ON THE LAST SATURDAY in October our plane lifted off for the Holy Land. As we changed planes in Vienna, we learned that Fr. Don Senior had a stroke during our flight and was in a coma. The next nine days of the pilgrimage would be filled with prayers for Don. Don had poignant timing. He would not have wanted it any other way than a group of pilgrims being in the Holy Land when we received news of Don’s passing on to eternal life.
Father Don and I had spent hours together at his bedside in the rehabilitation facility—some in preparation for the transfer of responsibility for these trips, and some recalling moments of his remarkable life. Having led more than twenty Holy Land trips myself, I was confident in the terrain, but felt the weight of taking on the mantle of the leadership of these experiences.
President Sr. Barbara Reid, O.P.
“Dear Friends,” was the way he most often began his homilies and his teachings. He had an extraordinary gift for making friends. As President and then Chancellor, he was constantly making new friends and inviting them to participate in the mission of CTU, to which he was so passionately devoted. These were not utilitarian friendships, but genuinely deep relationships that he forged, sharing meals, trips to the Holy Land, and presiding at their family weddings, baptisms, and funerals. Making friends for CTU was a pathway by which Don helped so many people deepen their relationship with Jesus.
Up until the end, Don so desired to be a part of the pilgrimage he had begun organizing since 1988. He recorded four voice messages to be played at key moments during the trip. “I hope that through the experience you’ve been having that you accomplished the goal of learning more about the Scriptures about the land of Israel and Jordan and Palestine, but also have found spiritual nourishment, a greater love for the Bible, a greater appreciation of God’s presence and history through the people of Israel and through, of course, the person of Jesus and his followers the only church that are spiritual ancestors.”
Saying farewell to one who has been such a significant leader throughout the last four decades (link to tribute to Don) underscores that CTU stands at an inflection point — a moment of consequence and adaptation — as an institution and as a Church. Some changes have been gradual and others sudden; it is fair to say this is not the CTU of 1968. This edition of Logos illustrates this important moment for us.
CTU has experienced changing demographics of our student body and has responded to the evolving needs of our Corporation sponsors and other congregations of men and women religious. The gift of technology enabled and the challenge of the pandemic accelerated the adaptation of how we “deliver” the academic and ministerial formation to the next generation of ministers.
The successful completion of the 50th Anniversary campaign provided needed financial resources to fuel our mission. The increased availability of generous scholarships for lay and religious students provides much needed access to graduate theological education for promising ministerial leaders.
In April, will honor Bryan Stevenson, with the 2023 Blessed are the Peacemakers award at our annual Trustee Dinner in Chicago. Stevenson’s story was told in the bestselling book and feature film, Just Mercy. The same evening, CTU will present our Diakonia award for extraordinary service to Dr. Donna Carroll, who served as the president of Dominican University for 27 years.
Sr. Barbara Reid, OP