Santa Clara University



Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Jesuit School of Theology

Alumni Newsletter     ♦     Vol. 2     ♦     September 9, 2013

In this issue:


Maureen Beckman

Changes Afoot

Greetings from Admissions,

If you're abreast of the developments at JST on our Facebook page, then you probably already know what I'm about to share: Our beloved Sr. Grace Hogan, O.P., Associate Director of Enrollment Management, is returning to her home state of New York. Many of you worked with her to discern whether JST was the right fit over her nearly eight years here. Her devotion, generosity, and concern for every student, faculty and staff member here have meant so much to us all and we wish her every blessing on her journey.

With Grace's departure, we welcome Kristin Casey (M.A. 2011) as our new Assistant Director of Enrollment Management! Kristin comes to us with several years of student work experience in Admissions at Fordham and JST.  She has been teaching in the Bay Area for the past two years and is thrilled to be back at the Jesuit School.

I also want to share with you the excitement at JST over our incoming class; we have a large number of countries represented (24 to be exact) and students from all over the United States.  Our new students range from 24 years of age to over 70, which creates such a richness in the school community and in the classroom alike!  Now that we have our new class settling into the community here, I will be off recruiting around the country again this fall.  Check out our Facebook page and web site to see where I will be and if you might want to help in the recruiting efforts, I always love company on these visits!

You may have seen it on our Facebook, LinkedIn or JST home page, but if you have not yet watched our new video, I've included it below. We hope it captures the spirit of JST and inspires those who are considering a degree program or making a contribution to the school. If you like the video, please share it on your own Facebook page. The more we can help spread the word about JST, the better.

All the best,
Maureen Beckman

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Kristin Casey

Alumni Spotlight: Kristin Casey, M.A.

When I applied to JST over four years ago, I was inspired to study theology because I believed in the faith that does justice, and I wanted to be a part of the warm, welcoming and wise community at JST.  I envisioned graduating with an MA and moving on to work for justice in our Church and in our world.  Two years ago, I graduated and began to teach religious studies at Notre Dame, an all-girls Catholic high school located in Belmont, California.  With two years of teaching experience, I can say with confidence that (1) teachers amaze me and (2) I am humbled by the extraordinary work JST alums are doing as teachers and ministers in high schools, colleges, parishes and beyond.  I believe wholeheartedly that JST is a place where students are formed as leaders of conscience, compassion and competence and that as a school we do, indeed, build justice throughout our global community.  Returning to JST this past month and joining the Admissions team, I am thrilled to share both my belief in JST as an educational institution and my confidence in the good work our alums are doing throughout the world with prospective students.  If you have ideas, stories or successes you want to share with prospective students, contact me to let me know: I'd love to hear from you!


Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J. Award

On July 26, as part of the festive celebration commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Instituto Hispano at JST, we had the immense pleasure of awarding the first Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J. Award for Outstanding Contributions to Hispanic Theology and Ecclesial Leadership Formation.  Fr. Deck was the first director of the Instituto Hispano and has recently returned to us as one of our newest members of the Board of Directors.  Fr. Deck's leadership and vision made sound theological and ministerial professional development possible for participants from across the country.  This year marked the largest enrollment in the Instituto's history.

The esteemed recipient of this inaugural award was Father Virgilio Elizondo, a respected theologian and pastoralist who is considered the father of U.S. Hispanic theology.  Fr. Elizondo is also a long-time member of the JST Board of Directors and a great friend to the school. 

Please see the forthcoming issue of Bridge magazine for an article featuring this year's Instituto Hispano and the 25th anniversary celebration.

Scholarship Honoring Bishop Emeritus Cummins Established

Bishop Emeritus John Cummins

A longtime benefactor and board member of JST has helped launch a $230,000 endowed scholarship fund in honor of Oakland Bishop Emeritus John S. Cummins. The initial donor is Thomas E. Bertelsen, Jr., JST alumnus and chairman of the JST Board of Directors.  Other board members and friends of JST have also contributed to the fund. The donations have created the John S. Cummins Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships for students from Asian countries – especially Mongolia, East Timor and Nepal — to attend JST.  “We are grateful to Tom Bertelsen and the other donors for helping open wider the doors of JST to theology scholars around the world,” said Michael Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University and JST alumnus. “This is true to the Jesuit Catholic spirit of advancing the mission of the Church, wherever the need is greatest.” Bishop Cummins devoted 25 years of his life to helping the Catholic Church in some of the least advantaged parts of Asia, where he served as a “fraternal delegate” to the General Assemblies of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences. “Bishop Cummins has seen the need for top Asian theologians and pastoral ministers to receive advanced theological teaching despite economic obstacles,” said Thomas Massaro, S.J., dean of JST. “This generous gift honors and advances that dedication.” Bishop Cummins began his relationship with the Jesuit School of Theology in 1962, when he became chancellor of the Diocese of Oakland and was made liaison to the three Catholic theological schools that were part of the GTU. He served on the board of directors of JST for ten years, stepping down in June. “Bishop Cummins has been a longtime supporter of JST and other schools in the Graduate Theological Union,” said Bertelsen. “I am happy that this fund will support worthy students from around the world who share his values.”


  • Are you interested in helping develop a more active JST alumni network?  We are looking for volunteers to serve as alumni coordinators. Contact us to learn more about this exciting opportunity.
  • We know that you have great ideas about how alumni can contribute to the JST community.  Perhaps you know about job opportunities for graduates, have ministerial field experience contacts, are interested in mentoring a current student, would like to network with other alumni, or have some other suggestions.  Please contact us to share your ideas about how you and other alumni can be more involved with JST. 
  • What are you doing now?  We'd love to hear your updates, both personal and professional.  If you aren't receiving the Bridge Magazine, we may not have your most recent contact information on file.  E-mail or fill out our contact update form online to be sure you're on the mailing list. 


  • Deborah RossJST welcomes Dr. Deborah Ross as the new Director of Ministerial Formation.  Prof. Ross received her B.A. in theology, religious studies, and English from St. Mary's University College, Twickenham, London. She received her M.Th. and Ph.D. from Heythrop College, the Jesuit College of the University of London. Her Ph.D. focused upon the spiritual transformation of adults who had participated in the RCIA faith-formation process. Dr. Ross has worked in various pastoral ministry and academic research roles. She helped to establish a Heythrop College-based project involving diverse church groups and non-profit agencies in London and the UK. The project facilitated theological reflection upon evangelization and mission, empowering individuals in faith-based organizations to become more skilled practitioners. Dr. Ross' academic interests include Christian initiation, practical theology, theological anthropology, and theological themes within film and English literature.
  • Jerusalem from the Mount of OlivesThis semester, Prof. Gina Hens-Piazza will be offering a course entitled "Children of Sarah, Hagar and Mary."  Literal cheers erupted here at JST when the course was announced (scaring those of us in the Development office at the time) and this excitement has only increased as the semester gets underway this week. This course will explore scriptural stories, histories, and interreligious issues concerning women across the three great traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, considering common and distinctive topics that characterize these religious cultures and how they might be addressed in the context of dialogue among the women of these communities. The course culminates in a two-week experience in Jerusalem, Israel during the January Intersession, when students will visit the significant religious sites associated with their study and participate in learning opportunities with women living there.  See below for a special request from Prof. Hens-Piazza and participant Terésa Franco for your involvement in this journey. 
  • NepalThis year's Interreligious Immersion will take participants to Nepal in January to study Buddhism, including Tibetan, traditional Newar and Theravada Buddhism.  This learning experience, led by Prof. Ahn Tran, S.J., is offered in cooperation with Kathmandu University's Centre for Buddhist Studies.  For those of you who graduated before 2009, the Interreligious Immersion program may be unfamiliar and we encourage you to watch some of the videos created by JST participants, which are available on our YouTube page. More information about the Interreligious Immersion program can be found at


Sr. Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M., Professor Emerita at JST, published the third and final volume of her Religious Life in a New Millennium series in July. Buying the Field: Catholic Religious Life in Mission to the World (Paulist Press, 2013) continues her rethinking of the traditional religious vows in the context of postmodernism, reaching back into the gospels for the meaning of world in order to discern the meaning of renunciation of the world by religious, examining the vow of poverty both in its economic and spiritual sense as well as the vow of obedience.

Thomas CattoiProf. Thomas Cattoi edited a collection of essays entitled Many Tongues, One Spirit: Local Ecclesiologies in Dialogue (Solstice Press, 2013). The volume collects the revised (and in some cases greatly expanded) essays presented by seventeen scholars at a very fruitful  symposium held at JST in May of 2009.  The scholarly work gathered represents a major contribution to the Catholic Church's ongoing reflection on the nature of the Christian community throughout the world.  This groundbreaking research greatly advances the dialogue between faith and diverse cultures, and promotes a constructive reconsideration of the authentic sources of the vitality of the Church in our contemporary world. 


Professor Gina Hens-Piazza and Participant Terésa Franco invite you to help

Sarah"In a world where the socio-political impact of Judaism, Christian and Islam is so pronounced, the importance of women's issues across these three great religious needs little explanation," says Professor Hens-Piazza of an exciting new opportunity for students this year.  "OT 4050 - Children of Sarah, Hagar and Mary is a semester-long study of women in the scriptural stories, histories, and traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam that culminates in a 2-week contextual experience in Jerusalem.  Students' experience in the classroom will be magnified and contextualized during our many learning activities focused upon women in Jerusalem, a city important and sacred to all three religious groups." The experience of following in the footsteps of these biblical women and their modern-day successors will be shared by six lay women and six Jesuit scholastics from two different academic programs. 

MaryTerésa Franco offers a student perspective on the importance of this course: "Since the start of my M.A. program at JST, I have been radically changed by new ways of looking at and being in the world. I am so grateful for the perspectives of my instructors and peers that have shown me the importance of priviliging the lived experience of those I am less likely to hear. When I first learned of this unique learning experience, I was deeply drawn to the importance of listening to the stories of women of faith in Jerusalem. Understanding their beliefs as they are lived out in the world is the key to understanding the beauty and truth that their traditions carry. The Hagaropportunity to work under Gina Hens-Piazza, with such a passionate and interested group of peers, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This course offers the chance to work with others toward healing and peace and, more importantly, the chance to learn and grow from the wisdom of those we encounter. With your support, I hope that this opportunity will be fully realized."  

Each student is being asked to help defray the costs of the travel portion of this course through personal contributions and fundraising efforts.  We hope that you will consider helping to make their experience possible.


For more upcoming events at JST, please see our calendar at



Tuesday Night Lecture Series | Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M. (JST)


"Reading the New Testament as the Word of God" - Lecture 1 of 3




Tuesday Night Lecture Series | Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M. (JST)


"Reading the New Testament as the Word of God" - Lecture 2 of 3




Tuesday Night Lecture Series | Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M. (JST)


"Reading the New Testament as the Word of God" - Lecture 3 of 3




Vatican II Lecture Series | John Baldovin, S.J. (Boston College)


"Vatican II and the Renewal of the Liturgy"




Theology in the City: San Francisco | Lisa Fullam (JST)


Please contact us if you would like to receive an invitation at or 510-549-5041. 





Vatican II Lecture Series | Thomas Cattoi (JST) & Marianne Farina, C.S.C. (DSPT)


"Vatican II and Interreligious Dialogue"


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