CASC Lumen Magazine_Spring 2022

Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus


T he heart of Sitzmann Hall is the chapel. On any given day, dozens of students greet our Lord as they arrive to study, attend class, or pray a holy hour. After all, Catholic Studies isn’t just about a degree; it’s about knowing and loving Christ. While most students leave Catholic Studies to bring Christ to the workplace or family life after graduation, the Lord calls some alumni to follow a different path. In fact, more than 200 Catholic Studies alumni are serving the Church throughout the world in 51 dioceses or religious orders (see Page 11 for a full list). One alumnus is Nick Vance ’18 . When he started college, Catholicism felt like a set of rules to Vance; but after his first class in Catholic Studies, he began to recognize the freedom found within

his faith. Like many others, Vance began to realize that the Church – though it may be perceived like a dark and oppressive cathedral – contains within it great space, depth and light. Catholic Studies taught

Now in his fourth year of priestly formation at The Saint Paul Seminary, Vance brings his Catholic Studies formation to the theology classroom. He recalled the first thing one of his professors, Dr. Christopher Thompson , told the class: “Gentlemen, if you want to do good theology, you need to fall in love and take careful notes.” Love is at the true center of good theology, and as Vance reflects, “That’s not only good theology, that’s Catholic Studies.” Love and good theology also led two 2019 graduates to consecrated life. Catherine Wessel and Katherine “Kat” Kennedy both entered the Sisters of Mary Morning Star, a contemplative, non- cloistered community located in the tiny town of Ghent, Minnesota. These holy women dedicate their lives to pursuing wisdom as they

Nick Vance ‘18

him to find Christ in the Church and in “ten thousand places,” as Gerard Manley Hopkins writes. Every class he took gave him a “wide-angle vision” to pursue the Lord with his whole self. “It’s not just an academic program,” he reflects. “It’s a way of life.”

St. Thomas Lumen Spring 2022 Page 9

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