By Fr. Frank Santucci, OMI, Kusenberger Chair of Oblate Studies, Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, TX.
The second year of the existence of the courses in Oblate Studies is drawing to a close. What a gift this has been!
Our first Master of Arts Spirituality (Oblate Studies) student has completed the degree and will graduate in May. Others are well on the way to completing the 6-courses for the Certificate in Oblate Studies program, while others are following individual courses for enrichment purposes. The students consist of Oblates, Oblate Associates, members of other religious congregations and their associates, and diocesan seminarians from 12 countries. All the courses are conducted online in English – with the M.A. being offered online and residentially.
The five courses that are being taught are:
- Saint Eugene de Mazenod. Historical Background, Life, and Key Aspects of His Spirituality, Charism and Mission
- Historical Expansion and Development of the Mission of the Oblate Congregation from 1816 to Present
- Founders, Charisms and their Expression in Constitutions and Rules
- Mazenodian Spirituality
- A research paper that makes a contribution to Oblate Studies.
The final course, “Oblate Mission Today” will be offered at a later date when the professor completes his doctorate in missiology.
After two years of teaching these courses I became aware of the needs of two types of students. The first were the full-time degree students who required a 2 or 3-credit academic course in one semester. This system will continue for them.
The second group consisted of Oblates and lay members of the Mazenodian Family who had full-time occupations and could not manage the pressure of weekly classes and reading material. It is for this group that I have made the change to fortnightly classes with a more relaxed pace and adjusted academic demands. This category of students are doing the courses as part if the Certificate in Oblate Studies, or single courses for enrichment purposes.
A change has also been made to the way in which these courses are being offered in the future to accommodate those who are not full-time students. Each course can be spread over a year of fortnightly lectures, or weekly for one semester. More details can be found at https://ost.edu/oblate-studies/