Thirteen years into the Catholic Studies project, 12 students began informal meetings once
a month to explore the roots of Christ-centered leadership. Since then, more than 285 students have participated in what has become the Leadership Interns Program, a two-year commitment for juniors and seniors within the Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership.
In the beginning, interns planned and coordinated guest speakers and activities that contributed to the greater good of the Catholic Studies and St. Thomas communities, keeping the most committed students involved in the life of Sitzmann Hall.
As the program evolved, interns met more frequently and interest in the program grew. Each year a select group was chosen to exercise leadership skills among their peers, eventually establishing other campus programs such as Catholic Edge (now Tommie Catholic) and St. Thomas Street Ministry. The program now includes a fall retreat, a spring institute, and regular interaction with business and Church leaders, as well as inspiring St. Thomas alumni. Graduates from the program have gone on to exercise influence throughout the country in a variety of vocations, professions and mission-driven nonprofits.
Katy Shimp '22
Leadership Interns created space for me to ponder what it means to radically live for Christ while working and living in the world.”
Through years of articulating and refining a vision of Christ-centered leadership in this unique program, the book True Leadership was published in 2015. It is a concise treatise outlining the five principles of true Christian leadership properly ordered: faith, character, vocation, gifts and skills. This starting point allows students to respond to God’s call by placing their gifts and skills at the service of the Gospel, preparing them to exert an influence in the world that moves it toward the goodness which belongs to his kingdom.
This story is featured in the summer 2023 issue of Lumen.