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conversatio Volume 13, Number 3 | 2013


Cover: Students new to the School of Theology路Seminary this fall. Karen Kiefer, Laura Shrode, Br. Jose Velazquez , OSC

Contents 3 Beginning the Journey: Five Questions for Travelers 7

Ecumenism as a Conciliar Mandate

8 Ecumenism as a Way of Life: The Collegeville Institute 12 Loaves, Fishes, Needs, and Abundance William Cahoy, Ph.D. 13

First Person, Teacher


From the Rector

15 “This Little Rule for Beginners� Abbot John Klassen, OSB 16

Faculty Updates

17 Milestones 18

From the Director of Development


To Whom Do They Belong



Five Questions for Travelers

Each year new people join the community of learning that we form in the School of Theology·Seminary. We asked three new members to tell us how they found their way to Collegeville and what they hope to gain during their stay.

Laura Shrode

What has been the most interesting discovery you’ve made here?

Who are you? My name is Laura Shrode. I am from Plymouth, Minnesota, and graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2012 with degrees in biology and psychology.

While I have been very involved with my faith in high school and college, I always had so many unanswered questions. I love being able to get my questions answered. However, now my classes are stimulating even more questions! In particular, I am intrigued by how much I am learning about the Mass – not always directly, but I have noticed how certain things we talk about apply to Mass. It definitely gives me a new lens in which to see, experience and appreciate Mass. I love it!

What were you doing before you started your degree program? After college graduation, I spent a year serving with the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers in Denver and lived in community with 17 others. I worked at Denver Urban Ministries, which is primarily a food bank with several other basic human services. I was able to lead educational activities that help raise awareness of poverty, hunger and homelessness. It was a great year of growth!

What are your plans after graduation?

What interested you about attending Saint John’s?

Ideally, I will become a hospital chaplain and do some form of grief ministry. I would love to work specifically with children and young adults grieving the loss of a loved one. I am also interested in pursuing campus ministry on a college campus, prison ministry, spiritual direction, or non-profit work. I know that there are many areas of the church and world that need healing. The brokenness of our world breaks God’s heart. I want to use my theological education to help mend God’s heart by healing His people.

Four years as a Bennie made me fall in love with these two campuses, the community and the Benedictine values in general. However, I never thought I would come back to attend the School of Theology! Last year I discovered how much I loved hospital visiting, chatting and listening with others and, most of all, just being present to people. As I started learning more about working towards a Master of Divinity to become a chaplain, I heard of a wonderful scholarship here that I was eligible for because of my volunteer year. I applied and the rest is history! 44

Karen Kiefer

Who are you? I am born and raised Catholic, from Ohio, and have lived in the Mid-Atlantic region and Arizona as well. Business and pleasure have taken me to interesting places throughout the world. I have a diverse professional background in information technology, project management, corporate America, consulting, team building, facilitation, strategic planning and most recently, family and youth ministry. I have also developed a love for the performing arts and improv and look for ways to incorporate those into ministry and other work. I have a missionary AND entrepreneurial heart and my bliss would be in combining these two to develop dynamic programs and experiences. I have spent most of the past 11 years in volunteer ministry with several organizations: The Missionaries of Charity in Gallup, New Mexico; a founder of a faith-based theater production company – Potter’s Hand Productions; and The Gillen Family Foundation which provides housing for Navajo families with dependent children. Two years ago, I went on retreat to a Benedictine monastery in Pecos, New Mexico and was drawn to the Benedictine life of prayer. I returned every 3 to 4 months afterward.

booth for Saint John’s University. I spoke with Patty Weishaar having no prior intention to attend graduate school in theology. But I was drawn to the fact that it was Benedictine. Patty gave my information to Mary Beth Banken who has periodically stayed in touch with me ever since. Mary Beth invited me to stop in this summer when I was traveling to visit family in the Midwest. I had no intention of coming here but was so taken with the place upon my arrival. Two things solidified my enrollment: 1) Mary Beth helped me manage obstacles (mostly financial), and 2) in a conversation with Dean Cahoy during my visit, he mentioned creative ways to work on projects of interest here. I will never forget the statement of his that hooked me: “We’re pretty entrepreneurial here.” Suddenly I knew that Saint John’s might be the place to coordinate my efforts, fill gaps in my education, and be a launching pad for new endeavors.

What has been the most interesting discovery you’ve made here?

What were you doing before you started your degree program?

I’m not as smart as I thought I was! In translation: There are always new opportunities to learn, even things I have been surrounded by my whole life. I love how deep and rich our faith is.

I was working at my parish, coordinating youth and family ministry, including spending a lot of time with youth and families on the Navajo Reservation; doing teen retreats and bible camps there; directing large productions for Potter’s Hand Productions; and performing in an improv troupe in Arizona. I was also doing consulting work to make ends meet - this included technical writing contracts, professional development facilitation and team building contracts, and a web marketing contract for a local business.

What are your plans after graduation? To develop and launch dynamic programs that incorporate my diverse interests and skills... with a Catholic identity. Experiential workshops, theater, Christian improv, retreats, parish consulting and pilgrimages have all been part of my vision. I am endeavoring to narrow my focus while here so I can target one or two projects in this way.

What interested you about attending Saint John’s? I attend the L.A. Religious Education Congress every year, and the year after I had visited the Pecos Benedictine monastery I noticed the

Journey continued on page 6


Br. JoseVelazquez, OSC Who are you? I am from Chalco Estado de Mexico, part of the metropolitan area of Mexico City. I am from a small Catholic family with a deep faith in Jesus and special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. My father, Filiberto Velazquez, worked as a union representative for a gas company until he lost his job five years ago; now he is a hobby farmer. My mother, Luisa Florencio, is a housewife. I have one sister, Edith del Toro, who is married with two sons. My call to religious life happened in three stages. I felt the call of God to the priesthood since I was a teenager. I was a member of the faith formation program in my parish and also an acolyte. But when I really understood the call was during my practice as a nurse in a leprosarium. There I saw the face of Jesus. And when I was studying philosophy in Guadalajara, I could see more clearly that my vocation was to the religious life. I chose the Crosier Order because they have a big commitment to community living. I experienced this from my first visit to a Crosier Community in Phoenix.

John’s for our academic formation for the priesthood. I am happy for that decision because I have the opportunity to learn more deeply about my faith in a place where the professors have the passion for teaching and the openness to the thoughts and ideas of others.

What has been the most interesting discovery you’ve made here? So far I have discovered in the class on the Johannine tradition with Fr. Michael Patella how the Johannine community has had a big influence in shaping the Christology that we as Catholics believe. And to have the opportunity to know many of the original resources of the scriptures, such as papyrus and others materials in the HMML, has been a marvelous experience.

What were you doing before you started your degree program? Before I came to Saint John’s, I was living in Onamia, Minnesota, where the Crosiers have their formation house. I served at the Koinonia retreats in Belle Prairie for Hispanic people. I had the opportunity to serve and proclaim the kingdom of God in places that I never imagined, to meet new people and friends, to live in this beautiful environment, and to learn new ways of Christian life.

What are your plans after graduation? My hope is to continue living my religious life as a Canons Regular, praying the divine office and living in community. I am looking forward to serving the needs that my Order may have in the future and to serve the Hispanic community in Central Minnesota and Phoenix, Arizona. I trust that I will receive the tools for these ministries while I study here.

What interested you about attending Saint John’s? When I visited Saint John’s, I realized the quality of its programs and the diversity of the students. My Order has chosen to send us to Saint

BY THE NUMBERS $14,400 Fulltime tuition

$ 617,444 Total dollars in the SOT·Sem budget dedicated to student aid

$800 Per credit cost

$62,000 Student aid money from external sources

$5,600 Room/Board

19 Percentage of student aid in the overall SOT·Sem Budget

$1,150 Fees and books $1,466 Health insurance

24 Number of students who received federal loans for 2013-14

$11,520 Average financial aid contribution per student from the SOT·Sem

$ 219,225 Total amount of student educational loans for 2013-14

100% Fulltime students receiving some sort of SOT·Sem aid

$9,134 Average amount of SOT·Sem student educational loan


Ecumenism as a Conciliar Mandate Conference Series

In December, the School of Theology·Seminary launched a new series, Vatican II and Ecumenism, to honor and explore the Council’s extraordinary contributions to the ecumenical movement. The series continues through fall of 2015. One of its organizers, church history Dr. Shawn Colberg said, “No other event in the past four centuries has done more to shape the lives of Christians worldwide than Vatican II.” Vatican Council II and Ecumenism commemorates the 50th anniversary of the council’s historical agenda and documents by highlighting the ecumenical character of the four key documents of the Council: Sacrosanctum Concilium (liturgy), Lumen Gentium (the Church), Unitatis Redintegratio (ecumenicsm), Dei Verbum (Sacred Scripture), and Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World).

Conference events explore the ways in which ecumenism cuts across all of the conciliar documents and remains a significant mandate in the life of the church.

Each event in this new series will begin in late afternoon with a “Bar Jonah” where School of Theology·Seminary faculty members will introduce general themes from Vatican Council II and specific ideas from the constitution under consideration. (During the actual council, two coffee bars were constructed in St. Peter’s Basilica to offer refreshment for the council fathers and dubbed Bar Jonah and Bar Abbas.) Participants join the monastic community for Evening Prayer in the Abbey Church and Left to right: John Eidenschink, OSB, Abbot Baldwin Dworschak, OSB, Dr. James afterwards enjoy hospitality with Kritzeck, Bishop Leo Dworschak, and Godfrey Diekmann, OSB, in front of St. Peter’s the Saint John’s community over Basilica, Vatican City. a social and dinner. The event culminates with a presentation by a scholar who is an expert on the For the past century, Saint John’s Abbey and University have constitution that focuses the event. The lecture will be live-streamed, maintained a significant theological voice in the American and worldoffered for viewing on the School of Theology·Seminary website and wide church, embracing the work of the council through liturgical published through the Liturgical reform, theological and pastoral Press. renewal, and the work of ecumenical dialogue with other Massimo Faggioli, “While this is indeed a celebration Christian churches and movements. an assistant professor of theology of the Council’s historic The establishment of the Instiachievements,” Dr. Colberg said, “it at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, tute For Ecumenical and Culis also a renewal of our commitment opened the first in a five part series on Vatican II tural Research (now the Collegeville to advance what those achievements Institute) over forty years ago bears and ecumenism on December 4. intended. This is particularly true witness to Saint John’s enduring He spoke on Sacrosanctum Concilium, regarding ecumenism.” Working commitment to this important the constitution on the sacred liturgy with Dr. Colberg in planning the dimension of church life. series are Dr. Kristin Colberg and and its contribution not only to the reform of the liturgy Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB. but how it changed the image of the Catholic Church

in terms of its openness to other Christian traditions. Hear the entire presentation at 7

(For further information, go to our website

Ecumenism as a Way of Life:

The Collegeville Institute

The School of Theology·Seminary is blest by the rich resources that make the entire campus a place for learning. Among these resources is the Collegeville Institute that lies along the shore of Lake Watab and has become an international gathering place for those interested in the pressing issues of religion, culture, and the well-being of humanity. Its resident scholars share their wisdom with SOT·Sem students formally in their public lectures and informally as they join students for Thursday Convivium. Founded in the mid-1960s as the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, the Center is a quiet witness to the transformative power when individuals meet individuals in a setting marked by cooperation, deep listening, and mutual building up for the common good. This article captures some of the dynamic character of the Institute, renamed the Collegeville Institute in 2005. More detailed information can be found at If asked, many of us would say that ecumenism involves finding a path to unity in Christianity and harmony among religious traditions. That is the classical understanding of the Ecumenical Movement often characterized as meetings of theological scholars and church leaders to argue the fine points of doctrine in an effort to achieve mutual understanding and, sometimes, common ground. It is not an incorrect response, but it is incomplete. So too is the notion that ecumenism is found in local activities where people of different faiths and denominations come together from time to time for shared prayer, witnessing of marriages, addressing social issues, and responding to disasters. Again, it is not a wrong view of ecumenism. It is just too incomplete in itself.

understanding across differences. “Our location on the banks of Lake Watab accomplishes two things,” Ottenhoff says. “It takes advantage of this natural setting to accent the importance of quiet and beauty for doing one’s best thinking. At the same time, the Institute literally lives in the shadow of the Abbey, the University – and by extension, St. Benedict’s Monastery and the College of St. Benedict. We benefit by the wonderful resources each provides. But even more importantly, how we carry out our mission of engaging the religious and cultural issues of our day is shaped by a Benedictine rhythm of life.” The Institute forms “bridge builders,” people who enter into deep conversation with others around new and passionate religious, moral, and humanistic visions of life. The Institute’s reach is wide in terms of who participates in its programs. They include traditional scholars from universities and seminaries around the world who settle in for long-term residencies. At any one time, one will find at the Institute Orthodox laity, African American biblical scholars, Christians living in non-Christian cultures, emerging religious and civic leaders, artists, poets, pastors, and even women and men who have found hope and renewal outside the church. What binds them together in their diversity is how the Institute invites them into conversation.

While the Collegeville Institute has its roots in the Ecumenical Movement, its mission actually lies between these two images of ecumenism. “Ecumenism,” says executive director, Don Ottenhoff, “is changing globally. What were the predominant issues and dynamics of dialogue have changed. That said, the Institute has never been a place for the sort of official doctrinal dialogue among designated theological experts often associated with ecumenism. Instead, the Institute has consistently focused on creating a place where people meet face-to-face to share the experience of being formed in a particular religious tradition. That doesn’t mean that the conversation has been unscholarly or trivial. On the contrary. At the Institute, people come to the table with their life stories of how their traditions shape their views of the world and the interpretation of issues affecting the world, communities, and individual lives. Speaking of ecumenism in a recent interview, Pope Francis said that Christians ‘must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one.’ That’s the kind of ecumenism the Institute has practiced for over 40 years.”

“The first person method we developed defines the way we approach theological discourse,” Ottenhoff explains. “Institute participants convene as their own persons, not as representatives of a denomination or other body. They speak out of their traditions, not for them. They do that in settings where the goal is not to find the flaw in each other’s positions but to listen in order to help illuminate mutual understanding. Our goal is never to re-tell someone else’s story or to redirect their research. But we encourage each other to go more deeply into it, to learn from it, and to get unstuck if that happens to be the case.”

In the mid-1960s when he returned from doctoral studies, Fr. Kilian McDonnell, OSB began imagining an American center of scholarly research to nurture Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox theology. Helping him translate that vision into reality was the philanthropic couple, Patrick and Aimee Butler of St. Paul. They were instrumental in establishing the Institute as a permanent part of Saint’s John’s Abbey and University. It was indeed meant to be a permanent, physical place but a place unique in its approach to fostering

The first person method is more than a clever process. It is characteristic of the rhythm of life the Institute maintains. As Ottenhoff notes, “The search for understanding happens in an atmosphere where both the mind and heart are engaged.” For him, the staff, and the Board of Directors, the success of the Institute depends on the active cultivation 8

of community among resident scholars and other program participants. Community as a marker of the Institute’s culture values conviviality as a scholarly resource. It encourages the pursuit of leisure and quiet reflection as much as full involvement in spirited discussions. The love of ideas and the accomplishments of Institute participants do not obscure the fundamental power of relationship as the foundation of creative thinking.

the dynamics of contemporary life theologically for the lay reader. Other projects focus on vocation and faith in the professions, vocation across the lifespan, and integration in theological education and ministry. Dr. Kathleen Cahalan, professor of pastoral theology in the School of Theology·Seminary has provided major leadership for these three projects. What has the institute accomplished in its nearly forty years? Perhaps that can best be summarized in its own website statement about its impact on the world:

“This is a place that cultivates relationships that allow people to know one another at a deep level,” Ottenhoff says. “People learn about the impact of being raised in a religious tradition, or, increasingly, in multiple traditions. They gain new appreciation for differences of perspective because they know more than words. They know the person who is speaking and the deep conviction with which they speak. That level of knowing, quite frankly, is transformative.”

[Our work is] measured in terms of people and relationships. Through each of the Institute’s offerings, leaders of diverse Christian faiths and beyond come together to study, write, pray, eat, and learn with one another. In so doing, they form unlikely networks of friendships that have far-reaching consequences for the places and organizations to which they return after their time at the Institute.

In addition to the Resident Scholar Program, the Institute convenes people around particular themes. Currently, those include an ecclesial writing project aimed at encouraging pastors, ministers, and others who think on behalf of the church to write in ways that help interpret

Victor Klimoski


It is clearer now than it has ever been that the Church needs competent, theologically grounded lay minsters, ordained priests, deacons and religious community together. Saint John’s It isdedicated clearer now than itbuilding has everChristian been that the Church needs competent, School of Theology·Semiary has been doing so for decades inand educating grounded lay minsters, deacons Ittheologically is clearer now than it has ever beenordained that the priests, Church needs competent, strong credible witnesses to go intocommunity the world and our communities dedicated religious building Christian together. Saintand John’sas theologically grounded lay minsters, ordained priests, deacons chaplains, teachers, liturgy directors, missionaries, music directors and School of Theology·Semiary has beencommunity doing so fortogether. decadesSaint in educating dedicated religious building Christian John’s lay ecclesial ministers. strong credible witnesses tohas go into world our communities as School of Theology·Semiary beenthe doing soand for decades in educating chaplains, teachers, liturgytodirectors, missionaries, music directors and strong credible witnesses go into the world and our communities as graduates are answering the call. In the next page, you will see the layOur ecclesial ministers. chaplains, teachers, liturgy directors, missionaries, music directors and areas where your support is vitally needed. Through our scholarship lay ecclesial ministers. academics, and ongoing Ourprograms, graduatesstrong are answering thededicated call. In thefaculty, next page, you will initiatives, see the your partnership will advance the work to which God is calling not only areas where your is vitally needed. ouryou scholarship Our graduates are support answering the call. In theThrough next page, will see the these dedicated men and women, but all of us. programs, academics, dedicated faculty, and our ongoing initiatives, areas wherestrong your support is vitally needed. Through scholarship your partnership will advance the work to which God is calling not only programs, strong academics, dedicated faculty, and ongoing initiatives, these dedicated men and women, but all of us. with wewhich will achieve this not campaign’s yourTogether partnership will everyone’s advance the help work to God is calling only Campaign these dedicated men and women, butmillion all of us. $10 goal.

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Together with everyone’s help we will achieve this campaign’s Together, weeveryone’s can move$10 forward. Together with help we will achieve this campaign’s million goal. $10 million goal. Together, we can move forward. Together, we can move forward.

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uniquely S T Upositioned D E N T StoCmeet H O Lthe ARSHIP need for pastoral ministry and leadership in uniquely positioned to meet our Church. However, thistherequires scholarship uniquely positioned meetand theleadership need for pastoral support for lay ministry andtoordained ministers. in need for pastoral ministry and leadership in our Church. However, this requires scholarship our Church. this requires scholarship support for layHowever, and ordained ministers. support for lay and ordained ministers.


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Conversatio Conversatio

Mary, Mother of Our Redeemer Chapel Renovation


Mary, Mother of Our Redeemer Chapel Renovation

We encourage spiritual growth that R E NtoOthe V Aheart T I O of NS draws us nearer God. We encourage spiritual growth that draws us nearer to the heart of God.


FROM THE DEAN Loaves, Fishes, Needs and Abundance William Cahoy, Dean

• Chapel Renovation will restore the vibrancy of Mary, Mother of Our Redeemer Chapel in Emmaus Hall because liturgy shapes the life, teaching and scholarship at Saint John’s and is one of our most significant contributions to the life of the Church.

As I have thought about the many needs of the School, I have been drawn often to the story of the loaves and the fishes. Jesus has been teaching a large group of people, dusk is coming, people are hungry, and the disciples can only scare up five loaves and two fish. Jesus asks that what they have be brought forward. He blesses it, and the disciples distribute it to the crowd. Miraculously, there is enough to meet their needs and more.

• Responding to the Signs of the Times confront us with two pressing concerns: the challenges to building and sustaining Christian community and parish life and the religious disengagement of youth and young adults. New course offerings, scholarship opportunities and creative programming can equip our graduates to respond with imagination to these concerns.

Like us, the disciples are keenly aware of the scale of the needs around them. They also recognize, like us, the scarce resources. As usual, Jesus sees something different: the abundance of God’s grace and God’s reign. The good news he proclaims and enacts is that the Creator has given us enough to meet our needs. The kingdom of God is one of abundance, not scarcity. And what Jesus sees becomes real as there is enough in the community to meet its needs.

You can read more about the campaign in this issue and in our monthly e-newsletter in the months ahead. We are excited about the possibilities, the difference they would make in the life of the school and, more importantly, the ultimate contribution to the life of the church.

On November 6, we officially launched our capital campaign that is part of a larger $160 million campaign for Saint John’s University and Abbey. Our portion is $10 million. We have identified four key areas of need: • Scholarships for lay students who typically receive little financial support from the church they would serve and bear the cost of their education themselves. In a world that desperately needs wise religious and spiritual leadership, we cannot afford to turn away qualified candidates because of cost. • Faculty Support through endowed chairs or professorships enable us to retain and recruit the first-class faculty we need to continue our heritage of strong scholarship and teaching that is at the heart of Saint John’s education and contribution to the life of the church.


I don’t want to reduce the story of the loaves and the fishes simply to “the miracle of sharing,” but that is undoubtedly part of the story. The abundance is here in our midst already. We need to learn to see as Jesus does and to live with confidence in the reign of God. What we are called to do as a theological school, we cannot do alone. Indeed, we are in this work together. We need you, the wider community, to help us fulfill our mission as a school in service to the church. Your support for what we do and your on-going generosity to enable us to carry it out faithfully give us great confidence as we enter this capital campaign. We may see only a few loaves and fish at the moment, but when we work together, there will be enough.

First Person, Teacher The quality of learning comes from talented instructors skilled in inviting students into the wisdom that is present in the texts they read, the papers they write, and the conversations they have in and outside the classroom. In this continuing series, members of the faculty reflect on what creates a really good learning experience.

For most of my classes, students submit written responses to questions on the assigned readings. These give me insight into how well they understood the reading and what aspects need more attention. Learning occurs when students engage with the material. The signs are multiple, but the baseline is their attentiveness to the conversation we have around the material. If students are listening to one another and to me, posing questions, and clarifying their positions, substantial learning has a chance of happening.

It is hard to choose a “best class” because every class can have magical moments taking many forms. In my experience they most often happen when students work together to make connections and see beyond their present understanding. One such class happened on a fiercely cold February night during my first year at Saint John’s. The class was ecclesiology, and one of the most central ideas is that the Christian faith is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be explored. Problems can be resolved because they have clear-cut answers. Mysteries, on the other hand, cannot be solved. They do not result from a lack of information but from the fact that the reality exceeds our finite abilities to grasp it. So, a mystery can be understood more deeply, but there is no point where we are “done” thinking about it. On this particular night we were talking about the Council of Trent as a response to the Protestant Reformation that was based on a dual program of theology and reform. We were examining Trent’s Decree on Justification, and I remember telling the class that in this decree we encounter one of the most famous double negatives in history: in the process of salvation it is the case that “man does not do nothing” while receiving God’s grace.

A particularly desirable classroom session is one in which the students pursue a line of questioning that leads to no set answers. When everyone in the discussion senses that the questions themselves are the point, then I believe we have the kind of engagement that matters. How well this happens depends on many variables. Some days this searching is more intense than others, but it cannot be absent in any class. At those times in which a student presses me to the point where I have not asked the question in the way that she or he has done so, I am most pleased to be a learner along with that student. Although I will have read the assigned material many more times than the typical student, students each bring their own unique experiences and perspectives that can break open the material in new ways. How well we collectively break open the assigned material is an indicator that important learning is happening.

As a teacher, I often have to fight the urge to tell my students interesting and important ideas, but instead work to tease these ideas out of them so that they arrive at the understanding themselves. So, I turned to them and asked, “Why would Trent say such a thing – why make the statement so vague?” After a few minutes of silence, one student ventured “because otherwise they would have to say exactly what it is that man does.” At this point another student offered, “But they can’t say exactly what it is that man does because it is a mystery.” A third student volunteered, “If they said what it was that man did, then the human role in salvation would be a problem to be solved rather than a mystery to be explored.” There was a real sense in the room that we had arrived at something important together. As a community of learners, we had engaged in the task of faith seeking understanding and had moved deeper into the mystery of Christian faith. Kristin Colberg

I have a list of questions or an outline of topics that I want to address in a given class. It is a general roadmap, but I look to student interest and receptivity as the guides on how much attention is given to each question or topic. I may not pick up on that interest as quickly as needed. Some students have a quiet attentiveness that I can read from their faces and body language. A student’s level of engagement in the discussion is not revealed simply through the number and kinds of questions that she or he asks. I regard a successful class as one in which each student feels not only challenged to engage the topic but also invited to do so according to his or her preferred mode of learning. One of my colleagues from another theological school summarized her method of teaching as improvisation. She was committed not only to handing on the theological tradition but also of honoring the experience of her students. Her vision for teaching seems on target to me. Dale Launderville OSB 13


“If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and pressing duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ’s heart, full of mercy and love” (Pope Francis, Homily to Seminarians, Novices, and those discerning their Vocations, Saint Peter’s Basilica, 7 July 2013).

mindset where the study of Scripture, liturgy, systematics, and pastoral practice leads us to prayer, and prayer induces us to probe the mysteries of God in his Word and Creation. Throughout its whole academic program, Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary takes Saint Anselm’s famous definition of theology (“faith seeking understanding”) and translates it into programmatic framework of the “Pursuit of Wisdom.” The Pursuit of Wisdom for the monk and friar seminarians at Saint John’s is evident in nearly everything they do. They follow the monastic horarium (schedule), nurture their lectio divina (sacred reading), and engage in their studies as one form of praise to God. Moreover, not only does the Pursuit of Wisdom occur in the classroom, but it also happens outside it. All students take their turn in performing various liturgical ministries for which they are being trained. In this way, they are following the example of their professors.

These words of Pope Francis reflect the ethos of Saint John’s Seminary. Perhaps they arise from Pope Francis’ own training as a Jesuit or from his own devotion to Saint Francis, but in either case, they are very Benedictine in character and most descriptive of our seminary life. The Desert Fathers and Mothers along with the great Patristic writers saw little difference between prayer and study; theologians did their work through prayer, and contemplatives prayed by studying theology. While the twinning of these activities became confused under scholasticism, their real separation occurred under the excesses of the Enlightenment, when belief and faith were interpreted as antithetical to true scholarship. Fortunately, the Wisdom Tradition, so apparent in Benedictine prayer life, mitigated the inroads of this divorce.

As Pope Francis speaks of contemplation in the midst of study, he calls seminarians to pay particular attention to the “margins of existence” where they will be ministering to the People of God. By extending divine love to those marginalized by income or by the church or by society, they increase the size of the tent holding the community of believers. By increasing the tent, they enlarge the vision of all to see the mystery of God’s love in all creation.

The fusion of prayer and scholarship is more than stopping study when the bell calls us to prayer; rather it is characterized by a unified

Front row: Br. Nick Kleespie, OSB; Br. Alex Juguilon OSC; Fr. Michael Patella, OSB; Br. Jose Velazquez OSC; Second row: Fr. Doug Mullin, OSB; Br. Isaiah Frederick, OSB; Br. Clement Rees, OSB; Br. Joe Schneeweis, OSB; Back row: Br. David Allen, OSB, Br. Lew Grobe, OSB, Br. Brad Jenniges, OSB; Br. Michael-Leonard Hahn, OSB


FROM THE ABBOT …this little Rule for beginners. Abbot John Klassen, OSB

Saint Benedict concludes his Rule by saying that “the whole fulfillment of justice is not laid down in this Rule (RB73).” In this chapter he notes that he has simply spelled out the beginnings of monastic life in the Rule. Anyone who wishes to advance to the higher levels of learning and practice must be willing to tap into the rich vein of teaching from Basil, John Cassian, both Testaments of the Bible, and the teachings of the Catholic fathers. I remember encountering this chapter after a full year of novitiate studying the Rule and all its requirements. To be told in this final chapter that this is a “little Rule for beginners” made my eyes roll. As I have studied the tradition more broadly, I have come to realize that Benedict was neither kidding nor being overly modest. In fact, he presumes that monks must continue to read and study throughout their monastic life in order to continue to grow in “faith and the performance of good works.”

to listen to holy reading and hearing texts in context, they became skilled at using scripture to interpret scripture, that is, to relate biblical texts to each other across the span of the Bible. [That is why a “monk fundamentalist” is an oxymoron.] During Lent, Benedict urges that each monk is to receive a section of the Bible which they are to read straight through to the end. A healthy monastic culture will be infused with a love of reading, study, and learning. From the earliest days of Benedictine monasteries, there were always schools associated with them. It was a natural fit to provide lay men and women with a strong liberal arts education, grounded in theology and philosophy, in order to build up the larger society. We see concrete expressions of this in the college here at Saint John’s and at the College of Saint Benedict. In a particular way, the School of Theology·Seminary became the way we would equip both ordained and lay ecclesial ministers to be leaders for the Church’s mission with a strong foundation in Scripture, historical and liturgical theology, catechesis, Christian ethics, and well-honed pastoral skills. We are proud of what the colleges and the School of Theology·Seminary accomplish. But Chapter 73 is a challenge for everyone to be lifelong learners: to read, study, reflect, and practice. The goal remains constant over the centuries: to grow in “faith and the performance of good works.”

Saint Benedict builds in some internal drivers to make sure that this learning continues. In chapter 48 where he addresses daily manual labor, he includes up to three hours every day, and more during Lent, for lectio divina. This meant that every monk had to be literate. In turn, since the monks would need books for their prayer and study, scriptoriums became part of the monastic culture. In learning language and using it each day, the monks developed a love for words. Learning


FACULTY– STAFF UPDATES Charles Bobertz published, “Our Opinion is in Accordance with the Eucharist and the Eucharist Confirms our Opinion: Irenaeus and the Sitz im Leben of Mark’s Gospel,” in Studia Patristica 65 (2013) 79-90 and presented a paper, “The Liturgical Purpose of Mark’s Gospel” at the Catholic Biblical Association National Meeting in Spokane in August. He was elected to a two year term on the executive board of the Catholic Biblical Association and is directing the CSB/SJU London Study Abroad Program this fall. Part of his sabbatical project is finalizing publication of A Liturgical Reading of the Gospel of Mark with Baker Academic Press.

Dale Launderville OSB recently published “’Misogyny’ in Service of Theocentricity: Legitimate or Not?” in Prophets Male and Female: Gender and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Ancient Near East” (ed. Jonathan Stökl and Corrine L. Carvalho; SBL Ancient Israel and its Literature 15). He also completed two book reviews: Christopher G. Frechette, Mesopotamian Ritualprayers of Hand-lifting” (Akkadian Šuillas): An Investigation in Light of the Idiomatic Meaning of the Rubric. AOAT 379; Münster: UgaritVerlag, 2012. In CBQ 75 (2013) 119-21; and Donna Lee Petter, The Book of Ezekiel and Mesopotamian City Laments (OBO 246; Fribourg: Academic Press; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011). In CBQ 75(2013) 778-79. In August, Fr. Dale gave a paper, “Prophetic Versus Apocalyptic Ezekiel: A Commentary on a Pluriform Text,” at the international meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association at Gonzaga University in Spokane. In November he spoke on “Ezek 44:4-31: Bearing Guilt as a Way of Creating the Priestly Imaginary,” at the session on “Theological Perspectives on the Book of Ezekiel” at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Baltimore. He was part of the faculty for junior monks from various monasteries at a conference at Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon in June, led a workshop on the Psalms to the permanent deacons of the Diocese of Superior in July, did a series of Theology Day presentations on “The Afterlife: Is There a Heaven? Is There a Hell” this fall, and gave presentations for the Episcopal Church’s Benedictine Experience at the Episcopal House of Prayer in September.

Kathleen A. Cahalan published, “A Developing Discipline: The Catholic Voice in Practical Theology” with co-author Bryan Froehle, in Invitation to Practical Theology: Catholic Voices and Vision, edited by Claire E. Wolfteich. It will be published by Paulist Press in 2014. She is also co-editor of Opening the Field of Practical Theology, that is forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Daniel Finn has published Christian Economic Ethics: A History and Analysis (Fortress Press, 2013) and is editor for Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Economic Complicity and Christian Ethics that is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in April 2014. Since the beginning of the year, he has given a variety of presentations: “Social Causality and Market Complicity: Specifying the Causal Roles of Persons and Structures,” Society of Christian Ethics; “Ambos Regalo y Contrato: Un Marco para Relacionar Caritas y Justicia en el Mercado,” Universidad Católica de Argentina, Buenos Aires; “Condiciones para un mercado justo,” Universidad Católica de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia; “La Ecologia Moral del Mercado,” Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia; “The Place of Business Ethics within a Just Economy,” Dominican University, Chicago; “A Christian View of the Economy: Neither Left nor Right,” St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY; “Justice in Markets: What Is Required?”, Villanova University, Philadelphia; Theology Day series, “Distant markets, Distant Harms: Thinking Clearly About Economic Complicity.” Dan serves as Chair of CTSA Ad-hoc Committee on Theological Diversity, is the Chair of the Search Committee for Treasurer of the Society of Christian Ethics, serves as co-director of the research project, The True Wealth of Nations, Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, University of Southern California, is a board member of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, on the execuative council of the Association for Social Economics, and a periodic referee for articles submitted to Horizons, the Journal of Religious Ethics, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, The Forum for Social Economics, Journal of Economic Education, and Review of Social Economy.

Anthony Ruff OSB published Sung Gospels: For Major Solemnities in Multiple Voices (Liturgical Press) in October. Milan Records also released in October his CD, Singing with Mary and the Saints, featuring the Gregorian Chant Schola of Saint John’s Abbey and University. Becky Van Ness began her work this fall as the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She first completed training in spiritual direction at Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, then later earned a Master’s Degree in Christian Spirituality at Creighton University which included a graduate certificate in spiritual direction. She has taught at both the secondary and college levels, most recently mathematics (statistics) and theology at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud, where she also served as curriculum director and occasional statistician. For many years she has taught a course in world religions, integrating theology with her undergraduate training in history and cross-cultural encounters.


MILESTONES Devlin and Nicole Hessig (Current PMin student) are proud to announce the birth of Elias David Hessig, born Sunday, August 4th at 9:26 a.m. 8lbs 4 oz. 21-1/2 inches of amazing blessing! Thank you everyone for the prayers and support.

priestly ministry, Flannery has served as associate pastor, high school guidance counselor and religion teacher, coordinator of the Teens Encounter Christ retreat program, diocesan vocation director, director of continuing education of the clergy, seminary spiritual director at The American College Seminary in Leuven, Belgium, vicar of Rev. Robert B. Flannery permanent deacons, director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs, member of the diocesan liturgy, pro-life, ministry to priests, priest-wellness, pastoral plan and restructuring committees, priest convocation chairperson, diocesan consultor, president, vice-president and treasurer of the presbyteral council, chair of the diocesan millennium committee, priest personnel board member, dean of the South Deanery, and pastor for 29 years in four parishes in Southern Illinois as well as canonical pastor for six parishes during his tenure as dean. Appointed in 1998 as the ecumenical and interreligious officer for the diocese, he was elected regional representative and then president of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for two three-year terms continuing to serve as chair of the summer institutes committee, a member of the faiths in the world committee, and the board of directors. Father Flannery was appointed by the president of the United States Bishops’ Conference to the Catholic delegation of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., and as a member of the National Planning Committee for the National Workshop on Christian Unity for nine years, was selected as chair of the conference held in Oklahoma City in 2012. He has served on three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and has been chair or committee member of two national Catholic association conferences. Since 1998, he has been a board member, vice-president and now co-chair of the Illinois Conference of Churches. He was a 2009 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from Saint John’s University in where he previously served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and has been a member of the School of Theology Board of Overseers since 2011.

Brent Derowitsch (MDiv, 2013) received a staff chaplain position at Fairview Ridges Hospital, beginning work this fall. Fr. Mark Scott (a member of the SOT Board of Overseers, was elected the abbot of New Melleray earlier this month. Br. Ephrem Poppish, OCSO (MA, Monastic Studies, 1996) of New Melleray Abbey in Iowa from about 15 years ago. He was ordained a priest on August 20, 2013. Ted Ulrich (MA, Spirituality, 1996) received tenure at the University of St. Thomas in 2007, and was promoted from Associate to full Professor this past school year. At St. Thomas he enjoys teaching, writing, and taking his students to India. Rev. Danny Murphy (MA Liturgical Studies, 2000)has been appointed the new executive secretary of the Council for Liturgy of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and director of the National Centre for Liturgy. Rev. Robert B. Flannery (MA Theology, 1973), a priest of the Diocese of Belleville in Southern Illinois, celebrated his 40th Anniversary as a priest on Sunday June 2nd. He is a graduate of the college and seminary at Saint John’s University and did graduate work at The Catholic University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium. During his 40 years of

In Hope of the Resurrection Alums

Relatives and Friends (relatives of donors and friends of the SOT designations)

1944 1947 1955 1969 2012 1971 1972 1975 2007

Rev. Eugene Abbott Rose C. Ament Elizabeth “Sally” Bach Margaret Barder Jerome Bechtold Ernest J. Bergeron Edward Bik Viola Brinkman Alice Bromen Shirley Boeser Janet Chester Margaret Dockendorf Lorraine Euteneuer Theodore Ferkinhoff

Rev. George Wolf, OSB Roman Fleischhacker, OSC Rev. Donald W. Rieder Rev. Alexander Andrews, OSB Margery Lee Knowlton S. Catherine Litecky Rev. James H. Hanson Marcia Ness Cody C. Unterseher

Student Jeannine Ferber

Dorothy A. Flannery Paul “Ralph” Forsythe Eugene S Geissler Merrie Gerlach Bernice Gohmann Mary Jeanette Harter Elizabeth “Betty” Haus Robert A. Heberle Eunice Johnson Jerome Johnson Marguerite Kettler Dr. Robert Koenig John “Jack” Kolb Thomas W. Krebsbach 17

Muriel LaFond Eisler Dorothy Leuthner Veronica “Connie” Michelich Michael O’Brien Virginia O’Connell Alexander Palen Gregory J. Pease Fred Petters Mardelle Proulx Lydia Rausch Natalya Regan George Richter Harry Rhoda

Evelyn Roelike Ralph Rothstein Ermalinda Rudolph Helen Scheuer Joan C. Schneeweis Regina Schutz Fr. Kevin Seasoltz, OSB Mary Sheeran Reverend Monsignor Daniel Joseph Taufen Dennis Tauscher Ray Tschumperlin Donald Wenner Marcus Woell

FROM THE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT Grace Ellens In September, we were fortunate to have Dan Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, lead the annual retreat for our our Board of Overseers. He brought a message of hope and vision.

us to have life and to have it more abundantly (John 10:10). To have abundant life means to share in God’s prosperity and for God to share in ours. It is not without the support of our many donors that our students, immersed in our prayerful environment, intensive training and rock-solid academics, will go into the world, preaching, teaching and spreading the Gospel message, building bridges and healing devastating hurts.

Aleshire posed several penetrating questions. For example, he asked, “What does the Roman Catholic church in your area need?” and “What does the wider culture need?” Both questions caused much reflection on my part. But the one that truly spoke to me was, “What is the hurt that you have the resources to heal?”

Perhaps it is the prospect of the coming winter that makes me wistful as I ponder Aleshire’s question, but it is with a warm and love-filled heart that I ask you to consider: what is the hurt that you have the resources to heal?

As I pondered this, I reflected on how our students have repeatedly tackled the huge job of meeting Jesus in broken places. Many of them come up the brick pathways, enlivened and excited to learn how to mend the many hurts of our culture by helping to facilitate healing in our churches, our communities and around the world.

By supporting Saint John’s School of Theology with whatever resources you have, either through prayerful or financial means, there is no end to the ways in which you will help others meet Jesus in the broken places and bring abundant life to all corners of the world.

I was reminded of the Gospel of John which tells us that God wants

To Whom Do They Belong? Saint John’s is one of twenty pilot schools funded by the Lilly Endowment to examine the problem of student indebtedness. The costs of earning a graduate theological degree continue to climb. As a result, students take out major student loans, often adding to existing undergraduate student debt. Theological schools try to be as generous as they can be with scholarships, grants, and student work positions. That is the case at Saint John’s. But funding for such assistance is finite as other costs for maintaining an excellent school rise.

The growing body of women and men who prepare themselves for church ministry may belong to a parish or organization as long as they are employed, but they do not belong to the church. They are not the “church’s ministers” but contracted employees with no official status or recognition. In the average diocese in this country, it would be rare to find a roster of their names and ministerial roles. Most parishioners perceive parish staff as employees but not the pastor’s peers much less indispensible to the vibrancy of the parish. While some dioceses have in place processes for formal certification and authorization, most do not. Lay ministry positions are governed by the changing decisions of pastors and pastoral councils, not wellcrafted policies reflecting best employment practices and the status of lay ecclesial ministers as “real” ministers.

During a recent gathering of the twenty pilot schools, I discovered something that had never reached a conscious level for me. Protestant participants always talked about the “church’s students.” For them, all candidates in their schools belong to the church and are an investment of the church in the future of its ministry to congregations. As I listened again and again to references to the “church’s students,” I realized that Roman Catholic lay ministry students belong to no one. That is admittedly a dramatic way to put it. The facts, however, are clear. Lay students generally come to us as independent contractors with no endorsement or support from their local dioceses or parishes. How they pay for their educations and the amount of debt they must accumulate are up to them. They continue as independent contractors as they search for jobs, negotiate for salary and benefits, and work at-will for parishes or organizations. Sometimes there are pension options, but that is not universal.

This situation must change. Seminarians deserve the attention and care provided them. They are being prepared for rigorous, demanding leadership roles. It is no less the case for the women and men who will form generations in the faith, provide skilled and theologically grounded leadership in various ministries, and extend the compassionate care of the church. Work has been underway for ten years to make lay ecclesial ministers the “church’s ministers.” It is time to get serious. Victor Klimoski




Patrick Maxwell

John Boyle

Thomas McKeown (Emeritus)

Bonita Brever

Joe Mucha

Thomas Brever

Kay Mrachek

Msgr. James Dillenburg

Len Mrachek

Frank Earnest, MD

Kathleen Norris

John Erhart

Mary Ann Okner

Laura Kelly Fanucci

David Pedersen

Daniel Fazendin

Mary Jo Pedersen

Lynn Fazendin

Jane Rodeheffer, PhD

Rev. Robert Flannery

Richard Rodeheffer, MD

Daniel Frie

Fr. Robert Rolfes

Mary Ochsner Haeg

Karen Rose, OSB

Marcia Hanson

Dr. Gene Scapanski

Michael Hemesath

Marilyn Scapanski

Bishop Donald Kettler

Mary Schaffner

Abbot John Klassen, OSB

Fr. Mark Scott, OCSO

Debra Koop

Fredrick Senn

Steven Koop

Paul Steingraeber

Robert Lee

Dr. Frank Wilderson, Jr.

Thomas Manthey

Idalorraine Wilderson

Dean William J. Cahoy Director of Development Grace Ellens Editor Victor Klimoski Contributors Dr. William Cahoy Kristin Colberg Abbot John Klassen, OSB Bailey Walter Photography Paul Middlestaedt Bailey Walter Carla Durand CSBSJU Communications Conversatio is published twice each year. Comments, questions, corrections, story ideas?

Victor Klimoski (320) 363-3560


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Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary


Distant Markets, Distant Harms: Thinking Clearly about Economic Complicity

Daniel Finn, Ph. D January 17 February 14 April 29

Saint John’s: 8:30 am –1 pm Scottsdale, AZ: 8 am –1 pm Town and Country, Saint Paul: 6 – 9 pm

The Afterlife: Is There a Heaven? Is There a Hell?

Fr. Dale Launderville, OSB January 23 Saint Joseph the Worker: Maple Grove, 6 – 9 pm

The Old Testament Background to Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection

Fr. Michael Patella, OSB March 7 Naples, FL: 6 – 9 pm March 27 Garden Grove, CA: 6 – 9 pm March 29 Mission Hills, CA: 9 am– Noon

Day of Reflection: Poets Re-Tell the Scriptures Victor Klimoski March 10

Saint John’s: 9:30 am – 3 p.m

A Poor Church and a Church for the Poor: Saint Francis of Assisi and Christian Poverty in the 21st Century

Shawn Colberg , Ph. D. April 4 Saint John’s University: 8:30 am – 1 pm May 13 Saint John’s University: 8:30 am – 1 pm May 13 St. Frances Cabrini, Minneapolis: 6 – 9 pm

National Catholic Youth Choir

June 16–July 1 Applications due March 21

Holy Land Tour

Fr. Michael Patella OSB May 20–June 11

Summer School

June 16–August 1

Youth In Theology and Ministry Institute

June 15 – 28

Twenty-Ninth Annual Monastic Institute

June 29 – July 3 “Imagining the Future: Monastic Life in 2020”

Praying With Imagination Barbara Sutton July 13 – 18

Annual Summer Golf Scramble, TBA

For full details, go to