An Opportunity for Growth: My Time at St. Bernard's - St. Bernard's

An Opportunity of Growth: My Time at St. Bernard's

May 7, 2024

Anna Flaitz

This piece was first featured in the "St. Bernard's Magazine" Spring 2023 issue. More information on how to be recipient of the bi-annual "St. Bernard's Magazine" can be found here.

How did you hear about St. Bernard's and why did you decide to apply?

After my conversion in high school, I found the Catholic faith to be really interesting and exciting. In college, when I wasn’t studying for class, I’d pick up the Catechism and read it for fun. At the end of my undergraduate experience, I had no clue where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. That’s when my sister recommended I look into studying theology since I was doing it for fun anyway! I prayed about it and then my RCIA instructor recommended I look into St. Bernard’s. The mission statement on the website really spoke to me, so I audited a class over the summer and then one day in Adoration the Lord gave me a clear answer that I should do this and do something different with the rest of my life.

How has St. Bernard's formation impacted your spiritual life and understanding of our faith?

It brings me a lot of joy. I learned so much in Professor Lisa Lickona’s Spiritual Formation course last semester! One thing that she reminded us was, “there are no cookie cutter saints,” which is amazing. I read something new and learn something new every day, and my studies have helped me to put my faith in God’s plan for my life.

How do you hope to serve the Church through/with the education you're receiving?

There’s that country song that says, “You make a plan and hear God laughing.” I love that song because it’s so true! For now, the plan is to work in education as a theology teacher, but I’m open to seeing what’s down the line. I’d also like to continue taking courses at St. Bernard’s after I graduate.

You’re almost finished with your first year at St. Bernard’s. What is your favorite thing so far?

The people. I feel like it’s so cheesy, but it’s true: the professors, the staff, and my classmates are so nice. Being one of the younger students, I’ve learned a lot from my classmates too. I think that there is something special about being surrounded with others who are on the same journey as you. It isn't a journey just to a degree or career, but one that transforms you as a whole. It's so wonderful to share this experience of growth with others who are experiencing their own at the same time.

Describe one important thing you've learned so far as a student here.

Overall, just an understanding of the importance of challenging yourself and creating an opportunity of growth, especially in your understanding of God and your relationship with Him.

What advice would you give to those who are considering St. Bernard's for their graduate studies?

Audit a class in the summer, for sure! It’s a great way to get to get to know the faculty and see if St. Bernard’s is right for you.

Anna Flaitz is a recent alumna from the Master of Arts in Theological Studies program. She is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo where she received her Bachelor of Science in Business with a minor in Biology. Anna entered into full communion with the Church through RCIA in 2016 and is a parishioner at Our Lady of the Valley parish in Hornell, NY.