Why do professional educators choose the Catholic Studies Master of Arts degree summer program? The answer to that question, of course, is as diverse as the students within the program, but what they all agree on is that it is academically invigorating and provides a community of Catholic professionals where intelligent conversation and camaraderie are in abundance. It is also convenient.

The Master of Arts degree in Catholic Studies is an advanced course of study that provides a comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of Catholicism and of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The program explores the truth, beauty and vitality of Catholicism as it has permeated disciplines and cultures throughout time. From its inception, primary and secondary school teachers have been part of the program. To respond to an increasing interest on the part of teachers, Catholic Studies began a summer graduate program several years ago. This program allows teachers to undertake concentrated study during their summer breaks, over the course of five summers. It also has allowed teachers to come from beyond Minnesota to study while remaining full-time teachers.

John Boyle, director of the CSMA program remarks, “It is a privilege to work with such fine teachers. Education needs help, and in Catholic Studies we are working to shape and transform Catholic education to fulfill its promise to the faithful and to the wider culture. We are, I think, helping good teachers to be even better teachers through a serious intellectual program. We are honored to have these outstanding teachers with us.”

Three of the summer-only students share their reflections on the program.

“I appreciate the broad scope of the program and its whole thrust on how the Incarnation has impacted thought and culture. I have been thoroughly impressed with all of the professors and with my classmates. There is no need for any sort of ‘mental filter’ here at Catholic Studies, because what we receive, what we read, is all about the Truth. Clearly there is a great unity of commitment on the part of the faculty to Christ, to the Church and to the mission of impacting the culture by means of the Truth.”

Sister Mary Seton, O.P. Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia – Nashville

“The program has helped my teaching by helping me to see and understand the world as a unified whole. Up to this point in my education, the knowledge I learned was very fragmented. Catholic Studies is giving me the tools to put the pieces together so I can understand the world from a unified knowledge, and this has helped me to see education in a new way. I have been able to pass on this world view and understanding to my students as well as present my lessons in a more cohesive, unified way.”This program has provided me with a Catholic perspective on knowledge, truth and education. I felt that I learned more valuable information as a Catholic educator in one semester in the Catholic Studies program than I did in my entire undergraduate education program, even at a very good Catholic University.”

Heidi Van De Berg Principal, Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic School

“Catholic Studies offers a remarkable program which integrates various disciplines but at the same time enhances the value of each one of them. This interdisciplinary unity allows the role of various fields of study to be properly understood and appreciated. Even while attending Father Keating’s and Dr. Boyle’s lectures, I observed the clarity of this approach and wondered how I can employ it in my own work as an elementary school teacher. As I begin to plan for the year, my goal is to offer my students the same coherent integration of theology, science, history, art and literature. I even am considering giving my students little lessons and the Summa and encouraging them to strive for the same kind of logic and coherency in their own work!”While academic excellence and a marvelous interdisciplinary approach which nurture both faith and reason are key to Catholic Studies, this brief reflection on my experience would not be complete without an expression of gratitude to the professors who unveiled the program’s vision to us and guided us along the way. Both Father Keating and Dr. Boyle offered academically challenging lectures, but the beauty and precision of their presentations captivated the students and opened for us new areas of inquiry and wonder. The dedication of both professors in guiding us in our weekly assignments and final papers went far beyond the call of duty. Such personal dedication and generous guidance in meeting the program’s high standards are as important to the formation of any present or future teachers enrolled in Catholic Studies as the program’s academic excellence and unswerving fidelity to the teachings of the Church.”

Sister Maria Karol, O.P. Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia – Nashville

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