sealPurdue News

May 16, 2003

Purdue students to explore Catholic vocations at mountain retreat

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Two students from Purdue University have been selected by the Aquinas Institute of Theology to attend a weeklong retreat in Colorado Springs, during which they will explore the possibility of living as priests, vowed religious or lay ministers in the Catholic Church.

The students are Lauren Schmitt of Carmel, Ind., a junior studying youth, adult and family services, and Kathleen Stroup of Columbia City, Ind., a junior studying neurology/physiology and Spanish.

The all-expense paid retreat, known as Ministry in the Mountains, will begin Tuesday (5/20) at the Franciscan Retreat Center of Mount Saint Francis in Colorado Springs. Twenty students will participate in lectures, prayer and recreation, and will speak with local priests and lay ministers.

Ministry in the Mountains is funded through a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment.

Jonathan Sullivan, Aquinas Institute of Theology admissions associate, says the retreat's purpose is to encourage students to incorporate their religious beliefs into their career plans.

"Research conducted in preparation for the grant suggests that although most university students lead active prayer and church lives, they do not consider careers in the Catholic Church as viable," Sullivan says. "Aquinas Institute wants to persuade undergraduates otherwise."

The students were chosen based upon their grade point averages, letters of recommendation and an essay describing two events that shaped their faith lives and views of the Catholic Church.

Writer: Marydell Forbes, (765) 496-7704,

Sources: Jonathan Sullivan, (314) 977-3889,

Lauren Schmitt, (765) 746-2677,

Kathleen Stroup (765) 743-3880,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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