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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Working in the Seminary
Regnum Christi consecrated woman Patricia Klein shares her experience at Mundelein

Patricia Klein and seminarians
Patricia is pictured here with a priest colleague, Fr. John, and several third-year theologian seminarians.

Regnum Christi consecrated woman Patricia Klein began working as associate dean of formation at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago in August of 2012.  She served as a member of the formation team for the approximately 175 seminarians currently studying in Mundelein – they represent 29 dioceses, including Uganda and Tanzania. Many seminarians also come from Latin American countries. Here Patricia shares a brief testimony about her work.

My work at Mundelein is the realization of a dream. I’ve always loved to work in and with the diocese, and for the past 6 years, I’ve wanted to work somehow in a seminary, but I didn’t think it was realistic.  In my discernment of where God was leading me, I received a lot of help from my directors and my spiritual guide, who waited with me on the ways of God, and supported and encouraged me to follow the signs God was giving.

In February 2012, I went to the Holy Land with my parents and my brother, Fr. Thiemo Klein. The Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, where we stayed, was hosting seminarians from Mundelein at the same time.  I learned that there had always been nuns on the team of formators at the seminary.  Through various “God-incidences,” I met one of the Mundelein professors and decided to ask him what was needed to work in a seminary.  He asked me about my studies and previous pastoral work, and suggested that I send my Curriculum Vitae to the seminary, because they were looking
Patricia Klein
Patricia Klein
for another woman – consecrated or religious – for their team.

A few weeks later, I spoke with the rector of the seminary and a few days after that, he invited me to come to the ordinations in Chicago and stay for a while to get to know the place and for them to get to know me.  I visited the seminary in May (2012) and I loved it.  The professors, the formation team and the seminarians welcomed me with much kindness and openness, and there was an air of family that helped me to feel at home. At the end of the visit I had one last interview.  The rector and his council, as well as myself, felt that my coming to the seminary would be fruitful for everyone.

I arrived at Mundelein in August (2012) to begin my work as part of the team of formators. This year there were nine (there will be 3 more next year) of us in charge of the “human, pastoral, and spiritual” formation of the seminarians. It is a completely different work from what I have done up until now; and I experienced it above all as an apostolate of “being.”  The seminarians, who will offer their lives to God in the priesthood, appreciate the witness of a woman happily consecrated to Him.  It has surprised me to see their interest and respect for my consecration to Christ, the promises, and life in community.  It also helps them when I speak to them about what the priesthood means to us, the lay people in the Church.

One of my roles has been to coordinate the Peace and Justice – Gospel of Life apostolate, which is a group of seven to ten seminarians who try to raise awareness of the needs of the weakest among us.  They pray in front of an abortion clinic, ask for clothing for the poor, organize talks on important questions like the HHS Mandate and Immigration, etc.  It is a joy to work with them; they have a lot of initiative and zeal!  I also helped with the coordination of the weekly formation classes for those in their third year of Theology study, and the weekly apostolic practices for the first year Theology classes.  I visited the seminarians who teach Catechism in different parishes, and followed up with them after their classes. 

I tried to get to know the seminarians as well as possible, asking about their families and how they are doing personally. I see my mission as a formator to share my knowledge and love for Christ, to support them in living out their faith in ordinary life, right now in the community of the seminary, and later in the community of a parish. I enjoy sharing my pastoral experience with them, making them aware of human details that can help them in dealing with others and working with the faithful of a parish.

It has been a great gift to work with the seminarians of Mundelein. It gives me a lot of hope.  I pray a lot for them because they do not have an easy path ahead of them.  But God knows why he has called them in these times. Their vocational stories and their thirst for God are very inspiring. This work has helped me to live my consecration to Christ more profoundly.  I am here because I am consecrated, not because of my qualities, which are nothing exceptional. It has been harder than I thought to leave Germany and the consecrated women, Legionaries, and Regnum Christi members there, but I have been very happy. I am constantly supported by daily prayer and by my companions; God nourishes me with the knowledge of who I am: a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi, spouse of Christ, and mother of souls.



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