Tag : IPS

El Cireneo, Hogar de Esperanza

Ana Lopez with some of El Cireneo’s Patients and staff

Ana, tell us a little bit about yourself. You just graduated from IPS and I hear you are planning on continuing your studies. What is next? How has your time at IPS helped you in your ministry?

I am from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital city of Chiapas, Mexico, and I am 30 years old. I have a Bachelor’s in Financial Management with a concentration in Financial Analysis and Investment Management from a prestigious university in Mexico, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), where I graduated with honors. I have experience as a Portfolio Manager with the Mexican Stock Exchange. I have also worked as a Purchasing Manager in Libertad Creativa S.A. de C.V., and as the General Manager of Win Land. Hence, my focus was on business and money.

However, in 2012, everything began to change when I initiated my catechesis for the sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church. Without any doubt, this sacrament was the one that changed my life and personal goals. Soon after, I started to participate in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, where I began to know God. With the desire to know Him more, I enrolled myself in the Bachelor’s in Theology with Pastoral emphasis at one of the Catholic universities in my hometown. I studied this degree for three years, but I could not finish it for several reasons, one of them was my mother’s death.

My mother passed away in May 2015 due to suicide. It was the most challenging experience I have had. Nevertheless, it led me to the best of my life, my ministry, and my renewed relationship with God.

After my mother died, I had tremendous painful experiences, one after another. I felt like Job in the Bible, losing everything I owned and believed. As a result, I was suffering from depression. I did not think I could make it, but God never left me. He was with me during the darkest period of my life. Deep inside, I had one tiny sparkle, a light of hope, the desire to continue studying. I wanted a master’s degree in something related to God. Thus, by searching for it on the Internet, I found (curiously the first link) Loyola University Chicago. By reading the academic offer, I decided to apply to the Master’s in Christian Spirituality, Spiritual Direction concentration.

The day after I applied, I received an email from the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) welcoming me to the program! You cannot imagine the joy and hope I felt! This news changed my darkness into light. It was not only the news but the entire experience of moving to Chicago and studying for my master’s program in the United States. The IPS faculty, my classmates, the Contextual Education program, the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, my spiritual director… everything and everyone contributed to the healing of my heart and soul. It was a process of purification. It was not easy, but it was worth the effort. On the day of my graduation, I recapitulated my time at IPS with verse 6 of Psalm 126: “Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves” (NABRE). When I arrived at IPS, I was heartbroken. When I left, I cried with joy! Furthermore, I proclaimed with Job: “By hearsay, I had heard of you, but now my eye has seen you” (Job 42:5, NABRE).

By becoming a spiritual director, I encountered myself and God. Before my master’s degree, I had lost sight of who I was and most importantly, who I was in God’s sight and love. However, through the program and the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises, I gained a new sight of myself and God. This experience of God’s love is the one that I try to hand down to my directees now that I am back in my hometown.

The Integration Project of my master’s degree became real when I opened the retreat house called El Cireneo, Hogar de Esperanza (The Cyrenian, House of Hope) in my hometown. Thanks to the personal and academic growth from my mother’s death, my own recovery process from depression, and my education, I was able to intertwine them, and the result was the healing program of the retreat house for patients suffering from depression. With the valuable help of my then Academic Advisor and Faculty Reader Jean-Pierre Fortin, Ph.D., I discerned that the goal of the retreat house and its holistic program (physical health, emotional well-being, and spiritual renewal) is to lower the rate of suicide, by enabling individuals suffering from depression to process their suffering.

I finished my Integration Project on June 23rd and one month later, I was opening the retreat house in the same place where my mother committed suicide. This house is now a place where people find healing, peace, hope, and life! I know this is only the beginning. There are more things I need to learn and do. For these reasons, I want to continue my studies. I have been in touch with the dean of the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. I hope to apply for the doctorate program this year. As an online program, I will only have to travel there twice a year. Hence, it will not overlap with my time at the retreat house. I hope this degree helps me to gain a deeper understanding of ministry to enhance my role at the retreat house and develop more programs to stand in solidarity with those vulnerable in my state and country. And why not? Maybe worldwide. So, please, pray for me!

Any word of advice for current and future IPS students on surviving grad school and/or finding their path after grad school?

 I remember during our welcoming session, the dean told us: “Be aware that all the structures you bring to IPS are going to be changed. You are not going to leave IPS being the same person.” This statement was completely true for my classmates and I. Thus, be open to allow the fresh air to blow in your life and ministry. Let yourself be surprised by God’s love and wisdom that you will gain through the courses and IPS faculty. If you do not know the path, He will guide you through every reading and experience within the classrooms. He is with you and will never abandon you!

El Cireneo, Hogar de Esperanza

What is the story behind El Cireneo?

When my mother passed away, I inherited the house where she committed suicide. It was hard for me to be around the house in the beginning. I thought I would never be able to emotionally heal and return. Thus, almost one and a half years later, I decided to lease the house, even though the process of emptying it and removing her belongings was extremely painful. The house had been occupied for almost two years when I had realized what God wanted for my life. No longer leasing it out, I remodeled it to what it is now, the retreat house.

It was last Holy Thursday when God told me to renew the house into a place where people could find Him. I went to the Last Supper celebration at the Madonna della Strada Chapel, at the Lake Shore Campus, where I then participated in the tradition of Seven Churches Visit, organized by Loyola University Campus Ministry. We were at the second church praying before the Blessed Sacrament when I listened to God’s voice telling me to transform my mother’s home into a retreat house. Soon after, I heard God revealing the name for it: “El Cireneo, Hogar de Esperanza” (The Cyrenian, House of Hope). I was amazed and said to Him: “What? Wait a minute! I just came here to pray, not to talk about the retreat house.” I have to admit I did not have any intentions to talk about the house. Nonetheless, for God, it was the proper time. He knew I was ready to move forward.

Hence, I asked Him: “¿por qué El Cireneo?” (why The Cyrenian?). Then, I remembered the Scripture passage about Simon of Cyrene (cf. Matthew 27:32). God allowed me to discern that I was going to become Simon of Cyrene, helping the suffering Christ (manifested in my directees) to carry the cross. In other words, God allowed me to understand that I was going to help my directees to carry their cross, depression. But this cross has a promise: a resurrected life. I learned from my mother’s death and my own experience of recovering from depression that there is no cross without resurrection.

It was during that same evening, on Holy Thursday, when God reminded me: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NABRE). For this reason, when patients arrive at the retreat house, the first sight they can appreciate is the name of the house and this Biblical passage, John 10:10.

Jesus came so each of my directees/patients can have life and have it more abundantly. The staff and I try to bring them relief, reassurance, and consolation by being their Simon of Cyrene in their journey to a resurrected life in Christ.

Tell us a little about treatment at El Cireneo, Hogar de Esperanza.

As I mentioned before, thanks to the personal and academic growth from my mother’s death, my own recovery process from depression, and my education, I was able to intertwine them, and the result was the healing program of the retreat house for patients suffering from depression. In fact, the healing program reflects my own recovery process from depression in a holistic manner: physical health, emotional well-being, and spiritual renewal.

a) Physical health: when a patient arrives asking for help, he/she is interviewed by the psychologist. He is the one who gives the preliminary diagnosis. If the patient is diagnosed with depression, we ask them to undergo testing at a laboratory by the request of the neurologist to rule out physical diseases causing depression (e.g. hypothyroidism). The neurologist determines if the patient needs to be medicated and/or referred to psychiatry. Additionally, there is a nutritionist helping patients improve their diet with the purpose to increase their physical energy.

b) Emotional well-being: the patient meets with the psychologist every week to process his/ her suffering and acquire tools to manage his/her emotions.

c) Spiritual renewal: through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The directee meets with me (the spiritual director) weekly to talk about his/her process throughout the retreat. We listen and discern God’s voice in his/her life. I help him/her to contemplate his/her life through God’s love, mercy, beauty, and wisdom. It is important to mention that we have monthly therapeutic and spiritual direction meetings with all the patients, so they can create a sense of community. They realize that they are not walking alone trying to overcome depression. They help each other by sharing their stories.

Because poverty is the main cause of depression in Chiapas, the program is free of charge. We only require patients to commit themselves to their recovery process.


If you would like to know more about Ana’s ministry check out the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/elcireneo

You can also contact Ana via email suenos.milagrosos2@gmail.com

If you want to help El Cireneo, Hogar de Esperanza you can make a donation via PayPal – PayPal.Me/analopu14 or email Ana for her bank information.

Learn about the Coalition for Spiritual & Public Leadership (CSPL) and its Executive Director & co-founder Michael Okińczyc-Cruz, IPS Adjunct Faculty.

Michael and a group at CSPL’s Leadership Training

According to Michael Okińczyc-Cruz, CSPL was founded through one on one meetings. In the spring of 2017, several Catholic leaders in the Chicagoland area wanted to do faith-based community organizing, they came together and the organization was founded in June/July 2017.

CSPL works in the Western suburbs of Chicago – Maywood, Broadview, Melrose – these areas are deeply impacted by poverty, racism, and inequality. Michael believes people who have been marginalized have a significant role to play in the liberation and progressive development of their own communities. “The goal is to give voices of leadership to those who have been impacted by poverty and racism. During this time of profound fear and despair, it is important to support those who must be at the center of leadership and give them the hope to rise up and organize. These leaders must organize to develop creative and courageous solutions that reflect their deepest values.”

Currently, CSPL is promoting a National pilgrimage to El Paso for a weekend of action and training Oct 9-14.

The coalition is also actively involved in issues of immigration, safety and violence prevention and the Census 2020, with committees that meet regularly to discuss these relevant topics.

CSPL offers leadership trainings for those who want to learn more about faith-based community organizing. “We believe that every person has the fundamental right and responsibility to be engaged in civic and democratic life and to work for the Common Good, as the Catholic Social Teaching tradition emphasizes.” CSPL’s leadership trainings provide grassroots leaders with the resources to effectively organize for social change in a manner that is deeply rooted in and inspired by the Catholic spiritual and theological traditions.

“There are numerous organizations in the Chicago area that do community organizing, we are one of many, but the most important thing is attending the leadership training to learn how to effectively organize in the community that you live in.”

Visit CSPL’s website to see the work Michael and the Coalition have been doing and learn more about ways to get involved.


Michael is an adjunct assistant professor at IPS and is the Executive Director and a co-founder of CSPL. CSPL is a non-profit organization committed to addressing social, racial and economic justice issues through grassroots leadership development and community organizing grounded in the Catholic spiritual and theological traditions.

A first-generation American, Michael has been a faith-based community organizer for 8 years, he has worked to address issues related to criminal justice, mental health, corporate bank accountability, immigration reform, refugee rights, public transportation, workforce development and workforce diversity on a local, statewide and national level.

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 Students Uniting Against Lead Epidemic

IPS students are uniting to create change for a health issue that is affecting millions of families and children across the country and they are asking you to support the mission too. Among them is Emily Benfer (IPS social justice certificate student, clinical professor of law, and the director of the Health Justice Project) who wrote a piece about this issue that was recently published in the New York Times. In addition, there is Alicia Crosby (MASJ ’16) who recently drafted an email, making the points below.

Children across the country are developing lead poisoning and suffering from the devastating and permanent harm it causes. Over 1.6 million families with children in federally assisted housing across America are at risk of exposure to lead hazards because outdated federal policies, in place since the 1990’s, fail to protect them. It’s clear that we must call this crisis what it is – a lead epidemic. The lead present in these homes, as well as in pipes and soil, creates environments in which Black children are nearly 3x more likely than their white peers to have elevated blood lead levels. The crises we see in Flint, Michigan as well as those emerging in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other locales are just the tip of the iceberg. Join the Health Justice Project at Loyola University Chicago and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law as they work to elevate public awareness and mobilize communities to take action to alleviate this epidemic’s irreversible effects.

Credit: Dylan Petrohilos
Photo credit: Dylan Petrohilos

You can help end the lead epidemic and protect our children’s futures. There are a number of ways you can connect to this movement for change.

Inform yourself and others on the root causes of and solutions to the lead epidemic by reading and sharing these articles:

Sign the petitions! The Health Justice Project is working with ColorofChange.org and Groundswell to raise public consciousness about this and encourage civic engagement.

Contact your Congresspeople and remind them of their duty to protect children from harm and to end the lead epidemic! Millions of children have endured irreparable brain damage as a result of lead poisoning. We need to say to Congress “No more; not one more child!” The Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2016 (HR4694/S2631) will make critical changes to federal policy and better prevent lead poisoning. Encourage your elected officials to join Sen. Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Menendez (D-NJ), Rep. Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Ellison (D-MN), and the growing number of Congressional leaders who support the end of the lead epidemic.

Get your community involved! Your organization or congregation can endorse the effort to end lead poisoning in federally assisted housing. Join the Health Justice Project and the 30+ groups who have committed to supporting the push for lead safe housing.

Join in for digital action during key points in the campaign! Email healthjustice@luc.edu if you want to participate in social media storms making policymakers as well as civic and faith leaders aware of the need for lead safe housing and other measures to address this lead crisis affecting so many. Feel free to join in at any time or to tweet at/tag people when using the following hashtags: #LeadEpidemic #PoisonInOurWalls #LeadSafeHousing.

Get updates via social media! This movement can be followed on Twitter (@LeadSafeHousing & @e_catalyst) and at this Facebook page.

By drawing attention to this issue, the Health Justice Project hopes to inspire people to pursue justice within their own communities so that our most vulnerable, our children, can live healthy lives and reach their fullest potentials. No family should have to choose between having a home or protecting a child’s health.

***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.

Two New Student Workers Join IPS

IPS is happy to welcome Starr Young and José Brito to the team! As IPS continues to grow, the more hands we need helping out around the office. Fortunately, IPS was able to hire Starr as a Graduate Student Worker and José as an Undergraduate Student Worker.


Meet Starr. She is from Chicago and this is her first year attending Loyola. She is earning her MAPC/MDiv dual degree from IPS. Get to know more about Starr in the Q&A below.

What are you looking forward to learning while working at IPS? 
I am very excited to be a part of the IPS team! I am looking forward to the opportunity to be more immersed in the community while working at IPS.

What is something special you are bringing to the IPS team?
I want to offer my time and talent to give back to IPS as the program has already given so much to me in the short amount of time that I have been a student.

What are your goals while in school and after?
Upon graduation from IPS, my professional goal is to combine my education and faith into a career as a counselor. I hope to one day open a community center where I can offer services to contribute to the healing of the mind, body and spirit of each client. My personal and more immediate goal is to help provide a place in the Catholic Churches of Chicago where Young Adults can feel accepted and inspired by their faith through a ministry entitled ReCiL (Reclaiming Christ in Life).

What do you like to do in your spare time outside of school and work?
I love to travel, spend time with my family and attend hockey games. Go Blackhawks!

What is a fun fact or story about yourself?
A fun fact about me is that I love science! My undergraduate degree is in Human Biology.



Meet José. He is also from Chicago and is a freshman at Arrupe College of Loyola. He is currently studying Social and Behavioral Sciences and will later study Criminal Justice. Get to know more about José in the Q&A below.

What are you looking forward to learning while working at IPS? 
I would like to learn more about the work environment in an office setting.

What is something special you are bringing to the IPS team?
Something special I bring to the IPS team is that I am bilingual. I speak fluent English and Spanish.

What are your goals while in school and/or after?
After school when I have graduated from Arrupe College, I plan to attend Saint Xavier University where I will study Criminal Justice, so that one day I will be able to work for a state or federal law enforcement.

What do you like to do in your spare time outside of school and work? 
In my spare time, I enjoy playing video games or boxing with my coach. Sometimes I go out with friends or family to play soccer, depending on the weather.

What is a fun fact or story about yourself?
A fun fact about myself is that I enjoy eating all kinds of food. I tend to over eat most of the time. I am always hungry. My mom told me that when I was only four months old I had began to drink the eighteen ounce bottles of baby formula and that I would drink four or five of those a day. Eventually making me a fat baby.


If you see Starr or José around the office, don’t forget to say hello and welcome!


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