abroad. Not only that, in Uganda there is no university with faculty of IPS if you want to study pastoral studies you either go to Kenya, UK, USA, et cetera. The best way I will make change is to establish IPS in one of the Catholic Universities in Uganda.”

To conclude, Sr. Rose was nice enough to share a fun story from her childhood:

“The Catholic Church has a day known as Holy Thursday. On this day, the church and Catholics ponder Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist, and how he invited the twelve apostles to celebrate it always in his memory. During the evening of this day, all Catholic Christians, Religious men and women, and the priests watch Jesus in the church throughout the night, pondering about this mystery. On one of these celebrations when we were in the church, watching and praying with Jesus, a schedule for the day was put out. The laity were to keep watch first, the religious sisters were next, and the priests were to remain in the church till the following morning while the other Christians return to their homes for the night. That night I hid myself behind the door so that I could remain in the church with the priest and sisters. I did not want to go home. I soon heard the catechist announce that there was a little girl who was missing and the parents were looking for her. My name was announced then I came out from behind the door very shy, sad and unhappy because my mission was not fulfilled. I had wanted to remain in the church with the religious sisters and priests. Of course my parents and siblings kept asking me why I did that and some were upset with me. But my parents were just calm. So we went home. From that day, I nurtured in my heart, the desire to be a religious sister or nun, so that I may stay in the church and watch Jesus with the priests till morning. And the Lord was so good to me that He answered my prayer and I became a religious sister. This made me very happy and now I am able to spend time with Jesus and watch with him till dawn during the Holy Thursdays.”

Connect with Sr. Rose:
Twitter: @rosemikemawejje
Skype: rose.michael73 or rosie192069


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

Pastoral Counseling between Psychology and Religion

On March 15, IPS announced its new Master of Arts in Counseling for Ministry with the help of Dr. Robert Kugelmann. As the author of Psychology and Catholicism: Contested Boundaries, Dr. Kugelmann spoke about the new IPS degree and its relationship with Catholicism and Psychology.


His talk that evening began…

“The title of this talk, ‘Pastoral Counseling between Psychology and Religion’ is a bit misleading, and if I can think of a better one in thirty minutes, I’ll let you know. It’s misleading because it can suggest that ‘psychology’ is one thing and that the word ‘religion’ always means the same thing. Psychology does not have unity, being a collective term for a great variety of disparate fields. As for religion, there is even more diversity than in psychology.

There is some merit with the title, however, because historically, pastoral counseling developed in the context of a complex intersection of a number of fields, including psychology (psychotherapy in particular) and the pastoral care that churches provide.

Let me introduce what I’ll say this evening. First, I’ll give an overview of the complex relationships between psychology and Catholicism since the beginnings of modern psychology. (as I haven’t studied much the relationships psychology has with other Christian religions, nor with other religions.) Then, I’ll present the rise of pastoral counseling in what has called a ‘trading zone.’ After that comes a brief history of the early work in pastoral counseling among Catholics. Finally, I will offer some reflections on recent developments.”

Continue reading


The Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago has been offering degrees in ministry since 1964. Born in the spirit of Vatican II, and advancing the mission of Loyola University Chicago, IPS responds to “the signs of the times” in providing transformative education for ministry, spiritual leadership, and faith-based social engagement, delivering high-quality professional education characterized by innovation, excellence, leadership, ethics, and service.

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

IPS Student Engagement Committee

The Student Engagement Committee (SEC) is an IPS organization that meets every other week to plan upcoming events and discuss ways to continue to make IPS even better than what it is currently. The group is made up of students from various degree programs, faculty and staff. This includes:

  • Dr. Peter Jones (Chair)
  • Dr. Michael Canaris
  • Dr. Timone Davis
  • Koonal Patel
  • Rebekah Turnbaugh (Student Chair)
  • Suhair Jasevicius
  • Patrice Nerone
  • Laura Forbes
  • Alicja Lukaszewicz-Southall
  • Elizabeth Palmer
  • Catherine Conley

The SEC was initially formed because it was something IPS students wanted.

“It was a student initiative in order to find ways to connect with students in other programs and as a way to improve communication across all levels,” said Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones went on to say that the initial impulse of the SEC was to improve communication between IPS administrators and students, but that it has grown into so much more.

“Enhancing communication is a component, but it’s really about building relationships where those communications occur by providing people opportunities to develop relationships with people they might not otherwise meet. One of its goals is to foster that sense of community,” added Dr. Jones.

The SEC is only a couple years old, but has already contributed a lot to the IPS community. The SEC plans all the student parties and is currently planning this year’s graduation celebration. The SEC also reviews applications for the Alpha Sigma Nu honor society and applications for IPS student travel grants. Furthermore, the new “Lunch ‘N Learn” event was a recent development from the SEC and a previous initiative includes the IPS newsletter that is sent out regularly.

There are several students that make up the SEC and each joined to help enhance IPS during their time here.

“I primarily joined because I wanted to be part of the planning for the commissioning because I’m graduating in May,” said Rebekah Turnbaugh (SJ). “I really do want students to be involved in everything. I want there to be more of a student voice in the Institute of Pastoral Studies. That was my motivation, but I don’t know if that’s the case for everybody.”

Patrice Nerone (PC & MDiv) said her motivation for joining the SEC was “the idea that [she] would have an opportunity to have [her] voice be part of IPS and have an active role in helping improve IPS.”

However, the way IPS is set up has led to some difficulties when it comes to fostering this kind of environment, but the SEC is up to the challenge.

“We have to be very intentional about creating community for a few reasons: we are a professional school with a diverse student body, we’ve got people online and on site, and we don’t really have a common gathering space,” commented Dr. Jones. “We need everybody’s mind in the game. [SEC is] a pretty diverse group with people in different degree plans, so if we can come up with something that would interest us, maybe that would translate into more people in the community being interested. We want people to have a real sense of belonging and to do more that just their required degree work.”

The SEC has a few goals including: building community, enhancing communication and increasing student involvement.

Rebekah said she believes the goal is “getting people to be more connected between programs and have them be more integrated into the lifeblood of IPS.”

Dr. Jones added that it is also “to make it easy for faculty administrators to include the student voice in what’s going on and decisions that are being made.”

SEC Vision Statement

The Student Engagement Committee (SEC) seeks to cooperate in and contribute to a vibrant and constructive environment where students are integrated into the very form and function of the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), where theory and praxis meet, and where students, staff, and faculty work alongside one another for the care and formation of those in relationship with IPS and in the pursuit of peace and justice in the world around us.

SEC Mission Statement

The missions of the SEC is to create a space where students, faculty, and staff can collaborate with one another in furthering the mission of the IPS, nurture the development of pastoral, discernment, and leadership skills, and foster relationships among students, alumni, and the community.

If you would like more information or are interested in joining the Student Engagement Committee, please contact Dr. Peter Jones at pjones5@luc.edu or any of your fellow students who are already members! 

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

Student Feature: Amanda Thompson

Our latest student feature is about Amanda Thompson, a returning IPS student who has a lot to share about her unique journey and some good advice for those just beginning theirs. See what she has to say below.

Amanda Thompson, Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, Student Affairs, DePaul University, is pictured in a studio portrait Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
Amanda Thompson, Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, Student Affairs, DePaul University. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

I am very excited to be back at IPS! Twenty-two years ago I began my Masters of Pastoral Studies through the internship program at Loyola’s University Ministry. I graduated in 1996, got a full-time job as a campus minister and residence hall chaplain at the Lakeshore Campus and began my Masters of Divinity. I met my husband, Chuck at Loyola and we decided in 1999 to leave and start a family on the Northwest Side of the Chicago in Jefferson Park. I left not knowing if I would ever return to complete my degree.

In the meantime, Chuck and I had 3 beautiful children, Maggie (15), Hannah (14), and Leo (11). After 11 years of running a licensed daycare in my home and working in our parish, I got a job with the Archdiocese. I continued to pray that God would help me find a way to return to school. Then I applied for a scholarship and got it! My dream of finishing the Divinity degree was coming true…God was blessing me with this opportunity. So I began classes in the summer of 2014.

I am so thrilled to be back in the classroom that every class I have taken is a joy! I took my first three classes online and loved the Sakai platform. The classes were surprisingly interactive with the professors and my other classmates. Now I am in the classroom this semester and am enjoying the face to face interaction.

I was hired this August as the Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at DePaul University and I am enjoying working with the students and staff at DePaul. The students have such a passion for life and faith that gives my hope for the future of the Church. I am also the part-time youth minister at my parish, St. Mary of the Woods. Working with the teens is pure delight as well.

My favorite Bible verse has always been 2 Cor. 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Always reminding me to trust that God is working through my weaknesses. I can only be my true self when I am being vulnerable in my relationship with God and those around me.

My favorite book that I just read over the Christmas is “The Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. It is a beautiful story of a cranky old man who is loved back into the world by the most unlikely characters around him. It made me laugh out loud and cry real tears. I highly recommend it.

My recommendation to future students is to develop a friendship with Jesus and through that relationship don’t be afraid to put yourself into situations that you don’t feel qualified for. Trust that with time and openness, God will bring into your life people who will mentor you along the way. What might seem crazy in the beginning, usually turns out to be an amazing journey, if you stay open and pay attention!


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