Called to serve, and grateful for the chance to give.
Sue Robb ’18 is changing the world in her own backyard. As pastoral associate for Justice and Life at St. Francis Xavier, the only Jesuit Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri, she oversees a robust food pantry that serves several hundred hungry mouths in one of the poorest zip codes in the city, and networks with people and agencies to provide services to the marginalized.
Three years ago, Sue had taken steps to complete a second unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), which trains individuals to provide spiritual, emotional and physical care to hospitalized patients. However, the program didn’t work out for her at that time. “God suddenly, and most surprisingly, closed that door,” she shared. “However, despite its closing, there was an odd peace that told me God had something else planned.”
After much prayer and discernment, Sue came upon the realization that she would need a graduate degree in theology in order to become a board-certified chaplain, something she felt called to be. So, she began the long application process for a second master’s degree at a nearby Catholic university.
“I looked online at Graceland’s MAR program on a Thursday in early August, submitted the application on a Friday, and was officially accepted the following Wednesday.”
Without the requirements of professional references and transcripts from all of her previous six colleges, there was no anxious waiting period for a decision of acceptance. Graceland responded to her needs in a timely, welcoming and professional manner; and Sue was grateful to interact with real people throughout the process. Her path had formed, and she began coursework two weeks later.
“I feel I am using my education to truly make a difference in people’s lives.”
“I was embraced by a loving, accepting, gracious and Christ-like learning cohort,” expressed Sue. “Through online coursework and focus sessions, I have engaged in rich theological discussions with people all over the world. Graceland challenged me to think theologically and articulate my new understandings – not only in light of historical and current events, but through the cultural and contextual lenses that are different than my own.”
Sue completed her graduate studies and obtained her MAR in August. She re-entered the CPE program in September in order to complete her chaplain board certification, and she sometimes spends her nights on call for overnight shifts at a hospital.
In addition to her community work with St. Francis Xavier, Sue creates and oversees programs that educate and address sustainability, economic injustice, human trafficking, prison reform, immigration and refugee protection, and other injustices plaguing her local community. She credits the combination of her Graceland education, Catholic social teaching and Jesuit core values for her successes in making a difference in the lives of others.
“I know without the slightest doubt in my mind that I am exactly where I need to be, and I am at peace knowing that my connection to Graceland and to my learning community will continue for many years to come,” shared Sue. “Graceland made a lasting difference in my life, and I am forever grateful.”
Sue hopes to one day work as a board-certified hospice chaplain, and she will do this as she does all acts of service in her life: by exhibiting the values Graceland promotes to all its students through the Christian values of human dignity, mutual respect and social responsibility.
Graceland and the City of Lamoni mourned the passing of a longtime supporter of the community this fall. The Honorable Leonard L. Boswell ’55 passed away Aug. 17 at the age of 84 in a Des Moines, Iowa, hospital. Boswell’s drive, commitment, passion, devotion and beaming smile will be missed.
An exciting change is coming to the Graceland University Lamoni campus. As the university continues to emphasize the idea of a student-centered environment, it is appropriate that the Memorial Student Center (MSC), a building that is so much a part of every student’s life, should receive major renovations that will greatly impact students and their Graceland experience.
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