Tag : Loyola University Chicago

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!

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  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.