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Greetings from our Seminarian

Greetings from our Seminarian

by Hannah Smith on September 06, 2023

Greetings, Saint Dunstan’s! As I begin my journey at Seminary of the Southwest, I am thrilled to share some exciting updates on my transition back-to-school, my orientation experience, my first classes, and the spiritual formation opportunities I have encountered already here in Austin, Texas.

Moving to Campus & New Job on Campus

The process of moving to campus was both exhausting and bittersweet. I must admit that it has been hard to leave my beloved community in Houston. I moved into a small efficiency apartment on campus which makes my morning commute easy as pie! Living by myself has been an adjustment for me, so almost as soon as I got here I adopted a puppy. He is a rascal that's having a hard time potty training, but it feels purposeful to nurture a creature otherwise helpless as I am undergoing such structured formation myself. Also, I am starting a new job today! All students are assigned an on-campus job to help pay for our tuition and to give back to our seminary community. I will be working in the kitchen about 10-15 hours a week cooking, serving food, and clearing while school is in session. 


Orientation week was an incredible introduction to the seminary's ethos and values. It was an 8 day, 12 hour day excursion into Austin's history and learning who our community is and what its needs are. I also had the opportunity to dine in many of my professors' homes and get to know them on a personal level. Meeting fellow students, faculty, and staff members left me with a profound sense of belonging. The commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community here is truly inspiring - my classmates come from a diverse background of faith communities, from born-again Evangelicals to cradle-Catholics. I am excited to learn alongside them over the next few years. 

First Classes

I've embarked on my academic journey with a sense of purpose and eagerness. This is my second time in seminary, and the experience is definitely a little different this time around. At Truett, my education focused on a highly academic approach to theology. Here at SSW, I can already feel that my experience will be much more of a practicum in ministry, preparing me to be a priest in the uniqueness of the Episcopal church. 

Spiritual Formation

At SSW, chapel and prayer services are offered three times throughout the day, and seminarians are encouraged to attend as many as possible. The services are centered on teaching us the Prayer Book (in both English and Spanish), and introducing us to different ways the liturgy is celebrated by various people groups and cultures. By the end of my 3 years here, I will be able to say Mass and the Daily Office in Spanish, which is both intimidating and very exciting! The Seminary of the Southwest is intentional about preparing Priests to be able to serve both our growing Hispanic population and our neighbors in Latin America. I will attend a weekly Wednesday night beginner Spanish class to get me started. I'm so excited about the ministry opportunities that will come!

As you might be able to tell, Seminary is much less about taking classes than it is about intentional, structured, and intensive spiritual formation. We have been reminded "EVERYTHING IS FORMATION" whether it be serving in the kitchen, taking extra classes to learn a second language, attending chapel 3 hours a day... all of it is preparing us to be ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My journey at Seminary of the Southwest is off to an incredible start. I am deeply grateful for the warm welcome, and I look forward to what the future holds as I continue to grow in faith, knowledge, and service to our community.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement and weekly prayer as I embark on this exciting chapter of my life. Stay tuned for more updates on my seminary journey!

In faith and gratitude,

Hannah Smith

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