Student Profile: Catherine von Zueben

Discovering the Opportunity of a Lifetime

Having completed 35 years in the Education field, as teacher, consultant, and administrator, I happily joined the ranks of those untold numbers of retired educators, who anticipate the newness of ‘not-having-to-do anything.’ I recalled my father telling us of the numbness he felt the day he retired and realized that no one was waiting for him to make decisions, balance the company’s books or face the challenges of his profession. I wondered if I too might feel the pain of not being needed. Having always been very busy, I found that now the choices I made for how the day would be, were entirely mine. Late evenings at the Opera, season tickets to the Ballet and Symphony and time to read the numerous books I felt I should have read over the years were but a few of the exciting venues which were open to me. And of course, and most important, my grandchildren. These indeed are the happiest hours I can ever imagine.

My home parish has always offered me the most wonderful opportunities to work with children and adults in the many ministries available, and so I have continued to direct the Children’s choir comprised of approximately 50 adorable children from the ages of 6 through 18, some of whom have been with me for twelve years. Our Christmas Eve Pageant is witnessed by hundreds of parishioners each year. Visits to the Houses of Providence and our own ShareLife Walk are some of the activities in which we are involved.

Sacramental Preparation for those students from our Parish and Private schools preparing for Confirmation, Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist continues to be a very rewarding experience for me. The team of teachers working with this Immediate Preparation program all shares my enthusiasm for the privilege of this Parish commitment.

The Archdiocesan Catholic Women’s League is high on my list of priorities as it allows one to meet and work with the most dedicated, outstanding women in our diocese.

The list goes on!

However, the most exciting exhilarating days of my week are spent at Regis College, enrolled in a Program of Studies directed towards a Masters Degree. I have learned that this is really an opportunity of a lifetime. To study in a Jesuit College with the most amazing gifted professors, men and women, who recognize and respect the fact that I am there, at this stage in my life, to learn. Formal schooling for me has always been in the area of Education or Music and I am here at Regis in disbelief of all that I have never known or even realized was out there. For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in a Library and the staff are unbelievable in their willingness to assist everyone. One of the top reasons for studying here is the wealth of information one receives from the assigned books for study, books which I would otherwise never have read. I even enjoy writing essays! There is a sense of community, a faith-filled community, dedicated to academic excellence, which I have never experienced. Regardless of one’s age or background, we are all pursuing personal and professional development. An immense variety of course subjects are available. Our weekly Liturgies bring us to a sense of the unity and love shared among this faith community, along with the privilege of participating in the Liturgy through membership in the choir. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to attend classes here at Regis College, and also being invited to share my thoughts with perhaps other interested retired colleagues.

Regis College is the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto and a Founding Member of the Toronto School of Theology.

Members of the public interested in theological education are invited to attend an open house in October and March each year.