marywester

Mary Wester

Student Blogger

Biography

Hello! My name is Mary Wester and I am a junior Early Childhood Education major here at Franciscan. My hometown is Mount Prospect, a quick train ride away from the beautiful city of Chicago. I am one of seven with six older brothers looking out for me. When I’m not in the classroom, I find myself going for runs or taking naps. God has planted the desire to travel in my heart, and I hope one day I can incorporate that into my future career.

Nettina: Finding Beauty in Holy Week

There’s a common phrase we hear when discussing our faith. Perhaps you’ve heard it in class. Possibly, you’ve read it in a blog post. Maybe, you heard your favorite Catholic speaker lay claim to it, nodding your head and thinking, “yeah man, that.”

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Baron Rugby: Off to Ireland

The Baron Rugby team, ranked third in the nation, is off to Ireland today for a spring break tour of the country, some training with top Irish coaches, a couple of matches, and to experience the warmth of Irish hospitality. We are very excited for this opportunity! We’ll be sharing some photos and stories about the trip here, so keep an eye out for updates.

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Where the Good Way Is

Deciding how to approach Lent can sometimes prove almost as onerous as actually enduring your resolutions of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. How do I want to challenge myself? Can I repeat what I did last year?

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Teach Us to Sit Still

Early morning on I-20 comes slowly. Even from the driver seat of a Ford Mustang GT, cutting the dark blues of the expanding horizon between Abilene and Baird at 90 mph, the sunrise seems to take hours.

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Filling the Void Through Ninevah 90

Usually, I don’t look forward to Lent, and I think it’s fair to hope that I’m not alone in that. Ash Wednesday feels like the longest day of the year for me. Washing the ashes off my forehead is the most satisfying feeling of the day, next to going to sleep knowing I can eat breakfast in the morning.

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Six Books to Read During Lent

Lent doesn’t need to be all about giving things up. It can also be about deepening our desire to grow closer to God through adding items and activities into our life. One way to do that is picking up a good book. From spiritual devotions to biographies to novels, here are six suggestions for good Lenten reads from Franciscan University students and staff.

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Pastoral Counseling Applications

In practice, Pastoral Counseling offers clients an intersection of theological foundations, philosophical moral grounding, and evidence-based clinical skill applications. To envision how this intersection comes to life in a pastoral counseling session, a brief, fictional case study may be helpful. Imagine a young, 20-year-old male college student comes to the office of a pastoral counselor. Within the first meeting, the pastoral counselor is already aware that their time together with the student is likely limited.

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What does Pastoral Counseling look like in Practice?

In my first post I mentioned that a deeper exploration of what a pastoral counseling session might entail would require a separate post.  Well now is the time for a deeper exploration of what pastoral counseling looks like in practice.  For those who did not read the first post a brief excerpt provides a good summary.

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Practical Techniques for Pastoral Counseling

Being in grad school, having a calling to become a counselor, and being a practicing Christian Catholic, all these aspects kind of do drive me to be a Pastoral counselor. So far I know two things that Pastoral Counseling is not; it is not spiritual guidance and it is not counseling for the clergy only. Pastoral counselors are interested in people having mental health and spiritual health, like I mentioned in my previous writing, we also care for your soul.

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Pastoral Counseling in Action

In my last post, I explored the idea of Pastoral Counseling. The main focus of that post was the qualities and purpose of Pastoral Counseling, while placing an emphasis on the qualities (portrayed by Christ) that should be displayed by the counselor. In this blog post, I want to express some more practical skills and techniques that one should have, if working from this position of ministry.

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Multi-Faceted Approaches of Pastoral Counseling

Struggling with feelings of depression? Anxiety? How about low self-esteem or anger management issues? In spite of all this, what about other spiritual struggles such as mistrust in a God-given purpose for your life, or a lack of belief in God’s love and forgiveness?  Mental health issues are usually seen as requiring a different kind of help than the form of assistance required for one’s spiritual dilemmas.  Although seeking help from a counselor and a spiritual director is always an option, pastoral counselors are clinically and spiritually equipped to professionally aid both sorts of issues in a person’s life.

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Pastoral Counseling in Practice

According to Benner, strategic pastoral counseling should be time-limited, holistic, structured, involve assigned homework between sessions, is church based, spiritually focused and explicitly Christian. Some of these aspects overlap with clinical strategies; for example in achieving brief time-limited counseling a pastoral counselor may draw upon the practical skills and clinical techniques of basic listening, being directive, viewing the therapeutic relationship as a partnership and focusing on one specific issue or “goal”.

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Pastoral Counseling 101

Pastoral counseling is the journeying with another human to the goal of wellness and flourishing human existence. So what does this journey look like practically?

First off, pastoral counseling clearly involves a foundation of good counseling. The pastoral counselor must be competent in theories and techniques of the helping profession.

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Philosophy: The Stepping Stone Major

I am a philosophy major. My workspace, wherever it is this time (my favorite is a bench on campus on a cool day), generally resembles a nuclear test site. Papers are strewn about and books are piled up, as I feverishly flip through their pages. I pound away at my keyboard, devising arguments for and against contemporary and classical philosophers, perhaps carefully cutting-and-pasting symbols from the “symbolic logic” page on Wikipedia, in the name of aesthetics and professionalism.

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The Franciscan Nursing Difference

Going to clinical sites at some of the highest ranked hospitals in the country (located nearby in Pittsburgh), participating in our simulation lab with classmates, and being challenged by professors who have been in the field for decades has made all the difference in my education.

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Where Will Your Degree Take You?

From engineering the Navy’s next-generation nuclear submarine, to helping pro-life nonprofits change hearts and minds, Franciscan students live busy lives outside the classroom. Whether you’re studying engineering or theology, your professors will guide you to finding real-world experience that matters

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Launching My Journalism Career

Campus protests, a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Title IX investigations, and much more. This is just a small sampling of what I have covered as a journalist since seeking the help of Franciscan University’s Career
Services office nine months ago, publishing stories on leading conservative news websites while gaining experience, connections, and even a decent income. My name is Jeremiah Poff and I am a junior Journalism student at Franciscan University.

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Making the Most of My Business Education

As I was applying for colleges, I knew that I was looking for three things: a business management major, a minor in communication arts, and a place that would challenge me to live out the Catholic faith in a way that no other university could. When I visited Franciscan University for the first time, I instantly knew this was the place for me. From the friendly, welcoming students to the impressive daily Mass attendance and participation, Franciscan was different from all of the other colleges and universities I visited.

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A World Class Medical Research Internship

I spent my summer vacation doing biomedical research with the experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As a senior biology major, this internship was an amazing experience. Not only was I doing original research, but I also had the opportunity to listen to talks from scientists in various fields and learn from many brilliant individuals at different points in their careers. Being surrounded by these talented scientists was inspiring, and their advice has helped me to evaluate my goals and to take steps to make them a reality.

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The Pastoral Counselor

As, both, a Christian and aspiring Counselor, I find the idea of pastoral counseling pretty intriguing and attractive. The question is: what is TRUE pastoral counseling?

There is a plethora of different interpretations of what pastoral counseling truly consists of. Some believe pastoral counseling is any opportunity for the pastor to guide or comfort, in a particular setting.

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What is Pastoral Counseling?

It seems that every source on this topic and every person asked has a different answer to the question, “What is pastoral counseling?” Some are in agreement; others are not.  To answer this question, I think it’s first necessary to ask why we are asking this question in the first place. What is the purpose of distinguishing pastoral counseling from other forms of counseling or from other modes of being in day to day life?

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Interning on Capitol Hill

It was 10 a.m. on June 27, 2016, and I was sitting in a small wooden chair in the side aisle of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., waiting eagerly for the justices to announce their decisions.

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Who is Helping You Take Care of Your Soul?

Taking care of your self implies taking care of the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects; for example nutrition, leisure activities, emotions, relationships, etc. Counseling may assist in taking care of your mental well-being which affects your emotional and physical health. The point that I am trying to make is that a clinical counselor helps you take care of your life, and so, who helps you take care of your soul?

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An English Degree that Matters

Two weeks before the end of my junior year at Franciscan University, I made the call to the managing editor of Quarto Publishing Group, finalizing my internship for the summer. I would be traveling to Beverly, Massachusetts, less than an hour north of Boston, to work in the editorial department of a major nonfiction publisher, which is exactly what I hoped to do after graduation.

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What Makes Pastoral Counseling Unique?

Many Christians have heard of spiritual direction and most people have heard of mental health counseling but far fewer have heard about pastoral counseling.  Is pastoral counseling simply getting advice from your pastor or is it something more?  There is something more to pastoral counseling and the simplest way to understand the approach is to first explore what makes pastoral counseling distinct from spiritual direction and from Christian counseling and then look directly at what pastoral counseling is.

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Faithful Guidance – The Importance of Pastoral Counselors

The term “pastoral counseling” can hold a variance of meanings to different individuals. To some, this brings to mind an image of a male pastor who helps clarify God’s direction in a person’s life. To others, this term specifically relates to a professional counselor who only helps those practicing the Christian faith.

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The Nature of Pastoral Counseling

Although there are many different definitions of what pastoral counseling is, I notice several common themes which writers have drawn upon. The term “integration” appears a lot in reference to guiding a client towards physical, mental and spiritual well-being. For Christian clients whose faith is important to them, knowing that pastoral counselors share their faith helps develop trust, rapport and accountability.

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The Unique Pastoral Counselor

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

With the many thoughts and images the term “pastoral counseling” evokes, it is not difficult to imagine why the disciple is so difficult to define.  Yet, with a culturally, historically, and religiously rich word such as “pastoral,” surely a counseling profession claiming the title must also contain a certain depth.  

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Ready to Launch: AFROTC at Franciscan

Growing up as an Air Force “brat,” moving around every couple of years and living on different military bases around the world was a part of my everyday life. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the lifestyle I also pictured for myself. However, I also wanted to attend Franciscan University. Thankfully, I’m able to do both thanks to Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) at the University of Pittsburgh—just 40 miles from campus.

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Schmiesing: Like Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a favorite saint for many young Catholics, myself included. She moved mountains with her quiet, steady, and loving presence. She answered a call that was extremely difficult, trusting in God even when she falt utterly abandoned and alone. And this great saint, a leader of service and love, a spiritual giant among mankind, started simple.

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