Victory Noll Sisters Make Legacy Gift to OST
The Victory Noll Sisters have included Oblate School of Theology in their legacy plan and given a major gift that will enable the continuation of the Instituto de Formación Pastoral/Pastoral Formation Institute (IFP/PFI), for years into the future. The gift will go towards student scholarships and to support the program.
Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters (Victory Noll Sisters) was founded in 1922 to serve as catechists in remote communities underserved by the Roman Catholic Church and instruct the laity to the point where they could take over the teaching for the following generation. The Victory Noll Sisters missioned in the Southwest states, with many missions in Texas, especially down in the Rio Grande Valley.
IFP/PFI, a dual language (English and Spanish) lay certificate program, prepares students to minister in their parishes and communities by providing academic formation in the foundational understandings of the Catholic faith, spiritual formation in the rich traditions of prayer and spirituality in the Church, and an introduction to basic skills in lay ministry. The founding mission of Victory Noll Sisters resonates with the IFP/PFI purpose.
“The Victory Noll Sisters gave us this amazing donation as a legacy gift. They hope that OST will carry on the ministry that they have been doing since the 1920s. We are honored to do that. For decades, they have been working in the Hispanic community in Northern New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The sisters see OST as carrying on the legacy they created,” says OST President Dr. Scott Woodward.
Woodward says this endowment makes the IFP/PFI an integral part of OST. “The program is well funded, well supported – it will be here forever.”
The IFP/PFI has been a part of the OST course of study for about 18 years, but until two years ago, it was only offered onsite. “The pandemic pushed us forward to go online. This gift is a tremendous opportunity for the school and people outside of the San Antonio Archdiocese,” says Ana Frietze, Director of Pastoral Lay Certificate Programs.
This year, the online and onsite platforms were marketed in areas outside of San Antonio and South Texas, resulting in an enrollment increase. The online platform has captured students’ attention as far away as Chicago and Belleville, Illinois, and nearby areas such as Boerne, Fredericksburg, Canyon Lake, and La Coste. Fifteen students enrolled online and 35 onsite. “This (enrollment increase) is indicative of what we are anticipating in the future,” says Frietze.
“Marketing has already started. We have created some videos to show people how the program works. Most marketing will be digital, but of course, personal contact through word of mouth is always good,” says Woodward.
Current areas where the program is promoted will continue, with additional marketing conducted in Catholic dioceses with a large community of Hispanics and in the Rio Grande Valley, Belleville, IL, and New Orleans, LA. In areas where there are Oblates, OST hopes to establish satellites.
Frietze notes that the IFP/PFI goals align with the Quinto Encuentro Pastoral Plan prepared by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), which identified ways to better serve the ever-growing Hispanic population in the United States. The top priority identified was creating pastoral leaders within the community.
“We are so excited about this opportunity. The Victory Noll Sisters endowment speaks to the Oblates’ charism to outreach to the abandoned, the poor. This will allow the outreach to flourish and grow,” says Frietze.