Learning to use the gospel message to transform the world

Students and faculty at the Cor Unum retreat.

New SHSST master’s program at full capacity

Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology begins the 2017-18 school year with a significant new program in its course offerings: “Cor Unum.” Using a cohort model of education, where students work together as an educational community, participants will earn a Master of Arts degree through a hybrid instructional model consisting of classroom and online components. Students take six credits a semester, completing their MA in 22 months.

The first cohort class quickly filled to its capacity of 14; the application deadline for next year’s class is January 15.

“I had been a federal prosecutor for almost 30 years,” said Bill, a member of the first class. “Now I want to do something in reentry or prison ministry. How can I heal a fractured world? That is where my spiritual journey is taking me. It is the path that I have been on all these years, seeing where that hurt and woundedness is of the world, particularly in the prisons, and then doing something about it. This [Cor Unum] will give me the theological background to make that dream actionable.”

The Cor Unum initiative has two primary and complementary goals. The first, explained Dr. Patrick Russell (SHSST Chief Academic Officer and Vice President for Intellectual Formation), is to develop within students a profound encounter with Jesus Christ through the study of Scripture and tradition that leads to a greater passion for the work of the Kingdom of God in renewing the Church and the world.

The second is to help students respond to God’s call to transform a fractured world through the gospel’s message of healing, justice, and mercy. Throughout the 22 months, Catholic theological concepts are constantly integrated into broader social contexts.

The program was developed by Dr. Russell and Dr. John Olesnavage (SHSST Vice President for Pastoral Formation). Start-up costs were covered by a $48,500 innovation grant from the Association of Theological Schools. Also, a scholarship fund for cohort students, named after the founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, was established with a $75,000 grant from the Priests of the Sacred Heart that was matched by $75,000 from the SHSST endowment. Development goals are to build the fund to $625,000.

The first Cor Unum class kicked off the year with a retreat in August led by Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, a member of the province formation team.

“The retreat was a marvelous success; it really built a sense of community between the cohort members and the faculty,” said Dr. Russell.  “We think this dynamic program is going to really make a difference”

Click here to learn more about the Cor Unum initiative on the SHSST website.

Click here to view several video testimonials from members of the first class.