Lumen Winter 2024

Lumen A Catholic Studies Publication UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS | WINTER 2024


A Time to Remember, A Time to Build. Our celebration of 30 years of Catholic Studies has been a time to remember what the Lord has done for us. It is also time to remember who and what brought Catholic Studies to where it is today. You will read in these pages about those who built Catholic Studies from the ground up and about the students, alumni, faculty, and donors whose hard work and generosity made Catholic Studies the largest and most distinctive program of its kind. This is also a time to build for the next 30 years. We are looking ahead to secure the future of Catholic Studies, especially for the next generation of students who desire a Catholic education—one that draws upon the interdisciplinary richness of literature, philosophy, social thought, history, and theology—and a formation that cultivates relationships with professors, staff, and students inside and outside the classroom. An important part of securing Catholic Studies for the future is by making an undergraduate or

Center for Catholic Studies 55-S

2115 Summit Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105 (651) 962-5700

graduate degree in Catholic Studies affordable with meaningful scholarship support. More than 1,600 Catholic Studies alumni who are priests, religious, and lay people—many of whom are married with children and work in a wide variety of fields including law, business, education, and nonprofit—received a powerful intellectual and spiritual formation here. With a Catholic vision they are reviving parishes, raising families, renewing schools, and bringing the Good News of the Gospel to the workplace. They received a Catholic understanding of the world that sees all of creation marked by intelligibility and meaning: from work, to nature, to relationships. The vision for Catholic Studies began a renewal of Catholic higher education 30 years ago. It is renewing it today, and, with your prayers and support, it will lead the renewal well into the future. We invite you to come along with us as we build upon our strong foundation and look toward a future filled with the promise of ongoing renewal.

4 Editor Karen Laird Associate Director Center for Catholic Studies Graphic Design Kitty West-McCallion CatsAway Graphic Design Photographers Katzie & Ben Photography University and Student Photographers University Archives

Catholic Studies Celebrates 30 Years..................................... 4-7 The Rome Factor...........................9 30 Years of Impact.................10-15 Did You Know.........................16-19 Faculty Spotlight...................20-21 How to Put the "catholic" in Catholic Studies..........................22 The Future of Catholic Studies is Bright.......................................23



Contributors John F. Boyle Erika Kidd Michael J. Naughton Melina Sotro-Arguello ‘18 Nancy Sannerud

Kathryn Wehr Cover photo Archbishop Bernard Hebda and ordained Catholic Studies alumni and friends celebrate the 30th Anniversary Mass in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on Sept. 23, 2023. Photo by Katzie & Ben Photography.




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Catholic Studies Celebrates 30 Years

Alumni Event

Scan here to see more photos from the 30th Anniversary Alumni Event.


“ Nothing has better prepared me for my priesthood or for my broader life in the Church than my time in Catholic Studies.” Father Coady Owens ‘13, Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana

On September 21, 2023, Catholic Studies alumni from the past 30 years gathered with faculty and staff at O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co. to reconnect with classmates and friends and give thanks for this transformative program. Some alumni were undergraduate majors or minors; some were graduates of our master's degree program. All enjoyed great food, beverages, and a lively faculty panel moderated by Jonathan Liedl ‘16 CSMA.

“ I feel as though my Catholic Studies

education is in constant conversation with my life and work. As an alumnus, my perspective changed so much, and now I am applying my new frame of thinking daily.” Derrick Diedrich '21, ‘24 CSMA

“ Catholic Studies has put before my eyes the truth I didn't have the capacity to see or understand before. It continues to transform my mind and heart in ways that I believe have been significant for my own salvation.” Nicole Tekippe ‘20

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Catholic Studies Celebrates 30 Years

Catholic Studies Celebrates 30 Years

“ My message here tonight is simple. I want to thank you on behalf of the hundreds of St. Thomas students, alumni, staff and faculty who did not major in Catholic Studies, who do not hold Catholic Studies degrees, who do not work for Catholic Studies, who never taught a Catholic Studies course, but who nevertheless have been deeply blessed by your presence on our campus for the past 30 years. It is easy for me to extend that word of gratitude because I count myself among those who have been deeply blessed.” President Rob Vischer

Mass & Gala

Scan here to see more photos from the 30th Anniversary Mass and Gala.

“ The academic formation of our students in their pursuit of truth across disciplines is what drives this program. From there, human formation, Catholic community, and dynamic change flow.” Alessandro Marchetti ‘12 “ There is something special here . . . Our archdiocese couldn’t do what we’re doing without alumni from Catholic Studies.” Archbishop Bernard Hebda


September 23, 2023, was a rainy fall night, but that did not dampen the spirits of more than 530 members of the Catholic Studies community that gathered to celebrate 30 years of exploring the impact of the Incarnation on human thought and culture. The evening began with a beautiful Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Hebda and more than 20 members of the clergy. A dinner and program followed to mark three decades of this first-of-its-kind program at the University of St. Thomas. One of its earliest visionaries, Bishop Arthur Kennedy , was honored with a Priest-Scholar Award; Dr. Liz Lev , art historian and Catholic Studies faculty in Rome, shared the beauty of our Catholic identity in art in Rome; Alessandro Marchetti ‘12 served as the MC and reminded us why it is important to give to Catholic Studies; and President Rob Vischer underscored the importance of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas for the past 30 years. It was an extraordinary time to give thanks and to support and sustain this transformative program for those who follow.

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In Recognition

Catholic Studies in Rome

Bishop Kennedy Honored as Priest, Scholar, Friend

The Rome Factor


The following is an excerpt from Liz Lev’s address at the Catholic Studies 30th Anniversary event. N owhere else is the wonder of Catholicism better expressed than in the Basilica of St. Peter’s. Over the course of the Rome Program, students get to know the building from the ground up. They attend Mass, several fortunate seminarians get to serve the Pope, and they climb the dome as it becomes their domus or home away from home. They visit the scavi , the excavations below that reveal the tomb of Peter, a pauper’s grave of a body thrown into a hole in the ground after being crucified upside down for a crime he didn’t commit. The Romans thought they had thrown away the trash, but they inadvertently planted a seed. A seed that grew into the extraordinary beauty of the basilica above. The students pile through the doorway with thousands of others in the common experience of wonder. Everyone stops: the atheist, the believer, the bored and the excited, affected by the sight. The light penetrates the building, and it penetrates the soul, even though many will try to deflect its power. The Church seems so splendid, it is hard to imagine all the struggle and suffering that went into its building. Michelangelo’s astonishing dome, his own personal testimony of his faith, focused on the high altar above the grave of St. Peter. Though based on the ancient Pantheon of the pagan era, the Florentine sculptor/ painter/architect pierced the drum with sixteen massive windows giving the impression that the 137.5-foot span of brick and masonry floats above the papal altar.

Dr. Liz Lev

A s an early visionary of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas, Bishop Arthur Kennedy was honored at the 30th anniversary celebration with the Catholic Studies Priest-Scholar Award. He was also recognized as a lifelong friend of this first-of-its kind program. Dr. John Boyle, department chair, had the distinct privilege of introducing the man who helped set Catholic Studies on its path in 1993. In speaking of the earliest days of the interdisciplinary program, Boyle noted that Kennedy deeply understood there are fundamental dynamisms of reality at work and reflected in the intellectual life. “There is a unity that should characterize intellectual life and university life that points to a transcendental horizon that connects all knowledge and faith. And no one, in those early days, articulated these dynamisms as clearly and as deeply as Arthur did.” But it wasn’t just about the articulation. It was about modeling it. Kennedy was a man recognized among his colleagues as a priest and scholar. He united a spiritual vitality with an intellectual quest that permeated the whole of life. On accepting the award, Kennedy recalled his arrival in the Theology Department and his early collaborations that were foundational in the development of Catholic Studies. Together with Dr. Don Briel, they imagined the creation of the great universities of Europe that began with faith. “You begin with a sense of what it means to love God and to be loved by God. You begin with a sense of support. You begin with a sense of Divine Wisdom. And now we began to see a new way. This is what Catholic Studies became.”

Bernini had large shoes to fill as he accepted the commission a century later to decorate the altar of the chair. Bernini pushed the boundaries of art even further as he devised a way to unite painting, sculpture and architecture into an image that would illustrate the authority of the Magisterium and the mystery of the Holy Spirit. Essentially, Bernini invented the IMAX theatre, counting on the majesty of the liturgy, the enchantment of the music, and the drama of the art to transport the beholder into a sensory experience of the Divine. Michelangelo’s dome was part of a plan to create the “head and shoulders” of the Church appearing on the Roman skyline after many years of adversity during the Reformation, a rebirth of the faith as it were. Bernini followed suit by creating the colonnade, the arms of the Church open to welcome all. However, as the students leave St. Peter’s for the last time, those arms open to release them into the world to share this Renaissance with others. Ite, missa est .

Bishop Arthur Kennedy

In addition to his faculty tenure on the St. Paul campus, Kennedy identified the property in Rome that would eventually become the Bernardi campus, home to the Catholic Studies semester in the Eternal City. And he connected Catholic Studies to Dr. Liz Lev, a world- renowned art historian who has guided hundreds of Catholic Studies students through the churches and museums of Rome and opened their eyes to the reality of the faith in art. Kennedy served as Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston from 2010 until his retirement in 2017. The Bishop Arthur Kennedy Endowed Scholarship Fund provides essential funding for undergraduate students pursuing a major or minor in Catholic Studies.

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30 Years of Impact


Q: What do you tell people who don't know anything about Catholic Studies? A: If people could understand the impact Catholic Studies is having—the caliber of professors, the caliber of students, the joy that the students are living, how they're building their faith and how they're being formed—what's not to love? I am honored to be a part of it.

Q: Where will Catholic Studies be in 30 years? A: My favorite business model is to think big, start small, and ramp up quickly. Catholic Studies had a great big vision that started small, classroom by classroom, student by student. As we grow that over time, I think it's a great opportunity that can be perpetuated down the road. And I think as the more tension and the darker points of society get flushed up, I think it's even more important that Catholic Studies brings light to the world.

E ight people, representing a broad spectrum of Catholic Studies alumni and friends, were interviewed for the 30th anniversary video. They are corporate and nonprofit leaders; they are lawyers, clergy and religious; they are parents and educators. While they each have a different Catholic Studies story to tell, they share something profound: they have been impacted by the interdisciplinary exploration of the Incarnation. As a result, they are making an impact on the world. Portions of their interviews are edited here for Lumen . The full video can be viewed by scanning the QR code.

Katie Danielson ‘08 double majored in Catholic Studies and International Studies. She worked as a teacher and then administrator at Ave Maria Academy in Maple Grove, Minnesota, until she stepped away to raise seven children with her husband, Mike.

Emery Koenig has served as chair of the Catholic Studies Advisory Board since 2018. He is a retired Vice Chairman and Chief Risk Officer of Cargill, was elected to Cargill’s Board of Directors in 2010, and was a member of the Cargill corporate leadership team. He and his wife, Karen, enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren in Minnesota, Florida, and Colorado.

Q: What are some of the qualities of Catholic Studies that helped you? A: There are three things about Catholic Studies that stick with me. First, the sense that every part of who we are as human beings and every part of what we can pass on to the next generation is integrated. Second, there is a unity of knowledge in everything that we learn, both about the world around us and about ourselves. And third, the importance of becoming authentic disciples of Christ. Q: How did your Catholic Studies semester in Rome impact you? A: I didn’t know at that moment what was happening, but I look back and realize how these little movements were happening inside of me that

later allowed me to be open to running a Catholic school, to having a large family, to truly live as God intends me to live: with compassion, with drive, and yet with acceptance as well. Q: Do you think the Catholic Studies program enhanced your desire to be a teacher? A: Yes. Catholic Studies really prepared me intellectually and spiritually to be a good teacher. Without the program, I would not have received the formation necessary to understand the human person, to understand the children that I was charged with teaching and forming. Q: What makes Catholic Studies unique? A: I think Catholic Studies is special because it is pursuing the truth. It believes in the ability to pass on the truth to the next generation.

Q: When was your first encounter with Catholic Studies? A: My first encounter was when Dr. Michael Naughton asked me to give a talk on subsidiarity and how that is played out in the business world. First, I had to go home and find out what subsidiarity was. And as I got into that, I recognized there were a lot of things that were applicable to how I was operating in a global environment.

Q: What came next for you and Catholic Studies? A: Dr. Naughton invited me to join the Advisory Board, and the first thing we did was plan a trip to Rome. Even though my wife and I had lived in Europe and had been to Rome many times, a Catholic Studies pilgrimage to Rome was a very different experience. I got to know Dr. Naughton and Dr. John Boyle, and I got exposure to the students. Their faith and the joy that they were expressing was profound. The hand of God was at work, and I really was attracted to that.

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30 Years of Impact

30 Years of Impact

Melina Arguello-Sotro ‘18, MA ’20 double majored in Catholic Studies and Philosophy and was a Latino Scholar. She has served as the Latino Scholars Program Coordinator since 2020. Melina and her husband, Nestor, live in St. Paul with their daughter.

Father Colin Jones ‘14 triple majored in Philosophy, Catholic Studies, and Classical Languages. He was ordained in 2018 and is a Formation Advisor at Saint John Vianney College Seminary (SJV).

Q: What was your first impression of Catholic Studies?

lives who are going to inspire them with radical love. I get to see that with the seminarians as they go through Catholic Studies and as they meet wonderful people. I know that I wouldn’t be the priest I am today if it weren’t for Catholic Studies. Q: What is going on in Catholic Studies that is different from other places? A: Going through the doors of Sitzmann Hall, one really starts to be alive. We talk about how God calls us to life, He calls us to beatitude, He calls us to lay hold of this amazing imperishable inheritance that we have in virtue of our faith. I think everyone who comes to Catholic Studies, for any amount of time, gets to receive that. You can’t not be changed and not be inspired by what you receive.

Q: How did you find out about Catholic Studies? A: When I was a senior in high school, a group of Latino Scholars were leading a video series at my parish. I was really impressed by them. They were articulate, normal, joyful students. They encouraged me to apply to the program, and I received a scholarship which allowed me to be able to afford university. Q: Why was the Latino Scholars Program so important to you in college? A: Latino Scholars introduced me to the Catholic Studies culture. It instilled in me a worldview. It was so hopeful and nourishing. It was helping me develop a sense of what is true, good, and beautiful. It was a genuinely happy experience of college.

Q: What did you enjoy most about being a Latino Scholar?

A: I took my first Catholic Studies class junior year. I experienced a community unlike any I had before. The people that I got to know in Catholic Studies are still some of my best friends. I encountered the truth alongside them. Q: What is a lasting memory from Catholic Studies? A: One class that really changed my perspective was the Newman class with Dr. Don Briel. Being guided through the works of then Blessed John Henry Newman by this amazing Newman scholar opened me up to a love for the Church that I had never experienced before. Q: Is Catholic Studies still important for college seminarians today? A: I want the men at SJV to know that they need friendships with the laity. They need people in their

A: A highlight was our monthly formation nights gathered around a table eating a good meal and discussing a topic. Our coordinator led us in conversation about an article or a book that we were asked to read. To have that space to have a good conversation about difficult topics was a real highlight. Q: How do you describe Catholic Studies to Latino students in the program today? A: The Catholic Studies project is creating a culture of students who are engaging in an interdisciplinary form of education which instills in them a certain

worldview. It helps them to adopt the mind of Christ and to take that with them into the professional world.

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30 Years of Impact

30 Years of Impact

Sister Annunciata (Rebecca Messall) CSMA ‘24 and Sister Ancilla Joy (Annie LoCoco) ‘19 are Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, an order of religious women who live in imitation of Mary in serving as spiritual mothers in the diocesan Church.

Rick Halbur spent a semester in Rome in 2008 with Catholic Studies. He practices agricultural and lending law in Minnesota and Iowa as a partner with Gislason & Hunter. He and his wife, Anne, and their three children live in New Ulm, Minnesota.

Sam Vosters ‘10 double majored in Catholic Studies and Psychology. She is the Mission Intern and Formation Manager at Kinship Community Food Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Q: (Sr. Annunciata) How has Catholic Studies impacted your religious community? A: Catholic Studies has been hugely impactful for our community, especially for Mother Mary Claire and for some of the first sisters who went through the program. They would often express how life- changing it was for them. It helped them to see the world with new eyes and to come to experience how Jesus Christ is in all things. Q: (Sr. Annunciata) How does Catholic Studies impact you as an educator? A: I think the remarkable gift of Catholic Studies is that it allows the students, especially in the master’s program, to experience what Catholic education should be when it is done well and how life-changing that is. It helps to form you, not just academically and intellectually, but the whole person on the human and intellectual and spiritual level to help you realize the fullness of who you are created to be. That changes everything. Q: (Sr. Annunciata) How does Catholic Studies impact you as a religious sister? A: Catholic Studies has had a profound impact on me as a religious sister. The whole point of my life is about belonging entirely to God. In Catholic Studies, it has been a powerful experience of coming to know, in deeper and more profound ways who God is and coming to experience the way that He wants to belong entirely to me. That has allowed me to fall even more in love with Him.

Q: (Sr. Anchilla Joy) How did Catholic Studies impact you in college? A: The first class you take as a Catholic Studies student is “Search for Happiness.” And I remember sitting in that class thinking, “I want happiness. That is a great emotion to feel.” And I remember the moment that I realized that the search for happiness was the beatitude with God, seeing Him face to face. I remember leaving that class and thinking my life has to change. Q: (Sr. Anchilla Joy) How did your semester in Rome impact you? A: I went to Rome only because I thought it would look good on my med school applications. But there were so many beautiful aspects about the program. The most pivotal part was the silence that it gave me. The silence was where I found God even though I didn’t really know what was happening at the time. Q: (Sr. Anchilla Joy) How does Catholic Studies impact you today? A: Catholic Studies sees the whole person. They see that ordinary life can be so extraordinary when you allow God to be in it. My life as a Handmaid is very ordinary, but I live the greatest life that I could possibly live because it is imbued with God.

Q: We often say, “Catholic Studies helps you do your other major better.” Was this true for you? A: In one of my classes, I got to be in the psych ward at Regions Hospital every week. Catholic Studies really formed me to seek God in all things and to be present with the patients. Q: How did the Catholic Studies experience in Rome impact you? A: Rome was a big reason why I chose St. Thomas and the Catholic Studies program. The most impactful experience in Rome was the weekly community nights. We were rooted in the Mass and prayer, and it was beautiful. I also helped coordinate volunteers going to the Missionaries of Charity every week. The humility of being alongside the sisters and with the poor was formative. Q: How does Kinship’s mission align with Catholic Studies? A: I think it is this whole idea of building a culture for people to experience the Lord. With Catholic Studies, we did not just have this academic program; we had households and things like that. Newman might say a person does not need to be just educated; they need to be formed. People come to us for food, but they stay because there is community.

Q: Who influenced you in Catholic Studies? A: Dr. John Boyle, Dr. Gregory Coulter, Dr. Don Briel, and Dr. Tom Sullivan played pivotal roles during my time at St. Thomas. Q: How has Catholic Studies impacted your life? A: Catholic Studies affected the way I worship and pray. When my wife and I got married in 2015, the two priests who presided at our Nuptial Mass were Catholic Studies grads. We now have three children and the first two were baptized by priests with Catholic Studies degrees. So, it has directly affected my sacramental life in that respect, particularly with an interest in proper and fitting liturgical celebrations. Q: Why do you support Catholic Studies? A: I really like that other kids and future generations of Catholics get to have the same educational opportunities that I did.

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Did you know?

Catholic Studies News

Father Bryce Evans concluded his tenure at Catholic Studies to pursue a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the University of St. Mary-by-the-Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. From 2019 to 2023, Evans served as part-time Chaplain and Coordinator of the Habiger Institute for Leadership. Beginning in 2019, he became an adjunct instructor of Theology and Catholic Studies. In 2021, Evans, along with Father Byron Hagan ‘11, partnered with Logos to record the first three seasons of the Deep Down Things Podcast. “Father Evans’ work at Catholic Studies was a tremendous gift,” said Dr. Michael Naughton. “As a priest-scholar, he brought not only the intellectual insights of the Church to frame an understanding of leadership, but he also elevated the importance and appreciation of beauty by integrating his love of music and poetry into what he shared with students.”

What We Hold In Trust: Rediscovering the Purpose of Catholic Higher Education (Catholic University of America Press, 2021), by Drs. Don Briel, Kenneth Goodpaster and Michael Naughton , has been translated into Spanish, Lo Que se nos ha Confiado: Redescubriendo el propósito la educatión superior catolica (Universidad Católica San Pablo, 2023).

In October, Dr. Erika Kidd presented “Love in Augustine’s Confessions ” for Villanova University’s ACS Augustine & Culture Lecture. The annual lecture is delivered by a renowned Augustine scholar-teacher and is intended especially for first year students and new readers of Augustine’s Confessions .

In addition to his doctoral work, Evans serves as Co-Pastor of St. Mary’s in St. Paul’s Lowertown.


Pictured left to right: Sr. Fidelity Grace (Paula Thelen ’12), Sr. Ann Immaculée (Caroline Stiles ’15), and Sr. Zelie Maria Louis (Lizzy Schmitt ’14) took their perpetual vows as Sisters of Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on August 15. They join Sr. Magnificat Rose (Jillian Wayland ‘13) who is also part of this growing religious order based in Manhattan. The Sisters of Life are dedicated to supporting pregnant women in whatever way might be needed, including giving them a place to live. The sisters host retreats for the post-abortive and serve as coordinators for the Respect Life Office of the New York Archdiocese.

Rev. Frater Gerard (Paul Juhasz ‘15) was ordained a deacon at St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey in Orange County, California, in June.

Leandra Hubka ’10 is the assistant to Bishop Robert Barron of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.

Photo credit: The Thelen Family.

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Catholic Studies News

Catholic Studies News

The new face of Catholic Studies for students and guests is Madelyn Borchardt ‘19 . Madelyn graduated from St. Thomas with a Social Work major and Catholic Studies minor and completed the Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership at the School of Divinity in 2023. Before joining Catholic Studies, she was a client advocate for Abria Pregnancy Resources. In addition to supporting the department, Madelyn supervises student employees and supports undergraduate recruitment.

Since 2015, Dr. Raymond MacKenzie , professor of English and Catholic Studies and editor of Logos, has completed numerous translations of classic French literature— including Balzac, Stendhal, and Barbey— for the University of Minnesota Press. His newest is Gustave Flaubert’s Sentimental Education (2024). In

V. PRAYER TO BE SIMPLE From Fourteen Prayers by Francis Jammes, translated by Raymond MacKenzie O bedient butterflies go with the wind, Like those petals that blow toward you, Strewn by dear little children processing. Well, my God, it’s morning and already Prayers are rising toward you, along with The blossoming butterflies, the rooster’s Cries, and the thuds of the stone breakers. Here, beneath the glittering sycamore leaves, Now, in this July heat cracking the soil, You can hear—not see—the creaking cicada’s Diligent hymn to your Omnipotence. The troubled blackbird, in the glistening Foliage, keeps trying to sing but doesn’t dare. He sets himself and then shoots off at once, Low to the ground, Somewhere away from here. My God, do it gently today, like yesterday, Like so many days: let life start all over again. Like these butterflies, these laborers, Like these cicadas feeding on the sun, And these blackbirds hidden deep up in the Black leaves: let me continue, O my God, To live in the simplest way I can.

Faculty, staff, students, and alumni said goodbye in September to a pillar of the Catholic Studies community when Ann Serdar began her well- earned retirement. Since 2011, Serdar supported the work of Catholic Studies in her role as Department Coordinator and nurtured the heart of Catholic Studies as “house mother.” Her professional skills ensured that day-to-day operations in Sitzmann Hall ran smoothly. And her thoughtful instincts ensured that the Department Chair and every faculty, staff, and student were supported in their work. “For 12 years Ann was a welcoming smile and a listening ear for hundreds of our students,” Dr. Robert Kennedy said. “She celebrated their successes and eased their anxieties. At the same time, she looked after her absent-minded faculty colleagues and ensured that the work of the department went smoothly. She occupied a special place in the hearts of everyone in Catholics Studies.”

addition, Mackenzie was the first to translate French poet and novelist Francis Jammes's poems cycle Fourteen Prayers in the Spring and Summer 2023 volumes of Logos (see “V. Prayer to be Simple" in sidebar to the right).

“Madelyn brings with her a heart for service and excellent organizational skills,” said Dr. John Boyle. “She is a great addition to Catholic Studies.” Madelyn and her husband, Steve, live in Northeast Minneapolis and are members of Our Lady of Grace.

Rachel Sherry ’21, ’23 CSMA is a FOCUS missionary serving at Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Dr. Ron Snyder ’13 CSMA, a retired orthodontist and president of the St. John Henry Newman Association of America, is the producer and host of the “Newman on Tap” podcast. Snyder’s discussions with academics, clergy, and followers of the life and work and spirituality of Newman can be found on Apple Podcasts.

Luke Utrie '19 is a Credit Analyst with Premier Bank in Osseo, Minnesota. He and his wife, Lynn ‘17 , live in Maple Grove and are members of St. Thomas the Apostle.

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Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight

Fr. Austin Litke '04, OP


HABIGER INSTITUTE LEADERSHIP INTERNS T he interns program has taken several forms since it was founded and Fr. Litke, with the partnership of Program Manager Nancy Sannerud, is retooling the program to offer student interns chances to grow in both leadership experience and receive spiritual formation as budding leaders. The new emphasis begins with practical questions about those two areas. Fr. Litke asks, “What could a group of Catholic Studies students contribute to the Center but also to the campus and the local area?” Likewise, about formation: “What is it that students are not getting in their classes or formation otherwise? What does it mean to be a Catholic in the workforce? And that’s tied to all kinds of questions, like discernment: ‘How do I become more and more sensitive to the will of God and the work of the Holy Spirit here and now?’” The group meets once a week for Morning Prayer, a meal, and planning for their events and initiatives. They begin with observing what is needed in an attitude of service. Fr. Litke says that they ask: “‘What’s missing? What’s needed?’ Which, I think, in and of itself, is its own leadership principle.” Fr. Litke and Ms. Sannerud are planning to take the interns to New York City over spring break to meet with leaders in business, law, the arts and Catholic ministries.

Two Catholic Studies initiatives grow in new directions with faculty member Fr. Austin Litke '04, OP W hen Fr. Austin Litke arrived as a visiting instructor in 2022, he was in many ways coming home. Fr. Litke is a 2004 graduate of Catholic Studies and Saint John Vianney College Seminary, and his connections with students and faculty grew in 2015-2020 when he served as a Chaplain for the Catholic Studies in Rome program while also pursuing a doctorate at the Augustinianum. Fr. Litke successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in Rome in October. As a full-time Assistant Professor, Fr. Litke is giving fresh direction to two Center initiatives alongside teaching in Catholic Studies: the Habiger Institute Leadership Interns program and the Deep Down Things podcast.


The Deep Down Things podcast is getting a reboot, thanks to Fr. Litke. The hosts of the first three seasons—

David Deavel and Liz Kelly—have moved on to other opportunities and Center leadership asked Fr. Litke to broaden its original scope as a podcast of the academic journal Logos to cover all things Catholic Studies. Fr. Litke is joined by co-host Dr. Bill Stevenson, associate dean of the Saint Paul Seminary, for 20–30-minute discussions around topics of faith and culture, like students might experience in a Catholic Studies classroom. Fr. Litke wants a two-way conversation: both “a sustained reflection on Catholic culture” and “a Catholic reflection on broader human culture.” These podcasts will appeal to friends and alumni of Catholic Studies and help share how it enlivens the broader community.

Season 4 of Deep Down Things will be available on all major podcasting platforms in 2024.

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Logos Journal

For Those Who Follow

The Future of Catholic Studies is Bright

How to Put the “catholic” in Catholic Studies



Alessandro Marchetti ‘12 , who served as MC of the celebration on Sept. 23, reminded us why it is important to give to Catholic Studies: “The academic formation of our students in their pursuit of truth across disciplines is what drives this program. From there, human formation, Catholic community, and dynamic change flows.” One hundred percent of your gift directly impacts the next generation of Catholic Studies students by providing essential scholarship funding and making this transformative formation possible. Thank you for supporting the transformative exploration of the impact of the Incarnation on human thought and culture.

In 2022, our Advisory Board approved a strategic plan that includes ambitious but thoughtful goals: to increase enrollment and to expand our development efforts to secure our place as the premier Catholic Studies program in the country and transform future Catholic leaders through our undergraduate, Latino, and graduate programs . A major first step toward reaching these goals was to celebrate our 30th anniversary. And celebrate we did! We hope you enjoyed this issue of Lumen filled with the joy and gratitude that surrounded our first-ever Alumni Event and our anniversary Mass, dinner and program in September. Thanks to many of you, you helped us raise $1.28M to mark our 30-year milestone, surpassing our event goal by $300K! And thanks to many of you, we are on our way to raising $5M over the next five years. We invite you to come along with us as we strive to reach this goal: + By making a first-time gift + By increasing your annual gift + By making a monthly recurring gift + By including Catholic Studies in your estate plans

I n Catholic Studies, we are interested in everything. So my colleague, John Boyle, likes to say. This remark surprised me when I first heard it during my campus job interview nearly 10 years ago. I was not entirely sure what Catholic Studies was. American Studies is about American stuff. Gender Studies is about gender stuff. Wasn’t Catholic Studies supposed to be about Catholic stuff? I liked Catholic stuff. Did I really need “everything”? As I began to get to know the department, I was not surprised to find my students liked Catholic stuff too. Many come wanting to read encyclicals, Newman, and Teresa of Avila, and spend downtime praying the rosary and going to adoration. They are not disappointed. St. Thomas Catholic Studies is a haven of wonderful Catholic stuff, both in and out of the classroom. Yet our course syllabi quickly confront our students with the fact that in Catholic Studies, we are interested in everything.

We simply cannot understand “the Catholic tradition” without developing a sense of its broad engagement with human thought and culture. Catholic tradition is embedded within the broader sweep of human thought and culture: it transforms culture, resists culture, or restores a culture. However we describe the forms of engagement, we cannot understand our Catholic tradition without a thoroughgoing piety for the roots of that tradition and for the channels through which it comes to us. Reading Augustine’s Confessions is great. Reading that text after having read the Aeneid (plus some Plotinus, Cicero, Seneca, Anselm, Dante, Aquinas, and Jean-Luc Marion) is a wonder—I think it is no exaggeration to say it is a different book. What we bring to the text shapes what we find there. In Catholic Studies, we are interested in everything because our engagement with everything is what makes truth sing.



This excerpt from Dr. Erika Kidd is from a collection of essays about the field of Catholic Studies published as a digital supplement to our journal Logos : A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture. Some of the 14 essays are based on papers presented at the Catholic Studies Consortium conference, others were

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submitted in answer to a call for papers, and all give a snapshot of the variety of Catholic Studies at different universities across the country. You can read them all—including Dr. Kidd’s full essay—on Project Muse, EBSCO, or use this QR code to access them through Philosophy Documentation Center.

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Lumen Winter 2024 Page 23

Center for Catholic Studies 55-S 2115 Summit Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105-1096 USA

While the exploration of the Incarnation has been a serious pursuit for the past 30 years, the first-ever Catholic Studies Alumni Event was a lot of fun (seriously!). You can see it on the faces of the esteemed panelists (pictured left to right): Dr. John Boyle, Dr. Billy Junker, Fr. Austin Litke ‘04, OP, Anne Morath Spinharney ‘16, and Jonathan Liedl ‘16 CSMA, who served as moderator. Plans are underway for an alumni event in 2024. You won’t want to miss it!

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