Summer Course Spotlight

July 14, 2015

Two nuns, two seminarians and two lay people walk into a classroom…

The summer intensive courses offered by The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas are an opportunity for those active in ministry during the academic year to further their formation. For some of our students, the summer courses are essential.

Each course meets for four-hours every day for two weeks, with an additional 6-8 hours of reading, contemplation, and writing outside the classroom. While a serious commitment for the student and professor, it is this purposeful intensity that serves our students with diverse schedules and needs well.

The students in Dr. Kenneth Snyder’s Patristics course depend on our summer schedule to complete their Master’s degrees.

  • Sister Mary Judith and Sister Maria Fatima, Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, are off campus as they serve in middle schools in Chicago, Austin and Florida throughout the academic year. This summer option is an ideal time for them to fulfill their credit requirements.
  • Two of our lay students, who take courses on campus during the school year, are serving in parishes in Wayzata and Stillwater. Summer classes are an opportunity to study when there fewer demands in the parish, and they can be “filled up again” before the start of another year.
  • One of our seminarians appreciates the opportunity to study with a broad group of students that enhances the conversation based on a variety of perspectives.
  • And for an Episcopalian seminarian taking this course as a cross registration within our consortium, our summer programs are an opportunity to enhance to his own academic program and formation.

These students process a great deal of content in a short amount of time. Sister Mary Judith likened it to an acorn which she will “unpack” throughout the year as she teaches and forms young people. This experience can also be an efficient path to the “big picture” of how theological concepts relate to the Church today.

No matter the situation, every student agrees that the diverse backgrounds of the students, coupled with immersion into the topic of each course offers important elements to their intellectual growth and on-going formation.