Never too old to fall in love

Fr. Bernie talks about his thesis

At 83, Fr. Bernie successfully defends his thesis

“After 60 years I found my true love,” said Fr. Bernie Rosinski, SCJ, as he began the public defense of his thesis for a master’s degree in Scripture from Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology.

The “true love” he was referring to is Scripture. “It preoccupies me,” he said. “I wish that I knew more about it. There is no end to knowing. You can learn more and more but then you just find that there is more and more to learn.

“It is replete with mystery, and no exercise, no drills, no courses can lead one to its mysteries better than absolute meditation through devoted study.”

Jennifer Bartholomew, SHSST director of library & support services introduces Fr. Bernie

The defense, which took place March 30 at SHSST, was the culmination of over four years of work. At 79, with degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a doctorate in education from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., Fr. Bernie decided that it was time to work on one more.

When he applied for the master’s program Fr. Bernie was retired and doing help-out ministry in South Dakota (as he continues to do now). When asked what prompted him to return to school he answered with his own questions:

“Why tempt fate?” he said. “Why deliberately stumble over these facts: that I now nap in the morning and afternoon, that my memory is not what it once was, that my eyes do not see what they once were able to see?

“The answer? Interest and desire! Scripture is where God’s revelation to the human race is recorded. I want to learn more about his revelation and how to discern his word and meaning. A formal degree program will help keep my nose to the wheel and help me be motivated when discouraged, for I dread the possibility that my reputation among my SCJ brothers would be forever sullied should I be a ‘drop-out’.

“I like to be known as a person who finishes what he starts!”

Drs. Russell and Lux

And so he did. The title of his thesis is “The Owner of the Vineyard in Matthew 20:1-6; the ‘Evil Eye’ and Other Mysteries.”

After a 30-minute presentation (including a detailed handout on the operation of vineyards), and questions from his thesis director and principal reader (Dr. Richard Lux, professor emeritus of Scripture Studies) and second reader (Dr. Patrick Russell, SHSST academic dean and associate professor of Scripture Studies) Fr. Bernie learned that his defense was indeed a successful one and that he would be awarded his Masters of Arts in Scripture from SHSST.

So what now? He entered into the master’s program so that he would have the discipline to study. At 83 is he going to give himself a break?

“I don’t feel like I need the same structure now,” he said. “There is much that I want to study; the desire to learn is my motivation now.”

His current passion is the Sea of Galilee, the area where much of the ministry of Jesus took place. “Being in Chamberlain, on the shore of the Missouri River, has prompted me to think about Galilee, wondering what it was like in Jesus’ time. There must have been many boats, towns. There had to have been a system for docking, rental fees, taxes. I’d love to study the many activities that took place along the lake.”

Congratulations Fr. Bernie!

Click here to view more photos.

Fr. Bernie listens to a question from Dr. Russell