History, Mission, and Formation
school of theology and ministry
In 2018, the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The rich histories of both the Weston Jesuit School of Theology and the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at BC have provided a foundation upon which BC STM continues to flourish. Since its founding in 2008, the STM has graduated ministers, scholars, and teachers, all of whom have left Boston College empowered to be leaders for the Church and the world.
Below, are ten historical points that have played an important role in the formation of the STM's identity.
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM) is an international theological center that serves the Church’s mission in the world as part of a Catholic and Jesuit university. Through the fostering of Christian faith and the promotion of justice and reconciliation, the school prepares its students for ministries that are as diverse as the composition of the student body – Jesuits and other candidates approved for ordination studies, women and men for lay ecclesial ministries and for service rooted in faith.
The STM is committed to the Catholic theological tradition, rigorous academic inquiry, interdisciplinary study, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and the engagement of faith and culture.
Through the Ecclesiastical Faculty and the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry, the STM offers graduate programs, including civil and ecclesiastical degrees in theology and ministry that integrate intellectual, spiritual, pastoral, and personal formation. To form a community that is contemplative, critical, and collaborative, it draws on the Ignatian tradition and the rich diversity of its students and faculty who are lay, ordained, and members of religious communities. Theological research, reflection, and pastoral practice are integral to the STM’s life and mission. The STM reaches out to larger theological and pastoral communities through STM Online: Crossroads learning resources, the publication of New Testament Abstracts, and timely continuing education programs.
The heart of the BC STM experience is not simply education, but formation -- the honing and flourishing of one's intellectual, spiritual, ministerial, and human facets of self. These dimensions of formation are the foundation of life and culture here, and their integration and synthesis here make BC STM a truly unique place to study.
Rooted in the Catholic and Jesuit theological traditions, rigorous scholarship is central to our mission. At BC STM, this intellectual formation does not occur in a vacuum — students are academically prepared with a view that what they are learning has an impact on/implications for the rest of the world. Our faculty engages students in theological scholarship that encourages both dialogue and collaboration.
BC STM students are challenged to refine their ministry skills and to grow through new pastoral experiences. They serve as mentors and leaders on campus for a variety of undergraduate programs, and beyond BC in parishes across Boston, leading Confirmation, RCIA, and other faith formation programs. Students bring diverse experiences, interests, and degrees into the classroom, which shape and inform their conversations. Future pastoral ministers are invited to delve more deeply into the theology behind the ministry they hope to provide, while pre-doctoral and doctoral students are challenged to connect their research and scholarship to real concerns facing people and communities of faith.
Theology is not just an academic study -- it's a personal, spiritual pursuit that concerns one's whole being. Within BC STM, to support our students in their spiritual growth, opportunities for growth and reflection through prayer, worship, retreats, and spiritual direction are offered for all students. Additionally, many degree programs include an intentional spiritual formation component. Students join faith communities at parishes across the Boston area and serve with their many ministries. Additionally, 20% of our students are not Catholic, and we invite these integral members of our community to continue growing in their own faith traditions and to share that faith with the larger community.
At BC STM, there is also a focus on how our students grow as people. Questions like “how do you want to serve?” “how do you wish to lead?” and “who do you want to become?” pervade the culture here. There is an attentiveness to how students balance their vocational responsibilities. Professors, administrators, and peers know that students are serving, working, and invested in life beyond the STM — the hope is that students will bring those experiences back to inform classroom dialogue.