A Journey in Theology and Illumination

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A Journey in Theology and Illumination

As we grow our relationship with God, He will reveal the path that empowers us to serve Him best. Graduate school alumna Molly Egilsrud had this truth made manifest to her as she pursued her master’s degree at The Dominican House of Studies.

In an ever-evolving world where the tempests of life often obscure clarity, college-aged individuals find themselves at a crossroads as they chart their course in the world.

For students like Molly Egilsrud, a current Ph.D. student in moral theology at The Catholic University of America, the path to enlightenment is rarely linear. What seems important at one age can lose its luster as individual experiences and surprise connections turn eyes from a secular professional direction back to an opportunity to shine as a beacon for God.

Molly’s journey from undergraduate studies at Georgetown University to the Dominican House of Studies (DHS) and beyond is certainly unique. What is clear in speaking to her, however, is that the time she spent earning her master’s degree at DHS has had an illuminating impact on both her academic and spiritual life.

A Path Emerges

Georgetown, a Jesuit university, may seem an unlikely precursor to enrollment in a school steeped in the Dominican tradition like DHS. However, Molly’s educational journey illustrates how God is always working in our lives and placing us where we need to be. Her experiences at Georgetown and after graduation sowed seeds that will ultimately yield generations of preachers of God’s Word.

“People are always surprised by how I ended up at DHS,” Molly reflected. She attributes her decision largely to the influence of Dominican friars she met after a friend from her parish invited her to a Bible study while they were both living and working in Washington, DC. Her experiences during those sessions eventually led her to pursue a deeper understanding of her faith and her future role within it.

Molly found her career at a secular company unfulfilling after graduating from Georgetown. This lack of fulfillment prompted a period of introspection and openness to divine guidance.

“I didn’t really see a future with the company I was working for,” she admitted. “So I was just at a place of real openness with the Lord, and I asked. What do I do here? What do I want to do next?”

In that moment of contemplation, God compelled Molly to reflect deeply on her encounters with the Dominican Friars in her parish and the knowledge she was acquiring regularly in Bible study.

“I remember marveling at how they knew so much about the faith and were able to think on their feet and knew so much about everything,” she said.

Their vibrant, intelligent witness to Christ nudged her toward DHS, a decision she credits as being “the right thing.”

The DHS Experience

Reflecting on her time at DHS, Molly emphasized the unique educational approach of the institution, succinctly describing it as an orderly system of thought within a tradition.

This methodology, she observed, is instrumental in forming a cohesive and comprehensive understanding of theological principles. The alignment of thought shared amongst the faculty compounds the interconnectedness of the lessons.

This all-encompassing nature of the curriculum turned philosophy from a subject Molly was reluctant to study into an enjoyable subject that led to an even deeper understanding of theology.

The tight sense of community and shared pursuit of the truth also struck Molly.

“It’s like homeschool slash high school slash seminary,” she described, highlighting the close-knit environment that fosters both academic and spiritual growth.

Even with that analogy in mind, she quickly pointed out how rigorous the studies are, stating, “It’s very intense because it’s driven by the friars, and their whole lives are organized around study.”

The integrated structure of the coursework, along with the repetition and reinforcement of key concepts, prepared her well for the challenges of a Ph. D. program and beyond.

Looking Ahead: Teaching and Evangelization

As she nears the end of her doctoral studies, Molly is looking ahead to a future of teaching and contributing to the academic world through the lens of Thomistic theology. Her aspiration to become a college or seminary professor is rooted in a desire to share the richness of Catholic theology, informed by her experiences and education at DHS.

“DHS is totally foundational for my intellectual life,” she stated, underscoring the profound impact of the school on her approach to teaching and scholarship. “I want to make sure I’m handing down the Thomistic tradition.”

Molly’s journey underscores the transformative power of education deeply embedded in tradition and community. Her story is a testament to the way DHS not only shapes the minds of its students but also prepares them to be luminaries in a world that yearns for clarity and truth. As she continues her academic and spiritual journey, Molly carries the legacy of DHS with her. With that legacy, she is poised to illuminate the path for others with the same light that guided her.

Molly’s story is just one example of how DHS brightens the world with the knowledge of Christ. If reading her story compels you to support our mission, please click here to learn how you can contribute.

from 2024

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