Date: July 16, 2021
As I look back at my time at VTS, I feel grateful for my experience as a seminarian. Now, as an alum, I am grateful to be on the AAEC. It has been quite a journey from postulant to alum.
After being made a postulant, I was concerned about finding a seminary that would accept me with two small children. And when I spoke to friends, they were also concerned about where I should go to get my theological study done. They were concerned more about my financial need and as a foreigner who speaks different languages, but not a high level of English.
Some of the questions that were raised by my friends were: How are you going to respond financially to the cost of your career? In what language are you going to study? Do the seminaries offer programs in French or Spanish…? All these questions remained unclear for me and my friends. At a certain point I was about to drop the ball. However, when I thought about this realistically, all my friends’ questions made sense.
On the other hand, my concerns were not just the above, but also to find a seminary that could prepare me to face the challenges of this world, minister in difficult circumstances, and make and discover God in all. At the end of the journey, I visited VTS, and laid down all my concerns and needs, and the Seminary welcomed me. VTS welcomed me with my strengths and my weaknesses, and created a community around me to transform my weaknesses into strengths, equipped me as a priest in the Episcopal Church, and sent me out into the world with the tools and qualifications of ministry to the whole church, according to the need of the community. I thank you VTS, the staff, and all who supported me in this journey. May my experience reach out to all postulants and seminarians who have the same concerns as I had. And may your journey be as blessed and rewarding as mine has been.
The Rev. Jean Beniste ‘14
Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Waukegan, IL