by Ann Marie Engler
An incoming freshman to the new Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies program will have the costs of tuition covered after being awarded a $24,000 scholarship. Nearly a dozen applicants submitted their work to the scholarship committee but Jackie Cowley’s moving essay about understanding her faith stood out.
Cowley was born in Vancouver and has lived there most of her life. After high school, she travelled to Spain where she embarked on Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrimage routes that lead to the tomb of Saint James. Depending on where you start, the journey is approximately 800 kilometres and many take the pilgrimage for spiritual or religious reasons.
Upon her return, she took some college courses but said she was not fulfilled. So, during one of the worst wildfire seasons in Canadian history, she worked as a wildfire fighter. She knew she wanted to study philosophy but also yearned for a deeper understanding of her Catholic faith.
In her search for post-secondary education, she discovered Newman Theological College. Although she loves the mountains, Cowley was ready to venture to Edmonton for her education and a slightly flatter scenery.
“I love the mountains and the rugged natural beauty and the varying landscapes. Alberta is beautiful too, but it’s very flat,” Cowley said.
“However, after working a few years in the “secular world” and having my religious beliefs frequently challenged by non-Christian friends, I realized that I needed to understand my Catholic faith better to defend and explain it to others. Newman was the closest school that offered this kind of program, and it has been a wonderful experience so far. “
NTC started its Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies program in 2020. The new program offers a liberal arts degree that helps students reconcile faith and reason. Students study fundamental works of western theology, philosophy, literature, history, science, and the fine arts. So, anyone looking to better defend and understand their faith – like Cowley – would greatly benefit from the rigorous and traditionally Catholic program at NTC.
“For me, this scholarship is an incredible testament of God’s love and care in my life,” Cowley said.
“Moving to a brand-new city after a hectic summer of fighting wildfires was stressful, but because of this scholarship, I can now focus exclusively on my studies, without having to find part-time work. I am so thankful for this opportunity to study at NTC, and excited to grow in my knowledge of God and the Catholic Church.”
NTC awarded four scholarships this year to incoming students of the Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Studies program. This scholarship was made possible through the generosity of the John Francis and Ellen Victoria Meagher Fund and other donors.
NTC also offers financial assistance to eligible students through multiple bursaries. If you are interested in supporting future scholarships contact The Foundation of St. Joseph Seminary & Newman Theological College by emailing executive director Stephane Hache, Stephane.Hache@caedm.ca.
-Ann Marie Engler is the marketing and student recruitment representative at Newman Theological College