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Portraits

CTU is fortunate to attract many dynamic people of faith who bless our community with creativity, strength and vision. We are excited to announce the launch of Portraits, a regular online profile––text or video––of a current student, alumnus, staff, or faculty member. We hope you’ll enjoy getting to know us a little better! Check back regularly for a new Portrait.

April 11, 2014

Stephanie Cherpak, Matthew Dougherty, OPraem, and Bernadette Raspante each came to CTU with different backgrounds, goals, and ambitions, but over the past year their efforts have coalesced to found Theophilus: The Student Journal of the Catholic Theological Union. For all three young editors, the journal represents a desire to foster a spirit of dialogue and debate in the CTU community and beyond.

February 4, 2014

The most important moments in life are often the ones we don’t see coming. For Craig Gould, CTU’s Director of Catholics on Call and the Peacebuilders Initiative, one of those moments was the passing of his father from a sudden heart attack when Craig was just 13 years old.

“I think I matured very quickly,” he said. “And it started me on a process of asking deeper questions. My friends would party on the weekends, but I thought all that stuff was kind of boring and meaningless. I was mindful of doing things with my life that were meaningful.”

November 21, 2013
When I first came to the U.S., I realized the need for Hispanic ministers to serve the country’s growing Hispanic population. I returned to Mexico with this in my mind and heart, and decided to see if my realization was a call from God or just a crazy idea.
June 3, 2013

“I will be like him,” a young Julius Katjipa said to himself, referring to a local priest who was his greatest inspiration. The teachers in his hometown of Windhoek, Namibia – the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart – also inspired him with their spirit of kindness and hospitality. Something more than childlike admiration, however, was revealing itself.

May 31, 2013
Growing up in a family of six on the edge of Dachau, Germany, CTU staff member Birgit Oberhofer learned that you don’t need much to live a meaningful life. The family made do on her father’s teacher salary, and Birgit said she and her siblings were given choices about their lifestyle. “My parents would say, ‘Do you want to eat meat every day, or do you want to be able to go on a vacation this summer?’” Birgit said. “We couldn’t have everything, but I always had what I needed.”
April 5, 2013
After graduating from Loyola University in Chicago in 2007 and moving to Anchorage, Alaska to participate in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Brendan Dowd unexpectedly found himself in a “ministry of listening,” as he called it. His post was a long-term care hospital where he visited with patients and their families, coordinated art classes and outings, distributed Communion, helped patients write letters to loved ones, but most importantly, lent an ear to their thoughts and feelings.
March 11, 2013
The questions were simple yet profound: “Who am I at my core? Where can I best serve?” At 29, Beth Knobbe was beginning to have an identity crisis. She had a satisfying, growing career in a global pension benefits firm. Rooted in the Catholic tradition of service, she volunteered as an after-school tutor for disadvantaged children, assisted with RCIA at Old St. Pat’s in Chicago, and was engaged in young adult ministry. A healthy balance, however, was elusive, and her purpose in life felt unclear.
February 7, 2013

If history had repeated itself, Sr. Sisilia Soelistyane, S.Sp.S., a newly appointed formator for her province in Indonesia, would have gone to Ghana for training. Instead, Sr. Sisilia was asked to be the first in her local community to train in the United States. She was nervous, but wanted to open her heart to what was being asked of her. Now a student at the Institute of Religious Formation (IRF) in Chicago, Sr. Sisilia’s life is unfolding in whole new ways. “Coming here is like nine months in the womb,” she said. “It’s nine months of learning.”

January 10, 2013

For CTU alumnus Rev. Eddie DeLeón, C.M.F., preparing for Sunday Mass recently became a more daunting, but rewarding experience. “When I preach at Mass, there are world-renowned Scripture scholars in the audience, as well as the dean of the Yale Divinity School,” Fr. DeLeón said, smiling. “Not to mention, students may fact-check my homily!”

November 30, 2012
In the midst of a sometimes polarizing political climate that can divide people based on religious beliefs, CTU student Saleha Jabeen works for unity and proudly says, “I am Muslim, plain and simple.” Saleha is more aware of the delicacy of interfaith relations studying in the U.S. today than she was growing up in Hyderabad, India, but uniting people has always been important to her. During a difficult childhood, Saleha learned the power of faith by watching her mother. Read full story.