Catholic Theological Union Learn@CTUCatholics on CallCatholic Common Ground Initiative
Follow CTU on Facebook
CTU Twitter feed
CTU on LinkedIn


Two Sabbatical Options

The Hesburgh Sabbatical Program is a semester long residential program that takes place in a learning community of ministerially experienced women and men. The other option is the Independent Sabbatical -  an individually designed experience.


The Hesburgh Sabbatical draws from an international community or priests, sisters, brothers, deacons, and lay ministers.  The diversity of participants enriches the sabbatical experience and broadens ministerial horizons.  Most participants have completed an assignment and are preparing for a new area of ministry.  Some come to the Hesburgh program after having made a 30-day retreat.

Rev. Donald Senior, C.P., teaches a module each semester.


Through over 30 learning modules, participants are able to update themselves theologically, spiritually, and pastorally.  These modules are presented by members of the CTU faculty, such as Rev. Donald Senior, C.P., Sr. Barbara Reid, O.P., Rev. Anthony Gittins, C.S.Sp., Rev. Gary Reibe-Estrella, S.V.D., Rev. Edward Foley, Capuchin, Rev. Richard Fragomeni, Sr. Dawn Nothwehr, O.S.F., Dr. Michel Andraos, and Dr. Scott Alexander.  Sabbatical participants can also audit a course at CTU without any additional charge, and will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) at the end of the program.  Hesburgh participants have access to CTUs Bechtold Library and wireless network.

Sabbatical participants can also stay on longer at CTU if they wish to take advantage of the new degree programs (Master of Arts in Biblical Ministry, Hispanic Theology and Ministry, Intercultural Ministry, Justice Ministry, or Liturgical Ministry).  They will also be given information about the many distance learning opportunities from CTU.


Since the modules are presented in the mornings during the week, participants have ample opportunity for prayer.  They are also encouraged to engage in spiritual direction, and have weekly theological reflection aimed at integrating all the components of the program into their spiritual life.  The Eucharist is celebrated daily at CTU, and participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the many rich spiritual traditions in the Archdiocese of Chicago.


All the modules are presented from a pastoral perspective, and the program is aimed at helping participants to reflect upon the ministry in which they were engaged and prepare for the ministry which they will be entering.  Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the many pastoral programs offered by CTU.  Many of these are offered by the Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry, including the Peacebuilders Initiative (preparing high school students for lives of service), Catholics on Call (inviting young adults to explore the theology of vocation), Catholic-Jewish and Catholic-Muslim Studies (opportunities for interreligious dialogue), and the Catholic Common Ground Initiative.  CTU is also the home of the Center for the Study of Religious Life, the Institute for Sexuality Studies, and the Emmaus Program for Continuing Lay Formation.  Participation in any of these programs can increase the Hesburgh participant’s pastoral awareness and competency.


Chicago is home to many fine universities, libraries, bookstores, museums, art galleries, theaters, concert halls, restaurants, and several professional sports teams.  World-renowned architecture and cultural institutions are part of Chicago’s great legacy, and the city offers 500 parks, 52,000 acres of forest preserves, and 27 continuous miles of parks and beaches along Lake Michigan.

The Hyde Park neighborhood, a culturally diverse section of Chicago, with five theology schools, five prestigious museums, all in a tranquil lakefront setting, offers an ideal place for a sabbatical that is both a respite and a time of exploration.

Hesburgh participants are encouraged to explore the cultural richness of Chicago and to take advantage of the many activities that are offered free of charge.

The University of Chicago, which anchors the Hyde Park neighborhood, also allows Hesburgh participants to purchase a reduced-rate membership in their state-of-the-art athletic center.  Modules are offered on health, nutrition, and wellness; walking and biking in the neighborhood are encouraged.