Hometown: Versailles, IN
Lay degree student studying for Master of Arts (Theology)
When did you begin your studies?
Fall of 2010
What influenced you to begin study for a master’s degree in
I almost switched from nursing into
theology during my sophomore year at Valparaiso University while
working on my BSN over 15 years ago. However, in 2007, I felt drawn
into active parish ministry, especially as a catechist, after
spending many hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament at my home
I discovered that ministry within a
parish had many parallels to my practice as a nurse—listening to,
caring for, educating, sharing with, sacrificing for and loving
others. During this time, I was also blessed by close friendships
with individuals who were devoting their entire lives to God and
I first decided to enroll in
distance education through Franciscan University of Steubenville.
After about a year, a conversation with a Saint Meinrad lay student
who is a friend of mine persuaded me to apply at Saint Meinrad. I
can honestly say that my studies are a result of chasing after the
object of my heart’s desire—Jesus Christ. Through my studies, I
hope to discover where He is eventually leading me.
What else are you doing besides seeking a master’s degree
(work, family, volunteer work)?
I am the wife of Ron Buchanan and
the mother of Natalie, Samuel and Gabriel. I am also a stepmother
to Brittany and Bryan. I have just left 12 years of emergency room
nursing and taken on a position as a float nurse within Columbus
In this position, I am assigned
based on the daily needs of the different departments. In other
words, I go where I am called. Unfortunately, I have had to give up
many of my parish activities as I devote time to my studies. I
chalk it up to entering this new phase in my life.
Favorite saint and why?
St. Teresa of Avila. I have often
told others that it is not us who go after the saints, but they
chase after us. St. Teresa is no exception. I can relate to
elements of her personality, but I am especially drawn by her
straight-forwardness, perseverance, wisdom and fearless love of
God. The girl had spunk!
Favorite Scripture verse and why?
Psalm 30:11-12: “You have turned my
mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed
me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O
Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” This scripture
verse is very near and dear to me. It is the song of the lost who
have been found, the song of the blind who have been given new
sight, the song of the rejected who have found love. It is the
soul’s song of resurrection, which is only made possible through
the love of Christ.
Knitting and reading.
What aspect of your coursework has been most rewarding?
The development of broader
understanding within the Church, allowing me to see the “bigger
picture.” As I study and gain understanding of the sacredness of
the priesthood, I better understand my essential role and worth
within the Body of Christ. The sense of connectedness with those
seeking, learning and serving God within the Universal Church is
What aspect of your coursework has been most challenging?
Learning to manage my time and
juggle my responsibilities while obtaining a graduate degree. Also,
trying to find daily, quiet time to maintain a prayer life. Without
this, I might as well forget the rest.
What plans, if any, do you have after you receive your
The two areas that I have been
directed toward are bioethics and pastoral counseling. Recently,
however, the role of pastoral associate has been brought to my
attention as another area for me to look into. Hmmm…we’ll see.
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