Inpiring CTU Alumni StoriesThere are countless alumni embodying CTU’s vision to be a transformative force in the Church and world. We invite you to read these inspirational profiles of CTU alumni in myriad ministries, representing only a fraction of the women and men – religious and laity – bringing about God’s kingdom on Earth.
Hospital Chaplain, Community First Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital and St. Bernard's Hospital
As a black chaplain in a city that has long had health inequalities that break down along racial lines, Cobb was not surprised that COVID-19 hit the city’s black population hard. But even he was shocked to see how many black people were filling the ICU beds and requiring ventilators in the two hospitals where he works. The citywide data is similarly stark — black people account for about 70% of the coronavirus deaths in Chicago but make up only 30% of the population.
Staff Chaplain, Northwestern Medicine
It was March 11, the day that the pandemic was announced by the World Health Organization, when Sharon Dobbs became a full-time chaplain at Northwestern Medicine. After almost 15 years of preparation—as a Minister of Care serving the University of Chicago Hospitals and St. Thomas the Apostle homebound—Sharon Dobbs was ready to be designated an “essential worker.”
Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP
Chaplain, Loyola University Medical Center
Sister Xiomara Méndez-Hernández, OP, A Dominican sister and a CTU graduate, was on duty at Loyola University Medical Center when the very first COVID-19 patient died in that hospital. A moment she will never forget. Her role as chaplain led her to accompany the grieving family through the harrowing reality of the death of a loved one in a time of pandemic.
Luz Eugenia Alvarez, MDiv ’14
Associate Director of Instituto Pastoral, University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary
Oscar Romero Scholar Luz Eugenia Alvarez is an Associate Director of the Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, where she teaches and directs formation programs preparing Latin@ lay ministers for service in the Archdiocese of Chicago and other Dioceses. She is also an adjunct faculty at Dominican University where teaches a Latin@ Theology course and has facilitated theological reflection at CTU. While completing her MDiv at CTU, Luz served as a volunteer every Friday at the Broadview Detention Center, helping families of loved ones who were being deported.
Mary Amore, DMin ’04, MAPS ’99
Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries
Mary Amore has served the church in an extraordinary way as the Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries, a Center for Christian Spirituality in the greater Chicago area. Mary herself embodies the kind of thoughtful and dedicated commitment to the mission of the church that her programs have helped instill in thousands of participants in her program. An engaging presenter, Mary has also proclaimed the gospel through her frequent appearances on satellite radio and cable television.
Cynthia “Sam” Bowns, MDiv ’12 (deceased)
In July of 2020, we were devastated to learn that Sam Bowns had passed away. We join all those who knew Sam in mourning the loss of a beloved CTU Community member.
A familiar face at CTU from her time in the Development Office, Sam Bowns devoted her energy in her final years to activism for the ordination of Women Deacons. She held a leadership role for the Congregation of St. Joseph in Cleveland, preached at multiple parishes throughout the Midwest and co-facilitated a retreat in San Francisco on “Women’s Restoration to the Diaconate,” the second of its kind. Her work and journey have been featured in the National Catholic Reporter, CatholicWomenPreach.com and on PBS.
Gioacchino Campese, MA ’96
Professor at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome
Gioacchino is a prime example of CTU’s strong commitment to the church’s universal mission. His interest in mission is not simply academic but is combined with a strong, practical commitment to service. After receiving his MA at CTU, Gioacchino completed the doctorate in missiology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome. Before that he worked for several years at the Casa del Migrante en Tijuana on the Mexico/US border. He currently teaches in the Pastoral theology and Human Mobility at the Pontifical Urbaniana University and directs Casa Scalabrini 634, a center that practices the culture of welcoming and integration among refugees, migrants and native Italians.
James Cassidy, MDiv ’79
Founder of Arm in Arm in Africa
CTU graduate Fr. James Cassidy, after 15 years of ministering within the AIDS community in the Twin Cities, founded Arm In Arm In Africa (AIAIA) in 2000 as part of his ongoing response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His focus became South Africa, the epicenter of the world’s AIDS crisis, and a nation that continues to struggle with the ongoing effect of HIV. Fr. Cassidy continues as president of AIAIA, a non-profit which continues to provide yearly delegations to South Africa. In addition to a 35-year career in providing hospice care, Fr. Cassidy remains a member of the pastoral staff at St. Joan of Arc, one of the larger, welcoming Catholic communities in the Twin Cities.
Emily (Ruskamp) Cortina, MA-ICM ’15
Minister at Kolbe House
A Nebraska native, Emily was drawn into ministry while serving as a youth mentor with Incarnate Word Missionaries in Chimbote, Peru, where she became captivated by the power of parishes as agents of community development. The incarceration experience of her husband, as well as her exposure to reconciliation and restorative justice through studies and practicum at CTU deepened and clarified her calling. Since 2017, Emily has worked at Kolbe House, the jail ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago, where she practices and teaches the relationship-centered values of restorative justice through family ministry, parish outreach, and volunteer formation.
Gerald Galipeau, DMin ’99
Executive Director of Mission Integration at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center
Dr. Jerry Galipeau serves as Executive Director of Mission Integration for three Catholic hospitals in Connecticut, including Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, which was just named one of the 100 best hospitals in the United States by IBM Watson. He served as Vice President and Chief Publishing Officer at J.S. Paluch Company and its music and liturgy division, World Library Publications. He also served as Director of Liturgy and Music at parishes in Florida and Illinois. Jerry is an author and presents widely on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, liturgical spirituality, and adult spiritual formation. He is a past chair of the Board of Directors of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
Edwina Gateley, MTS ’81
Author, Founder of the Volunteer Missionary Movement
Edwina had extensive ministry experience even before she began her Master of Pastoral Studies degree from CTU. She served as a lay missionary in Africa and upon her return to England she founded the Volunteer Missionary Movement, sending many others to be with the people in Africa. After her graduation from CTU she founded Genesis House in Chicago. Edwina has written extensively and is in demand as a speaker for her passionate commitment to the gospel and for serve to the poor.
Bill Huebsch, MTS ’82
Publisher and Teacher
Bill Huebsch is an author, theologian, former director of religious education, farmer, and long-time Catholic publishing professional. He is founder of PastoralPlanning.com and past president of Twenty-Third Publications. Bill writes and teaches extensively on the catechetical mission of the Church and on the importance of continuing to implement the vision of the Second Vatican Council. Bill served as a diocesan administrator for many years in Minnesota, later serving as Director of Religious Education in a suburban Minneapolis parish.
Patricia Hughes, DMin ’03
Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Dallas
Shaped initially as a parish organist, Dr. Patricia Hughes has ministered in the Church for over forty years. Currently the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Dallas and an adjunct professor in the Neuhoff Graduate School of Ministry at the University of Dallas, Dr. Hughes has served in similar roles in Louisville, Kentucky and Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2017 she authored Celebrating Sunday for Catholic Families, keynoted the National Gathering on Christian Initiation in 2018, and has a regular column for Pastoral Liturgy magazine.
Noel Keller, RSM, MA ’94
Director of the Institute for Sacred Scripture, Sisters of Mercy
Mercy sister, Noel Keller completed her studies at CTU concentrating on Scripture and went to earn a doctorate. In that capacity she has served as the leader and driving force of the Scripture Institute at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania since its inception. The institute brings together biblical faculty from across the country and offers courses to priests, religious and laity. Over the course of the years, Noel’s dedicated work has brought the beauty of the Scriptures to thousands.
Leocadie Lushumbo, MA ’14
PhD Candidate, Boston College
Leocadie is a lay consecrated woman in the Teresian Institute founded by Saint Pedro Poveda in Spain in 1914 and a Congolese native. She completed her Masters in Theological Ethics at CTU and is now PhD candidate at Boston College in theological ethics. She brings to her studies an exceptional experience as a community organizer in her home country and has been a leading protector of women threatened with rape as a weapon of war and an exponent of the political rights of women in Africa.
Julia McStravog, MA ’14
Program Manager, Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust; Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies; US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Upon graduation from CTU, Julia began as a research and program specialist for the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops where she worked on key initiatives for the bishops, including assisting the Vatican Accredited Media Personnel for Pope Francis’s apostolic visit to the United States. and a 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate Conference at the Catholic University of America. A seminary alumna of prestigious Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics, she is now designing and implementing Holocaust education programming in her new position with the Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Julia is also pursuing her ThD at La Salle University in Philadelphia.
Sherry Meyer, MTS ’91
Originally from Indianapolis, Sherry worked under Cardinal Bernadin while studying at CTU. After graduation, Sherry was prepared and sent as a lay missionary for Arua Catholic Diocese in Uganda by Edwina Gately’s Volunteer Missionary Movement. Though her intention was a two-year commitment, she is now in her 28th year—serving as a consultant to what is now fully Ugandan leadership. Sherry’s ministry in Arua has included teaching, adapting texts for training centers, building a pastoral center and founding a diocesan radio.
In August 2019, Sherry’s work was featured in an article in America Magazine.
Kathleen Mitchell, FSPA, MA ’11, DMin ’14
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, Associate Dean of Formation, Associate Director of the Teaching Parish Program
Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, Sr. Kathleen Mitchell, is Associate Dean of Formation, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and Associate Director of the Teaching Parish Program at Mundelein Seminary. Sr. Kathleen has ministered in teaching, faith formation, young adult ministry, vocation ministry and ministry with media. She has a BA in History and Communications from Emmanuel University in Boston, MA; and an MEd from Loyola University in Chicago. Sr. Kathleen enjoys working with persons of other cultures and feels she is the best of herself when ministering in settings that mirror the Catholic Church and the world in all its diversity.
Jay Moses, MA ’13
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton
Jay earned degrees from Azusa Pacific University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Northern Seminary before earning a Masters in Theology from CTU in Interreligious Dialogue specifically in Islamic Studies. He served in multiple Southern California parishes before joining First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton in 2004 as Pastor of Congregational Ministries. Jay has been on staff at Chicago Presbytery as the Muslim Relation Coordinator in reaching out to the Islamic community, and is currently the moderator of the Ecumenical and Interreligious Work Group.
Michael Poradek, MA ’15
Director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin
Michael Poradek currently serves as the Director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Since 2015 he has served as the first lay principal Master of Ceremonies for the Diocese and teaches as an Adjunct Instructor at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc. Michael serves as the national Vice-Chair and Region VII (Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana) Representative for the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. His ongoing research focus is leadership formation for rural Catholic parishes.
Gary Riebe-Estrella, SVD, MA ’74
Dean Emeritus, Catholic Theological Union
A member of the Divine Word Missionaries, Gary Riebe-Estrella was one of the first graduates from CTU. He went on to a leadership role, serving as the president of ACHTUS (the Academy of Hispanic Theologians) twice, first in 1996-97 and again in 2009-10. He served as the Vice President and Academic Dean of CTU for twelve years. Gary’s activism and his early experiences in pastoral ministry with Latin@ communities has brought him the opportunities to work with many religious orders and organizations as a diversity consultant. His publications in the area of Latin@ theologies and ministries are numerous, and establish Gary’s place as one of the first CTU religious alums to make a mark in Latin@ theologies and ministries.
Joshua MDiv ’13, MA ’19 and Ellen Salmi-Van Cleef, MA ’16
Co-Directors of Parish Life at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Jackson, Kentucky
After graduation from CTU and their wedding, Josh and Ellen headed to Kentucky to work within a new model of Church leadership. They are co-directors of a small rural parish, working to respond to the needs of the community in the absence of a priest. They offer the church as a whole a hopeful vision of how community is formed and missions its love back out to the rest of the world. They are redefining what we mean by lay leadership in the church.
Barbara MA ’90 and Norman Shanahan, MTS ’89
Emeritus Executive Director Catholic Biblical Studies Program Buffalo
Barbara and her late husband Norman assumed leadership of the Catholic Biblical Studies program in Buffalo, New York in 1991 and expanded it to multiple sites in parishes all over western New York State. Barb has enriched parishes with her knowledge of Scripture as well as her abilities to organize and present scripture-based programs in a variety of settings with excellent speakers and presenters, many from CTU. Barb took the knowledge of Scripture that she learned at CTU and shared it with people in her community. She helped to train others to do the same. Thus she has instilled a love and understanding for the Word of God thus fulfilling Christ’s command to go out and preach the gospel.
Glenda Spearman, MDiv ’04
Chaplain at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Winner of the Bishop Quarter Award for Vicariate VI, Glenda Spearman is a chaplain at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She coordinates ministry to Catholic patients and families, supervises the ministers of care, and is actively involved in the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. Her welcoming presence to patients, visitors and staff are often accompanied by a gentle embrace and sign of peace. She is a woman of deep faith whose ministry incarnates the healing, compassionate, merciful presence of Jesus.
Mary Ann Pauss Spina, MDiv ’92, MA 2001
Pastoral Associate, Pastoral Counselor, Spiritual Director, Writer
Mary Ann Spina’s dedication to her parish and to the various ministries and organizations that she has been a part of, including her work with Faith in Action in Lake County, is inspiring to witness. Her M.Div. degree from CTU shaped and encouraged her strong pastoral sense. She found great joy in journeying with those coming to the faith through RCIA and encouraged others to become involved in parish ministry and in social justice activities.
Fran Sulzer, FSPA, DMin ’96
Sr. Fran’s doctoral work was related to rekindling the founding charism of her religious community. She currently serves as a spiritual director, facilitator and psychotherapist in Chicago. She also runs spiritual companioning groups at St. Peter’s in the Loop. Sr. Fran reflects the mission of CTU in her commitment to the mental and spiritual health of religious and lay people and to her vocation in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
Clara Ternes, ASC, MA ’76 (deceased)
Former Vice President at Southern Illinois Health Systems
Sr. Clara Ternes held degrees from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, and CTU. As a dedicated medical professional for almost 60 years, Sr. Clara ministered in Pastoral Care at a variety of Illinois hospitals, taught at the Institute of Religion in Houston and Texas Woman’s University, and then served for 19 years as Vice President of Mission, Values and Ethics for the Southern Illinois Health Systems in Carbondale, Illinois. She was professed for 72 years as an Adorer of the Blood of Christ.
Dr. Michael Trainor, MA ’82
Vice President of the International Council of Christians and Jews Australian member of the Adelaide archdiocese; noted biblical scholar
Rev. Dr. Michael Trainor AM studies models of learning and leadership from the earliest households of Jesus followers and offers an ecological interpretation of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. He teaches at the Adelaide Campus of the Australian Catholic University, Adelaide, with academic teaching status with Flinders University, South Australia. Michael is Board member of the International Council of Christians and Jews; Chair of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews, co-chair of the South Australian Council of Christians and Jews; and co-chair of the South Australian Uniting Church and Roman Catholic Dialogue. He is also pastor of the parish of Lockleys, South Australia.
Published Spring 2019
Susan Abraham, MA ’95
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Pacific School of Religion
After completing her Masters of Arts degree in theology, Susan, a native of India, has gone on to a very distinguished academic career, earning a ThD from Harvard Divinity School,…
Joe Boland, MA ’07
Vice President for Mission, Catholic Extension
Joe began his career in was a caseworker at Catholic Charities Chicago and has a Master of Public Service Management from DePaul University. Awarded a Bernardin scholarship, he earned a…
Salvatore Carzedda, PIME, MDiv ’77
After his graduation from CTU in 1977, Salvatore was assigned to the Philippines. Amongst his fellow religious, Salvatore was playfully called “Mouth of Gold” because his voice was clear and…
Cheryl Cattledge, MDiv ’11
Director of Campus Ministry, Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School
After earning her Master of Divinity degree at CTU and completing the Augustus Tolton Scholars Program, Cheryl became Campus Minister at the newly established Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School on the west side of Chicago. Her work combines high school campus ministry, religious education, and her passion for fostering an authentic Christian spirit in the entire school. Her Peer Ministry Program provides the students at CTK the opportunity to develop leadership skills and to serve God within their peer community.
Susan Francois, CSJP, MA ’15
Leadership Team, Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace
Susan has used her theological training as a Master of Arts in theology graduate to engage in public media on behalf of the gospel. In addition to serving on the…
Graham Golden, OPraem, MDiv ’15 (deceased)
Pastor, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Albuquerque, NM
A member of the Norbertine religious community, Graham completed a dual degree program with CTU and the University of Chicago School of Social work, an in-depth preparation for his life-long…
Jeffrey Haller, OFM, MDiv ’91
The ministry of Brother Jeffrey Haller, OFM, embodies the missionary and global spirit of CTU. From 1991 to 2005 he worked in China as a member of a new missionary…
Kermit Holl, OSC, MDiv ’90
Prior and Vicar
During his life as a member of the Crosier religious community, Kermit has drawn on his CTU training to serve in a variety of positions within society and the church.…
Su Hood, MTS ’84
Guardian ad Litem
Su began her life in ministry when she joined the Volunteer Missionary Movement and spent time in Uganda. Upon her return to England, she was invited to the United States…
David Kelly, CPPS, DMin ’09, MDiv ’02, MA ’03
Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Executive Director
After many years of dedicated service to incarcerated young men, and others striving to steer clear of incarceration, Fr. Dave was one of the founders of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, which over the last 18 years has grown immensely. Drawing on his advanced study as a Doctor of Ministry graduate Fr. Dave has led that expansion to include job skills training, restorative justice efforts, community support projects, and peace building initiatives.
Beth Knobbe, MDiv ’07
Catholic Relief Services, Relationship Manager
Beth Knobbe was enjoying a successful career in business when she felt the call to devote her life to ministry. After earning her Master of Divinity degree at CTU, she served for several years as campus minister at the Sheil Center, the Catholic campus ministry program at Northwestern University. She now holds a leadership position with Catholic Relief Services, the international agency that channels the generosity of Catholic donors to the world’s most desperate needs. Beth’s ministry embodies the deepest values of CTU’s own mission.
Kim Lamberty, DMin ’10
Catholic Relief Services, Director, University and Mission Engagement
For several years Kim Lamberty was touched by the people of Haiti. In 2006, she founded an initiative called Just Haiti, an organization that sells coffee in the fair-trade solidarity…
John Thomas Lane, SSS, MDiv ’92
Pastor, Saint Paschal Baylon
CTU graduate, Fr. John Thomas Lane belongs to the Blessed Sacrament religious community. For all of his priestly life, he has served in parish ministry–in Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Houston,…
Ryan Lents, MA ’18
Director of the Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity, Archdiocese of Chicago
Before beginning his studies at CTU, Ryan served as the Program Director of Amate House, a young adult service and leadership development program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Ryan…
Judy Logue, MA ’98 and Robert Wheeler, MAPS ’98
In 1993, at the request of then president Donald Senior, Judy Logue was invited to design an innovated formation program for CTU lay students. Later Bob Wheeler joined with Judy…
Patricia Murray, IBVM, MA ’05, DMin ’11
International Union of Superiors General, Executive Director
Doctor of Ministry graduate Sister Pat Murray, IBVM, exemplifies the quality of leadership needed in the global church today. Before coming to CTU, Sister Pat Murray, IBVM, worked in peace…
Claire Noonan, DMin ’10
Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Dominican University
Claire is a mission-centered leader and strategic thinker currently serving as vice president for Mission and Ministry at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. As the University’s chief mission officer, she works to strengthen the Catholic, Dominican identity of the institution and the intellectual and spiritual development of its students, faculty, staff and affiliated community. She led the campus community through a visioning process that produced a strategic plan for 2022 designed to advance Dominican’s commitment to equity, global education, and experiential pedagogy. She speaks locally and nationally on topics such as the Dominican tradition, Ignatian spirituality, interfaith education, and vocation.
Libia Paez-Howard, MDiv ’03
Archdiocese of Chicago, Lifelong Formation Coordinator, Vicariate III
A native of Venezuela, Libia arrived in the United States in 1987 as a volunteer with the Sinsinawa Dominicans, serving as a catechist and a Catholic school aid at Epiphany…
Ezechiele Ramin, MCCJ, MDiv ’79
Called a “Martyr of Charity” by Pope John Paul II, CTU graduate Ezechiele Ramin’s cause for beatification is open since his death. Before being ordained a priest, he participated in mission trips amongst Native American communities in South Dakota, Baja, California and Mexico. This spurred him to join the Comboni Missionaries in 1972 and he was ordained in 1980. Ezechiele was assigned to Brazil where he worked among the poor and landless in situations of poverty, injustice, and death. He fought for peaceful solutions to the conflicts among the campesinos and the landowners, being always at the side of the poorest. That commitment cost him his life; he was assassinated on July 24th, 1985, in Cacoal, Rondônia, Brazil.
Christine Riley, MDiv ’08
Project Coordinator, Homeless Services Division, City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services
Participating in CTU’s Augustus Tolton Scholarship Program changed Christine’s life. She credits the program with enabling her to integrate her professional and spiritual lives in a holistic way. Today she is a project coordinator for the Homeless Services Division of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services, while also serving as part-time director of religious education at St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church. Christine remains active with CTU as chair of the Augustus Tolton Advisory Board and on CTU’s Forward in Faith capital campaign steering committee.
John Ssenyondo, MCCJ, MA/MDiv ’91
Comboni Missionary, Fr. John Ssenyondo takes his place as one of several authentic martyrs who are alums of CTU in its brief history. A native of Uganda, John ministered to…
Kate Williams, MA ’16
Senior Managing Editor, GIA Publications
While serving as a music minister in her home parish in Evanston, Illinois, Kate was awarded a Bernardin scholarship and pursued a Master’s degree at CTU to deepen her appreciate…
Victoria Yeung, DMin ’08
Director of Religious Education in the Diocese of Hong Kong
After Victoria completed the DMin at CTU she taught at Holy Spirit Seminary for several years in Hong Kong. For the last several years she has been the Director of…