Marian University’s Missionary Disciples Institute Prepares High School Students as Missionary Leaders

by Glendal Jones | Jun 30, 2022

They came from around the state. High Schoolers were “sponge-like,” eager to learn with excitement in their eyes. It was Missionary Disciples Institute. Call it an intro to shaping ministry leaders for service to the world.

“I wanted to learn more about GOD, and I was really empowered to increase my faith and understandings last year,” explained Lovee Waldon, a Providence Cristo Rey High School junior. “It’s my second year attending and you don’t have to be Catholic to participate. I’m Baptist and a Christian so many of the same principles of loving GOD, being a temple of the Holy Spirit, helping my neighbor, and having the mind of a servant leader still apply.”

“I think this is the first place I’ve asked everyone to open their Bibles and you all have them,” joked Father Tyler Tenbarge ’12 who addressed about 200 students. “Put your Bible on your pillow, because you’ll have to move it to get into bed, then you’ll feel guilty and open it.”

Students laughed and agreed during the Wellspring of Missionary Disciples Institute session. Wellspring was this year’s theme as the program encouraged students to be wellsprings for others as they go from Marian University into the world.

"I hope to leave with more self-giving love, reverence towards God, and have a greater sense of humility," said Alexander Steele, a Guerin Catholic High School junior.

The promise and message to students were clear. Students spent a summer week with other students passionate about living their faith and seeking new ways to serve as missionaries in their communities through the church. Missionary Disciples Institute surrounded students in an intentional community to grow as a leader.

“We are intentional in our efforts to mold our students into transformational leaders for service to the world,” stressed Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener. Everything we do here at Marian, from our Franciscan sponsorship values which are responsible stewardship, delight with all creation with a reverence for people, responsible use of the earth’s resources, and freely sharing the gifts entrusted to us with those in need and less fortunate. Our mission, faculty, staff, and connected communities, are pointed to those important morals.”

Providence Cristo Rey student Waldon knows she’s more inspired and passionate. “First of all, I know my calling, and even more so because of the support of Marian’s Missionary Disciple Institute program, I want to make more of a difference.  Many others feel the same calling to touch others and be lights now more than ever.”

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