MOSAIC Fall 2016 - Page 29

Faith Experience VING Mary Kay McPartlin which was composed of the “who’s who” of our clergy today: Bishop Nienstedt, Archbishop Vigneron, Bishop Reese, Bishop Boyea, Bishop Quinn, and Bishop Blair. What a privilege to work with them and get to know them.” The committee designed the three major degrees that serve Sacred Heart’s students today: the Master of Arts in Divinity, Master of Arts in Theology, and the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. Since she began her tenure in 1988, Dr. Cooney Hathaway’s desire for students is for them to develop a strong relationship with God. “I have been privileged through such courses as the History of Christian Spirituality to introduce students to our rich spiritual tradition as they study the great friends of God—Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola— and how their teaching on prayer and the spiritual life nourishes our own spiritual journey. My gift is to help people integrate our faith tradition with the concrete situations of their lives and to model that faith to others. “If our theology and spirituality don’t accomplish that goal, what is the point of what we do here?” Dr. Cooney Hathaway believes that all theology should ultimately be pastoral, “And by pastoral, I don’t mean ‘theology lite,’ but how our theology and spirituality help people find meaning and purpose in their lives.” She had the opportunity to put this goal into practice by authoring a book, Weaving Faith and Experience, A Woman’s Perspective, which describes the spiritual journeys of women through the seasons of life. It was recognized with a 2010 Catholic Book Award. Since 2005, she has written a column on lay spirituality for Mosaic. “The feedback from our readers has been most gratifying,” she says. Dr. Cooney Hathaway and Sacred Heart believed educating the laity was necessary for Catholic faith to grow in the archdiocese. “Funding for such an initiative was needed. Monsignor Vigneron created a committee composed of Mrs. Patricia Rennie, Sr. Mary Lou Putrow, OP, and myself to apply for a Lilly Grant, and we were awarded one for $1.5 million,” says Dr. Cooney Hathaway. “We knew that the laity needed a formation program just as seminarians did, and the grant gave us the opportunity to provide scholarships for lay women and men to pursue the MAPS degree [Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies]. We designed one of the leading formation programs for lay students in the country.” As a theological student and professor after Vatican II, Dr. Cooney Hathaway appreciates how the academic opportunities for women have increased. “Vatican II reminded the laity that through our Baptism we are called to holiness and ministry; that is, we each have a responsibility as people of faith to bring God’s kingdom of love, compassion, and justice into the world,” Dr. Cooney Hathaway says. “Pope Francis recently spoke of the necessity of having women, especially married women, on seminary faculties. I bring that perspective to the faculty and students. My marriage and family life have deeply influenced my teaching. I try to model a balanced life.” Her work as a female theologian in the 1980s was groundbreaking in many ways. She was very aware of the responsibility that came with her career at the seminary. “I was one of the women who was paving the way for other lay men and women,” says Dr. Cooney Hathaway. “I never felt what I did was only about me.” The national reputation Sacred Heart has for thoughtful and thorough theological study is a point of pride for Dr. Cooney Hathaway. She says it has been exciting to see the development and the growth of the seminary. “Where we are today is just tremendous. It shows God has blessed our work. I am honored to be part of the story.” Mary Kay McPartlin is a freelance writer from Maumee, Ohio. 27