Honoring the Legacy of Rev. Loren Arnett & Sr. Katherine Dyckman

April 2, 2016

Our uniquely inclusive school was built by the passion, vision and dedication of individuals and communities that believed people of faith across Christian traditions can contribute to a better world together and through learning from each other. (Learn more about our history, here.) As a result of their intentional work, our school was set-up to flourish and evolve beyond even what they imagined at the time—becoming a space where not only Christians can deepen in knowledge and skills for a more just and humane world but also welcome individuals from other faith traditions and those that identify as spiritual but not religious. Over the last few months, we have had to say goodbye to two individuals with tremendous legacy. We honor them as a community and acknowledge their impact directly and indirectly on our learning community.

Rev. Loren Arnett

(Pictured in the photo—far right, along with others honoring Disciples of Christ Master of Divinity student, Linda Gasparovic)

On Tuesday, October 20th, a gathering at University Christian Church honored Rev. Loren Arnett, ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ tradition, and a profoundly warm and generous human being. Loren was a pioneer in the ecumenical movement in the Pacific Northwest, and helped lay the ground floor of our school’s vision and mission. Loren journeyed closely with Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen and former president of Seattle University, Bill Sullivan, SJ., in gatherings that reimagined how church leadership preparation could look in their time and invested time and energy mentoring the next generation of faith leaders. Loren, and his wife June, graciously offered their names and reputations on behalf of one of our first Protestant scholarships at the School of Theology and Ministry, which has funded many Disciples of Christ students over the years. Loren also was part of the visionary team that led to the creation of the school’s first major international partnership with another graduate theological education institution: the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, Switzerland, which is affiliated with the University of Geneva.  This unique scholarship allows one of our students to study for an entire term at Bossey.  Loren was a great religious leader, and will be sorely missed by many. In his last days, several school community members had the blessing of spending some time with him, and he even had the chance to provide feedback to the school’s next strategic plan, allowing his legacy to stretch even further into the history of the school.  He faced the end of life with courage, good humor, and a heart of gratitude for a life well spent.  Dean Mark Markuly shares: “Loren had one of the most remarkable spirits of anyone I have ever met.  He was passionate about many things, but doing all that is possible to promote Christian ecumenism ranked among his highest values. But, he also has been one of the strongest advocates for integrating our ecumenical commitments into the promotion of interfaith dialogue and cooperation and public theology.  He remained a visionary till the end, and he and his wife, June, have left an indelible mark on this school and its mission.”

Sister Katherine Dyckman, SNJM

(Pictured left)

On Friday, December 18th, the life and legacy of Sister Katherine Dyckman was honored at St. Joseph Parish. Sister Katherine served as a woman religious in the Roman Catholic tradition’s Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, who are “dedicated to the full development of the human person through education, social justice, contemplation, and the arts.” All who knew Sister Katherine could tell you that the passion and vibrancy on behalf of her vocational calling as a religious woman and spiritual director and companion seeped into everything she did and impacted everyone of her students, classes and in the communities she engaged. Sister Katherine came to the school in 1989, thanks to the generous investment of the Archdiocese of Seattle in her salary. In 2000, Sister Dyckman retired from serving as full-time faculty and moved to continue facilitating classes as adjunct faculty. Our school is honored to have a scholarship in Sister Katherine's name, and her religious community have been longtime fans and partners with the school through the years.  We extend love and care to Sister Katherine’s sister, Mary Kay Dyckman, and hold her and others of us mourning her loss in our prayers and thoughts.  Fr. Mike Rascko, who worked with Katherine for more than 15 years, had this to say about Sister Dyckman: “Katherine was a quiet yet forceful rock of stability, and had a profound spiritual depth that impacted the faculty, the staff, and the larger school.  She always did this in a way that was filled with joy, and helped keep all of us centered on the things that mattered and the core of what the school was about.  I think Katherine’s major legacy was the strong role formation and spirituality play in the curriculum.  She helped us see that both needed to permeate the entire curriculum.  She was a good friend and great colleague to all of us, and we’re going to miss her.”

A special memorial mass will be held at Seattle University, on Tuesday, February 2 at 12:30pm in the Chapel of St. Ignatius, for colleagues, alumni and friends to celebrate Sr. Dyckman's life and legacy. Fr. Pat Howell will be presiding and preaching, Bill McNamara will assist with music, and JoAnn Lopez will be coordinating liturgy. A reception will follow in the narthex.