Sr. Jeana Visel, OSB

Preparing for Pedagogy

"I am evidence of how the work of Saint John's School of Theology∙Seminary is important to the future of the Church." 

Sr. Jeana Visel, OSB

Upon graduation with my M.A. in Monastic Studies, I was offered a graduate level summer teaching position at St. Meinrad School of Theology. The course I am teaching is based on the subject of my graduate thesis: Icons in the East and West. 

The fact that I am working at a seminary and school of theology without a doctorate is in itself a great gift, but it would not be happening had I not first come to Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary - an opportunity made possible through your gifts! 

I came to Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary because I wanted to study Monastic Studies, and honestly, this is the only place in the U.S. to do it. Because I came here, I was able to study with world renown scholar Fr. Columba Stewart, OSB. He became my thesis director and has influenced the work I am doing now. 

As a monastic, I have read the Rule of Benedict many times, but it is only since doing my academic work at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary that I fully appreciate what he means when in one of the last chapters, he tells people that this is just a start for beginners, and if you really want to grow, go to "our holy father Basil," go to The Institutes [of Cassian], go to The Conferences [of Cassian], and the Lives [of the Desert Fathers]. The Rule of Benedict is a great starting point, but these other sources he points to are RICH. There is a whole Eastern tradition elucidating what we as Benedictines should be about at prayer. There's a tradition of liturgy, of images, of devotional prayer, of fasting and other ascetic practices. That tradition is rightly also our tradition, because Benedict points us to it! This is a starting point for ecumenical work. 

The education provided at Saint John's is invaluable to my working in the lives of others. I am not only teaching what I learned, but also am in the process of having my thesis published. I could not have attended Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary had the financial support not been available. Gifts like yours make experiences like mine possible. 

As a Benedictine I have learned to seek God in all things. Community life, liturgy, lectio divina, work, and hospitality are all a part of this. Every day I am fed with Scripture, Sacraments, and the love of God mediated through my community. It is a life-giving joy, one of which I am more deeply aware because of my education at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. 

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