Engaging the Difficult Questions
My name is Genevieve Mougey. I'm a 2009 graduate of Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary, where I earned a Master of Divinity degree.
My faith life and devotion to Catholicism were definitely influenced by my upbringing in the small town of North Platte, Nebraska. My mother, a former Catholic elementary school teacher, taught me and my brother and sisters our first lessons in religious education in our home. I can recall my parents leading our family's celebrations during Advent and Lent each year. My parents encouraged me to attend college at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where I was first introduced to the Benedictine values of hospitality, worship, and work.
I remember the very moment I first saw Saint John's Abbey and the University campus. I immediately fell in love with the beauty and serenity of this place where again Benedictine spirituality and values flourished in a great academic setting. I told myself then that if I ever had the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in ministry, it would be at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary, but I would never have been able to enroll had I not received financial support to cover the cost of my tuition. When I learned about the scholarship it was like God answering my prayers and saying to me, "Here is your dream...go do with it what you will." And so I want to thank all the generous donors to the School of Theology·Seminary, who made it possible for me to have this transformational experience.
Being at the School of Theology and Seminary has been rewarding particularly because of the readiness of the students and faculty to engage difficult questions in conversation. For me, some of these challenging questions have been about the issue of workers' rights. From the many documents in our rich tradition of Catholic social teaching, I have come to see that it is our obligation as brothers and sisters in Christ to help one another. The model of Jesus Christ calls us to understand that Christian witness is not about comfort. We are called to be uncomfortable. And so, in the summer of 2008, I chose an internship that I hoped would be another transformational experience.
That summer, as part of an internship with an organization called Interfaith Worker Justice, I spent two months in the Phoenix area with the Iron Workers campaign. I spent my time advocating for the rights of workers. As an example, one large construction company does not provide adequate drinking water on the job site. This is the most frightening of the problems, but not the only one that I learned about from the workers. One of the greatest devastations I witnessed was the palpable racism when we as a group would walk into buildings.
And so I want to say, "THANK YOU" to all the generous donors of Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. I'm not sure where God will eventually call me to serve, although I do know that I will serve faithfully and with gratitude toward those who helped to give me the opportunity to learn more about the Church whose faith I adore.
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