Tag : IPS

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.

Senator Dick Durbin Spoke on Undocumented Students

This past December, Senator Dick Durbin came to Loyola to speak about undocumented students, the challenges and opportunities they face, and how his own work for comprehensive immigration reform has been informed by his Catholic faith and his experience as a first-generation American.

Senator Dick Durbin addressing the Loyola community
Senator Dick Durbin addressing the Loyola community

IPS Professor Dr. Michael Canaris was one of many IPS community members in attendance and he had this reflection to share about the event and the Senator’s speech:

“The Scriptures and Christian teaching are unambiguous in their call to stand in solidarity with the marginalized, the disadvantaged, and the exile, and to respect the dignity of every human person. Senator Durbin’s work on behalf of migrants and refugees throughout his career has echoed this mandate and, when traced through sponsorship of the DREAM Act for instance, helped in many ways to inspire a re-appreciation of Loyola’s commitment to this underserved population across disciplines. It’s an issue that reflects our values as a university rooted in Catholic and Jesuit traditions, and has historical antecedents going back to the school’s founding and in fact to the original Company of Ignatius.”

Senator Durbin’s talk hit home for many Loyola students who were in the audience who are immigrants and/or a part of the Senator’s DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. These students, affectionately called Dreamers, continue to grow in number and attend colleges across the country, with the largest population right here at Loyola Chicago.

The event titled, “Undocumented Students: Perspectives from a US Senator informed by the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and his own family’s story,” was live tweeted through the Loyola IPS Twitter account and spurred conversation using the hashtags: #SenDurbinSpeaks and #SenDurbinVisitsIPS. You can see some of the conversation below.

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

Peter Gilmour Publishes “Educating the Educators…”

Loyola Professor Emeritus Peter Gilmour was the 2014 Aggiormento Award winner for the Institute of Pastoral Studies. Gilmour has been involved with IPS since the program began in 1964 and received the award during IPS’s 50th anniversary celebration last year.

This year, Gilmour finished his article that draws on his 50 years of history with IPS and examines how religious education has changed over the course of time. Gilmour’s article, titled “Educating the Educators: A Fifty-Year Retrospective of Religious Education in the Catholic Context,” was recently published in the Religious Education Association’s journal.

“This article is a retrospective that talks about how we got to the point that we are in today. What I would like to see the readers think about after they’ve read the article is, ‘what happens to a professional discipline when people stop having that as their focus of their graduate studies and other aspects of theology become their focus?’ It has to change the discipline somehow and it has to change the practice of what’s going on and I think that’s a very important thing for people to really consider,” said Gilmour.

Peter Gilmour
The Abstract reads:

The progressive spirit of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) spawned a myriad of graduate departments of religious education in American Catholic colleges and universities. These departments evolved to include other master degrees (e.g., pastoral studies, pastoral counseling, divinity, spirituality, and social justice). As the numbers of students in religious education degree programs significantly diminished, the degree designation in religious education was often terminated. Today, an ever increasing number of religious education practitioners in the Catholic context do not have graduate degrees in religious education. This ongoing reality significantly alters the field of religious education and its practice in the Catholic context.

Full text.

Gilmour received his Master’s of Religious Education degree from IPS. “The Master’s of Religious Education was the first degree and only degree offered by the Institute for the first 10 years or so,” noted Gilmour.

Eventually, he taught religious education courses and has been a part of various professional organizations that allowed him to make connections with other religious educators from around the world. During his many years of teaching, he also wrote textbooks and teachers’ manuals. Gilmour said that religious education has “been a professional and life long interest.”

“Since I’ve been associated with IPS… I have always been very interested in not only what I did here, but, now, the history of what I did.”

During IPS’s 50th year, Director Brian Schmisek asked Gilmour to consider composing a history of IPS. Gilmour ended up creating the history and he said his current article “grew out” of that project.

“Since this was one of my areas of expertise, I could go into much more detail, I knew much more detail that was not appropriate for the general history, but was appropriate for the article.”

Gilmour explained that religious education, as a professional discipline, has changed greatly over the past 50 years.

“I thought it would be really interesting to explore the whys and the wherefores behind all these changes, starting with the excitement of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and progressing right up to the present day.”

He went on to explain that graduate programs that focused on religious education blossomed during and shortly after Vatican II, but as years passed by less and less students were enrolling in such programs. In addition, people with a religious education degree were becoming more interested in parish ministry, rather than teaching in formal Catholic schools. Today, the profession of religious education is populated with people holding a master’s degree in theological studies, but not specifically religious education.

For his research article, Gilmour chose Loyola IPS as the subject for his case study for obvious reasons. Moreover, after he spoke with colleagues and professors from different universities and associations, he learned that IPS was a fair representative of similar programs offered elsewhere.

Since conducting his case study, Gilmour discovered some interesting things.

“Many ministerial programs, like IPS, have closed around the country that, at one time, had degrees in religious education. They never went on and developed other degrees, and they never necessarily changed as much as IPS has. It really struck me how one of the reasons that IPS is here today, and one of the reasons that IPS is successful today, is that IPS has always been willing to change. IPS has always had its fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in church and ministry and has responded to that in very decisive and very creative ways. Looking at the bigger picture of ministerial studies at IPS, I realize just how important change has been in our 50 year history.”

Gilmour said he wrote this article because it was about a topic he knew intimately and now, he challenges other professors to do the same in the areas of their expertise.

“I would actually like to see other people at IPS, meaning faculty, take the other degrees and write a similar history because I think it’s really important that we preserve the kind of history that has gone on here for more than 50 years. I’d love to see someone do that with the Master of Divinity degree, I’d love to see someone do that with a Pastoral Counseling degree because those degrees now are more than 25 years old now. A Pastoral Studies degree would be another one interesting to have a historical retrospective on. With some of these newer degrees there might not have been yet enough time to write such an article, but off in the future I would love to see somebody take those on because I think that preserving the history and telling the history is important. But I’m going to leave that to other people.”


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

Meet our new Enrollment Advisor: Kristin Butnik

We are so pleased to welcome Kristin Butnik to our team as the new IPS Enrollment Advisor!

Kristin recently joined us on December 1st during a very busy week for us and she did not hesitate to jump into her new role with passion and excitement.

She is looking forward to talking to both current and prospective students, so feel free to reach out to her at kbutnik@luc.edu.

Now, enjoy learning a little more about Kristin in our Q&A with her below!

Kristin (right) pictured with IPS Executive Administrative Assistant Gina Lopez
Kristin (right) pictured with IPS Executive Administrative Assistant Gina Lopez

: Glendale Heights, IL

What do you like to do in your time outside the office?
I love to spend much of my time with my fiancé Vatsal and my dog Oscar. We are often planning trips together. I also enjoy partaking in group fitness classes when possible.

What are some fun facts you can tell us about yourself?
My favorite color is purple. I love history particularly the American Revolution, Antebellum period, and the Civil War. I also love local and geographical history in helping me understand a sense of place. I look forward to and love reading travel information in Midwest Magazine and the Chicago Sunday Tribune.

Favorite quote: “Smile every day”

I attended Augustana College in Rock Island, IL for my undergraduate education. I studied History and Secondary Education. After graduating I took a few years off to work in secondary and higher education and returned to school as a part-time student studying Higher Education at Loyola’s School of Education Higher Education program. I graduated in May 2015.

What were you doing in the recent past before you joined the IPS team?
For the past five years I worked at Elmhurst College in adult and graduate admissions as well as financial aid. I worked a lot with gift aid programs including scholarships, Illinois State programs, and the Pell Grant.

How did it feel to get the job as Enrollment Advisor at IPS?
I could not be happier to return to Loyola and serve the mission of Loyola and IPS! I really believe in the mission of the institution and the values students learn as a result of their education here. It is my goal welcome prospective students to our IPS programs and share with them the values and traditions that make Loyola a stand out educational component to not only their professional development but also their personal development as well.

What are you looking forward to the most about your position here?
Acquiring many different skills and the ability to wear different hats that will contribute toward furthering my knowledge of different student service functional areas and making me a well-rounded professional.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, personally or professionally, so far?
Completing my Master’s Degree. As a first generation student, I couldn’t be more proud of my achievements.

Any additional information you would like to share?
I’m looking for an officiant for my wedding next September if anyone is interested or knows of individuals who might be interested! (Just kidding… But seriously.)


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

Bill Huebsch Joins IPS to Teach Vatican II

Loyola IPS is pleased to welcome Bill Huebsch for the 2016 spring semester. He will be teaching “Vatican II” and students can sign up now to take his course!

IPS Director Brian Schmisek said, “Huebsch is a popular lecturer across North America and in parts of Europe. We’re fortunate to have him teach ‘Vatican II’ this spring.”

You can view a video presentation from Huebsch to learn more about him and the course he will be teaching.


Regarding his life outside of academia, Huebsch said, “I lived on a small farm for nearly 20 years, an hour north of St Paul, MN. We raised our own food, tended a respectable flock of chickens, and spent our days roaming around the valleys and forests on the farm. It was a marvelous place to write, reflect, and live.”

Huebsch continued, “As for IPS, I’m very much a fan of this program and am delighted to be part of it. Brian has brought fresh and clear leadership to the department. I want to help prepare the next generation of leaders for parishes, at whatever age they start to study!”

Huebsch holds an undergrad degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Theological Studies from the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago. He served as a diocesan administrator for many years in Minnesota and later as DRE in a suburban Minneapolis parish. He also directed the work of the Upper Midwest Conservation Labs at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for 5 years.

He now serves as Director of the online Pastoral & Continuing Education Center at Twenty-Third Publications. He has served on the adjunct faculties of Loyola University New Orleans: Institute for Pastoral Studies, and the University of Dallas: School of Ministry.

In 1990, he established The Vatican II Project, which contributes to the effort being made within the Church to keep alive the spirit and energy of Vatican II.

A decade later, he helped establish the Whole Community Catechesis project, aimed at helping parishes and dioceses around the world implement the General Directory for Catechesis.

He has also published nearly twenty books in recent years, along with numerous booklets, articles and screenplays. One of his books, A New Look at Grace, was named in US CATHOLIC among the top seven most influential books on spirituality for today’s world.

His most recent books include:
– Jesus: the Master Catechist
– The Group Reading Guide for the Care of our Common Home
– Be Merciful: Reflections on the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy

One of his important projects has been The Growing Faith Project, which is a component, adult education resource for parish or personal use, based entirely on the Catechism.

He was the creator and author behind the first set of curriculum resources designed specifically to coach parents to be the first teachers of their own children. This work is called Growing Up Catholic: Sacramental Formation That Lasts a Lifetime.


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

Parish Health & Wellness Ministry Certificate Week

IPS’s Parish Leadership and Management Programs, in conjunction with Catholic Extension, recently held the first of four “Parish Health and Wellness Ministry Certificate” weeks.

The program focuses on the under-resourced mission dioceses of Catholic Extension who can benefit the most from this intensive training week. Catholic Extension polled all their mission dioceses, asking what their needs were. The top response was the need to assist people who work in parishes where questions regarding mental and physical health are constantly occurring. This ranged from addictions, to pregnancies, to violence, to depression, to long term care for the elderly, and more.

In response to this need, Catholic Extension partnered with Loyola IPS to create a week-long training in parish heath and wellness ministry, grounded in the belief that parishes should be a place of health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit.

LUREC group photo

IPS’s Coordinator of Parish Leadership Management Programs Mark Bersano said the goal of this initiative is to reach out and serve parishes in innovative ways by providing the kinds of courses and trainings that are outside of the typical degree programs currently offered at IPS.

The week long event began on a Sunday evening with a mass and reception dinner. The following four days of programming consisted of prayer services, workshops, speakers, skills development and more. The week concluded on Friday morning with a sending ceremony where the participants received a certificate from IPS.
LUREC certificate

This is a 4 year program that began with the first cohort in October 2015. The following cohorts will consist of different people each year, occurring in October 2016, 2017 and 2018. By the time the program is finished, Mark said that they could have up to 200 participants, with 40-50 participants each year.

“The grant funding currently allows 4 years, but we are hoping that it will turn into something that is sort of a movement in the church. There’s hope that we will be able to work with the local Chicago parishes and partner with them to build this concept that the parish is a place of health and wellness of mind, body and spirit.”

Participants consisted of people from dioceses across the United States including: Rapid City, SD; Boise, ID; Helena, MT; Las Cruces, NV; Beaumont, TX; Charlotte, NC; Brownsville, TX; Gaylord, MI; Marquette, MI; Jefferson City, MO; Belleville, IL; and more.

Mark said, “The people who were there were all pastoral ministers in one capacity or another at either the parish or diocesan level. Many of them already had something to do with healthcare and some of them were thinking about starting new ministries or expanding ministries they already had.”

Some of the highlights from the week were Kevin O’Connor’s session “Active Listening and Issue Diagnosis,” Timone Davis’s “Theology of Baptismal Vocation & Missionary Discipleship,” Dan Rhodes’s “Theology of Service” and Anna Mayer’s “Walking with the Dear Neighbor: A Model of Accompaniment.”

LUREC class
Posted with permission from Catholic Extension. Copyright 2015 www.catholicextension.org

“Again, the real theme was the parish as a place of health and wellness of mind, body and spirit and also that by getting involved in these things, parishoners and people in parishes could raise up their own baptismal vocations and become missionary diciples helping others,” stressed Mark.

He gave the example of someone starting their own domestic violence ministry. Or on a very basic level, someone getting involved with elderly people in the parish who might not always remember to take their medication. Something as simple as making phone calls to remind them can make a difference.

IPS Administrative Assistant Mirta Garcia was also in attendance and helped organize and run the event. She said the week went extremely well.

“All the presenters and facilitators did a great job with their individual subjects, and with weaving each topic into the next for a seamless participant experience. It was fascinating to see how the participants became more engaged with each successive day.  Seeing them make new connections and bonding with people who have similar interest and ministries was truly amazing. It was an honor to be part of this week-long intensive certification program. My favorite part was making new friends and connections with people who are passionate about their faith and ministry. I am looking forward to hearing how the participants will take everything they learned and make it blossom in their communities.”

Mark agreed, saying “people had a really good experience. They bonded extremely well. At the end of the week, they were all saying they missed their families and wanted to get home, but at the same time they didn’t want to leave. One participant even suggested having a reunion. They were there for a week and already felt that.”


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

Loyola’s First Martyrs Award Goes to an IPS Alumna’s Organization

Loyola’s new Martrys Award was created to honor the Salvadoran Martyrs. This year marks the 26th anniversary of their assassination.

In a recent letter to the Loyola community, Interim President John Pelissero wrote, “Loyola honors the Salvadoran martyrs each year because in their lives and deaths, they exemplify the Jesuit and Catholic ideals and values that we seek to emulate, such as solidarity with the poor, working for social justice, and courageously witnessing to the truth.”

Each year, the award will be presented to a faith-based organization or individual who, among other things, strives to fight social injustice, educates others, and creates awareness of issues affecting the oppressed. In addition, there is a $25,000 grant that comes with the award. This money is intended to promote the legacy of the Martyrs in El Salvador and support Loyola’s commitment to social justice.

The first recipient of this annual award is The Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI). ICDI’s Executive Director Sr. JoAnn Persch will be accepting the award on behalf of the organization. Persch gradated from IPS in 1971 with a degree in Religious Education.

Another IPS graduate, Chris Murphy, is Loyola’s current Director of Staff Mission Formation and Faculty Staff Chaplain. He said that the ICDI is “currently responding to migrants and refuges from El Salvador and Latin America. The suffering of these people is rooted in many of the same structural injustices to which the martyrs responded. The work of the Interfaith Committee reminds us of the way to which we are the direct heirs to, and responsible for, the ongoing mission of the martyrs. For the Interfaith Committee’s dedication to addressing injustice they will receive the Martyrs Award from Loyola University Chicago.”

When given the news of being the recipient of the Martyrs Award, Persch said, “As an alum of Loyola and as Director of ICDI it made me very proud. We are an ever growing program and this award will encourage our growth to be able to serve more people. To be selected as seeing our ministry in tune with the strong faith and courage of the martyrs is very touching.”

Sr. JoAnn Persch, RSM, a Loyola alumna, photographed at Sisters of Mercy in Chicago, on October 28, 2015. Sr. JoAnn is the recipient of the Martyr's Award for the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants.  (photo by Natalie Battaglia)
Sr. JoAnn Persch, RSM, a Loyola alumna, photographed at Sisters of Mercy in Chicago, on October 28, 2015. Sr. JoAnn is the recipient of the Martyr’s Award for the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants.
(photo by Natalie Battaglia)


Persch began her long and successful career at IPS where she said she was given the foundation needed to carry out programs ranging from child and adult education to parish ministry.

She recalls that at the time, the IPS Religious Education program was only offered during the summer.

“We had outstanding professors who would come from all over to teach in the program for the summer,” Persch said. “I really enjoyed the Scripture classes and also then Father John Gorman (now Bishop Gorman) who taught religious psychology. I have used what I learned many times.”

As the co-founder of ICDI, Persch has been able to see the growth of ICDI in the nine years of its existence.

“I see the hand of God working in every way. We have such a wonderful committed staff and amazing volunteers who really see our responsibility to our immigrant sisters and brothers. The fact that in nine years we are able to assist through all of our programs has to be the work of God.” Persch added, “We all receive so much more than we give through our relationships with our immigrant sisters and brothers.”

Though Persch is living in the present and fighting social injustice day by day, she is also preparing of the future.

“I want to share leadership so that when I can no longer serve in this capacity others are prepared and imbued with the vision and mission of ICDI… I would hope that we could continue raising funds that will not only keep us solvent, but keep having the ability to grow to meet the needs as they arise.”

This award is not only a great honor and opportunity for Persch and her organization, it is also somewhat of a homecoming for her.

“IPS has always held a very special place in my heart and I am so happy to be connecting again.”


**The award ceremony is taking place on November 16 at 3:30 pm in Damen Student Center Multipurpose Room South. There will also be a Memorial Mass at 5:15 pm in Madonna Della Strada, followed by a reception in McCormick Lounge.


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

IPS Student Alicia Crosby Awarded President’s Medallion

The President’s Medallion has three words etched onto it: leadership, scholarship and service. The award annually recognizes Loyola students who exemplify these words in their everyday lives, both inside and outside of the classroom.

This year, Alicia Crosby was selected as the recipient of the award for IPS. Read our Q&A with Alicia below to find out just a few reasons why she is so deserving of this honor.

How does it feel to be honored with this award?
It’s definitely a privilege, but is also a little surreal. In getting this degree, I’ve been committed to working hard and using my research to press into things that matter to me. It’s an incredible honor when the people who dedicate themselves to helping guide you along in this journey acknowledge that hard work and your passions through nominating you for something like the President’s Medallion. There are so many amazing students in our department who are doing great work so I really do consider it an honor to be chosen to receive this award.

What is your degree program and why did you choose this path?
In May I’ll receive my MA in Social Justice and Certificate in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy. I’ve chosen this path because after years of praying and seeking, I came to understand that I feel most alive when I give voice to who people are meant to be then work to remove barriers that could potentially stop them. My work in sacred, social service, and educational contexts let me know that I needed to find an institution that could equip me to do the sort of interdisciplinary work that advocacy and activism require while also getting theologically grounded. In seeing IPS program materials some years ago speaking about things like moving people towards God’s “prophetic intent” for them, I knew this was where I was called to be.

Tell us about the work you are doing in your community.
I’m the co-founder of Center for Inclusivity (CFI), an organization that fosters healing community for people at the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality. We work to provide services like clinical counseling, pastoral care, educational initiatives, and community gatherings to promote healthy exploration, growth, and healing for individuals affected by the perceived divisions surrounding issues of spirituality, sexual orientation and gender identity. Our heart is to connect the individuals behind “issues” and create safe space where people can bring the fullness of who they are to a community that will celebrate and care for them.

What is your motivation behind this work?
In my last few years of work as an educational advocate, I had a number of students come out to me and share they identified as LGBTQ+. I’d worked with many of them for years and in asking why they took so long to tell me, they noted that they understood me to be a person of faith and needed to trust that I wouldn’t sever our relationship because of them sharing their orientation.

That broke my heart. Those youth learned from the theology of others that their sexuality and gender identity makes them undesirable and unworthy of love. Faith is something that should be used to heal and help you lean into who you are, not cause you to hide for fear of abandonment (or worse). The work I do with CFI is about making the world a safer place for them by helping to create space where they can, in youth or in adulthood, express the fullness of who they are and know that they are accepted and have community.

What classes and/or professors have been instrumental to your success? And how?
Anyone who knows me can tell you the answer to this question is Dr. Peter Jones. Peter is absolutely amazing and his presence in my life has been such a blessing. He has pushed me in my thinking about so many things from theology to ethics and justice. Then he allowed me the space to process my thoughts both in and out of the classroom. I know that if I’m struggling with anything, I can count on him to be my ever patient, sagacious mentor who will help me unpack my thoughts and affirm me. I’m so grateful for his guidance and friendship.

What are your future goals?
I’ll continue my work removing barriers where I see them so that people are able to explore the fullness of what God has for them. For the foreseeable future this will be reflected through my work with Center for Inclusivity, but I don’t want to put limits on what I do or what God will do through me. Wherever I find myself, I just want to use my talents and gifts to clear the way for others to walk into who they are called to be.

If you want more information on Center for Inclusivity, please feel free to visithttp://www.centerforinclusivity.org/

Those wanting to see Alicia’s personal musings can check out her bloghttp://chasingthepromise.net/


The award ceremony is taking place on Friday, November 6th. After the ceremony, you can celebrate the accomplishments of all the President’s Medallion recipients at the President’s Ball.


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

Alpha Sigma Nu Recognizes Oustanding IPS Students

alpha sigma nu

This past Sunday, Alpha Sigma Nu held its annual Induction Ceremony to welcome its new members.

“Alpha Sigma Nu is the international honor society of Jesuit institutions of higher education. The society was founded in 1915 to honor a select number of students each year on the basis of scholarship, loyalty, and service.”

We would like to say a big congratulations to this year’s inductees from IPS:

  • Devona Alleyne
  • Carleen Czajka
  • Elaine Lindia
  • Alicja Lukaszewicz-Southall
  • Brian Melton

Loyola IPS is proud to have students who continue to pursue scholarly goals and strive to better their community on a daily basis! Keep up the extraordinary work and it will take you even farther than you imagine.


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