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Bernardin Graduates

The class of 2014: Kristen Dempsey, Sheila Curran, RSM, Brendan Dowd, Erin Hempstead, Jennifer Johnson-Granstrom, Sheila McLaughlin (Bernardin Center Director)

Bernardin Graduates have gone on to a variety of ministries, leadership roles, and advanced studies. These former Scholars advance the mission of the Bernardin Center through the positions they take and the lives they lead. Here are a few of their stories:

Allison Chin DeLaney, M.A. ’04 & Steve DeLaney, M.A. ’04, Chicago
Allison and Steve met as volunteers with Amate House, a Catholic service organization in Chicago, but they didn’t become acquainted until they were Bernardin Scholars. By graduation they were married. Allison says, “As a physical therapist, I had issues with the healthcare system. The Cardinal’s vision for healthcare ministry is such an integral part of what the Church is about. As a Bernardin Scholar I discovered the mystery of presence and relearned how to be with people in their crises.”

Steve works with young adults and incarcerated juveniles in Chicago. He loves the Chicago connection, “Chicago has a very Catholic web that connects people in so many ways. It’s an amazing network. Being a Bernardin Scholar was a tremendous gift. I was very attracted to Bernardin’s work in reconciliation, life ethics, and Common Ground. It has so much meaning to me to study in his name.”


Kathy Kelleher, M.A. ’02, Chicago
A graduate of Mt. Holyoke College, Kathy says, “CTU’s education and formation were natural extensions of my college’s focus on service, but with a distinctly faith-based motivation. CTU professors, who are some of the brightest in Catholic education today, sustain their intellectual and prayer lives with vital ministries that serve God’s people.” As a project manager for Claretian Associates Kathy helped develop 25 single family and two-flat homes in South Chicago. The project won the 2005 Driehaus project of the year award. Kathy says, “Cardinal Bernardin continues to inspire me to recognize the inherent dignity of each person and to respond to their needs. This value will be with me over my lifetime.”


Valerie D’Souza, D.Min. ’05, Bombay, India
Valerie D’Souza, a senior executive for Exxon Oil in India, turned her passion for theology into a second career. She earned a masters degree at Catholic Theological Union, and returned as a Bernardin Scholar for a doctoral degree several years later. Although focused on liturgy, Valerie delved into Jewish Studies, satisfying a lifelong interest in Judaism and the Jewish people. Valerie says, “Cardinal Bernardin and I share a love for Jewish-Christian dialogue.” She put that love into action, studying at Yad Vashem, the first native of India to do so, and in a Holocaust program at Auschwitz. She says, “I am so grateful to CTU and the Bernardin Program for the remarkable opportunities I have had. I will take my experience as a Bernardin scholar wherever I go in life.”


Daniel Scheid, M.A. ’04, Boston
After graduating from Princeton University, Dan Scheid was deciding between ministry and teaching. He wanted a rigorous academic program but one that would help him to learn more about his Catholic faith and grow into it. He applied as a Bernardin Scholar and was accepted. Dan says, “I had read Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life document and thought it was brilliant. As a scholar in the Bernardin program, it was great to hear from people who worked with him and knew him.” Dan’s professors provided him with lots of support, and the intellectual satisfaction he had wanted. A doctoral student in theology at Boston College, Dan says, “CTU prepared me well. The cultural and global questions I confronted at CTU were invaluable.”