Meet the New Class!

Bookmark and Share

September 13, 2017

23 incoming students entered Emmaus Hall this September, with the aspirations of seeking truth and pursuing wisdom, together in the Benedictine tradition. Learn six of their stories here!


Master of Divinity

Hello everyone, my name is Cindy Gonzalez. I am from Bell, California which is part of the very large city of Los Angeles. I am a first year student at the Graduate School of Theology pursing a Masters in Divinity and expected to graduate in 2020. I  completed my undergraduate studies at The College of St. Benedict, once a Bennie always a Bennie! After graduating from St. Ben's with a degree in Asian Studies and Chinese I moved to San Francisco, with my now husband, and worked in a few tech start-ups as a "culture" cultivator. I basically made sure employees were happy at work and curated events to promote team building. After about three years in the start-up world my husband and I welcomed our son to the world. Labor almost took my life. With help from God and a hospital chaplain I was able to heal from such a beautiful yet traumatic experience. It wasn't long after that I realized hospital chaplaincy with a focus on maternal health was something I needed to do.

I chose Saint John's SOT because of it's strong focus on the Benedictine Values. I did my research and couldn't pass on the amazing opportunity to be taught by some of the world's leading Theologians. I hope to do research on maternal health and the sacrament of marriage through a Theological lens. I also hope to grow spirituality by participating in Spiritual Direction and learning from my fellow classmates about their faith.  I am an amateur motherhood blogger and you will probably see me waving hello to everyone, strangers and friends, while pushing my baby around in his stroller around Collegeville.



Master of Theological Studies

My name is Andrew Remick, and I am a native of Rochester, Minnesota. Before beginning the Master of Theological Studies degree this fall, I worked at the University of Notre Dame with its Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) for more than three years. While I provided logistical and liturgical support for many of ACE’s initiatives, I worked most closely with its three school leadership formation programs. During this time, I also was a member of the Notre Dame Folk Choir. I have been involved in music ministry since 2006, and these joyful experiences at parishes in Philadelphia and Rochester, as well as at Notre Dame inspired me to pursue further studies at Saint John's and add a theological lens to my background in history and architectural history.

After visiting Saint John's in the fall of 2016, I knew it would be the best place for me to study and grow as a minister. From friends and mentors, I was familiar with the SOT’s outstanding reputation as a leader in liturgical studies. During my time on campus though, I came to appreciate the exceptional environment Saint John's offers for examining the dynamic connections between the arts and spirituality, all of which is rooted in the rich prayer life of the Abbey. Following the completion of my degree in 2019, I hope to serve in Campus Ministry, supporting the liturgical life of a college or high school community. I am excited for the next two years that I will spend at Saint John's and eager to see how my SOT courses, instructors, and my fellow students will challenge me and foster my work as a liturgical minister.



Master of Theology, Spirituality

My name is Howard Andre Gore the Second but you may call me Andre. I am originally born and raised from Hollywood Florida, but I am also a resident of one of the greatest states in the south, North Carolina! Full time master's degree seeking student in the School of Theology I plan on graduation Fall of 2019 with a focus in Spirituality. Proud alumni of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton Florida, GO OWLS! HOOT! HOOT! Recently I was a head student Ambassador for Admissions within my university and a proud president of the Outrageous Omicron Chapter of Alpha Nu Omega Inc., Christian Fraternity. 

I choose Saint John's because this is where God has called me to gain a higher understanding of this world's relationship with him. My hopes are to survive this infamous 'Minnesota cold,' as well pick up on the Catholic traditions (I'm protestant). I do aspire to do exceedingly well academically and meet individuals I normally wouldn’t associate with. After my time at Saint John’s I hope to attain my Doctorate degree while inspiring and teaching others about the greatness of God and how they too can conquer this obstacle called life.  

A random hobby, interest, or skill would have to be I collect random baseball (practice style) caps, while being interested in learning about most people cultures I meet. A random skill I have is being able to step to any beat to play before me.



Master of Arts in Ministry

Hi, my name is Connie Friebohle in the Master of Arts in Ministry planning to graduate in 2019!  I am living in Baxter, MN driving to and from the campus.  I live with my husband Russ who recently retired from the railroad.  He worked over 41 years for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.  I just finished my undergrad in community psych this past spring.  I was able to do my internship at quiet oaks in St. Augusta, MN.  This is a Hospice House.  I am hoping to do hospice ministry when I graduate.  I currently volunteer with horizon health and at Bethany in Brainerd. In prayer, I have felt encouraged to continue my education. When visiting with several past graduates of the SOT at SJU they encouraged me to apply.  After meeting Andy and visiting the campus, I felt better about the possibility.  I spent a couple of hours in prayer at the Abbey Church just in contemplation and opening myself up to hear God speak.  I left that day with a sense of peace and assuredness that I was on a journey and God is my director.  So I just said "Here I am Lord, I am willing!"

I pray with people. I have done this for many years. I believe in the power of prayer and I also believe that it is in community that we are at our best. I believe we are created to live in community. When one member hurts, we are all affected.  I try to open myself up to Gods will in all that I do every day. I love to knit it's soothing to me to get into the rhythm of the pattern and then to see the project being created and then



Master of Arts in Liturgical Music

Hello! My name is Samantha Delke and I am a first-year Liturgical Music student at St. John's University.  I am also currently in a Ministerial Residency position (provided by SJU) as the Worship and Music Coordinator at Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph.  I spent the last 3 years living in Quito, Ecuador working as a Performing Arts teacher for a Jewish primary school.  I originally went to Ecuador as an exchange student during my undergraduate studies of Music and Spanish at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI.  While in Ecuador, I was a part of my host university's music program and met another musician, my now-husband Doménico.  He and I decided last year that it was time for me to return to school and that he would make the move to the USA. (We'll see how the winters go...)

I chose SJU because of the warmth and welcoming community atmosphere I was shown throughout the application process, as I was applying from Ecuador, I made things rather difficult for the admissions office!  But as of now, I have not regretted it at all.  These first few weeks have been wonderful in so many ways, as I have met outstanding professors, helpful faculty, and other eager-to-learn students.  I hope that when I leave here, I will be a confident, well-rounded musician that can serve others within the church and be a light of Christ for the world through song.  

In my free time (which doesn't seem to happen often) I enjoy spending time outside with my puppy, reading historical fiction, coloring, and car singing to 80's rock!


Sister Edith (Li Jing)

Master of Arts in Ministry

I come from the city of Fuxin in China. My community’s name is the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary. We belong to the Liaoning Diocese in the northern part of China. China is shaped like a Chicken, and we are located in the chicken’s throat. I am in the Masters of Art in Ministry program and hope to graduate in 2020. I took my first vows 10 years ago and worked in parishes for 7 years. After taking my final vows, 3 years ago, I had been working in the community first for the local superior, and then I became the local superior, before I came here. 

I chose Saint John’s School of Theology because it is the place of the most beautiful liturgy that I have heard of in America. And the environment is so beautiful. Before I came here, I knew that Minnesota’s people were so kind and friendly. My superior introduced me to study here. With the degree, I plan to return to my country to serve the people of my parish in China. My concentration is in Pastoral Ministry. In China, as a result of the Cultural Revolution, I want more people to know God and I want to serve the people who have or who don’t have religion. I am not a traditional Christian but I have found that Catholicism is so beautiful, and in the way that God has influenced my life, I hope to help more people to know God and love God. I want to share my religion with everyone. In China we don’t have a good standard for Catholic liturgy, so I want to keep the Catholic liturgy in China, to influence more people to know God more. During liturgy, music lets more people experience God in their heart deeply, to know God by the liturgy in music.  I think I was called by God to lead more people to Him. I want more people to know God, like I have been able to. 

When I am not working or studying, I like to play piano, swim, zumba, walk, play badminton, volleyball, ping-pong, tennis, and listen to music.