Meet One Of Our Students

Michelle Sheehan Tholen graduated from CDU with a Master of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Catholic Culture. She lives in Bayou Vista, Louisiana, with her husband of 19 years and two daughters. Michelle teaches religious education classes and serves as a reader at Mass in her local parish, and she will begin a new job next fall as a high school English/Advanced Writing teacher.

Michelle is the former writer of the CDU Blog, Gaudium de Veritate. She has also written for CatholicLane.com and CatholicFiction.net.  Recently, she was named assistant editor at Catholic Fiction.net. “I love writing and teaching about the Faith,” she says.

“I was introduced to CDU by a dear priest friend of mine,” Michelle says.  “He had taken a few classes and suggested I might take a few.  He didn’t realize, at the time, that I had been secretly dreaming of a degree in Theology for years.”

Michelle thought about enrolling long before she actually did. “I considered a degree in Theology as something more suitable for those men and women who had chosen Holy Orders as their vocation.  It took a lot of encouragement from my husband, children, and friends and a lot of prayer before I managed to finally call the school one day for information.”

At the time, a fully online degree program was Michelle’s only option.  “My husband was in the military, and I was unable to commit to a program of study that had a residency requirement—we moved a lot.  CDU was the only Masters program that did not have that requirement.  I would never have fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams without the program being completely online; it was truly a Godsend.”

Though it's hard to choose, Michelle says her favorite course at CDU was Basics of Catholicism. “I loved it and realized right away that I was doing what I loved, studying the Faith,” she says.  “I also really enjoyed Catholicism and Modern Culture, The Gospel of John, and Church History.”  Thanks to the latter class, Michelle is now extremely interested in the Church’s past and Catholics’ significant role in world history.   

“The quality education I received from CDU was without a doubt the best part of attending the university,” Michelle says.  “I was, like most people, worried that I might not get the same quality of education online as in a brick and mortar school, especially at the graduate level.  I could not have been more wrong!”

“Having graduated, I feel that I could not have received a better Catholic education anywhere,” Michelle says.  “The professors are first rate and are completely willing to go above and beyond what is required to help their students understand the information.  They also expect a lot in return from their students, which is so important.  Grades at CDU are earned through a student/teacher relationship that enhances and garners respect from both parties—I love that!”

Michelle says that the education she received at CDU has solidified everything about her relationship with Christ.  “I was already a faithful Catholic that loved Christ and his Church; I am now, however, more rooted in that faith. I knew what I believed was true, but now I know why it is so.  I have answers to so many questions, and this has only deepened my faith and pulled me closer toward God—Father, Son, and Spirit.”

“It is hard to put into words.  I’m no different on the outside, but I feel more like the person I am meant to be.  I am closer to God and this gives me an unutterable peace within that I know I was lacking until now,” Michelle says.


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