Mount Angel Seminary has always been dedicated to providing seminarians with a superb education. An example of this scholarly pride is the appointment of Benedictine Sister Gertrude Feick, as an assistant professor of religious studies.
Sister Feick just completed three years of study at the Angelicum, a Pontifical University in Rome, where she has been working on earning her Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) in spiritual theology.
This fall semester, she is teaching Introduction to Christian Spirituality as well as assisting in liturgy documents. Next spring, she will teach Historical Introduction to Theology, Christian Spirituality and Practicum and Theology of Liturgy with Benedictine Father Paschal Cheline.
Sister Feick explained that the bar has been raised for those involved in seminary education. No longer is it just priests and religious teaching theology; whoever is most qualified, often lay professors, is selected. One could say that seminary employment is not much different than corporate America, which Sister Feick knew well before entering Queen of Angels Monastery 11 years ago.
However, unlike the competitive business world, Mount Angel Seminary professors collaborate to bring out the best in each other.
Sister Feick said that Mount Angel Seminary is a wonderful environment to work in because “you can find people who are very willing to support and help you to do what you need to do. In my case, I’m still trying to finish my degree.”
Sister Feick, who has also taught in secular institutions, said that she would not want to go back to teaching in a public school.
“What interests me,” she said, “is to be in this type of setting and work for God and the Church.”
One of the positive challenges Sister Feick has found in teaching is the continual education she must undergo in order to be prepared for her students: “What a privilege for me too, because I have to study in order to teach. It’s not as if I already know it all.” A seminary professor gets the double duty; they’re a teacher and also a student.
Father Paschal, director of Spiritual Formation at Mount Angel Seminary, considers Sister Feick to be a good friend who is entertaining and enjoyable to be around. He also said “we are blest to have her on the faculty because she takes her classes and her work very seriously, and is really concerned that her students gain knowledge in this realm of spirituality.”
Sister Feick plans to return to Rome this spring to take the comprehensive exams, the final requirements for her STL. She hopes to continue teaching at Mount Angel Seminary in the years to come.
“I also know, because I’ve had enough working and life experience, that anything can change. There are no guarantees in life.”
To learn more about Mount Angel Seminary, go to www.mountangelabbey.org.