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Alumni, Service, Student Profiles

Being “Christ in the City”

Written by Abby Kowitz, Catholic Studies Alumna, Class of 2012

As a recent college grad, most people nod their heads in approval when I tell them I have a degree in Accounting, but that same head nod quickly turns into a sort of confused neck spasm when I nonchalantly add that I also have a degree in Catholic Studies; and the great paradox is, that if given the ultimatum, I would drop the Accounting and cling to my Catholic Studies education in a heartbeat. Why? Because Catholic Studies has not only formed my perspective of my work, but has permeated every aspect of my life.

When it came time to decide what to do after graduation, one thought continued to ring loud and clear: “Our times need disciples for Christ who are willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel.” Okay…that sounds great, but how do we actually do it? How do we do the seemingly impossible placed on our hearts by a realistic yet demanding Father?

I started to answer this by recognizing that I am a daughter of God and a member of the Body of Christ. I have been given everything with which to do anything, just not the controller. I have been called to use my talents and gifts to serve the Lord under no conditions, and after pretending for many months that my plan was better than His, I admitted that He knew better and am now serving as a missionary with Christ in the City in Denver, Colorado for one year.

Something that I will forever hold onto from my Catholic Studies education is that true leadership has everything to do with our being and nothing to do with our title; it is who we are, and not what we do. It has taken four months of humble missionary work for me to really internalize that definition in a practical way. Being a missionary, you are on the bottom of the Totem Pole… and I mean the literal bottom.

Why can’t someone more qualified process payroll as the Accountant for Christ in the City? Why does it matter that it’s me and not a random social worker counseling the young women who walk into the crisis pregnancy center? Couldn’t I be doing something better with my time than washing dishes by hand for the fifth time that day for my fellow missionaries and community members?

The answer is that it does matter that this person is me. I need to be the one processing payroll, and sitting with that vulnerable woman, and washing what seems like hundreds of dishes, because by recognizing that it is not what I am doing, but that I have literally been called to be Christ in these moments, that those seemingly small things take on the capacity to permeate and radically change our culture.

 “Our times need disciples for Christ who are willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of the Gospel…”

Thank you, Catholic Studies, for inspiring this desire within me, and thank you Jesus and Mary, for giving me the courage and grace to respond to it through Christ in the City!

Catholic at UST, Service

A Catholic VISION


Paige Patet, ‘13, English and COJO

I know how to ask three questions in Spanish: What is your name?, How old are you?, and Where’s the bathroom?  So when I exited the Guatemalan airport alongside my fellow VISION participants with three weeks of sunshine, black beans, and cockroaches ahead of me, I was nervous.  On a trip that is intended for students to explore their spiritualties, how could I continue my search if I couldn’t even understand the community I was living with or even the readings at mass?

I remember asking myself this question early on in the trip while sitting on the roof of our hotel.  I looked out at Lake Atitlan and the mountains surrounding us.  The wind blew empty bottles positioned on standing stakes rattling them like marimbas.  The sun slowly dipped in a sky of pinks and oranges.  In that moment I could perfectly understand God’s presence Continue Reading

Alumni, Service

Presence of Christ in the city (literally)

Irma Montes-Alumna Spotlight

Posted by Irma Montes, Catholic Studies Alumna ’11

During my four years at St. Thomas I never really knew exactly what the Lord was preparing me for, but I knew St. Thomas was where I needed to be. I was fortunate to have many professors who really wanted to emphasize the importance of intellectual formation from a Catholic perspective.

As a Catholic Studies student, I came to understand that we need to have well formed minds in order to make sound decisions. Personally, I realized quickly as graduation got closer that it is a privilege to have a well formed mind. I then realized that I didn’t want to jump into the work force right away; I needed to give myself time to mature and just let the privilege I have been given set in a bit more.

ccdenverBecause of my experience with Catholic Studies, I knew that I needed to be doing something that involved formation of my mind and personal growth. In stepped Christ in the City. Continue Reading

Alumni, Faith and Career, Service

The Call to Love: An Alumna Shares Her Vision

Cap Corps Midwest 2010-2011 group, Laura is front-left

Cap Corps Midwest 2010-2011 group, Laura is front-left


Ten months ago, I was a Senior at UST, majoring in Catholic Studies and English with no idea what the next step would be after graduation.  If you would have asked me my plans, I probably would have shrugged and given a vague answer about looking for a teaching position in the Cities.  I certainly didn’t intend to move to South Chicago for a year, but the Lord had other plans!  So here I am, as a full-time volunteer with Cap Corps Midwest (with the Capuchin Franciscans), marveling every day at the mere fact that I am here. 

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Leadership Internships, Service

Serving Christ & Seeking A New World: Catholic Studies Leadership Interns go to Peru

Posted by Justin, recent Catholic Studies graduate

As a Catholic Studies Leadership Intern for the past year, I have given the opportunity to develop my leadership skills while expanding my vision of the world. The Catholic Studies internship program seeks to instill principles of leadership in all of its members (29 of us total this year). After a year of study and training on the topic of Hispanic Catholicism, we traveled on a ten day Spring Institute to Peru to see how the Ecclesial movement, Sodalitim Christianae Vitae, has formed a clear vision of seeking “a better, more just, fraternal and reconciled world, committing themselves to the integral development of the human being”. It was an adventure in which my companions and I understood a new culture, made new friends across the sea, and saw the fruits of what a committed group, faithful to Jesus Christ and his Mother, can do to transform a culture with their daily lives and actions.

Fr. Michael Keating and Dr. Jonathan Reyes led our trip to the cities of Lima and Arequipa where we visited the “Soladit” formation houses for men and women, learned about the Incan people at the pagan temple of Pachacamac, and visited the Church of St. Rose and her resting place. We also spent time with students at the secondary education centers of San Pedro (for boys) and Villa Caritas (for girls), as well as the Catholic University of San Pablo. Through these schools, the “Soladits” hope to properly educate the entire person to lead the next generation of bringing about a society of Love. We visited the many social projects lead by the movement including many elementary schools and day cares for poorer children of Lima and Arequipa as well as centers for the handicapped of all ages, who would otherwise be left to their own devices. Perhaps one of the greatest highlights of the trip was meeting the founder of the movement, Luis Fernando Figari, who explained his vision of a better world through a truly Christian culture.

There was so much more that we did and learned during our time with the Sodalitium in Peru which will not fit in such a small blog entry; but I would like to extend my gratitude to our friends, Jose, Andres, Barbara and Carolla, who shared their time and lives with us. They proudly guided us through the Ecclesial movement to which they have devoted themselves, with the hope that their lives and actions will bring about a truly Christian culture of Love in Peru and throughout the world.


Serving the Community

Posted by Molly, UST Sophomore, Psychology and Catholic Studies
When I first heard about Caritas, I knew it was exactly what I needed to be doing. A friend within the Catholic Studies program decided to create an opportunity for other Catholic Studies majors to volunteer at a relatively new school, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School.

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