message from the dean
Welcome to the SVST Website!
Let me tell you an experience I have in SVST.
I had a young student from Myanmar. She is a youth leader in her diocese and was taking up the introductory theological course here. When she first came for the classes here, she hardly understood English. I really do not know if she understood anything in my class. In the classroom, she just keeps quiet or she cries. I was thinking inside myself, she might be a good youth leader in her country but because of language, she had to feel helpless. It can be a bit unfair to her. After a year, she went back home. And I did not hear anything from her since then. Then in April 2008, the cyclone Nargis struck Myamar killing thousands and even millions of people. She and her group of Catholic youth went out to those difficult places and helped all they can. Months later, Monica told a nun-friend who was coming to the Philippines. She said she remembered something that I said in the classroom years ago: “in front of someone in need, wherever you may be, please do something. Whatever it is, just do something.” And Monica told this nun-friend: “Sister, when you see Fr. Danny in the Philippines, please tell him that here in Myanmar now, I am doing something.” When I heard this, I felt some deep joy inside me. Even if she did not understand maybe 70% of what I said in class, she learned the most essential thing in theology at SVST.
“Doing theology from the margins,” this is SVST’s motto! One can read theology from all sides – from above, from the below, from the center, from the sides. In SVST, the option to hear the people in the margins of church and society is crucial to the way we read the scriptures, theology, history, doctrines, morals and pastoral action. It is through the lens of the poor that we want to see God’s hand moving in history. It is their view that colors the way we read the whole Christian tradition.
I have noticed that many of those who graduated here are now back to the margins themselves – pastors of far flung villages, pastoral workers of urban squatter areas, sisters teaching in grassroots communities, etc. “From the margins to the margins and being with them.”
SVST is open to all interested in deepening their faith – seminarian-candidates for the priesthood, sisters in formation, pastoral workers in parishes, youth leaders, lay people, clergy and religious, etc. We believe that theology is not a privilege of some few but a right and responsibility of the whole people of God – from those engaged in pastoral work to those who want to pursue an academic theological career.