April 2012

Question:

Dear Abbot Pennings,

Many years ago in my younger days when Bart Starr was still the Green Bay Packers coach, I attended the Summer Theological Institute. I am wondering if that is still being offered, or if there is something akin to that for us old duffers who may want a quick uplift in our spiritual renewal?

Thank you,
Mary Symak

Answer:

My dearest Mary,

I thank you kindly for inquiring on this topic. Given my role, I find the quest for spiritual renewal of particular interest. Fortunately, opportunities to pursue it abound, both on and near campus.

One path to spiritual enrichment lies in the college’s Master of Theological Studies program. Spiritual seekers may participate in individual courses within this degree program, including classes on catechetical ministry, pastoral ministry and spirituality. We are more than delighted that we also have students pursuing this program through the abbey’s newly independent daughter house at Santa Maria de la Vid in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Furthermore, the Norbertine Center for Spirituality, located within our beloved St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, offers much reflective programming. Daylong and overnight retreats provide respite from the secular world; spiritual direction guides individuals in experiencing the divine more powerfully; and lecture series enlighten participants in matters of theology and faith.

These sources of spiritual renewal more than fill the hole left by the now defunct Summer Theological Institute. Dwindling attendance led organizers to discontinue that program in 2005.

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.