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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Announcements and Updates

Well, I have completed my discernment with regard to the IPT program at Ave Maria - sorta.

Just to recap; I am currently taking a 1 credit course as a "Special Student"; that is, taking it for credit as opposed to as an audit course, with the intention of applying this credit to my future studies. I had to pay a $50.00 application fee when I applied for this course, and submit a transcript from my undergrad. Anyway, I've been waffling on this issue; should I go on? Can I go on? Do I want to take the full 6 credits offered if I am accepted? What about the torture I'm experiencing now just with writing a PAPER!? What about all the OTHER papers for 6 credits I'll have to complete? Will I have time to do anything else? Will my work at my parish suffer? Do I have to eliminate a few things? And how in the WORLD am I going to pay for this?????????

So it goes, but I've realized a few things: I love what I'm learning, even though I'm having to suffer in intellectual agony in order to learn it and produce results. Further, what I'm learning will benefit others if I am able to present it coherently, which I've already done with RCIA presentations. (You'll have to ask THEM if it was really coherent, though....).

I won't say it's all roses, though. Ave Maria's IPT program is solid and faithful, but there's been some negativity in the upper echelons at the Naples campus which is a bit concerning. Ave Maria is not accredited; that's a concern. Not only does it mean that I can't apply for financial aid as I am engaged in an off-campus program, but it could mean future credibility issues with the degree earned. Yet all colleges have to go through growing pangs; I pray Ave Maria survives theirs.

I realized that I can think of more reasons NOT to do this, from a practical standpoint, but I cannot deny what I have already learned and the very element of formation I've never experienced before. I have come to understand that this is all about trust in God and His Providence. This is entirely in His hands. I have to do the footwork, but if it is to be, He will come up with the funds, He will come up with the time, and He will help me persevere. If it is not God's will, this simply won't work out no matter what I do.

There's yet another factor; the very risk, the precariousness of a new school. What if Ave Maria becomes defunct? I'll be left with a partial education and no degree, yet with significant expense. While that seems to be a horrible dilemma, I am seeing it as a way for me to become smaller, for God can take what seems like a disaster and bring about a greater good.

I realized that it's time to trust and just move forward with this decision; apply and let the chips fall where they may. If I don't turn in my application, I will quite literally spend the rest of my life considering what might have happened, and I already have a long list of "what-might-haves", and I simply have no desire to add to it.

Besides, I already paid the $50.00 non-refundable application fee. I might as well make them review my qualifications since they've been paid to do so!

There are no guarantees in life. Those things worth doing are worth suffering for; we can't run away from it. Every action we take has a subsequent reaction somewhere else, whether immediate or delayed. So I'm taking this risk.

I hope to send everything out by early next week if I can get the small details worked out. My references have the recommendation forms, and I may be able to turn in my initial assignment (which received a good grade) in lieu of a paper. Otherwise I'll later submit the paper I'm currently writing for the April 15 deadline.

Please pray with me that God's will be done in this.

You have no idea how scary this is.


Warren said...

Well, I think that an accredited university theology degree and an unaccredited university theology degree are of no difference, if what you want is the knowledge itself, and not the way in the door at some place that cares about accreditation.

If the place you wish to work, or do ministry, or both, cares more about orthodoxy than accrediation, I think Ave Maria has you covered there.

May God bless and inspire you as you discern this path!


Unknown said...

Even without accreditation and with its growing pains, AMU has a far better reputation for its theology program than all but a very few Catholic colleges.

And I would bet that "off-campus programs" will become more and more common at even the largest universities as a university education becomes even more phenomenally expensive and they have to reach out more to find their students.

And you can't believe the love and joy you create in your readers as you bring them along on your Spiritual Journey ride.

I wish I was in the position to take that ride, too. But I am starting my own new ride and with God's help, it will do just fine.

Thank you, Adoro!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: We do know how scary it is thanks to your blog journey. God Bless You for your leap of Faith!

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