“If someone had told me 20 years ago that I would be teaching in a seminary I never would have believed it. Throughout my life there were always different professions and vocations to which I was attracted.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a ballerina, then I wanted to be a teacher, a nurse, work in marketing, an art buyer and finally I applied to the business program and did that for a year and dropped out. After that I majored in Gerontology and French. Gerontology opened up some doors for me because the Gerontology department was located in McMaster Divinity College at McMaster University. That was the first time that I learned that lay people could earn the same degrees as clergy. As women, we can’t be ordained, but we can earn the same degrees.
Some of my electives were courses offered through the Religious Studies department. After the completion of my undergraduate degree, I decided to pursue a Master in a Religious Education. McMaster Divinity College was a Baptist College but was very welcoming toward Catholics. Upon completion of this degree, it became clear that I was called to higher learning and needed to continue my studies with a Catholic institution, especially if I desired to serve my Church in a full time capacity. I had to grow in knowledge of my Catholic faith, which is how I ended up going to St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. I went on to complete a Master of Arts in Theology and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology.
Throughout this time I was raising four children and working on and off in a variety of ministerial settings: parish, campus ministry at York University, high school chaplaincy, diocesan ministry, and finally St. Augustine’s Seminary. I took time off to raise my children, working evenings and weekends for many years. In 2005 a former professor recommended that I apply to St. Augustine’s Seminary, knowing they were in need of adjunct faculty to teach evenings and weekends. I was hired within one month of applying, teaching part time, which allowed me to be home with my youngest of four children during the day. Before this job offer, I had applied several times to other institutions, being rejected each time.
I thought to myself afterwards, after each rejection, I kept praying that God’s will be done in all of this, and God allowed me to be a home a little longer with my kids. The other positions to which I applied would have required full time presence on campus, making it challenging for me to juggle home life and work responsibilities.
During this time I was inspired by this quote, “God’s delays are not God’s denials.” All of this waiting was part of God’s plan for my life."
#CatholicsOfToronto Part 4/4 of Dr. Josie Lombardi's Story
Photo: Anna Dzieciol Photography
If you are interested in reading Dr. Josie Lombardi’s work, she has published books such as: Experts in Humanity and On Earth as it is in Heaven. We highly recommend her books; she is a fantastic author and speaker.
You can also find out more about Dr. Josie Lombardi on her website: https://josephinelombardi.com