The Saint Paul Seminary recently brought on health and fitness expert Susan Torborg to serve the Institute for Ongoing Clergy Formation in the new position of priest wellness coordinator.
In this role, Torborg works as a versatile wellness professional, acting as a single access point of contact to a network of wellness related services for priests in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. These services include health assessments and wellness goal setting, nutritional consultation, coordination and referral to primary health care providers and home-based care, visitation in hospitals and homes, and facilitation of Catholic health care directives.
Torborg also develops educational programming, wellness events for priests and coordinates important community relationships with organizations like Curatio, the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), Catholic senior care providers, “block nurse” programs, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Minnesota Catholic Conference and other partners.
“I’m excited and honored to serve the priests in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in this role,” Torborg said. “We need strong, healthy and energetic priests to help the church fulfill God’s mission on earth. Helping them achieve optimal health brings me great joy.”
Torborg will lead and be assisted by a standing cohort of health and wellness professionals. This cohort will include representation from priests, doctors, nurses and lay leaders.
According to recent studies, priests too often experience unsustainable workloads and can become overwhelmed by administrative demands. This causes mental stress, isolation and anxiety, as well as the depletion of physical health. The priest wellness coordinator will be an eagerly available resource to support priestly holistic health.
Torborg has been married to her husband Jim for 26 years and is the mother of five children. She is a Third Order professed Carmelite and focuses on helping people increase their metabolisms through proper nutrition. Torborg is the creator of The R3 Weight Loss Plan and received her bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Arizona State University in 1993. Soon after graduation, she received her certification as a fitness instructor/personal trainer from The American College of Sports Medicine.
She has developed and implemented programs for health clubs, corporate fitness centers, community education programs, senior classes, pre- and post-natal programs, fibromyalgia classes, aquatic training for arthritic patients, cardiovascular rehabilitation programs and sport-specific training for athletes.
In recent years, Torborg has engaged many seminarians and priests as clients in free health consultations to improve their health and assist them in achieving their wellness goals.
“[Priests] have a lot on their plates,” Torborg said. “I mean, they are being stretched so far, right now. I know … two priests who have five parishes up in St. Cloud. If they just had an easy plan to help them start eating healthier, get a little exercise, honor their day off, that’s relieving stress and tension, and they can just balance everything a little better.”
Editor's Note: A version of this story originally ran on The Saint Paul Seminary website, which is located at the University of St. Thomas.