St. Bernard's to award degrees, certificates at annual commencement

 St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry
commencement to be held on Friday, May 8


St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry will celebrate its 2009 commencement at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Friday, May 8 at 4:30 p.m. Commencement speaker will be Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, professor of ethics and theology at Drew University Theological School.


Degrees will be granted to 28 candidates from St. Bernard’s Rochester and Albany program, who have completed their study for the master of divinity and master of arts in theology or Pastoral Studies. Three graduate certificates in Pastoral Studies will also be awarded, as well as 30 certificates in lay leadership and ministries and two certificates in El Instituto de Pastoral Hispano.


Also being honored is Dr. Ruth A. Lawrence, a physician who will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.


St. Bernard’s Board of Trustees recognizes Dr. Lawrence for her longstanding professional excellence as professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and for her significant contribution to the church and community.


Dr. Lawrence is a long time friend of St. Bernard’s, having served on the Board of Trustees for nine years, giving generously of her time and talents. Dr. Lawrence is nationally and internationally known for her work in pediatric medicine, her pioneering leadership in community poison control, her work in childhood nutrition and the leadership and equality of women in the medical professions.


Dr. Ava Marie Isasi-Diaz’s work explores theological and ethical themes vital to the lives of Hispanic/Latina women and focuses mainly in the area of religious practices and understandings of Latinas in the Unites States who struggle for liberation.


The native of Cuba continues to work for an understanding of reconciliation that focuses “not on the past but in the future, not in dealing with what has been—though undoubtedly it is necessary to do so in order to heal—but in discovering, together with those from whom we have been apart, how to build a common future. “


St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry is a Roman Catholic graduate and professional school educating men and women to serve the church and the community through lay and ordained ministries.